Caravanserai

Caravanserai

10+ | 2-4 | 60'

Game design:

Pierrot

Graphics:

Zsolt Varga / Zoltán Tóth


Resource management Trading 

and speculation Contracts

Push your luck

Exotic location

Unique theme

Miniature fountain 

and figurine

Caravanserai is a family game for 2-4 players competing as humble stable boys to see who can make more money to move to the big city. Taking advantage of their excellent occupation, each boy decides to invest their small savings in an attempt to make some profit, so they start doing business with the caravans stopping in the city. Their shrewd dealings are noticed by local merchants who, in secret, give them orders, with the promise of further handsome rewards. If a player reaches the score limit of 30 dirhams, the game ends – but the outcome of the challenge is not necessarily final yet.

Players have two actions in their turn. None of these are mandatory, but they must move: They can choose to take 1-3 steps or roll their die once in a turn in the hope of an extended move. But the move shall not exceed the result of the roll, even if it’s a low number. Each stop in the Caravanserai’s courtyard provides an optional action. 

At the stalls you can buy precious metals and gemstones at a fixed price, or borrow some money. You can swap goods of equivalent value or sell goods at the pavilions in the center, or make smart deals at the caravan lodges – until the travelers leave the caravansary. You can receive major orders at the four towers located in the corners, and minor orders at one of the gates; or, at another gate, you can draw cards to obtain unique abilities or even endgame bonus points.

The personal board shows the size of your purse which can be expanded, just like your creditworthiness limit on the other side. However, creditors want proof: repaying debts after orders have been fulfilled will convince them to provide increasing support for your business. On this board, you will keep all the goods you collect, and also a die which may come in useful when in trouble.

When you manage to compile the set of goods required for an order card, you will be paid the amount shown on it in dirhams. Any debt must be deducted from this amount immediately, and you can put aside some money for the next rounds (up to the sum your purse can hold). The remaining amount has to be credited on the scoring board and it no longer can be removed from there.

The fountain in the middle of the courtyard will also affect the points earned on the cards. Once an order is fulfilled the fountain rotates, and in certain positions it will reduce or increase the value of the order. Not only the fountain, but also the caravan tiles will turn. These tiles allow certain conversions, which can be utilized only four times; when used up, the tile is removed from the game and replaced by another. (These tiles are randomly placed on the board from two stacks.)

When a “major order” is fulfilled, this high-performing player receives an ability card, but at the same time the others are rewarded too: they receive the set of goods which would otherwise be the cost of the card. This does not apply to “minor orders” available at the gate, which, however, provide a faster but lower income.

Caravanserai is a fun and increasingly agitating trading and resource management game, which can be recommended even for families; the rules are easy to understand and the game involves sufficient luck factor to help beginners catch up. It is also a fairly strong strategic and tactical challenge, with a playing time of not more than 45-60 minutes.

The cover and illustrations show the final graphics of the game, but the presentation video was still based on the earlier prototype. 

Caravanserai rules ENG prototype.pdf