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Ra: The Dice Game» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Let RA move or try for more suns? rss

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Patrick Arens
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I made up my mind recently that I would track how many spaces each player moves RA to see if there is a correlation between winning and moving RA the least number of spaces out of the players in the game. I haven’t, unfortunately, had enough time to get a good sample and I think it would take me several weeks to get one (I’ll be too busy over the next couple weeks). I really don’t feel like waiting that long to come to an answer. So, I decided to see if you all would want to contribute to this issue in some way.

First, it’s obvious that if there is a major difference in the number of spaces each player is moving RA, then the game will shift in one player’s (or multiple players’) favor.

But what about the games where the RA’s movement is more evenly distributed amongst the players; that is, games where there are differences in such distribution but not hugely divergent differences? In such games, is there a correlation between winning and moving RA the least?

If so, then one would benefit from (roughly) tracking the number of spaces each player has moved the RA; and in the case that he or she is moving it more than his or her opponents, she should try to avoid moving the RA by trying to roll more suns when the occasion arises (thus trying to score three points instantly or cause a disaster instead of moving RA).

Perhaps this is a strategy that some people are already implementing. But even in that case it is worth bringing it up for discussion.

A concrete example of a game I played recently:

Two player game

Final Score: 51-50

The player who won moved RA 13 spaces, and the player who lost moved it 17 spaces.
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Paul M
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I think if I roll one sun with my first throw, that sucks, but I'm not going to try and roll more suns unless my 4 remaining dice are total crap (like 4 pharaohs when I'm maxed out on them or something, but then I'm rerolling all the dice anyway).

If I roll two suns with my first throw, however, almost always I'm going to try and roll more suns because the third or more suns will appear over 66% of the time in your next two throws, and then you've got all 5 dice working for you instead of 3.

If I roll one sun with my first throw and one more sun with my second throw, it depends on the other three dice for my strategy with my third throw. I'm only 42% to get another sun on the third throw now. If my other dice are showing something useful, like nile + pharaoh + monument, I may not risk it.

Great game. I would love to see more statistics correlating ra-spaces-advanced-rank versus finishing-order. If it's a strong correlation, then maybe trying to roll more suns when you get one on your first throw is the right strategy.
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howl hollow howl
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Having played a gazillion games against an AI I programmed, and having lost several Ra Dice Games against my non-genius 6 year old daughter who rerolls dice all the time and always manages to avoid rolling suns, I assert that "sun luck" is quite the major factor in this game.

The one snag with the "going for 3 suns when there is 1-2 in my first roll" is when it is better to just go for 1 civ for 5 points or more often a flood, as they both require 3 dice. Then you're just stuck with "bad sun luck".
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Dave wrote:
The one snag with the "going for 3 suns when there is 1-2 in my first roll" is when it is better to just go for 1 civ for 5 points or more often a flood, as they both require 3 dice. Then you're just stuck with "bad sun luck".


Those could still be better than average turns. The last set of statistics I had gave an average score per turn (averaged over all players, the whole game) of between 4 and 5 - but that was with an older set of rules (Civilizations were easier). What do you get from your plays (for the human and for the computer)? Of course this is number of players dependent, and play style dependent. I mean apart from simply good/bad play. Do you all go for Pharaohs, or not - same result with different numbers of dice used? Do you play a blocking style in Civilizations? But that's probably still secondary.
 
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Roderick Schertler
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Dave wrote:
Having played a gazillion games against an AI I programmed, [...]


Is this available publically?
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howl hollow howl
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humeral wrote:
Is this available publically?


Thanks for asking. It is not, nor is my 6-year-old. At this point, given how iPhone friendly the game is, I'm afraid it would initially/eventually be asked to be taken down. I'd rather put the energy into polishing off non-Knizia games (currently Roma II).
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Brian Foster
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Dave wrote:
Having played a gazillion games against an AI I programmed, and having lost several Ra Dice Games against my non-genius 6 year old daughter who rerolls dice all the time and always manages to avoid rolling suns, I assert that "sun luck" is quite the major factor in this game.


So true. If you are sun lucky, it does affect how many points you can earn. Have you noticed how easy it is to roll a sun when you don't want to, but if you then try to roll them it doesn't work?

Quote:
The one snag with the "going for 3 suns when there is 1-2 in my first roll" is when it is better to just go for 1 civ for 5 points or more often a flood, as they both require 3 dice. Then you're just stuck with "bad sun luck".


Do you mean that you already have two cubes in the civ track and you're trying to roll another for a total of 3? It takes three civ markers to earn 5 points; having one or two markers only keeps you from losing 5 points.
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howl hollow howl
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bboppr wrote:
Quote:
The one snag with the "going for 3 suns when there is 1-2 in my first roll" is when it is better to just go for 1 civ for 5 points or more often a flood, as they both require 3 dice. Then you're just stuck with "bad sun luck".

Do you mean that you already have two cubes in the civ track and you're trying to roll another for a total of 3? It takes three civ markers to earn 5 points; having one or two markers only keeps you from losing 5 points.

I meant going for a total gain of 1 civ for the turn for a net gain of 5 points (e.g., 0->1, 2->3), which requires 3 dice. For example, if on your first roll, you roll 3 civs and 2 suns. Oftentimes it's best to just take the 5 points and live with "bad sun luck".
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Christopher Dearlove
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bboppr wrote:
Do you mean that you already have two cubes in the civ track and you're trying to roll another for a total of 3? It takes three civ markers to earn 5 points; having one or two markers only keeps you from losing 5 points.


Not losing 5 points is a 5 point gain.

The game would be almost identical if there were 0 points for 0 civilizations, 5 points for 1 or 2, 10 points for 3, and so on, The "almost" is because of the minimum score 0 when losing points.

Incidentally when we were playtesting and trying to see if there were reasonable numbers of points in each of the four sections (ideally similar numbers, though it's not perfect and depends on player style) we considered the civilizations on that 0/5/10/15/20 scale, not a -5/0/5/10/15 scale, and pharaohs on a 0/2/7 scale, not a -2/0/5 scale.

(The actual scale used is easier to play of course, hence its invention in Ra - at least I assume, before my time.)
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howl hollow howl
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It would also require a longer scoring track if there were no negative points handed out. meeple
 
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Christopher Dearlove
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Dave wrote:
It would also require a longer scoring track if there were no negative points handed out.


With a score track such as in Ra the Dice Game, you could wrap around. But in the original Ra score markers are handed out. OK, there could be some larger markers (20s would probably do) but also people would have to add up more of those at the end, which may not be popular.

So, good point.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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kantpaper wrote:
If so, then one would benefit from (roughly) tracking the number of spaces each player has moved the RA; and in the case that he or she is moving it more than his or her opponents, she should try to avoid moving the RA by trying to roll more suns when the occasion arises (thus trying to score three points instantly or cause a disaster instead of moving RA).


I suspect there probably is a correlation between moving RA a lot and losing, because every die that moves RA is a die that you cannot score with. (Maybe that's why my wife beat me today! )

However, I don't think you would want to change your current strategy based on what has happened in the past. Whether you moved RA a lot already or not doesn't matter, except that if you have, you might be behind.

Really, what matters is whether you are currently ahead or behind. If you are ahead, speeding RA up is not a bad idea, as you might be able to finish the epoch before your opponents have flooded or built civilizations. If you are behind, or early in the epoch, slowing RA down (and simultaneously making the best possible use of all your dice) makes sense.

I think Paul M had some great ideas in his post in this thread.
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