Ra: Rules

Rules originally published at  Rio Grande Games.

A challenging game of Gods, Men and their Monuments by Reiner Knizia

The game spans 1500 years of Egyptian history. You seek to expand your power and fame
There are many ways to accomplish this:
Influencing Pharaohs • Building monuments
Farming on the Nile • Paying homage to the Gods
Advancing  the technology and culture of the people
And all this for the glory of the Sun God Ra!
 
Game Overview
The game spans three epochs, which reflect the history of ancient Egypt:
- the Old Kingdom (2665 - 2155 BC)
- the Middle Kingdom (2130 - 1650 BC)
- the New Kingdom (1555 - 1080 BC)
During these epochs, the players acquire tiles representing various aspects of Egyptian life. They acquire the tiles in auctions, bidding with suns, tokens they receive from Ra. The selection of tiles in the auctions is ever changing, but tokens from Ra are limited. Wise players choose carefully when and what to bid to get the tiles they want. When an epoch ends, players receive tablets marked with the fame they have earned.
The player with the most fame after three epochs is the winner.

Components
    1 Game board
180 Tiles:       30 Ra, 8 Gods, 25 Pharaohs + 2 funerals,
                       25 Nile, 12 floods + 2 droughts,
                       5x5 civilization + 4 unrest, 5 gold,
                       5x8 monuments + 2 earthquakes
   48 Tablets:  10x 1 point, 8x 2 points, 20x 5 points, 10x 10 points
   16 Suns
     1 Ra figure

Preparation
Place the game board in the middle of the table. It has two different tile tracks: the upper with 10 spaces (the Ra track) and the lower with 8 spaces (the auction track). There are tables on the bottom and top that summarize the fame points which are scored at the end of each epoch.

Carefully remove the tiles from their frame before the first game. Shuffle them thoroughly and place them face down around the game board. The area on the table in front of each player is their display area (described below). This is where they place their suns and the tiles they acquire.

Also, carefully remove the tablets from their frame before the first game. The players take two value 5 tablets each and place them face down in their display areas. Place the remaining tablets face up beside the game board.

Separate the suns into groups as shown in the table below:

  3 players  4 players 5 players
Group 1  13 - 8 - 5 - 2 13 - 6 - 2 16 - 7 - 2
Group 2 12 - 9 - 6 - 3 12 - 7 - 3 15 - 8 - 3
Group 3  11 - 10 - 7 - 4 11 - 8 - 4  14 - 9 - 4
Group 4   10 - 9 - 5 13 - 10 - 5
Group 5     12 - 11 - 6

The players decide randomly which player receives which group. The players place their suns face up in their display areas. Place the sun numbered 1 face up on the sun space in the center of the game board.

Place the Ra figure beside the game board.

The display area
Each player puts his suns and tiles in five groups
on the table before himself as shown below; the tiles are always face up:
1. Suns and Gods,  2. Pharaohs,  3. Nile and floods,  4. Civilization and Gold,   5. Monuments

Playing the game
The player with the highest numbered sun begins. After his turn, play continues around the table in the clockwise direction.

On a player’s turn, if he has at least one face up sun, he performs exactly one of the following actions:
• turn over one tile
• play God tiles
• invoke Ra

A player without suns takes no actions on his turn. When the auction track is full, players are limited to playing God tiles or invoking Ra.

Turn over one tile
The player turns over one of the face down tiles from around the board. If a player turns over a Ra tile, he places it on the next empty space on the Ra track and places the Ra figure in his display area. This begins an auction (see below).

When a player turns over any other tile, he places it on the next empty space on the auction track, ending his turn.

When playing with 3 players, the first two spaces on the Ra track are not used; when playing with 4 players, the first space is not used.

Play God tiles
If a player has one or more God tiles in his display area, he may play them to take tiles from the auction track. A player may play one or more God tiles on a turn, taking one tile from the auction track for each God tile played. He returns the God tiles to the box face down and places the tile taken from the auction track in his display area. A player may not take a God tile from the auction track or a Ra tile from the Ra track. If gaps in the auction track result from taking tiles, these are filled by tiles turned over in later turns.

Invoke Ra
The player says, "Ra", and places the Ra figure in his display area. This begins an auction (see below).

Auction
The player whose action caused the auction by turning over a Ra tile or invoking Ra is the Ra player for this auction. He places the Ra figure in his display area to indicate this. The auction begins with the player to the left of the the Ra player and continues clockwise around the table, ending with the Ra player. The players are bidding for the tiles in the auction track. The winner will also receive the sun in the sun space on the board. If there are no tiles in the auction track, the winner will get only the sun.

Each player, in turn, may bid one of their face up suns by placing it on the edge of the board. Bids subsequent to the first must be greater than the previous bid. A player may pass, choosing not to bid. However, for an auction held when a player voluntarily invokes Ra, the Ra player must bid if all other players pass. When a player involuntarily invokes Ra because the auction track is full and he does not choose to play a God tile, he may pass even if all others pass. In this case, all tiles on the auction track are returned face down to the box. When an auction is held due to a Ra tile being turned over, all players may pass, including the Ra player, and the tiles on the auction track remain.

The player with the highest bid, takes all tiles on the auction track (if there are any) and places them face up in his display area. He also takes the sun from the center of the board and places it face down in his display area. Face down suns cannot be used for the remainder of this epoch, but will be turned face up at the beginning of the next epoch. The player then places the sun he bid face up on the sun space in the middle of the board.

After an auction, play continues with the player to the left of the Ra player regardless of the outcome of the auction.

