Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ra, Ra, Mexica! (Ra: The dice game, Mexica, Ra)

My sister's husband, Pablo, recently immigrated to Canada and since he enjoys boardgames we invited him to join us. Although he isn't familiar with many of our games, he had previously played and enjoyed Tikal and Memoir '44 so I felt he'd have no problem. Four players at WAGS? Fantastic!

Ra: The Dice Game

This was my second time playing this game, but for Shemp and Pablo it was a first. Still a fun game, but this is definitely a shallower experience than the original. I won on the strength of a game long dominance of Pharaohs and a huge score from pyramids.


The first half of this session saw a far more structured development pattern than we've seen in recent games. The two extremities of the island where being planned with southern Ontario like regularity (rectangular zones, each stacked side by side). When the second stage began, good planning fell by the wayside... strange and impractical districts popped up and made movement very difficult. There was a large unfounded area on one side of the island that I seeded with a number of buildings, hoping for a points grab as other players would enclose them for me (i.e. the Shemp tactic). Unfortunately, my placement left much of the area undevelopable so the game ended with unplaced Calpuli tiles... a first for us. Shemp won by a significant margin, with Kozure in second place.


For the sake of compare and contrast, we ended with Ra. I often go for a quick grab of anything that looks valuable when playing with more than 3 players, so I found myself with a decent haul quickly in the first era. This left me with no bidding tiles before most had even spent one, but it worked... the other players did not manage to get much in the remaining time before the Ra tiles ended the era. I had a similarly successful second era and despite a weak third I won the game.

Pablo says he preferred the dice game. Personally, I feel the original has a lot more going for it and probably has much longer legs. That said, the dice version is certainly more accessible since auction games are typically not forgiving to new players who don't yet know how to evaluate the worth of each tile.

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