Basha Card Game Collection Review—Deal
In a somewhat weird marketing strategy, Basha Tarneeb and Basha Trix are sold as individual Minis titles, each priced at £3.49, while those two games also appear here in Basha Card Game Collection along with Basha Baloot.
This collection is priced at £5.49, meaning you get a discount on three games that each cost £3.49 alone (undeservedly). If you ever plan to buy Basha Tarneeb and Basha Trix, get the entire collection instead. Why? Individually, they are not worth the price. As a package, though, Basha Card Collection, with three games, is a deal, not good but not bad either.
Basha Baloot has the most horrifying rules I’ve seen from a card game. Endemic to Quirkat’s Basha titles, the tutorial is not helpful, especially for baloot’s complicated rules and regulations. The game of baloot is supposed to be similar to belote, which I am not familiar with. Basha Baloot retains everything but rules from its two siblings, from music to controls, graphics to opponents’ avatars. Feature by feature (or lack thereof), it’s all replicated.
Baloot is a team game, and this time (finally) the Basha instructions tell you that your teammate is the one seated in front of you. This game is a race to 151 points. Only 32 cards are utilized in the game (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in all suits are not used).
Every player has five cards in hand. There is a public card that is placed in the middle of the table, and the bidding commences right away. Whoever wins the bidding gets the public card and two additional cards, while the others get three additional cards.
With eight cards in hand, the winning bidder gets to choose which mode the table will be playing. There are two modes: Sun and Hokum.
In Sun, the teams can net 26 points. Basically, this is a crippled tarneeb plus an overhaul to the normal hierarchy of cards. The revised hierarchy goes like this: A-10-K-Q-J-9-8-7, in a descending order. Hokum, on the other hand, retains the ability of the winning bidder to choose a trump suit. The hierarchy changes this time to J-A-10-K-Q-8-7. Sixteen points are available for scoring in this mode. And, yes, there are two additional special conditions to follow. Really, if I continue narrating the rules of this game, you might as well go to sleep.
The rules are indeed complicated and convoluted, but it does pay off when you finally learn to play it. It has deep strategic elements that I never thought could be achieved by 32 cards. However, it really takes a ton of friggin’ effort to learn the game. Trust me, I may end up confusing you more than actually helping you if I continue trying to relay how the game is played. This may be downright lazy, but here is a Wikipedia entry for baloot. It has essentially the same things going on, with some exceptions like the spelling of “Hokum” and some rulings here and there.
It is difficult to an otherworldly degree to master this game. I do love challenges, but this is way overboard. Again, the team-based gaming is not fleshed out at all. There is an Ashkal, an ability to “pass” the public card to your teammate. It does show some interactivity, but overall it’s underwhelming.
If you are itching for some new games to learn and feeling extremely adventurous about it, go buy this one. If you are very familiar with the rules and regulations of these Basha card games, you can pick this up, I guess. If you want to enjoy a game right after purchase, stay away from every Basha title. It takes some time to learn all of this stuff. It is worth the pain, but some people might give up halfway through and end up scorning these games. I almost did.