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Subject: Knizia Auction Trilogy rss

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Pedro Correia
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Hello, I'm a big Knizia fan, and I'm thinking to buy one of these three games:

Modern Art
Medici
Ra

I know they are all based on auction, but someone who played all could tell me the differences between them and the opinion of what I should buy?

I prefer games more strategic and less luck based.

 
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Curt Carpenter
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Ra >> Medici >> Modern Art

But if you're a big Knizia fan, you'll get them all eventually anyway.

I'll leave it to someone less lazy than I am to try to elaborate on all the differences.

But please be aware that they all have a ton of luck. So temper your expectations accordingly.
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Brad N
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curtc wrote:
Ra >> Medici >> Modern Art
I agree with this. I like Ra the best of the 3 then Medici and lastly Modern Art.

curtc wrote:
But if you're a big Knizia fan, you'll get them all eventually anyway.
Pretty good chance of this... though, I don't own Modern Art and don't plan to get it.

curtc wrote:
I'll leave it to someone less lazy than I am to try to elaborate on all the differences.
I won't go into much detail, but I've heard some people try to argue that Ra is not an auction game. It is an auction game, IMO. You have certain bidding tiles that you can use once per round; when you win a bid, you turn in your bidding tile for a new one that you will use next round; all auctions are once-around. The scoring is unique and the part that takes a bit of getting used to... it's also a good part of what makes the game good. Medici is also once-around auctions, but the scoring is much simpler and you are basically bidding away victory points to obtain tiles. I think Medici is a great example of a game with an ultra simple set of rules creating really tough decisions. Modern Art involves all sorts of auctions... traditional, once around, blind, etc. I really like the design and ideas behind this game, but find it extremely difficult to get to the table.

curtc wrote:
But please be aware that they all have a ton of luck. So temper your expectations accordingly.
As with most games, there is some luck in these but I think it's overstated to say there is a ton of luck. Better players will almost always win Ra and Medici (and probably Modern Art). I've seen it time and time and time again. There is a lot more skill than luck in these games.
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Curt Carpenter
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bnordeng wrote:
As with most games, there is some luck in these but I think it's overstated to say there is a ton of luck. Better players will almost always win Ra and Medici (and probably Modern Art).

I stand by my claim. The canonical example in Ra is when you're the last one remaining with bidding tokens in a round. The amount of luck there is about as high as any game I can think of, at least among games I would consider at least half-decent. You can take a chance at drawing a tile, and the outcome of a single blind draw can result in coming in first place or last. I still love it regardless of the luck. I suppose whether one considers luck in these games relatively high or low might depend on what games one is used to playing.
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Pedro Correia
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My problem is
I can get Medici for a very low price and new, but my question is, is Ra so much better than Medici that is worth buying it instead of Medici? Or they pretty much the same mechanic with different themes?
 
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curtc wrote:
bnordeng wrote:
As with most games, there is some luck in these but I think it's overstated to say there is a ton of luck. Better players will almost always win Ra and Medici (and probably Modern Art).

I stand by my claim. The canonical example in Ra is when you're the last one remaining with bidding tokens in a round. The amount of luck there is about as high as any game I can think of, at least among games I would consider at least half-decent. You can take a chance at drawing a tile, and the outcome of a single blind draw can result in coming in first place or last. I still love it regardless of the luck. I suppose whether one considers luck in these games relatively high or low might depend on what games one is used to playing.
My point was that, while there is luck in the game, managing the game can mitigate how much these situations will arise or hurt you. Sure, there may be a game where a good tile draw wins it or a bad draw loses it. However, making sound choices throughout the game will typically put you in a position to win. I've learned that the hard way with Ra.

One of my favorite games is Hamburgum (though it doesn't seem to get a lot of love here) because there is no luck in the game after you've determine starting player and player order. And, I love Brass. I wouldn't say there is a "ton of luck" because you could lose the game if you flip a -3 distant market tile. Don't get me wrong... there is obviously more luck in a game of Ra than a game of Brass. However, I think it's unfair to over-emphasize a certain situation that flips the game on it's side due to luck. It's the exception, not the rule. That's true in Ra and in Brass.
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Pedro Correia
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So?
So, is Ra so much better than Medici, that is more worthy to be bought? Even if you get a great price for Medici?
 
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Ben Stanley
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I agree with the poster who says there is very little luck in who wins Ra. Chance is there, but a strong player won't leave himself in the situation where he is pulling tiles hoping the round doesn't end, unless he is perfectly content with the round ending. He's calculated the probability of everything, and is almost certain to win.

Ra is so much better that you must own it, but if you see an amazing deal on Medici get it, too. Ra is better because it is more subtle and less strategically intuitive, but both games offer lots of skill based opportunities and tough choices.
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Curt Carpenter
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bnordeng wrote:
there is obviously more luck in a game of Ra than a game of Brass. However, I think it's unfair to over-emphasize a certain situation that flips the game on it's side due to luck. It's the exception, not the rule.

The situation I described has happened in more of my games of Ra than not, so I don't think it's an exception. I wasn't trying to emphasize that situation as much as use it as an example. Medici has a similar effect.

