Ra board game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Imagine living in ancient Egypt. So many resources dedicated to building great temples and pyramids, when the threat of a flood, drought, or poor harvest loomed at the turn of every season.
Ra is a set building game for 2–5 players designed by Reiner Knizia and published by Rio Grande Games in 2008. The gameplay is divided into three epochs. Players draw tiles randomly, with each tile offering either instant points or preventing negative points at the end of each epoch. Once a certain number of sun god tiles are drawn, the epoch ends, usually before players have the ability to finish their sets.
Ra has an engaging and competitive atmosphere. Its random drawing and betting system is similar to Power Grid, but it utilizes tiles instead of cards. This allows players to have a fast paced and competitive experience, a very tight learning curve, and not much setup. Drawing too many sun god tiles exacerbates your need to need to prevent things like flood or famine all while building great pyramids and other structures.
Tight play and a pretty intimidating rule structure makes Ra a great game for all ages, skill types and groups. Although as refreshing as a desert oasis, Ra lacks the theme or entrancing gameplay of a Carcassonne or Settlers of Catan, and may end up a strong second choice for game night.