Tibs Manor

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Two Player Ra

After disappointing recap/rerun episodes of America's Next Top Model and Lost, Lauren and I turned to one of my latest game acquisitions for our evening's entertainment. We decided to try the two player variant for Ra. As promised, it worked quite well with only two players. This is a rarity among auction games, the only other one I own that I think works well with just two is O Zoo Le Mio, and that's blind bidding. I ended the first epoch with a big lead, but netted 0 points in the second. So we were close going into the third round...but my monuments ended up scoring a lot of points and I ended up with a fairly comfortable win.

Update: I remembered Goa - this is another auction game I own that actually works well with only two players.

Our initial impression was that we should have changed a few more rules. The base game has rules for rewarding the winner in some categories, and penalizing the loser. With two players this effect is even more pronounced. For instance, having the most valuable bidding suns at game end is supposed to be worth +5 to the winner, and having the least is worth -5. In a 5 player game this is great. However, in our game which I won 47-32, this is a huge swing. Had I lost the bidding suns count, final score would have been 37-42 with Lauren winning. Most games will have some sort of swing decision like this that you can point to, but a 20 point swing seemed like way too much. And indeed, from a glimpse at various message boards, it seems most people play without penalties for least pharaohs/suns (there is still a -5 penalty for no civilization tiles) in the two player edition. I think we'll play this way next time which should be soon, as this was also a very fast game.


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