Today I’m going to introduce you to another favorite game for all of my family – Bohnanza. This is also originally a German game, hence the odd name! But we usually just call it “Beans.”
Bohnanza is like a hybrid of rummy and Go Fish. Your objective is to collect as many of the same type of bean as you can, scoring more gold pieces (points) depending on how many beans you get and how rare they are. The silly pictures depict a variety of beans from coffee beans to chili beans.
And as you move through the game drawing and discarding, you can trade as many cards as you like on your turn with other players. So everyone is mutually trying to help everyone else (but not too much, it is a game, after all). And at the end, the player with the most gold pieces wins.
But here are the twists. You can’t change the order of the cards in your hand – they must be played from right to left! And each turn you draw two cards, which must be dealt with before you can play anything from your hand. This results in a lot of situations where players just donate cards to each other – because you can give away cards no matter where in your hand they fall.
Oh, and did I mention you only get to “plant” two bean fields? So you have to make some strategic decisions – collect a lot of a common item like wax beans? Or hold out for an uncommon choice like cocoa beans? The entire deck is shuffled through just three times, so you also have to decide how long you can wait for certain things, and when to “harvest.” You can also decide to buy a third bean field – but it will cost you three of those precious gold pieces.
This is a pretty simple game to learn, and is always fun to play. You’ll find that it’s hard to tell who’s winning as you go along, and that you might have been too generous. It works for 2-7 players, but I really don’t enjoy it with less than 4 people. It’s also very short – you can complete game in 30 – 45 minutes.
Bohnanza is made by the excellent Rio Grande Games company. A simple inexpensive game that makes a great gift.
Stay tuned for my next board game review!