Players: Myself, Timbo and G-Man. My 7th game of Ra, Timbo's 2nd and G-Man's first.
We played Ra after playing Samurai and before playing Fairy Tale.
The usual crowd I play Ra with (The Meowsqueak Extravaganza) are on the whole not so keen on Ra. I originally bought it without having played it, only some light research on BGG and some vouchers for my birthday (hurrah for friends who know what someone wants!). So initially my main motivation (aside from the fact that I
like love playing board games) was to get some value out of the game. I got thrashed the first few times; playing against Zirak who had played it many times. It seemed so chaotic to start with... where are the tactics? Just draw and outbid where possible/necessary.
So, I hadn't played Ra in a few months and thought it was a good chance to play with some people who were very new to the game and not overly-experienced gamers.
One thing I noticed in this most recent game was the benefit of invoking 'Ra' as opposed to waiting for Ra to invoke itself by way of tile or a full auction lot. The benefit of picking up just a few Pharaoh tiles or Civilization tiles can be huge; much more than I ever really thought about. Another thing that must be watched is the bidding suns that you will pick up after bidding. During the second and third epochs I got so caught up in not playing my '10' sun because I would get a flipped '1' or '2' sun (as I only had suns above '8' in value in the second epoch) in return and therefore hurting myself down the line. However, by me not playing this it meant the others were getting good deals by playing there lower value suns.
G-Man and Timbo really took to the game. G-Man collected a lot of monuments, while Timbo went for a mix of everything and I pushed for the Civ and Pharaoh tiles. This meant that throughout the game I was picking up points at the end of the epochs and not losing any... G-Man was just breaking even and Timbo was a little ahead of break-even. However, come the end of the game from monuments G-Man raked 25 points, Timbo got 13 and I got zero! Myself and Timbo tied for highest sun value in hand.
The final score was close: 48 - 44 - 43; G-Man, Timbo, Me. So I lost to newbies, but feel that I've got a MUCH greater appreciation for the strategies that underlie the apparent chaos that is Ra. Strategies aside, Ra is a very fun game.