Sunday, February 28, 2016


Mmmm beans

Trading games are good for determining who your real friends are.  You know, the people who offer your wife cards just so she doesn’t trade with you.  Or your wife who happily accepts.  Maybe I should switch to a series on solo games.




Uwe Rosenberg

Elevator Pitch:

You are trying to harvest sets of beans that you have planted for gold.  Each turn you may plant and harvest beans, trade or donate cards to opponent, and draw replacements.   The key difficulty in the game is that you can never rearrange your hand, but must play cards in the order that you drew them.

Personal Impression:

Bohnanza is the type of game that is very group dependent.  Find a group that will negotiate until they “win” every trade, and it will drag on endlessly.  Or with another group of quiet and shy people and the game will be a bore.  However, in a group that enjoys dealing, but doesn’t overanalyze every opportunity, it is a blast to play. 

Good for People who Grew up Playing:

In the dirt or trading cards. 
Ease of Learning:

It will take some time to get into the flow of the game.  There aren’t a lot of rules to remember, but the sequence of play is unique and not always intuitive. Expect new players to break rules on the first few turns until they get the hang of it.

Fidgety Index

Nope.  All you get is cards and you can’t ever rearrange them.

Universal Theme:

You are planting beans!  I can feel your excitement through the interwebs.  Sadly, even those who appreciate a good stalk will not find this game overly thematic

Player Count and Length:

2 to 7.  The two player variant is fun, but it is almost a completely different game from its brethren.  3-7 all work fine, but more players leads to more interaction.  Game speeds up considerably in later rounds and you should be able to finish within 45 minutes or so.


There are numerous expansions, but many of them are only in German and I haven’t played any of them, so I can’t give much advice here.

Spin Offs:

Uwe Rosenburg has designed many other Bohanza and bean games well, also with the majority in German.  However, in this case I have and thoroughly enjoyed one of them, Wurfel Bohnanza.  This is a simple dice game that other than the name has nothing to do with the base Bohnanza.  What it does do is provide players a strong reason to pay attention to the dice other players roll, which makes it more interactive and interesting than many of its brethren.  

Introducing the Game to New Gamers: 

Pay attention to make sure they are following all the rules.  Agree to any trade that is at least neutral for you.


I was excited that there was a Bohnanza app before quickly remembering this is the type of game that makes a terrible application.  The app failed to live up to my limited expertise, so I deleted it off my phone after a couple of plays. 


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