Author Topic: Bavli (board game) - If you were curious  (Read 501 times)

Offline Randomex

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Bavli (board game) - If you were curious
« on: June 25, 2020, 09:01:39 PM »
(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. (This number should generally not be trusted anyway, or at least not for hobby games.)
Number of players: Not listed. (Presumably 2-6, as 6 pawns are included and at least 2 players are necessary.)

Price: $40 (technically 39.99) if ordered from the company's website or most stores that carry it.

The game is based heavily on Monopoly, so I'll just explain how it differs from it.
There are some mechanical changes and an educational element is introduced.

You use 1 of 4 victory conditions in each game, chosen before starting (at least one is new to Bavli):
A: Last player not bankrupt wins.
B: Player with most assets when any player goes bankrupt wins.
C: Player with most assets when the agreed-upon time limit is reached wins.
D: First player to attain Reish Mesivta status wins (see below).
(The rules don't mention bankruptcy anywhere but in 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 do not need to own the entire set a property belongs to in order to build 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 have their ownership transferred.
Mortgaged buildings are redeemed for the same amount you get by mortgaging them (not +10%).

There are multiple 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 back of the rulebook. (A 13-space money tray is not.)
Prices can include multiple currencies.

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
(one of them being passing or landing on 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 "?" (there are 3 of each space).

! - 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 which one is 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 unfortunately unfortunate).
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 the
meanings of terms such as itmar, tanya, l'olam, and kim lei bi'd'raba minei.)

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 (can be used as a victory condition).
There are reminder cards to take for your status, which also list their benefits:
Parnas - Your pass-Go income increases to 3 dinrei kesef (from 50 d. kesef). 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's 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 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.

25 of the ! cards have sources listed in the back of the rulebook for the events they describe.

It includes a felt-covered box insert with places for the different decks, for the pieces,
and for the money. (Scoop-edged wells in a non-hobby product? Big thumbs up.)
(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 are of a smooth kind
that feels like my copy of Charterstone (IIRC) but that I don't know the name of.
The player pieces are plastic pawns.

*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
them to auction a property of at least a certain value (if possible).


You can visit the creators' website at, where you can see some images of the
game and sign up for the "Bar Bei Rav" newsletter, and contact them at

Any questions?
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 09:51:45 PM by Randomex »

Offline username

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Re: Bavli (board game) - If you were curious
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2020, 09:09:23 PM »
Thanks, i saw it in a store but had no idea what it was.

Do you think girls who do not learn gemorah would like it?

Offline Randomex

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Re: Bavli (board game) - If you were curious
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2020, 09:23:07 PM »
If they like Monopoly-style gameplay, they might enjoy it... Trivia-style games in which
the players start off knowing very few of the answers are liable to be frustrating, though.

Personally, I think there are better games you could get for 40 bucks (or less).
« Last Edit: June 25, 2020, 09:53:28 PM by Randomex »

Offline Randomex

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Re: Bavli (board game) - If you were curious
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2020, 10:58:24 AM »
Missed a detail:
The ! cards are often themed with halachos or circumstances found in the Gemara,
such as giving for Kimcha dePischa or your shor tam/mu'ad having done damage.

Also, a Parnas collects 3 dinrei zahav, not kesef.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 11:46:01 AM by Randomex »