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Subject: Ra - 10 Word Review and Rules Complexity Score rss

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Joe Grundy
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Following are the ten topics most characteristically mentioned about Ra in 1400 user comments on BGG. Hopefully after 60 seconds you'll know if you want to chase more detail.

"RA" IN TEN WORDS: (Starting with most mentions above average...)
1. Auction/Bidding
2. Tile
3. Knizia
4. Decisions
5. Mechanics
6. Favourite
7. Luck
8. Sun Discs
9. Theme (Egyptian)
10.Tension


1. AUCTION/BIDDING
"may be my favourite auction game"
"Ugh, I hate this auction system"
"elegant"
"a matter of pushing one's luck"
"once-around bidding prevents the trouble of aggressive play"
"system is very straight forward"
"less about how MUCH to bid as WHEN"
"seems to be a scoring mechanism with a lumpy auction front bolted on"

2. TILE
"pull tiles, call Ra"
"everything about this game, even the random tile choices, is enjoyable"
"tiles sometimes require some quick thinking tactical decisions"
"collect sets"

3. KNIZIA
"another outstanding game from the master"
"yet another"
"Knizia, you have to do better than this"
"my favourite"

4. DECISIONS
"tough"
"very tasty"
"devilish, agonising"
"big"
"more luck then skill, but decisions are difficult"
"lots"
"interesting"
"low risk decisions and probability"

5. MECHANICS
"clever"
"nifty"
"surprisingly smooth with 2"
"stream lined"
"good balance"
"keeps the game moving"
"unique"

6. FAVOURITE
"favourite game"
"favourite of Knizia's pure auction games"
"least favourite of Knizia's auction games"
"artwork one of my personal favourites"
"favourite mechanic is exchanging sun discs"
"favourite bidding game"

7. LUCK
"press your luck aspect is a big bonus"
"feels a bit more like luck than skill"
"somewhat strategic with a good dose of luck"
"couple of places where luck is frustratingly prominent"
"nice mix of luck and tactics"

8. SUN DISCS
"spend your few good suns very carefully"
"components are wonderful, particularly the sun tiles"
"the rub being that the suns you use to bid are part of (the next auction lot)"

9. THEME (EGYPTIAN)
"great theme, nice bits"
"thinly laid on"
"theme link is far too weak"
"just decoration, but what decoration"
"nothing to do with the game"

10. TENSION
"nice level"
"had to bump up the rating"
"lots and lots"
"nerve jangling"


RUNNER-UP TOPIC WORDS:
"Great", "Set collection", Modern Art (the game), Razzia! (the game)", "Excellent", "Epochs", "Love"


RULES COMPLEXITY SCORE:
10 to start a first game .. 14 to be ready to fully plan ahead
(Note: roughly speaking this is a concept count, not strategic complexity)

Compare:
Chess: 9 .. 12
Settlers of Catan: 12 .. 19
Puerto Rico: 20 .. 31
Ticket to Ride: 10 .. 10
Bohnanza: 9 .. 10
Carcassonne (H&G): 8 .. 11
 
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Richard Irving
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Re: Review in 10 words/60 seconds, plus Complexity Score
Quote:
"RA" IN TEN WORDS: (Starting with most mentions above average...)
1. Auction/Bidding
2. Tile
3. Knizia
4. Decisions
5. Mechanics
6. Favourite
7. Luck
8. Sun Discs
9. Theme (Egyptian)
10.Tension


That's 13 words!
 
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Derek Gallacher
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Re: Review in 10 words/60 seconds, plus Complexity Score
Also nice - but I'm not seeing the connection between Ra / Tikal / and Settlers of Catan.
 
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Joe Grundy
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Re: Review in 10 words/60 seconds, plus Complexity Score
Not so much a "connection" as that this process of synopsis from user comments actually seems to work pretty well. This really is an extract by analysis from the complete list of BGG ratings comments, prioritised by the number (fraction actually) of mentions of words compared to the average number of mentions. (Excluding a list of "general" words, like "the".) A little editorial work goes into choosing and sometimes streamlining context quotes, or and merging words my system doesn't know are similar.

The complexity score is an approximation of the number of rules knowledge chunks required to play the game, although there's quite a variety of ways you can slice that. Roughly speaking it's how many rules paragraphs I might assign, or how many game-specific code chunks I might write for a software implementation of the rules. I include the sample of complexity of most commonly rated games for a gut feel comparison to something/s readers might already be familiar with. If I do a "What's Not To Like" full review I'll include the complexity makeup.

I plan to expand the Ten Words series to cover my (limited) collection. In theory I suspect I could even use these techniques to "process" a game I never heard of, but I'd need a copy of the rules to do Complexity.
 
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Chris White
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Re: Review in 10 words/60 seconds, plus Complexity Score
Quote:
Chess: 9 .. 12


Those numbers seem really low. Especially the latter number.
 
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Matthew M
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Re: Review in 10 words/60 seconds, plus Complexity Score
traininthedistance wrote:
Quote:
Chess: 9 .. 12


Those numbers seem really low. Especially the latter number.


It's rules complexity. The rules to chess could be written on an index card.

-MMM
 
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Joe Grundy
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Re: Review in 10 words/60 seconds, plus Complexity Score
Octavian wrote:
traininthedistance wrote:
Quote:
Chess: 9 .. 12

Those numbers seem really low. Especially the latter number.

It's rules complexity. The rules to chess could be written on an index card.
Yes that's the idea. There's stuff I don't count here like static setups and things that get taken for granted or rarely come up even in the context of making decisions. Mostly this gives an idea how hard the game might be to learn/teach, not how hard to win.

I want to know this partly because every game I buy I need to consider teaching in English-as-a-second-language, and partly because if I like the game it will get re-taught maybe five to fifteen times to various levels of patience.

Perhaps I should change the review title to "Review in 10 words/60 seconds, plus Rules Complexity Score", but it's already a long title for the "instant review" concept. Thinking on it.

Thanks for bringing this up.
 
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