Disasters
When one or more disaster tiles are included in the tiles a player takes from the auction track after winning an auction, he may lose other tiles from his display area. First, he places all other tiles taken in the auction into his display area. Then he must "fulfill" the disasters by discarding two tiles from the category that matches the disaster. If the player only has a single tile of the indicated category, he loses only this single tile. If he has no tiles of the indicated category, he loses no tiles due to that disaster. A player must fulfill all disasters he takes.  

A player may choose which tiles of the indicated category to discard, except for drought. With drought, the player must first discard flood tiles (up to 2 per drought) if he has any and then Nile tiles to bring the total to 2 per drought. The chosen tiles are removed from the game along with the disaster tiles.

The Epochs
As a player with no face up suns in his display area (i.e. he has used all his suns) may take no more turns in the epoch, there are decreasingly fewer players to compete for the tiles. When the last player with face up suns uses his last sun and completes his turn, the epoch ends. All tiles on the Ra track are placed face down in the box; the sun in the middle of the board remains for the next epoch.

In addition, the epoch ends immediately, when the Ra track is full. In this case, there is no auction (!) and all tiles are removed from both the Ra track and the auction track and placed face down in the box. Thus, only the face up sun remains on the game board. Unused face up suns in a player’s display area remain face up for the next epoch.

At the end of an epoch, the tiles in the players’ display areas are scored (see below). After scoring, all face down suns are turned face up. The players will begin each epoch with the same number of suns. However, the players will likely have different valued suns than they did at the beginning of the game. The player with the highest numbered sun begins the next
epoch.

Scoring
At the end of each of the three epochs, the players receive fame for their efforts in the form of tablets. After a player’s total fame has been calculated, he receives (or loses) tablets equal to the total. The players keep their tablets face down in their display areas.

Gods
Each God tile in the display area earns 2 points of fame for the player and is returned face down to the box.

Pharaohs
After each epoch, the player with the most Pharaoh tiles receives 5 points of fame and the player with the fewest loses 2 points. If two or more players tie for most or fewest, each gains the 5 points or loses the 2 points. If all players have the same number of Pharaoh tiles, no points are awarded or lost. The Pharaoh tiles remain in the players’ display areas for the next epoch.

Example: The players Anna, Bob, Cathy, and Don have 3 - 2 - 2 - 3 Pharaohs. Anna and Don earn 5 fame points each; Bob and Cathy each lose 2 points.

Nile and floods
After each epoch, each player receives one fame point for each flood and Nile tile in his display area. However, he only receives these points if he has at least one flood tile. Players without flood tiles do not score points for their Nile tiles.

After scoring, all flood tiles are returned face down to the box. The Nile tiles, however, remain in the players’ display areas for the next epoch.

Gold
After each epoch, each player receives 3 fame points for each gold tile in his display area. After scoring, the gold tiles are returned face down to the box.

Civilization
After each epoch, players with no civilization tiles in their display areas lose 5 fame points. If a player has three different civilization tiles, he earns 5 fame points, for four different tiles he earns 10 points and for all five different tiles he earns 15 points. After scoring, all civilization tiles are returned face down to the box.

Example: Anna has 3 astronomy, 2 agriculture and 2 writing tiles. She receives 5 points, since she has three different civilization tiles. For one each of astronomy, agriculture and writing she would have received the same. Extra tiles of the same civilization tile do not earn extra points.

Monuments
Monuments are scored only after the third epoch. They remain in the players’ display areas throughout the game. Players receive 1 fame point for each different monument for up to 6 different monuments, 10 points for having 7 different monuments, and 15 points for having all 8 different monuments. In addition, a player receives a bonus of 5 points for each group of three identical monuments, 10 points for each group of four, and 15 points for each group of five.

Example: Anna has 4 pyramids, 3 temples, 2 fortresses and 1 sphinx. After the third epoch she receives 19 points (4 for four different monuments, 10 for four pyramids and 5 for three temples). Thus, she receives points for all her monuments except the second fortress.

Suns
Like monuments, the suns are scored only after the third epoch. Each player sums the numbers on all his suns (both face up and face down). The player with the highest total receives 5 fame points and the player with lowest total loses 5 fame points. If two or more players tie for most or fewest, each gains or loses 5 points each. If all players have the same total, no points are awarded or lost. 

Example: The players Anna, Bob, Cathy, and Don sum their suns and calculate their sums as: 17 - 25 - 21 - 17. Bob receives 5 points and Anna and Don each lose 5 points. Cathy neither gains nor loses points.

Game end
When the scoring after the third epoch is complete, the game ends. Each player adds all points of fame on his tablets. The player with the highest result wins. If two or more players tie with the highest total, the player, among those tied for highest total, with the highest numbered sun is the winner.


The author and publisher thank all test players for their commitment and their numerous suggestions and comments: Susanne Armbruster, Chris Bowyer, Dave Farquhar, Walburga Freudenstein, Martin Higham, Markus Huber, Sandra Huber, Ross Inglis, Kevin Jacklin, Christine Jilke, Chris Lawson, Ivan Towlson, Dominik Wagner.

If you have comments, questions or suggestions regarding this game, please write us at:
Rio Grande Games
PO Box 45715
Rio Rancho, NM 87174
or
RioGames@aol.com
or visit our web site at
www.riograndegames.com

Author: Reiner Knizia
Graphics: Franz Vohwinkel
Development: Stefan Brück
Photography: Hartmut Laube
English translation & editing: Jay Tummelson

© 1998 Reiner Knizia
© 1999 Ravensburger Spieleverlag

 

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