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Basari
 
Store:  Family Games
Edition:  Basari
Series:  Basari / Edel, Stein & Reich
Theme:  Arabian
Genre:  Trading
Format:  Board Games
Other:  Gifts for your family

Basari

English language edition


List Price: $25.00
Your Price: $20.00
(20% savings!)
(Worth 2,000 Funagain Points!)

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Product Awards:  

Ages Play Time Players
10+ 20-30 minutes 3-4

Designer(s): Reinhard Staupe

Manufacturer(s): Out of the Box Publishing

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  • WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD
    Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

Product Description

Enter the street bazaar... the enticing sights, sounds and flavor of the marketplace are everywhere. In Basari you barter and haggle with the other street merchants over precious gemstones that keep changing hands with every round. The trader with the most points after three rounds is declared the winner. Adventure awaits in Basari!

Product Awards

Mensa Best Mind Game Award
Best Mind Game, 2004
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 1998
Deutscher Spiele Preis
6th place, 1998

Product Information

Contents:

  • Game Board
  • 100 Gemstones
  • 12 Bid Cards
  • 4 Game Pieces
  • 4 Start Markers
  • 4 Scoring Markers
  • 4 Dice
  • Quick Play Rules

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.1 in 8 reviews

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A Gem of a game
May 25, 2004

BASARI, reprinted recently, is a fast-paced bartering game (and also a 'rock,paper,scissors' type of game as well).

After numerous plays, I believe that a 4 handed game is best because every one at least one action will be bartered for (or lost!). This keeps the action going.

The game is simple to play mechanically and plays quickly too. Average playing time is about 30-ish minutes (after a first session of rules explanations, etc). With such a short play time, there is a lot of action and, great opportunity for replays that allow players to experiment with new bartering strategies.

Sure, one can incrementally advance a barter, a gem at a time...but imagine shoving an entire pile at an opponent...what would he or she think?

And how about the rest of the opponents? Try it sometime!

Anyway, Basari is an extremely enjoyable, fast moving game that can be played by almost all ages above 10 or so and is just plain amusing too.

 
 
 
 
 
Wonderful family game
May 24, 2004

Okay, so the title of this review is boring -- but if catches the eyes of a few people looking for family games, then it has done its purpose. I wouldn't mind at all if this game got some more attention. For, every once in a while, I stumble onto a game that is so much fun, easy to teach, and short, that it makes me wonder how long it will take for big American game companies to take notice.

This version of Basari (a visual reworking of the original German version) is produced by Out of the Box: purveryors of fun, but cheaply produced games. I have a real bone to pick with them when it comes to graphics, but for Basari, they actually did okay. A sturdy board depicting a gem market with a vaguely Persian feel, clear reference charts in each corner of the board, small, but nice wooden pieces for each player, and glass drop beads in 4 colors repreenting the gems players will be haggling over.

Gameplay is Basari is fairly simple -- one of its main appeals in fact. Players place their pawn and their 'market' (wooden disk) on any space in the city. Then every player simultaneously rolls their own die and moves their own pawn that many spaces on the board. Now each player is sitting on a gem space on the board with two pieces of information: a set of 2-4 gems in various arrangements (eg. 2 greens and a blue, or 3 yellows, or 2 red), and a number between 4-7. Now each player must make a decisions about which action he wants to do, choosing one of three actions. Either he will try to: obtain the gems on the space he is on, obtain points equal to the number in the space he is on, or roll the die and move his pawn a second time in this turn.

Players have a set of three cards, one for each of the possible actions, then choose one secretly and reveal them simultaneously. If 3 or 4 players picked the same action, they all lose their turn. If 1 player picked the action, then he gets to take the action. If 2 players picked the action they must negotiate to see who gets it. Carry out these results and repeat process until the round ends by one or more players completeing a lap around the track and making it back to their home market.

So why pick the different actions?

Gems: At the end of the round, the leader in each gem color gets big points: Red lead is 14 points, Yellow is 12, Green is 10, Blue is 8. But that's not all. Gems are also what players barter with when they are negotiating to perform an action. Very important stuff. (More on that in a minute!)

Points: Well, uh...they're points. And you need points to win.

Roll die: Every player gets to roll their die at the beginning of the turn, but this allows an extra roll and move. The quicker you get around the board, the quicker you finish the lap back to your home market and end the round. AND every persom who makes it back to their home market gets 10 points!

