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Subject: First Ra game with 4 other buddies, ouch. Schooled! rss

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Ed Park
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Eugene
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After a bit of gaming hiatus, Ed is back! Ed is sure his weekly game group was lacking greatly with Ed gone. Ed loses to help his friends win. Beat that for "Taking one for the team"! The first game out of the chute was Ra. First off I agree with my buddy Sam that the Egyptian theme is a winner. It may not have the lure of the walking dead, but it sure beats growing carrots!

This was my first play of Ra. A quick explanation and a couple of tile drawing rounds while waiting for Teong to arrive was enough for me to pick up the play mechanics. Brian even offered me a free "clinic" on how to win at Ra, just sit back and watch the points roll in!

The first epoch started with very few Ra tiles. I bid early with a medium weight sun stone and then followed up soon after with a two more bid wins. I was out of sun stones to bid but had a pharaoh, some floods and plains, a few construction projects, two civs, some gold, and a god. Brian paid quite a bit for a stack of pharaohs and some Nile real estate. Jim missed getting a civ and tied with everyone else but Brian on the pharaoh count. -2 all around! Sam and Teong both talked a good game but didn't end up with all that many points.

Epoch two started up with Brian having very low numbered bidding tiles. As soon as 3 or 4 tiles were on the auction track he would start speaking in tongues and the Invocation would start. Not very many people wanted to waste a large value sun for just a few tiles. At the same time we didn't really want Brian to get many more pharaohs. He used the invoke command to his advantage and made very good use of his lower numbered suns. Ra tiles were pulled like crazy and I found myself not winning a single auction until the very end. I bid and took a measly tile (from Teong who was taking a bio-break and didn't realize he had no chance of winning if he bid his ten sun). He bid his ten sun. I still ended up having no civ, no floods, and just the one pharaoh, -7 points! Jim was still in a painful heap sobbing to himself in the corner. I don't think he ever did get a civ tile... Sam and Teong did a bit better this round but were not able to match the points Brian had. All those Nile tiles and pharaohs started to add up for him quickly.

Final Epoch: I bid early and took a few civs. I did not want another negative 5 for no civ. Ra tiles were also very prevalent in this round. I scored a god tile and was planning on using it for a fourth unique civ to cement those 10 points. It was just not there during my turns. Ouch. Brian was still in command of the invokes and I felt that most of us were always trying to get caught back up. Jim paid out big for a civ. Sam had a good run of tile wins and a stack of gold. Teong was trying to match Brian with a growing pile of pharaohs, but it was not enough. We were very quickly done with the round and adding up the final points. I somehow managed to collect a pitiful grouping of sun tokens. Minus 5!! How did the number one tile get back to me? I think there was some voodoo going on... While I did not score very well, I was not last (sorry Jim). Brian put on his "clinic" with an evil grin and won by a fair amount of points.

A few things that seemed to work well for him: The pharaoh lead helped give him 5 points a turn and did not go away between epochs, same with the land tiles. A quick grab of a flood tile and the rest of the lang tiles were back scoring points again. Nobody had enough monuments or civs to get much of a bonus from them. Seems like a costly way to try and get points going for a monument win. Overall a very fun game that I look forward to playing again.
 
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Bonnie Ricca
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Kronman wrote:
Seems like a costly way to try and get points going for a monument win.


In almost every game I've played, the monuments determine the winner. Someone who's been collecting these up from the beginning can easily overcome a large deficit and make a run for first in the last epoch. Of course, I don't usually play with five players, so that might make it harder to build up a large collection.
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Well, it's possible to win games without makking a killing in monuments. For example, 4 + 6 + 10 pts in water is about equivalent/on par to average score in monuments
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Bonnie Ricca
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ackmondual wrote:
Well, it's possible to win games without makking a killing in monuments. For example, 4 + 6 + 10 pts in water is about equivalent/on par to average score in monuments


Quite true. I've just seen it happen with monuments more often, maybe because I usually play with three people, so it's easier to build up a good collection over three rounds.

My only point was to let Kronman know that he shouldn't underestimate the power of monuments.
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Ed Park
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Thanks for the insights into how other people play! I like comments to my session reports the best because they usually show me some new strategy that I have not thought of yet, and responses are from fans of the game.

I was able to get 4 unique monuments and only one of those had a double. I was not actively trying to get them all however. With the 5 players I found myself only winning about 1/4 or less of the auctions I bid on.

Very fun! I look forward to playing this more often for sure.
 
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