Basari is an excellent little board game of trading,
bargaining, and psyching out your opponents. The game plays well with
both three and four players, but very differently at each number. The
four-player game becomes more psychological, while the three-player is
an excellent tactical game.
The game consists of an attractive board, 100 play jewels in four
colors, and four sets of playing pieces including a pawn, home base,
scoring token, die, and set of three cards for each player.
In the center of the board are pictured four carpets to store the
jewels on, and a scoring table. Around that is a series of spaces in a
Middle Eastern arch theme, each of which has a number between 4 and 7,
inclusive, and a picture of a certain jewel combination. Finally,
around the outer edge, is the scoring track.
The game is won by being the furthest around the scoring track after
three rounds of play - usually about 20-30 minutes per game, and it's
such a good game you'll happily play an instant rematch. A round ends
when one or more players get their pawn around the board back to their
home base - those who do, score ten points. Then the player with the
most blue jewels scores eight points, the most green jewels scores ten
points, the most yellow jewels twelve points, and the most red jewels
fourteen points. Those who scored points for jewels must return some
to the carpet, to prevent the next round from being an automatic
victory for them. Reset the home bases to where the pawns are, and
start the next round.
Course of Play
The game rules are quite simple: each player starts with the pieces and
cards for his color, plus three jewels of each of the four colors.
Place your home base and pawn on any space on the arches - it doesn't
matter where - and your starting token on the "Start" space of the
scoring track. Each player then rolls a die simultaneously, then moves
At this point, you must stop to evaluate the board. Each pawn is now
on a space which shows a certain number and a set of jewels. Each
player has three cards, one of which shows a die, another the numbers
4,5,6,7, and the third a jewel of each color. In secret, each player
chooses a card, then places it face down in front of them. When all
have chosen, they are revealed simultaneously.
If only one player has chosen an action, they get to perform it. If
three or four players have chosen the same action, none of them get to
perform it. If two players choose the same action, they must negotiate
to see which one of them may perform it.
The actions associated with each card are:
If players have to negotiate, the leader offers the other player a
number of jewels to allow him to perform the action. The other player
can accept, or make a higher counteroffer. Eventually one and only one
player will perform the action, and the next turn will begin.
- Die: roll the die, move your pawn the number of spaces shown, and
your scoring marker six-minus-the-number-shown spaces.
- Numbers: move your scoring marker the number of spaces
corresponding to the space your pawn is on.
- Jewels: take the jewels shown on the space your pawn is on.
To Deal or Not To Deal ...
The joy of the game comes in figuring out which actions the other
players are likely to choose, then determining if you want to try to
stop them, or let them and choose another action, and, if negotiating,
offering (or accepting) the right combination of jewels for the action
involved. Sometimes negotiators are potentially hurting each other -
at other times, they can come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
("You let me take the red jewels, which you don't really want, as you'd
still be in second place with them, and I'll give you all my green
jewels, which will give you the lead over that other player over
You can play this game two-player, I've discovered. And while it's not
as good as with more, it's actually not bad.
That's basically it - try it sometime.
- One player takes the two brown colors, the other player black and
- Each player rolls his/her two dice, and all four pawns are moved.
- Each player sets a tile in secret for each of his/her pawns.
- You may not choose the same choice for both of your own pieces.
- The winner is the player with the highest combined score for
both his pieces.
Basari is a very fun, quick game with a near perfect
blend of skill and luck. Yes, there's luck in it, but that takes the
game out of the purely cerebral realm which games such as Chess and Go
occupy, into something mere mortals can play and enjoy and even have a
chance of winning. But there's a lot of skill involved - the more you
play, the better you get at the game, which is always satisfying.
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