Okay, that's all well and good, but what really makes the game explode in fun-drenched madness is the negotiating. Only one player can do each action, so if two players pick the same action, only one of them can do it. So, one of the player makes a compensatory offer to the other player: 'Jenny, I know you want those 2 red gems, but I want the 3 yellows. So I will offer you 2 blues to let me take the action.' If Jenny acccepts, then she gets the 2 blues I offered from my gem collection, and I obatin the gems from the sapce I was sitting on. But, let's face it, 2 blues is not a very good offer. If Jenny thinks it's a ripoff, she has to counter offer with a more valuable set, say 2 green. Which I don't want, so I offer 4 blue. Which she doesn't want, so she offers 2 green and 2 blue. That starts to sound pretty good to me, so I accept her offer, and she then gets the gems on the space she is sitting on. This part of the game is so social, so tense, and such a hilarious exercise in daring oneupmanship, that I enjoy watching others barter as much as I enjoy participating myself!

There is so much to the negotiating that it's hard to convey. You need to weigh what you'll gain versus what you'll give away; you need to make sure that players don't get runaway leads in colors, or, if they already have runaway leads, give them more gems in that colors since it won't benefit them at all! Trying to create ties between other players is always fun (they have to divide up bonus points if tied at the end of the round), and trying to squeeze a couple gems out of a player when you didn't want the action in the first place is one of my favorite tactics too.

Sure there is luck. And player chaos. But when I think of 30 minute games aimed at families, I can't think of many games better than this. The redone American graphics aren't as good as the original German version, and the cheap Chinese productions hurts too. But the price is fantastic, the game is short, the play is fun, the people will laugh, and the replayability on this game is off the carts. It isn't Bohnanza, but actually has a lot in common with Bohonanza: for whatever reason, negotiation games have a lot of replayability with most people, especially non-gamers.

Buy this, and enjoy!

 
 
 
 
 
A trip to a Middle Eastern bazaar that is well worth taking!
January 27, 2004

After playing Basari when it was first released back in 1998, I found the game fair, but nothing terribly exciting. However, as with numerous other games, further playings heightened my enthusiasm considerably so much so, that Basari is now a personal favorite. I was thrilled to hear that Out of the Box would be releasing a new version and was happy to acquire a copy.

This new version of Basari is identical to the original in terms of rules, but the components have been altered. Gone are the plastic gems, replaced with glass stones. Although the glass does feel better, I did like the shape of the plastic pieces, which gave the visual appearance of finely cut gems. The actual features on the board are the same as in the original, but the board is larger and a bit more garish. I really liked the parchment appearance of the FX Schmid version, but this is strictly a matter of personal taste. The new board is certainly large and easy to see but it does have that nasty gutter where the board folds. Cant any company in America produce a game board without this valley?

The rules are very easy to understand and very straightforward. Newcomers to the game should have no trouble whatsoever diving into the game with just a quick reading.

Although the game was originally released nearly six years ago, it has been out of print for several years. Thus, an explanation is in order. The setting for Basari is a Middle Eastern Bazaar. Players travel around the bazaar, visiting various stalls and deciding to purchase various items. Each stall (which is a space on the board track) depicts a various types of jewels in various combinations, as well as a number ranging from 4 7.

Players each begin the game with three each of the four types of gems: rubies (red), topazes (yellow), emeralds (green) and sapphires (blue). Gems are worth victory points when scoring occurs at the end of each of the three rounds, but they are also used as commodities when bartering for the right to perform various actions. Keeping a healthy stockpile of gems if vital, lest one lose the ability to barter and suffer when points are tallied.

Each player begins the game on a stall of his choice, indicating this as his base. This is marked with a disk of the same color as the players pawn. Players also each receive a die of the same color.

Each turn is conducted in a similar fashion. Players simultaneously roll their die and move their pawn the indicated number of spaces in a clockwise direction around the bazaar. When they come to rest on a stall, the jewels and victory points depicted thereon will be available to the player maybe. You see, the player will then have the following options:

1) Take the jewels pictured on the stall;

2) Take the number of Victory points listed on the stall; OR

3) Roll the die and move that amount forward. The player also subtracts the number rolled from '6' and gets that difference in victory points.

Well, this isnt exactly correct. Each player DOES have these options, but they are not guaranteed that they will be able to enjoy the benefits. Why is that? The main mechanism in the game is one wherein each player secretly 'bids' for which action he wishes to take by use of bidding tiles. Each player possesses three bidding tiles, one each for the three options listed above. Each player chooses one of his tiles and they are simultaneously revealed. If only one player chooses a particular option, he reaps the benefits. If, however, two players bid for the same action, they must negotiate a deal to see which one gets to execute the action. If three or more players happen to bid for the same action, those bids cancel each other and none of those players can execute the desired action. This can be immensely frustrating!

