Rather Dashing Games’ latest game, Hafid’s Grand Bazaar, is a thematic set collection game where players bid and negotiate for goods to sell. The goal of the game is to have the most Talents (currency) at the end of the game. Player interaction is highly encouraged and negotiation rules are lax, letting players get creative with their deals.
Hafid’s Grand Bazaar is played over the course of several rounds, usually the same as the number of players playing. The board is laid in the center of the table and 2 Goods cards are drawn from the deck for each of the 6 markets. There are 5 different categories of Goods, each with 5 types of goods. Players can always tell what category Goods are on the table and in players’ hands, but the specific goods are always kept hidden/private. Each player is given 6 bidding cubes and 10 cards from the deck to start. The first player each round is given Hafid to make things easier to track. The game ends when the last round is over, and Talents are added up to determine the winner.
The board is setup with 3 main areas for bidding. In the center are Caravans labeled 1-6. Bidding on these determines the order of which players can choose to take Markets. Around the board, there’s also 3 Influence spaces and 3 Customer spaces. Players just need to place 1 cube in any of these to activate them. Influence spots let players trade, look at cards on the table, and take extra cards from a Free Market. Customers allow players to sell varying sets of cards for higher Talent values.
Players take turns placing cubes on the board until everyone has placed all their cubes. Caravans are then resolved in order, along with Free Market draws. Players who lost a bid for a Caravan can still draw a Good card at random from the deck. Once Caravans are settled trading occurs if anyone placed cubes on the Negotiator. Trading is pretty free form and loose, making for some exciting player interaction.
Once all the previous steps are complete players can sell goods for Talents. If any cubes were placed on Customers, player’s can sell sets. The Haggler lets players sell two or more matching Goods for 2x their listed value. The Collector buys 5 cards, one from each color, for their value + 5 Talents. The Guild Master will be 1 of each Good from a color for 30 points. Any random 5-10 cards can also be sold at face value.
That’s pretty much the basics. At the end of the round Hafid moves to the next player, everyone gets their cubes back, and it all starts again. Once every player has gotten a turn with Hafid the game is over and Talents are totaled.
For the full rules, check here.
There’s not much more to Hafid’s Grand Bazaar than a small board, a handful of cubes, some cardboard Talents, a deck of Goods, and Hafid, himself. Everything, box included, is ultra sturdy and high quality. The cards feel wonderful to hold and are each to shuffle and handle. The Talents are thick, as is the board and the 3D Hafid marker. The game feels built to last.
The only oddity here is the box insert. Everything fits, and then some. There’s extra space, and quite a bit of it. The only thing I can think of is maybe it’s extra space to hold expansion material.
Hafid’s Grand Bazaar is, at its most simple, a game of bidding on collection order and selling card sets. Once you look a bit further you’ll find it’s actually a bit more than that. With only 6 cubes you’ll always find yourself stretched thin to take all the actions you want during a round. You may need to spend more to take cards earlier than other players, or two grab multiple Caravans. Of course, there’s always taking a chance in the Free Market, or using a cube to peek at the cards in the markets to see if they’re worth taking. Maybe a trade is the most lucrative action. Of course, none of that is helpful unless you make sure to woo the right customers to buy your goods!
I’m not normally a fan of bidding games, but Hafid’s Grand Bazaar manages to take the mechanic and make it approachable and fun. The game is a great value at $35. It can be taught in 10 minutes and played in 30. Player interaction is high and makes for some great game sessions due to trading being a fairly loose action. Offer whatever you want to try and weasel the cards you need from other players. Pretty much anything can be on the table! Hafid’s Grand Bazaar is just that. A grand time.
A copy of Hafid’s Grand Bazaar was provided free for review by Rather Dashing Game.
Media personality Rob “Devar-TTY” Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of Devar-TTY’s Pawns Perspective, Dev now focuses mostly on video games and TTRPGs. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.