Thursday, April 5, 2012

Making LEGO Orient Bazaar work

The purpose of this blog is to gather and share ideas on how to improve rules or just make LEGO games more enjoyable so I believe a good starting point can be LEGO Bazaar, because, let's be honest, who wasn't disappointed after playing this game for the first time with its native rules?



After some thinking and the help of my child, I came up with a handful of new rules inspired by the real world that make LEGO Bazaar work.

But let's briefly review the original rules contained in the accompanying booklet first.


LEGO Orient Bazaar original rules


The original dice contains the following faces:

[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]





The aim of the game is to obtain 15 coins, so the player who collects them first, wins.

  1. Each player starts with 3 objects in his/her stall and 3 coins.
  2. The pile of unused coins is called "the bank".
  3. The youngest player starts first by rolling the dice, then comes the next player clockwise.
  4. After rolling the dice you can decide whether to carry out the associated actions OR sell one or more items from your collection.
  5. When the dice returns [  ] [  ] the player can move the bazaar on top of another player's stall and buy a golden goblet if available by paying 1 coin to the bank (the amount of coins).
  6. When the dice returns [  ] [  ] the player can either move the bazaar on top of another player's stall, buy a golden goblet if available by paying one coin to the bank OR trade one object with another player whose stall is not closed.
  7. When the dice returns [  ] [  ] or [  ] [  ] or [  ] [  ] or [  ] [  ], the player can buy one object from a stall with a matching color unless it has been "closed" by putting the bazaar on top of it and pays 1 coin to the bank.
  8. When selling objects to the bank, the following price table applies:
    • Sell 1 item and earn 1 gold coin.
    • Sell 2 items of the same color and earn 3 gold coins.
    • Sell 3 items of the same color and earn 6 gold coins.
    • Sell 4 items of the same color and earn 9 gold coins.
    • Sell 5 items of the same color and earn 12 gold coins.
    • The golden goblet works as a jolly item and can be sold together with the items of any color, so if you are selling two red objects and a goblet, the corresponding price will be 6 coins.
  9. When you sell a golden goblet is must be returned to the bazaar.
  10. When you sell items to the bank, they must be returned to the pile.
  11. When a stall is empty, it must be immediately refilled by taking the objects from the pile.
Now, if you have played bazaar with the rules above, I guess you'll have faced some situations where you didn't know what to do, for instance, what happens when your red stall is closed and the dice returns [  ] [  ]?
The rules say that others cannot buy from you, but can you still sell your collection?
How many objects 
Another rule I don't understand is the refill rule. As soon as you sell your collection, it gets automagically refilled at no cost. That would be a dream in the real life! ;-)

So, in order to fill in the gaps in the rules as well as making it more similar to the real life experience we came up with following additional rules and/or changes (that may well change in the future if you suggest better ones of course!):

LEGO Orient Bazaar new (hopefully improved) rules by Stefano and Flavio


Suppressed rules are highlighted by strike-through text, additions are in bold typeface.

The dice now contains the following faces:

[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ]
[  ] [  ] replaced with [O] (a gold coin)


The aim of the game is to obtain 15 coins, so the player who collects them first, wins.


  1. Each player starts with 3 objects in his/her stall and 3 coins.
  2. The pile of unused coins is called "the bank".
  3. The youngest player starts first by rolling the dice, then comes the next player clockwise.
  4. After rolling the dice you can decide whether to carry out the associated actions OR sell one or more items from your collection. If no action is possible for the given colors, you pass the action to the next player.
  5. When the dice returns [  ] [  ] the player can move the bazaar on top of another player's stall and buy a golden goblet if available by paying 1 coin to the bank (the amount of coins).
  6. When the dice returns [  ] [  ] the player can either move the bazaar on top of another player's stall, buy a golden goblet if available by paying one coin to the bank OR trade one object with another player whose stall is not closed.
  7. When the dice returns [  ] [  ] or [  ] [  ] or [  ] [  ] or [  ] [  ], the player can buy one object from a stall with a matching color unless it has been "closed" by putting the bazaar on top of it and pays 1 coin to the bank and pays one coin to the seller and the seller cannot refuse to sell his/her objects. The player can sell its objects to the bank only if the dice contains the corresponding object's color, so if you are the red player and you collected three yellow items, when the dice contains [  ] [  ] you can either sell your red or yellow items, but not those of any other colors. If the player's stall is closed however he/she cannot sell or buy anything until he or she rolls a dice and gets [  ] [  ].
  8. When selling objects to the bank, the following price table applies:
    • Sell 1 item and earn 1 gold coin.
    • Sell 2 items of the same color and earn 3 gold coins.
    • Sell 3 items of the same color and earn 5 gold coins.
    • Sell 4 items of the same color and earn 7 gold coins.
    • Sell 5 items of the same color and earn 9 gold coins.
    • The golden goblet works as a jolly item and can be sold together with the items of any color, so if you are selling two red objects and a goblet, the corresponding price will be 5 coins.
  9. When you sell a golden goblet is must be returned to the bazaar.
  10. When you sell items to the bank, they must be returned to the pile.
  11. When a stall is empty, it must be immediately refilled by taking the objects from the pile. When a stall is empty it can be refilled only if the dice contains the color of your stall and you must pay 3 coins to the bank, so if you are the red player, you can refill your stall only if the dice contains [  ] [  ] or [  ] [  ].
  12. When the dice contains [O] you must pay the taxes, that is one coin to the bank unless your stall is closed (the bazaar is on top of it).
After applying our new rules the game duration becomes slightly longer and some simple "strategy" may finally take place. For instance rule #7 allows a player to lower the number of object's that another player can sell to the bank, thereby reducing the chances for him to win the game. Also the role of the bazaar is enhanced as a mean to block a user who is near to win the game. The reduced price list is more similar to the daily experience where you normally get a discounted price when selling more than one item at a time. Another important rule change is #11. The automatic refill for free was really a non-sense, you are supposed to pay when buying something and get a margin on what you are re-selling. Rule #12 has been introduced to prepare the kids for the real life :-)

I hope you find the new rules useful and of course we are eager to read your opinions and ideas.

Enjoy the game.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why a blog on LEGO games?

The purpose of this blog is to gather and share ideas on how to improve rules or just make LEGO games more enjoyable. Some of the LEGO board games are easier to play than others, but all of them have been created with the possibility of creating your own rules (or perhaps even extend the board by adding new fancy elements), so it is up to you to show that the rules you invented are making the game better than it was before.


I discovered LEGO games this year when my family and I visited Play-Modena, a very nice event that takes place annually in my home town where thousands of people gather from all over the country for a couple of days of fun, regardless of age.
On this occasion we stopped by at the LEGO booth where we could play a couple of board games, the LEGO City board game and the Minotaurus and, for some reason we ended up buying the LEGO Orient Bazaar which will be the subject of my next article.

And now stop talking, let's start playing with LEGO games.