Pedro wrote:
...is Ra so much better than Medici that is worth buying it instead of Medici? Or they pretty much the same mechanic with different themes?

Well, I guess it depends on the price difference to you, and your budget. But they feel very different to me.
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John Prather
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AndrePOR wrote:
So, is Ra so much better than Medici, that is more worthy to be bought? Even if you get a great price for Medici?


I've played all 3. My personal opinion is that they are all very different and worthy of buying, but look at your playgroup size.

IMO, and others please give input too,
RA: Best with 4
Modern Art: Best with 4-5
Medici: Best with 5-6
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Matt Musselman
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My only caveat: if you do go with Ra, be sure to invest in a larger bag for the tiles, and be extra extra extra sure the tiles are thoroughly mixed in the bag before each game and between each age.

The "Ra" tiles always get dumped back into the top of the bag, and if they're not mixed up, it will totally ruin the game.

The reason I traded it away was not because I didn't like the game in principle. In fact, I enjoyed it quite a bit when playing online on BSW, because the computer made sure that the proper probabilities were in place for any of the tiles coming up.

But in the "analog" version, no matter how much we tried to mix the tiles, it never seemed enough, and in at least one age we'd draw a bunch of Ra tiles in a row and end the round immediately (and effectively spoil the whole game). I finally got tired of it -- it wasn't worth the risk each time I put it on the table -- and gave my physical copy away.
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Get Ra. I agree with the posters who say it is much more skill than luck. Ra is a remarkably subtle game, especially for a game with such simple rules. It's one of Knizia's best games.
 
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I guess I will be the lone dissenter here.

As was brilliantly posited in this thread: A perspective from someone who has played this game a lot, "Ra is not an auction game." It really is more akin to an open-handed trick-taking game in that pretty much everyone can win their set of tricks, so the gaming aspect is about setting up sets that are beneficial and then timing the sale properly. Also, this is a minor annoyance, but as has been pointed out, face-to-face play of Ra can suffer from careless reshuffling of the Ra tiles back in the bag. The primary reason I dislike Ra, though, is it is a game of set collection, with relatively complicated scoring. In order to play this effectively, you have to have a good grasp of the endgame scoring and of the tile distributions.

Modern Art is the purest of the three in terms of auctions, but it can be both dry and rather long. What is great about this game is that the players collectively determine the value of the paintings and the artists. It also has a wide variety of auctions, so you get to see how the sale value of items varies by the form of the auction.

My personal favorite is Medici. It closer to the pure auction form, but as the game progresses, the value of tiles to individual players will vary, making lot formation more important. The tile distributions are all identical, so there is virtually no memory component and the scoring is simple; VPs are used to bid on items. Medici has a bad reputation for the hideous art and graphic design that has seemingly cursed this game. Some of the editions are nearly unplayable.
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Terry
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All three of these games are brilliant.
Get them all!
 
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Brad N
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AndrePOR wrote:
So, is Ra so much better than Medici, that is more worthy to be bought? Even if you get a great price for Medici?
I think Ra is better than Medici and enough so that it is more worthy to be bought. If I were to get a great price for Medici, I would consider adding it to my Ra order. But, Ra would be my first choice.
 
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And I'm going to put in a good word for Modern Art, which is my favorite of the three. In both the other games, you are just a consumer, competing for the most valuable lots. In MA, you're (essentially) a producer and a consumer, which adds a lot of complexity to the game. If you draw good double auctions, then you can win the game with a lousy collection; if not, then you have to plan carefully what to put up and what to buy to maximize your chances of getting a winning collection. It's also tough to know when to end the round, because it costs you a sale to do so. MA is (for my cash) the most difficult of the three, and the hardest to predict the winner until the very end. None of them has much in the way of theme, but at least Modern Art comes with snarky jokes about abstract painters and their work.

My problem with Medici is that it is possible for a player to get a very lucky draw and come away with a huge profit. Also, unless you're playing with experienced players who know how to calculate the odds and potential payoffs, you can usually do pretty well not buying much of anything.
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skipsizemore wrote:
Also, unless you're playing with experienced players who know how to calculate the odds and potential payoffs, you can usually do pretty well not buying much of anything.

I don't like to judge games based on skill disparities among players, but if I were, then that I would see that as a positive. If everyone has equal chances regardless of skill level, that doesn't say much about the game, other than that it is very random.
 
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AndrePOR wrote:
I can get Medici for a very low price and new, but my question is, is Ra so much better than Medici that is worth buying it instead of Medici? Or they pretty much the same mechanic with different themes?


If you can get a great deal on Medici you should definitely buy it.

Medici and Ra are NOT the same game with a different theme. They feel quite different to me and I think they both belong in a Knizia fan's collection. Ra is best for when you have 3 or 4 players and Medici is best when you have 5 or 6 players.
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lgs3998 wrote:
Medici is best when you have 5 or 6 players.

Medici with 6 uses all the tiles and therefore the tile distribution is certain. It is a much better game with an uncertain tile distribution.
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Curt Carpenter
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out4blood wrote:
As was brilliantly posited in this thread: A perspective from someone who has played this game a lot, "Ra is not an auction game."

