Publisher: Alea / Rio Grande
Medici on steroids
I've only played Ra once, but already I can see that it's a winner. The sheer number of possibilities make it a game that has more options than a more 'pure' auction game such as Medici.
Chances are slim that you'll get every tile you want, so will you get a good selection of each kind of tile, or will you try to corner the market in something? The same strategy doesn't always work every time, so you have to be able to adapt.
The scoring seems daunting at first, with all sorts of conditions and positive and negative bonuses and so on; however, it is quick to learn what is good and bad as far as all the tiles and their combinations are concerned. A player who is ahead can easily lose their lead through a pile of disaster tiles and negative scoring bonuses.
The game is beautifully made - the tiles are thick glossy cardstock, the money chips are healthy chunks of wood, and the board and everything else are extremely pretty to behold. A very intriguing game.