Basari

Basari is a racing/bidding/bartering/strategy game for three, or better, four players. It is definitely one of your more complex games, involving, as it does: racing, bidding, bartering and strategizing. But it is not one of your more difficult games - and that's what makes it so noteworthy. That it's acutally possible for anyone over, say, ten to do all those things at more or less the same time. Not only possible, but fun.

The race is for score. In fact, the score board is a race track. The bidding and bartering is for jewels or points. You start with a showdown, all players choosing between one of three possible things they're interested in bidding and bartering for: position, points or jewels. If you're the only one choosing a particular action, well, then, you go right ahead and do it. If someone else has made the same choice, prepare to barter. You need jewels in order to barter. Which is precisely why you might not be the only one choosing jewels. Which makes it more of a gamble. Especially if three or more people also chose jewels.

On the other hand, it doesn't matter how many jewels you have if you don't win. Which is determined by how many points you have. Which is determined by your position on the inner race track. Which determines what everyone is bidding and bartering for.

OK. So it's going to take some time to learn the game. And no, it isn't like one of those elegant, perfect information, Japanese Go experiences. But it is fun. And often surprising. And not too challenging. And though you're competing, and though only one of you can win, there's just enough luck involved to keep you from taking it too seriously.


from Bernie DeKoven, funsmith

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