In that thread he claims that Ra is not an auction game, but rather a set collection game. I think it's silly to argue Ra is not an auction game, but if I cared to argue that point, I'd do so in that thread. The question I'd ask here is, is set collection a bad thing? Medici is more of a set collection game than Ra.

out4blood wrote:
It really is more akin to an open-handed trick-taking game in that pretty much everyone can win their set of tricks, so the gaming aspect is about setting up sets that are beneficial and then timing the sale properly.

That's like saying in Medici everyone can get the cards they want, they just have to bid the right amounts for them. Players in Ra often end the round with their bidding tokens in hand, precisely because they failed to "win their set of tricks", if you will.

out4blood wrote:
Also, this is a minor annoyance, but as has been pointed out, face-to-face play of Ra can suffer from careless reshuffling of the Ra tiles back in the bag.

Yes, this is true. We usually have a dedicated tile puller who is willing to reach in and dig around on every pull. FWIW, if you prefer cards, Razzia! is almost as good as Ra, just missing the disasters, and a slightly different mix. Although I suspect that's harder for most people to find.

out4blood wrote:
The primary reason I dislike Ra, though, is it is a game of set collection, with relatively complicated scoring. In order to play this effectively, you have to have a good grasp of the endgame scoring and of the tile distributions.

That's precisely why I like Ra more than Medici.

out4blood wrote:
Modern Art is the purest of the three in terms of auctions, but it can be both dry and rather long.

Pure is not the word I would use to describe Modern Art. In fact it's close to the opposite. More like a mess.

Lest you get the wrong idea, Medici is a fine game.
 
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curtc wrote:
out4blood wrote:
As was brilliantly posited in this thread: A perspective from someone who has played this game a lot, "Ra is not an auction game."

In that thread he claims that Ra is not an auction game, but rather a set collection game. I think it's silly to argue Ra is not an auction game, but if I cared to argue that point, I'd do so in that thread.

He argues both.

The reason that's more a trick-taking game than an auction is because, just as it's pretty clear that only the Ace can take the King, the guy with the 13 will beat the 11 and 8. The same strategies one uses for trick-taking games, such as drawing out the high cards, can be used in Ra. Also for Ra, unlike virtually every other auction game, proper set valuation and price setting are much less important.
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MA is my fav. different than anythign else
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Matt Musselman
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out4blood wrote:
The reason that's more a trick-taking game than an auction is because, just as it's pretty clear that only the Ace can take the King, the guy with the 13 will beat the 11 and 8. The same strategies one uses for trick-taking games, such as drawing out the high cards, can be used in Ra. Also for Ra, unlike virtually every other auction game, proper set valuation and price setting are much less important.


Agreed. Don't confuse the two "halves" of Ra.

Tile Acquisition mechanic: Some people call it "auction." Some people call it "trick taking."
Scoring mechanic: Most people agree it's "set collection."

It's not Set Collection OR Auction OR Trick Taking.

It's Set Collection AND (Auction OR Trick Taking).

That being said, I also agree with Tim that if the taking of tiles in Ra is an auction, so are the taking of cards/points in Bridge, or 42, or Whist, or Tarot, or Spades, or Hearts.

You have a finite set of discrete valued tokens in your hand you can choose to play, and the highest one played by any player gets the pot. Is that a bit like a once-around auction? A little. But you still can't choose to spend less or more value than the sun tiles you have (e.g. if you have a 4, 6, 11, and 13, you can't choose to "bid" only $2, or exactly $7).

Honestly, the thing that's more like an auction if anything, is the decision whether to call "Ra!" to stop the drawing of tiles -- kind of like a Dutch auction where the first person who buzzes triggers a sale. But oddly, that's not usually the element most people talk about in terms of auction.

Obviously it helps some of you sleep at night (including Knizia himself) to call Ra an "auction game." Great that you're getting your sleep. But it doesn't make it true.
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mussels wrote:
Obviously it helps some of you sleep at night (including Knizia himself) to call Ra an "auction game." Great that you're getting your sleep. But it doesn't make it true.

Who are the "some of you" in this thread, who can't seem to sleep unless Ra is called an auction game? Certainly not me. I already stated my ambivalence on that point (although admittedly my one direct response to "everyone can win their set of tricks" probably watered down my stance, and thus was probably a mistake). My point (attempted) was that it doesn't matter whether you call Ra an auction game. Even if someone does not consider it an auctoin game, that does not somehow automatically reduce its goodness. The rules are unambiguous. As long as we understand them correctly, I don't really care how people choose to categorize the game.

Although to be complete, I guess it could matter if someone didn't know the rules to Ra and was specificlly looking for an auction game, and they had assumptions about what an auction game is and isn't, which Ra does not satify.
 
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curtc wrote:
Although to be complete, I guess it could matter if someone didn't know the rules to Ra and was specificlly looking for an auction game, and they had assumptions about what an auction game is and isn't, which Ra does not satify.

Which might describe the OP, which is why it's potentially relevant to bring up when responding.
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