I am teaming up with the folks at the Have Fun and Play Podcast (https://havefunandplay.com/) on Instagram @havefunandplay and we are sharing our Top 10 Most Replayable Games in celebration of Groundhog Day. What makes a game replayable? There are a lot of different reasons that you might want to play a game over and over. I look forward to sharing my list and hearing from you what games are replayable and why as well.
Ra is Reiner Knizia’s classic aution/bidding game set in ancient Egypt where players are competing to acquire the most valuable sets of tiles.
Ra makes my replayable list simply because I don’t get to play it anywhere nearly as often as I would like to. My wife, Sherri, is my primary gaming partner and has wholeheartedly embraced the gaming hobby as much as I have. However, with this one game, she complains that I am “annoying to play with” – and as such we don’t play it very often.
At this point, I’m being told that I need to add that several of our friends and family members have also said that I am annoying to play Ra with. In my defense, they would all agree that I am playing the game fairly and within the rules. I also don’t think I’m very good at Ra – it’s certainly not a game that I have been said to “always win” – I am pretty sure that I lose far more games than I win. However, when I play Ra, I believe that I play, with optimal strategy… and this may be where the problems come up.
Very briefly, each player starts with a different set of bidding “suns”, each with a different number. Points are scored by collecting sets of tiles. On your turn you either add a tile to the board increasing the number of tiles that someone will win or you call “Ra” which halts the game temporarily and forces an auction to happen.
Because everyone can see the numbers on everyone’s available bidding “suns” and what tiles everyone is collecting, it is relatively easy to determine who will want to collect certain types of tiles and who can win each auction. This usually results in the players with the larger number bidding “suns” wanting everyone to keep on drawing tiles so they can win a larger haul of tiles and those with smaller number “suns” wanting to force them to use those bigger numbers on smaller auctions.
The game is incredibly balanced so I don’t mind being the person with smaller bidding “suns” numbers and don’t shy away from calling “Ra” for an auction on my turn (sometimes, even on every turn, if necessary). But that means the board doesn’t get filled up with all kinds of different tiles… and as such, I’m “annoying to play with.” 8(
There are a few more rules and more strategy involved than I have explained here but Ra is a true modern classic and a game that really shows the genius of Knizia. Fast-moving with easy to understand rules and interesting scoring and strategic options.
Having said all that, does anyone want to play Ra with me some time soon?
What do you think? What makes a game replayable in your opinion? What are your favourite games to replay over and over? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.