When choosing the action you wish to perform, it is vital that a player examine the potential rewards being granted for the other players. Often, you would love to have a certain set of jewels, but based on the stalls occupied by your opponents, you know there is a good chance that they, too, will be seeking to acquire the jewels. So, it is sometimes wiser to choose a different action that you feel wont be chosen by your opponents. Still, they may be thinking the same thing, so will also choose a different action. Certainly, there is a strong element of guesswork here, but instead of being overly frustrating, it works well and adds tension and excitement to the game.

As mentioned, the jewels are the unit of currency. Whenever negotiation is required, process involves players making offers and counter-offers in jewels until one player decides to accept the other's offer, taking the jewels offered. The winning bidder then gets to execute the contested action, either the taking of jewels depicted, the earning of the victory points depicted, or the rolling of the die.

The bartering process is at the heart of the game. The player who is currently furthest ahead on the victory point track makes the first offer, sliding forward one or more gems as an offer. The opponent can either accept the offer, or make a counter-offer. A counter offer must consist of either more gems, OR an equal number of gems, of which at least one is of a higher value than those offered by his opponent. The ranking of the gems in terms of value are ruby, topaz, emerald and sapphire. Thus, an offer of a ruby and two sapphires bests an offer of two topazes and an emerald. This bartering process continues until an offer is accepted.

Once all contested actions have been successfully resolved, players again roll the dice and repeat the same procedure. This continues until at least one player travels around the board and again reaches or surpasses his starting base. At this point, any player who reached their starting base on that turn receives a bonus of 10 victory points (this is one reason why the dice roll option is important). Then, each gem category is examined to determine which player has the majority in each. The player with the most gems in a category will receive points ranging from 8 14 points, with the most points being awarded for the ruby category. Points are divided if players tie for the majority in a category. As an equalizer, each player who had a majority must return three of that color jewel to the bank. Thus, the race for majority position remains competitive from round-to-round.

Players then reset their bases to the current location of their pawn and play another round. The game continues in this fashion until the completion of three rounds. The player with the greatest cumulative total of points after three rounds is victorious.

Basari has a lot going for it. Although the choosing of actions and the corresponding guesswork involved is fun, the bartering is at the heart of the game. Players must keep a careful eye on the majority status of the four gems and be mindful of how the current negotiations will possibly affect those positions. There is a constant struggle between the players for control of these majorities and one transaction can drastically later the current status. Shrewd negotiation is required, but must be accomplished by the offering of gems and not with a silver tongue!

When the game was first released, a few folks complained about the potential of a king-making problem developing at the end of the game. That is, the results of one negotiation involving a player who is out of contention can determine who will win the game. Yes, this can occur, as it can in numerous other games. Fortunately, the appearance of this unsettling situation has been rare. The vast majority of my games have been extremely enjoyable and competitive and noticeably free of this potential problem. This is one Middle-Eastern bazaar I will be happy to visit over and over again.

 
 
 
 
 
Short and easy, and strategic!
December 28, 2003

I had heard on the internet for quite some time that Basari

(FX Schmid, 1998 Reinhard Staupe) was an excellent bartering

game. When I saw that Out of the Box Publishing, one of my favorite

game companies, was reprinting the game in America, I was quite

pleased and looked forward to playing it. When we opened the box

and saw all the colorful little gemstones, I was even more pleased

there's just something about little glass stones in a game that adds

a 'coolness' factor.

Basari was indeed as good of a game as I had heard.

However, I was concerned after initial playings, and after reading

up on strategy on the internet, that the game might be 'broken'; but

later playings assured me that the game was quite good, and not

flawed like some had said. Instead, I found that Basari is an

excellent game to play, and fits easily in a half hour of time.

This usually sounds like good 'filler' material, but I found the

mechanics of Basari clever enough that when playing it, one feels

like they are playing a 'meatier' game.

A board is placed in the middle of the players, a depiction

of a gem marketplace. Each player receives three gemstones of the

four colors (red, yellow, green and blue), with the remainder of the

stones (there are 100 total) placed in the middle of the board,

sorted into same-colored piles. Each player then picks a color

(gray, brown, black, or tan) and takes the three pieces, three

cards, and die associated with that color. Each player places their

point marker piece on the start space of a scoring track that wraps

around the edge of the board. In the middle of the board is a

series of twenty-eight archways, arranged in a square. Players pick

which archway they wish to start at (multiple players can pick the

same archway), and place their start disk on it. Each player then

places his 'merchant' piece on top of this start disk, and the game

is ready to begin.

