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Store:  Strategy Games
Edition:  Ra
Series:  Alea Large-Box Bookshelf, Ra
Theme:  Ancient Egyptian
Genre:  Auction & Bidding, Set Collection
Format:  Board Games


#1 ALBS, English language edition

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
12+ 45-60 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Alea

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Product Description

Set in ancient Egypt, Ra spans 1500 years of Egyptian history. The players seek to expand their power and fame by influencing the Pharaohs, building monuments, farming on the Nile, paying homage to the Gods, and advancing the technology and culture of the people. And all this for the glory of the Sun God Ra!

The players strive for power by collecting tiles that represent various aspects of economic, spiritual, and technological growth. The players acquire the tiles by bidding for them in auctions. The currency for these auctions is tokens given to players by Ra, the sun God. Using these limited tokens, players must decide when to bid and how much to get the tiles they want.

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.

Difficulty: 4/10

Product Awards

International Gamers Awards
Best Strategy Game Nominee, 2000
Deutscher Spiele Preis
2nd place, 1999

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Reiner Knizia

  • Manufacturer(s): Rio Grande Games, Alea

  • Artist(s): Franz Vohwinkel

  • Year: 1999

  • Players: 3 - 5

  • Time: 45 - 60 minutes

  • Ages: 12 and up

  • Weight: 955 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.


  • 1 Game board
  • 180 Tiles:
    • 30 Ra
    • 8 Gods
    • 25 Pharaohs + 2 funerals
    • 25 Nile
    • 12 floods + 2 droughts
    • 5 x 5 civilization + 4 unrest
    • 5 gold
    • 5 x 8 monuments + 2 earthquakes
  • 48 Tablets
  • 16 Suns
  • 1 Ra figure

Product Reviews


Average Rating: 4.4 in 31 reviews

A typical Knizia game (which isn't bad at all)
September 11, 2003

Too many things to do - too little time to do them - sounds familiar?

A feature of many games by Knizia is that it is hard to decide on a long-term strategy and follow that throughout the game - you constantly have to re-evaluate your options every round - how the possible courses of action would effect you and the other players.

Games of this type are not for everyone - which is why I normally would only have given this game 4 out of 5. Hoever - I love the Egyptian theme - I have always been interested in ancient Egypt, and that earns the game its 5th star as far as I am concerned.

Ra - it grows (and grows and grows) on you...
October 31, 2002

The first few times I played Ra I came away with an 'Eh' sorta feeling. There's so many ways to score, the strategy wasn't clear, and the theme seemed pasted on.

But I remained intrigued, both by the game and by the praise it's received. So I played it a few more times and I must say I'm incredibly glad I did. It's grown into one of my all time favorite games.

In my opinion this is a true classic, easy to teach (if not incredibly easy to grasp at first), lots of tension ('No Whammy!'), and a good mix of luck and skill. It plays well with 3-5 (one of the few games that really shines with 3) and it can be played almost as a filler (we call it 'Speed Ra') as well as a full meal of a game.

Although I've always struggled fitting the theme to the game the production quality and especially the artwork is excellent.

Of Knizia's bidding games (and I love them all) this ranks near the top, mostly because of the versatility I mentioned earlier.

by Adam
Equal to Modern Art in the bidding stakes
October 19, 2002

Ever felt that Reiner Knizia and Euro-games can be a little on the dry side?

Ra is a welcome change. The bidding, drawing of tiles and random appearance of the Ra tile (which results in a bidding round) make for a tense and exciting game. There are always laughs, cheers and curses when the dreaded Ra tile is drawn to finish an epoch (resulting in one of three scoring rounds).

I find Ra rich in strategy and tactics. Do you go for the monument or the Pharaoh strategy? Do you risk taking a low numbered bidding token to ensure your Nile tiles score? Do you bid early or risk it and wait? The random draw of tiles means you must be willing to switch strategies every epoch, while the scoring system is intricate yet not overly complex.

It also has a long shelf life. I have found a strong strategy which I have employed with great success - but I've owned the game a couple of years. It is still regularly played at our game club.

The only criticism I have is Aleas production values. No player aid score sheets (I couldn't imagine playing without one) and, incredulously for a game where tiles must be drawn in secret every turn, no bag.

Show all 31 reviews >

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