Ra! [Updated August 2001]

Ra!   3 prizes Beginners Mult Ent Sing Elim Scheduled 
 Demo 17  Rnd1 Heat1  18   
 Rnd1 Heat2  Rnd1 Heat3 13 Round 2  16   Round 3 Final  9

  Rnd1 Heat1  Rnd1 Heat3 Round 2  Maryland 2    Rnd1 Heat2 Maryland 3   Round 3 Belmont

Michelle Goldstein, MD

2001 Champion

2nd: Jamie Tang, MD

3rd: Steve Brooks, FL

4th: Frank Arndt, MD

5th: Tom Stokes, NJ

6th: Dudley Anderson, NJ
Event History
1991    None      -
1992    None      -
1993    None      -
1994    None      -
1995    None      -
1996    None      -
1997    None      -
1998    None      -
1999    None     -
2000    John Reiners     95
2001    Michelle Goldstein     88

AREA Ratings:

GM: Robert Sohn

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.

Ra 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, Lance.

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:
 Stats 5-Player Game 4-Player Game
 Total Game Score Average 152.1 141.6
 Player Score Average 30.4 35.4
 Average Score Gain Per Round 6.8 8.5
 Winner's Score Average 43.7 46.3
 Average Score Gain per Round for Winners 11.2 12.1

 GM      Robert Sohn  [1st Year]   NA 
    NA   NA

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