Friday, February 6, 2015

Bohnanza: Make the Jump


It took us a while to jump on the bean wagon. We'd heard raves about "the bean game" for years before I could get myself to plunk down money for it. No telling why I hesitated. I couldn't possibly be prejudiced against a farming theme. One of my favorite games is about planting grapes. And some of my best friends growing up were farmers.

Nevertheless, the thing that finally enticed me to pull out the wallet was how many people it plays. Our gang is always on the lookout for fun games that play more than six, and you can go up to seven on this one. Play time is relatively short, too, which is always a plus. So, I bought it, we played, and then we leaped. Onto the wagon. Now, here we are, riding high atop it, shouting out to anyone who asks what card games we recommend: Bohnanza!

At least, most of us are. The spy and the athlete don't seem to enjoy it as much as the rest of us, possibly because one phase of a person's turn is trading. That would require some cooperation and a bit of give and take, not strategies those competitive two usually rely on.

A turn begins by planting bean cards, up to two, and always in the order they sit in your hand. You then pick two cards off the deck, which are also yours to plant. The thing is, you don't always want to. That's why the trading phase is handy, and it can get fast and furious. Last, you draw. Harvesting your fields can take place any time during your turn. Harvested beans become coins, which determine the winner,

The mechanics are simple. There is some strategy involved in managing your fields, but mostly it's just fun. Don't hesitate, like we did.

Just jump.

# Players . . .2-7
Game time . . . . . . . . 45 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 minutes
Luck . . . . .4 . .  .  . . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Component Quality . .. . . . . 7
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 9


*See "How we Rate" for a definition.

Note: there are two expansions and a couple of standalone games available in the Bohnanza family. We have Bohnaparte and High Bohn, but mostly end up playing the regular game.

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