If you’re curious about the board game “Bavli,” here you go

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  • #1876986

    (This is not a critical or economic review of the game.)

    Age: “7+” (I’d say older, and certainly if an adult isn’t going to be involved.)
    Time: Not listed.
    Number of players: Not listed. (Presumably 2-6, as 6 pawns are included.)
    Price: $40 (technically 39.99) from the company’s website or most stores.

    Gameplay:
    It’s based heavily on Monopoly, so I’ll just explain how it differs from it
    (there are mechanical changes and an educational element is introduced).

    Winning:
    You choose 1 of 4 victory conditions before each game. The winner is:
    A:The last player not bankrupt.
    B: The player with the most assets when any player goes bankrupt.
    C: The player with most assets when the agreed-upon time limit is reached.
    D: The first player to attain Reish Mesivta status (see below).
    (The rules don’t mention bankruptcy anywhere but the section on winning,
    which isn’t great.)

    General rules:
    ((First player is rolled for. I don’t know what the printed Monopoly rule is.))
    Pass-Go income is doubled by landing directly on the Go equivalent
    (this is not printed on the board, but it’s in the rules).
    Players do not take another turn if they roll doubles.
    If a player does not wish to buy a property, it is not auctioned.
    You don’t need to own the full set a property belongs to before building on it.
    Hotels follow 3 houses rather than 4.
    The player whose turn it is can sell or trade their properties.
    Properties do not need to be empty (no buildings) to transfer ownership.
    Mortgaged buildings are redeemed for the same amount you get by
    mortgaging them (not +10%).

    Currency:
    There are multiple exchangeable currencies, as follows:
    One moneh is 4 dinrei zahav / 100 dinrei kesef / 600 maah.
    The latter 3 come in multiple denominations, resulting in a total of
    about 13 bill types. An exchange rate table is provided in the rulebook.
    (A 13-space money tray is not.) Prices can include multiple currencies.

    Board-related:
    The board is slightly smaller (36 spaces rather than 40).
    There are 23 properties in various colors (with no railroad equivalents).
    There are 2 “Go to Jail”-equivalent spaces along the sides.
    One corner is the (new) Shuka (Marketplace), which forces you to auction one
    of your properties*, and another is the (new-ish) Kupas Tamchin D’Oraysa,
    where there is always at least 1 moneh which players can collect under certain
    circumstances (such as passing it while having a very low asset total).
    The 10%-or-flat-fee space equivalent is flat-fee-only, placed in KTD.
    There is no Luxury Tax equivalent.
    The Community Chest and Chance equivalents are “!” and “?” (3 of each).
    ! – Draw a ! card and resolve its effect. There are 40 ! cards. 26 of them send
    the player to a particular space (usually with additional effects). Rent is not
    paid if a player is sent to a property by a ! card.

    ? – Draw a ? card. These have an Aramaic word or phrase and 3 possible
    translations. Guess the correct one (the Banker checks it in the rulebook).
    If correct, gain 10 dinrei kesef; if not, lose 5. (There are 40 ? cards.)

    The Jail equivalent is Yarchei Kallah (the implication is unfortunate, eh?).
    If you land on either Zil Ul l’Yarchei Kallah space, go there and follow this
    sequence:
    Next turn – Your turn is skipped.
    The next turn – Draw a Yarchei Kallah card and attempt to answer the
    multiple-choice question on it (the Banker checks it in the rulebook).
    If correct, keep the card and take a normal turn; if not, put it under
    the deck and skip this turn, but take your next turn normally.
    (There are 25 YK cards. Eventually, your kids might know who the halacha
    follows in a machlokes Rav v’Shmuel, where Rava was the Reish Mesivta, etc.,
    as well as how the Gemara uses terms such as itmar, tanya, and l’olam.)

    The Yarchei Kallah cards have a function.
    If you have 2 YK cards and a Bei Knishta property, you gain Parnas status.
    If you have 4 YK cards and 2 Yeshiva/Mesivta properties, you gain Reish
    Mesivta status (as mentioned, this can be used as a victory condition).

    There are reminder cards to take for your status, which list their benefits:
    Parnas – Your pass-Go income increases to 3 dinrei zahav (from 50 dinrei
    kesef, a 50% increase). You need only stay one turn in Yarchei Kallah.
    RM: Your pass-Go income increases to 1 moneh. You do not pay rent for
    Bei Knishta or Yeshiva/Mesivta properties. If you pass Kupas Tamchin
    D’Oraysa, take whatever money is there.

    Other notes:
    Each colored region of the board (1-4 properties) is named for a place in
    Bavel, and the properties are named for locations there (Sura includes
    Yeshivas Sura, Shibvusei d’Rav, and Karna d’Ar’o.) Mechanically, this allows
    for ! card effects such as “Pay X to each person in X.”
    The region and property names are printed in Aramaic with English
    translations for some. For example, regions and Yeshivas [Wherever]
    aren’t translated, but Bei Vanei has “(Bathhouse)” after it. (The rulebook
    also includes Aramaic terms, with a similar translation policy.)
    Property cards list their Aggrasa, Agar Beisa, Agar diSrei Vatei,
    D’mei Beisa, D’mei Ushpiza, etc.

    The ! cards are often themed with halachos or circumstances found in the
    Gemara, such as donating to Kimcha dePischa or your shor tam/mu’ad having
    done damage. (Sources for 25 of them are listed in the back of the rulebook.)

    It includes a felt-covered box insert with places for the different decks, the
    pieces, and the money. (Scoop-edged wells in a non-hobby product? Nice.)
    (You’ll probably have to mix some denominations for storage due to their
    differing quantities.) The currency is paper, the cards are glossy, and the
    box and board printed with something smooth that feels like my copy of
    Charterstone (IIRC) but that I don’t know the name of.
    The player pieces are plastic pawns. (Box says contains 8, should be 6.)

    You can sign up for the “Bar Bei Rav” newsletter on the creators’ website
    without buying the game.

    *The starting price for a Shuka auction is the cost of the property and any
    buildings on it. If no one bids for it, the owner keeps it. Some ! cards send
    a player to the Shuka and force an auction a property of value X or higher.

    I hope this has been useful or interesting.

    #1877318
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    I could not find a review anywhere. It seems to be more of a spoof, than an aid for gemara. Then I noticed it was published by Artscroll…………

    #1877339
    catch yourself
    Participant

    I was curious about this game even though I never heard of it. Thanks!

    #1877354

    Where do you usually go for reviews of Jewish games?

    Are you sure it’s being published by ArtScroll and not just distributed by them?

    #1877458
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    I looked for reviews everywhere it is sold.
    Good point. No info on who published it. Does it say anywhere on the package?

    #1877474
    DovidBT
    Participant

    This is apparently the game creator’s web site: bavli DOT org

    #1877681

    So basically the comments sections of online Judaica stores…
    Are those usually active (for any product)? I wouldn’t expect them to be.

    #1877710
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Dovid,
    Thank you, not a lot there. No reviews (yet) either.

    #1877715
    n0mesorah
    Participant

    Dear Random,
    Using Google, I found people asking about it with no answers. And a six word review on Amazon.

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