Ra is not an "auction" game.
I had the pleasure to play Ra this weekend with my family. After reading the rules, I was sure that I would not like this game. The rules were badly organized, making it difficult to find certain key rules when needed. But, dispite that we managed to play it and had a really good time. Usually euros have pasted on themes, and I expected nothing different here. However, we found ourselves chanting Ra! Ra! Ra! in a very religious zealot sort of way whenever the last player began pulling tiles all by himself. It was so satisfying when the Ra tile was drawn immediately.
However much fun we did have with this game, I cannot reconsile the misuse of the word "auction" to describe the game mechanic(note the singular). Now, keep in mind that I am starting a rant here, but I have certain preconcieved notions of what makes up an auction. To me, an auction must have a psychological element to it. To have a psychological element to an auction there must be limited information. That limited information can be a lot of different things, such as why the item will be useful, or how much money you have to spend, or whatever. In Ra, there is absolutely no partial information. Everything is revealed. Thus, when you are trying to decide what to "bid" on the "auction" all you really have to do is look at what other people have and calculate the worth. If both people know the worth of the item, then there is no bidding it up, or getting it for cheap. Let me stess that an obvious choice is not a choice at all.
So, I'm not sure what to call the mechanic in Ra. The mechanic does allow for interesting planning with the trading of sun tokens, but it is not bidding.
Now let me have it!