Ra, Ra, Ra, Shish Boom Ba
In ancient Egypt, Ra was the god of the sun or "Ra netjer-aa
neb-pet" ("Ra, the great God, Lord of Heaven").
However, here in this corner of suburban Maryland, the name of
this sun god was often taken up as a chant or a cheer to hasten
the end of the round. Although this game doesn't need the ancient
Egyptian theme to succeed, the facade works quite well graphically
and "hangs" well with the game play.
is an excellent, fast (about 1 hour), 3-5 player, auction game
from the famed Euro-game designer Reiner Knizia. The simple mechanics
still result in very exquisite strategic and auction decisions.
During your turn, you can do only one of three actions: trade
in a god tile for another tile on the auction-track, invoke Ra
to initiate an auction, or draw a tile which will go on the auction
- or Ra-tracks. The useful tiles that go on the auction-track
to provide variable victory points are gods, pharaohs, floods,
fields, civilizations, gold, monuments and disasters (of course,
disasters are not that useful). If any Ra tiles are drawn, they
go on the Ra-track that acts as a time-keeper. Each round (AKA,
epoch) ends immediately when the Ra-track becomes filled with
the 8th, 9th or 10th Ra tile (depending on the number of players).
After each one of the three rounds, players score on the basis
of tiles collected in one's display. When an auction is started
(to the left and clockwise) with an invocation or a Ra tile,
bids are done with "sun dials" numbered from 1 to 16.
In a sublime twist, the bidding is for the contents of the auction-track
AND the sun dial that is located in the middle. The contents
of the auction-track are placed in the winner's display, and
the dials are exchanged. The newly acquired dial is then flipped
over until next round. If all the player's dials are flipped,
that player can't participate in any further actions for the
round. At the start of the next round, the player starts the
round with the dials won from the prior epoch. In the third and
final round, desperate bids are discouraged by penalizing the
lowest sun dial total and rewarding the highest dial total.
For the 2001 WBC Ra tournament, there were 88 total
players who played in 24 preliminary games (18 x 5-player; 8
x 4-player) spread over three Heats. Qualifiers only had to win
one game to advance into the 5 x 5-player semi-final games. The
highest VP score total was 57 by Roy Gibson for 4-player games
and 53 by Rodney Somerstein for 5-player games. On the low side,
there were three players who had scores less than the 10 VPs
that they started the game with (all in 5-player games). Also,
Jamie Tang managed to capture the highest percentage of the total
table points with 38% which nosed out several other players at
37%. Interestingly, only one game had a winning score that tied
with the nod going to Gordon Elgart (30 sun) over Lance Fogel
(8 sun) because of the sun dial total tie-breaker. Tough break,
In the semi-final Table 1, Tom Stokes managed to capture 30%
(40) of the total VPs at his table, and to easily surpass Holliday
Jones who had only 75% (30) of Tom's VPs. Michelle Goldstein
(the eventual champion) had the closest call among the semi-final
winners at the tough Table 2. Michelle also managed to score
40 points, but that only represented 22% of the total table VPs.
Dudley Anderson (98% of Michelle's score), James Beaulien (95%),
Gary Noe (90%) and Stu Hendrickson (83%) managed to play the
tightest game in the tournament. In Table 3, Steve Brooks had
34% (47) of the total table VPs, and defeated Pat Beaudoin (85%).
Frank Arndt had a typical game at Table 4 with 25% (43) of the
table VPs, handling Daniel Karp at 86% of the winner's VPs. At
the final table, Jamie Tang garnered 43 VPs which was good for
27% of the total, defeating Dennis Mason by 7% (40).
In the Final, Michelle Goldstein easily won after proving
her mettle in the semi's. Michelle captured 30% (39) of the total
table points, outpacing the next closest competitors, Jamie Tang
(74%) and Steve Brooks (72%). Frank Arndt and Tom Stokes tied
in VPs at 18 each, with the tie-breaker going to Frank on the
basis of a 28: 18 sun points advantage. Michelle's victory was
based on the Holy Trinity (I know, wrong religion) of most pharaohs,
most fields and most monuments.
Fun, but Possibly Useless Statistical Facts for Future Reference:
| Total Game Score Average
| Player Score Average
| Average Score Gain Per Round
| Winner's Score Average
| Average Score Gain per Round for Winners