For our last game, we played Ra. Ben left, leaving me, Rick, Ed and Kelly to play.
Ra is just a terrific game. With each play I seem to enjoy it more and more. Instead of being just a dry auction game, it has a wonderful tempo to it, a beautiful press-your-luck and screw-your-opponents tension, without ever feeling unbalanced or victimizing.
In this game, the Ra tiles came up very slowly in round 1, especially late in the round. I went out fairly early, and Kelly was in a good position late in the round, with two suns to use and a few Ra tiles yet to come up. Things went her way, and she got some very valuable lots. As a result, Kelly came out of the first round both ahead on points, and in suns, and in pretty good position for carryover value. After the first round, the scores were thus:
Kelly 15 (suns 13-11-8, 3 monuments, 1 pharoah)
Chuck 14 (suns 10-9-6, 2 Nile, 2 monuments, 1 pharoah)
Ed 13 (suns 12-5-1, 2 monuments, 2 Nile, 2 pharoah)
Rick 8 (suns 7-4-3, 4 monuments, pharoahs)
Rick was in a fair amount of trouble already. I hunch he tends to overpay for monuments. Kelly, due to her late-round bonanzas, seemed to command the field.
Second round was, I thought, a good round for me. Ed did best in terms of scoring, but I came out of the round in an excellent bidding position for the last round. Plus, my carryover value was reasonably good. I was behind on points, but felt that my other advantages would compensate. In general, I felt that I'd caught up to Kelly, though I probably overlooked the quality of Ed's position after round 2. Rick just dug himself in deeper and deeper.
Ed 22 (suns 10-8-5, 3 pharoah, 3 Nile, 2 monuments)
Kelly 17 (suns 12-7-3, 1 pharoah, 3 Nile, 6 monuments in 5 categories)
Chuck 15 (suns 13-11-9, 2 pharoah, 4 Nile, 4 monuments)
Rick 6 (sun 6-4-2, 2 pharoah, 1 Nile, 6 monuments in 5 categories)
The last round was a rough one. I spent two of my three suns early, and then the Ra tiles started coming up fast and furious, leaving me little opportunity to get value for my 11 sun.
There was a turning point at one place, where I felt that I misplayed, and benefited Kelly. I missed an opportunity to call Ra, limiting the value of a lot on which Kelly could outbid me 12 to 11. It thus rose to a higher value, Kelly took it, and in so doing, tipped the balance in pharoahs, moving into a tie for the lead and dropping me into last place in the category. Foolish on my part. Calling Ra at the right time is a very critical aspect of this game!
Amazingly, we found ourselves in a three way tie at game's end. Ed seemed to be in the best point position, but Kelly and I tied with suns of value 25, and Ed has 18 to Rick's 20. This dropped Ed's point total down from 35 to 30, while Kelly and I each moved up from 25 to 30. The finals
Rick is our group mathematician, so I have no idea why he struggles with Ra.
A fascinating game -- looking forward to the next play of it.
Among those with 30 points, who had the highest sun?