There are three rounds in the game, each consisting of

several turns. Turns are broken into two phases the movement

phase and action phase. In the movement phase, all players roll

their die and move their merchant piece clockwise that number of

archway spaces. Each archway has a number at it (from four to

seven) and shows pictures of two to four jewels, in one or two

colors. In the action phase, each player secretly selects one of

their action cards which are then all revealed simultaneously. If

three or all players pick the same action it is canceled, and play

moves to the next movement phase. If only one player picks a

specific action, they immediately carry out that action.

- Gemstone card: The player receives the number and colors of

the gemstones pictures on the archway where the merchant piece

currently sits.

- Points card: The player moves their points marker the

number of spaces on the points track equal to the number in the

archway where their merchant piece is.

- Die card: The player rolls a die, and moves their merchant

piece that many spaces clockwise on the arches. They also subtract

the number rolled from six, and advance their points marker that

many spaces.

If two players pick the same action, they must barter for it.

Whichever player has more points begins the bartering, and offers

the other player any number of gemstones that they currently own.

The other player can accept this offer (which allows the offering

player to take the action), or raise it. An offer can be raised by

increasing the number of gemstones offered, or by offering higher

valued gemstones. (The gemstones are ranked, from highest to

lowest: red, yellow, green and blue). The bartering occurs until

one player accepts the offer of the other.

Both of these phases continually occur, until one player's piece

passes their start disc having made one complete lap. After the

action phase of that turn, the round ends. Players who merchant

pieces made one lap successfully score 10 bonus points. Also, the

players score bonus points for having the most gemstones of each

color (red = 14, yellow = 12, green = 10, and blue = 8). Each

player who scores points for having the most of a color must also

return 3 gemstones of that color back to the middle of the board.

All players move their merchant pieces back to their start discs,

and the next round begins. After three rounds, the player with the

most points is the winner! (Ties are broken by amount of gemstones.)

Some comments on the game

1.) Components: I was very impressed with the high quality of

the components, especially considering how inexpensive the game

was. The only quibble I had was that for as often as the cards are

used, I thought they should be a bit thicker. Getting 100 small

colored glass stones in a game is great, though, and I was pleased

that they went with glass stones over cardboard tokens. What's

really neat is how the colors of each players pieces match even

the dice. The dice were an unnecessary touch, but a welcome

feature. The artwork on the board is crisp and clear (a feature of

all OOTB Games), and resembles a Persian market. Everything fits

very well in a small, flat, extremely sturdy box, and the plastic

insert includes some plastic bags for the jewels and pieces.

2.) Rules: The rules are very short and simple (although long

compared to your typical OOTB game). As always, the four pages of

rules are clearly formatted, with full color illustrations and

examples, and superb formatting! I found that the game is easy to

teach, although it usually takes one round before people realize

what the best strategies are and how to barter effectively.

3.) Strategy: I read an article on rec.games.board that if a

player consistently picks the same action card all the time (namely,

the points card), they would easily win. I tried this out in a game

without telling the other players, and was soundly defeated. We

mentioned, tried it again, and found that it was not a problem. The

best way to win this game is to successfully look at what everyone

has, what you think they want, and figure out what card they will

play each turn.

4.) Bartering: Bartering is fun in this game, and it's easy to

give more stones to the other player than the action card is worth.

Exactly how much is each action card worth? Once players get this

down, they will do better in the game. Bartering can take long, but

if players don't draw it out, the game doesn't suffer time-wise.

5.) The Die Card: One variant on the internet is that only one

die should be rolled each movement phase, and all merchant pieces

moved the same amount. This is a good idea, and makes the Die Card

that much more useful. As it is, it only seems to be picked about

15% of the time in the games I've played. When using this variant,

however, it moves closer to 33%, as players can only be the first to

lap the board if they use this card. This lowers the luck level of

the game, and while some might dislike that, most people enjoy the

variant.

6.) Theme and Fun Factor: The theme is certainly integrated

into the game, as bartering is what the game is mostly about. One

can easily imagine that they are bartering viciously in an ancient

market. The bartering, to me, is the most fun part of the game,

although picking the action cards and trying to bluff your opponents

is also quite enjoyable.

7.) Time and Players: This is a better game with four players,

but still an excellent one with three. The time to play the game

usually runs in less than half an hour, and while that qualifies the

game as a filler, the strategy is good enough that I think the game

transcends the 'filler' category.

Basari is definitely worth your time and money. For a small,

inexpensive game, it certainly packs a gaming punch, and will please

both people looking for a 'light' game, and those who want a little

more strategy and thoughtfulness in their games. Folks who like to

haggle will especially like the game, as they will have a field day

here. Luck plays a small role in the game, but good bluffing,

bartering, and strategy will help the best person to win this small,

fun game.

