Name: Bazaar
Gryphon Games
Number of Players:
2 to 6
Play Time:
45 Minutes
Grade Range:
Middle and High School
Return on Investment:
Analog Game

Bazaar Cover

Bazaar Cover

Bazaar is a reprint of the classic game by prolific American game designer Sid Sackson in which players are vying to be the most efficient and lucrative buyer, using gemstones to purchase wares from the local bazaar. At the start of the game, a set of ten equations set the exchange rate for the duration of the game. An example might be that a green gemstone can be exchanged for two red and one white. During the game, players can use these rates to exchange gemstones they acquire, working from either side of the equation. The goal is to be able to purchase varying priced ware cards from one of the stalls in the bazaar, the value of which is determined by how many gemstones the player has left over after the purchase. The fewer the stones, the more valuable the ware is for the player. After two of the five stalls have been emptied of wares, the bazaar closes and the player who purchased the most valuable wares is the winner.

Bazaar’s true strength is the depth of play opened up by a very simple rules set and it is this imbalance that gives Bazaar its high Return on Investment. Players either roll a die, taking the corresponding colored gemstone or they make an exchange. They can then acquire a wares card and their turn is done.With just a few simple instructions, students are able to fall into the rhythm of the game, using algebraic equations as the language of trade to find the best ways to maximize their interactions.

While multiple copies can easily facilitate several small groups, they can also be combined to make a large group game as the simplicity of play leaves little downtime for the other players. So, by simply doubling the number of stalls created during setup and needed to be emptied to end the game, a teacher can use two copies to accommodate up to 12 students. For three copies, simply triple that number. The game’s scalability extends beyond the ability to add players. The length of play can also be adjusted by adjusting the number of stalls that need to be emptied for the game to end. That condition can even be removed and students can simply play for a set amount of time, with the winner being the student who has the most points at the end of that time.

The game can also serve as a problem prompt for students where they are presented with a set of exchange equations, gemstones and available wares and are tasked to work out the best possible scoring possibility, sharing their problem solving approach. This is another example of how analog games can be used to create intentional instructional moments as the teacher has full control of what the possible exchanges are, making it as easy or challenging as they wish.


I will cross post the video series I am undertaking for the Game Library. If you haven’t had a chance to visit:

We have been building the collection for about 3 years now and I wanted to start a series that highlighted the games we are using as resources for student engagement and growth.

Number of Players: 2 to 4

Grade Levels: Middle School and Up

Length: 45 Minutes

Investment: Medium
Return: Medium

NYS Standards:

MST Standard 3: Students will understand the concepts and become proficient with the skills of mathematics…
MST Standard 4: Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

AASL Standards:

1.1.2: Use prior/background knowledge as context for new learning
2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful
4.1.5 Connect ideas to own interests and previous knowledge and experience

Cowboys, gold mines, general stores and train stations, HEE HAW! When I bought Rio Grande’s Oregon, I was hoping I might have a game that introduces and reinforces some of the flavor of the westward expansion, little did I know that what I was getting was a math game… and a good one at that. (more…)

Numbers League

Numbers League is a clever card offering from Rochester’s Bent Castle Workshop. Up to four players participate in this quirky superhero themed game of build and capture. The game’s 20-30 minute play time makes it an easy fit into a class period. And while the initial game incorporates elementary mathematics, the Infinity Level Expansion takes the skill level up to a middle school math.

In the center of the gaming area are various villains, each assigned a numerical value ranging from single digit negatives to around fifty. Players work to capture them by building superheroes from cards in their hands. Cards represent heads, bodies and legs of differing numerical quantities. Their body part’s combined value is used to match and thereby capture villains. So, a hero with a 3 head, -1 body and 2 legs could capture a villain with a value of 4. (more…)

Lost CitiesI am reminded of the beginning of a relationship. Two people who are trying to find where they are willing to risk making a commitment and where they feel the need to hold back.

Lost Cities is a 2-player card game that puts you and a fellow explorer in competition towards completing several expeditions to famed lost civilizations. Each player draws cards at the start of the game. Most cards feature a value between 1 and 10 and are color coded to correspond to a particular lost city. A few feature colored handshakes (investment cards) that work as multipliers and symbolize a further commitment to a particular expedition. (more…)