Some games have come a long way. The following two games were originally printed in 1998 (Samurai) and 1999 (Ra) and both have received a reprint or two over the years. Both games have pedigrees of sustained acclaim; they’re the kind of games that would be missed should they ever go out of print. So, now that both have recently received reprints from Asmodee’s Windrider Games, how do they stand up?
The new Ra presentation hits a few marks right on the head and squarely misses what players have come to expect in regards to others.
First and foremost, gone are the wooden tokens which represent the bids for players. Whether due to cost-cutting measures to make the game cheaper or due to a need to hit a higher margin, the new cardboard tokens are functional and artistic, but they lack any kind of heft.
In addition, the auction tiles have completely new artwork. They lovingly represent a more authentic ancient Egyptian style, but their imagery is harder to view. When playing with building tiles, the need to compare one to another is crucial and it’s next to impossible to make visual matches with a glance.
The bag that comes with the game for drawing tiles is also a disappointment. It just barely holds all the auction tiles inside, so players should forget about shuffling the tiles in the bag. This is next to a completely useless component, only needed for storing the tiles after a game.
One nice addition are the scoring reference sheets (easier to use than a reference on the board) and the Ra figurine (plastic) used to denote who started auctions. These two components are either equal to or better than previous versions. The rulebook is also done well and clearly handles all situations.
Overall, this feels like a reprint without much focus on tactile quality, just on making sure the game stays relevant to today’s modern gamers.
Players looking for a reprint that keeps faith with the original should set their eyes on Samurai. The sectional map of Japan and the cardboard control tokens are reproduced almost exactly, albeit with some upgraded graphics on the tokens. The original Buddha, Rice, and Castle markers have been replaced with plastic miniatures with an eye on detail rather than artistic merit. The box feels a bit oversized for the components, but all in all it’s a solid reprint.
The score above represent Controlled Area Gaming’s new valuation of each game’s Presentation score since the Gameplay and Fun values would remain the same due to both games keeping all the original rules intact.