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Friday, April 24, 2009

Game Review: Bohnanza

from Jonathan

The first thing you need to know here is that "Bohn" is actually the German word for "Bean", so the title is intended to have a useful and slightly pun-like meaning — which is completely lost in the English translation. (I expect they could sell easily twice as many units with a better American game title... but that's rather beside the point of this review!)

Bohnanza is made up of simply a large deck of about 150 cards. They're sturdy enough to hold up to a lot of play, but it's worth noting that the price is fairly steep for a card game.

However... what makes this card game completely different from every other one I've played is that the players cannot rearrange the cards in their hands, and must play them in the same order they have received them. This would make the game flat and boring, if it were not for another rule: the only way to get rid of the cards you don't want to play is to trade them with the other players! The fun and hectic trades, as well as the frustrating impossiblity to rearrange your cards, make for a really fun and fast paced game.

Play is based around planting and harvesting bean crops, which is a bit of a corny theme, but holds together pretty well. Each player starts out with two bean fields, and can purchase a third after they've accumulated the cash to be able to. In the meantime, each field can support only a single type of bean crop, so it's very motivating to trade your cards with other players like crazy to accumulate a large quantity of the crop you're most interested in raising.

This game is very easy to learn quickly, and is definitely a "party game" where five or more people make a good group to play with. (With few players, the trading aspect of the game is severely limited.) The rules are simple enough, but at the same time it's definitely a game where good strategic decisions are heavily rewarded. It's rare to find a strategy game that moves this rapidly! Bohnanza will be making a regular appearance at our house when we have company.

****

Note from Carrie: As the completely ANTI-game/non-gamer in the family - I have to say that I really enjoyed this game. It prompts people interaction. I like games that you can converse over and still have a good time. This is one such game. I still lost at it (I always lose when I play games, which might be why I don't really care to play them!) but I really enjoyed it. This game ranks on my "Happy to Play Again (and Again)" list! And I don't say that often.

1 comment:

Brea's Mommy said...

This would be a great game for the kids at work. Thanks for the review.

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