Estates, for me, can sit with the Knizia’s with its simplicity and how engaging it is for its light rule set.
In comparison to the two, I sold off Ra. Didnt like the point saladness of it. I dont feel any interactivity other than the auctioning and checking the others’ bid tokens. Im just bidding for tiles and pushing my luck. It’s good, but not what I want.
Modern Art remains my favourite out of the three. The dynamic scoring is what I love the best about it. The result of the bidding will change on how you view your cards; how you view your opponents’ bids; whether or not you want to primarily buy or sell art; whether you actually let them win on a painting you want or not.
The Estates sits in the middle of Ra and MA. I like how taking over a building doesnt mean you’ll win big points. You are incentivise to cooperated with your friends and compete at the same time. Even winning someone else’s block gives you interesting choices.
But it doesnt have the surprises of MA; because in MA, your hand of cards are hidden. It doesnt have the raising stakes of MA where your Van Gogh painting will worth 10 or zilch in round 1; but in Round 4, a Van Gogh painting could be 100 or nothing.
Also, MA always feels good. Winning a painting feels good. Getting paid by selling paintings feels good. And Estates is just so mean. Seeing someone crestfallen when their tower is taken over doesnt feel good. Putting their blocks on a bad place doesnt feel nice. And Im a mean person!!
The downside of MA, of course, is the random hand, in which you have random number of input on the length of the round - round ends when a 5th painting of an artist is played - what if you dont have a painting of that artist? But that is a minor issue to me. In Estates, only the players’ purse and embezzled funds are hidden. Also, provided you control the money supply, you can end the late-game your way.
P.S. also, I prefer Medici over Ra on push-your-luck. But Im in the minority here.