Tom Vasel

 
 
 
 
 
Simpler than Settlers, and perhaps more challenging
September 04, 2003

I had never played Basari prior to purchasing this latest edition of the game, so I can't compare it to the original or the spin-offs.

I took a chance on it based on a lot of positive comments on-line over the years, and I must say, I am not at all disappointed.

First, I must respectfully disagree with Randall's assessment of the components. I was rather impressed when I first opened the box and gazed upon the components. Our group finds them attractive and very functional. The board is sturdy and colorful, with the scoring aid posted in each of the four corners for ease of access.

The game itself is a wonderfully simple yet challenging design. There is far more than meets the eye from a first reading of the rules.

1. Players consider the three options carefully each turn. While it seems that a player would hope to avoid matching an opponent's choice (triggering a bartering showdown), there are occasions when it is actually desirable, provided the opponent you match is likely to offer you gems you need. In fact, on occasion, it pays to match a player who is likely to go over his/her start marker with a 'die roll' card in order to extract a high trade from him/her.

2. Trading gems not only affects the two players engaged in the bartering, but the other opponents as well. One might offer gems that the bartering partner can use to take a lead in one or more gem colors, or to use later to barter with another player. Always study the holdings of all the opponents before starting the bartering.

3. Every turn presents each player with difficult choices. There is a luck-of-the-dice factor, but in this case, I think it enhances game play. For one thing, players score points for holding majorities in gem colors, so weak rolls can be offset by gem collection and shrewd bartering.

These factors combine to make Basari quite a different bartering game, and I personally find the strategic and tactical challenges more interesting that those of Settlers of Catan.

If this is any indication of balance, in our first game, 4 players (all new to Basari) finished with scores of 72-70-70-70, with the winner coming from last place on the final scoring round to eak out a victory.

It's great to see older games like this back on the market, so those of us who missed it the first time around have another chance. I highly recommend this 'gem' of a game for families and serious game groups alike.

 
 
 
 
 
Tough choices with rock/paper/scissors.
June 12, 2000

No big discription; you already have that below. I played Basari With three players all new to the game. It does have a dice element but even if you are dice challenged you can make up the slack with savvy trading and choices. It is easy enough to teach anyone to play. But to play well is another story. The rules are two pages long--'WOW' what a break. I play many different games each month and learn at least 4 per month. So it was refreshing to read such easy rules. The game is fun and well worth the purchase. I dont feel it deserves the Monopoly comparison (Monopoly is a one star game at best IMHO). But it does have dice in the game so I almost always deduct a star for that. As for game play and fun factor it's a solid four and a half with a half deduct for the die.

Happy gem collecting!

 
 
 
 
 
Great for families and gaming groups!
December 31, 1998

At first glance, the game looks too simple to be enjoyed for repeated playings - but this perception is misplaced. The game is quick, easy to learn, and has a strategic element that is hard to put a finger on. Your goal is to score the most points by collecting jewels or advancing around the board as quickly as possible. Each turn you select the action you want to take and when your chosen action is selected by an opponent, a very clever bidding system resolves the conflict. The game is great for families and kids and will serve as a fine filler between heavier games with a gaming group. I highly recommend it!

 
 
 
 
 
The Good, the Bad, and the Kovalic artwork
September 03, 2003

This seems to be the year of releasing two versions of the same game, one for the popular market, and one for gamers. Flinke Pinke was recently relased as both the pop-market Loco and the gamer-level Thor. Here, Basari has been rleased in this pop-market version, while being redone sans board as the heavier Edel, Stein, and Reich.

The basic game here is unchanged from its prior incarnation. Players all move their pieces around the board and then must choose whether to move again, take the jewels shown on the current space, or take the cash shown. Three or more players making the same choice all cancel each other. One player making a choice gets it unimpeded, and two players sharing a choice engange in a bartering session to take the action. There are occasional scoring sessions, and the player with the most cash at game's end is the winner.

The earler version of this game was quite lovely, evoking a strong sense of place in a middle eastern bazaar. Long out of print, this edition has fetched a pretty good price at auction. Te current edition however...

I like John Kovalic's artwork for the most part, but not in this game. While appropriate for more satiric games, like Munchkin or even Shipwrecked, I feel that it is not appropriate in this game. The board is, in a word, ugly. While it is easy to read and well designed, the game is just too garishly and simply produced, and almost hurts my eyes. While I applaud a budget edition of the game, I think better artwork should have been used. Four stars for the game itself, with a point off for ugly components.

Other Resources for Basari:

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