BASARI - Reviewed by Mike

Category/Format: Abstract/Board

Another 4-player game, this time involving the collection of jewels from a bazaar, with points being awarded to the holder of the majority in each colour. Sound simple doesn't it but I can assure you it's not.

The clever part of this game lies in the selection of an ACTION TILE which must be made at the end of each turn. Players throw their die and move their pawn around an inner racetrack. The space on which they alight contains a number of victory points and also a pictorial representation of a number of jewels. Each player has 3 ACTION TILES from which they choose one to play this turn. It will be one of the following : -

roll the die again and move around both the inner track and the scoring track

take the victory points and move around the scoring track

take the jewels for later scoring (hopefully)

If one player is the sole selector of an action, he gets to do it.

If two players choose the same action they hold an auction, in jewels, to determine who gets to do it.

If three or more players choose the same action, NONE of them get to do it !

When making your decision as to which tile you should play you study the jewels on offer in comparison with what the player currently holds...if he's got lots of reds in his possesion he won't take a jewel option containing 2 reds, he'll go for the points...or will he ?....there's lots of double-guessing going on....Nick thinks I'll go for the points so I'll go for the die roll instead...only to find that 2 other players have done the same !!...welcome to stuffsville......

The auctions are competitive affairs, each trying to get the best deal they can or "making an offer you can't refuse".

At the end of a round victory points are awarded to the player who has travelled the furthest in this round and to the majority holder in each of the 4 coloured jewels(ties are resolved). Recepients put back a certain number of jewels to the bazaar, thereby weakening their holding...another clever tweak...

The game is played in 3 rounds and the player furthest around the scoring track is the winner. This takes about 45 minutes so it can be played as an opener or a closer to a games session.

I'm not very good at abstract games so didn't exactly cover myself in glory. However that will not detract me from praising the game quite highly. The mechanics are very clever and the selection of the action tile quite demanding. I suppose there could be a luck element if you threw the right die to always land on the jewels you were interested in, but that is on the assumption that you get to do the action in the end anyway. You have to weigh up the options and trust to your judgement of what the other players will do.

We've not tried this game with 3 players but I should imagine that would unbalance the Action Tile sequence a bit, so we suggest you only consider it with 4.

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