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Subject: Review: Nicht die Bohne rss

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Nicht die Bohne is a fun, clever card game that I can recommend to both casual gamers looking for some light fun as well as to more serious gamer types who are competitive no matter what sort of game they play.

Nicht die Bohne uses a 60-card deck with four "suits," or colors: red, blue, yellow, and green. Each suit consists of 10 bean cards with a point spread of 1-10, these are the cards that give you points at the end of the game. Along with these 10 cards, each suit also has 3 types of special cards: the negative, the doubler, and the nicht die bohne card.

The negative card gives a negative value in the corresponding color to the possessor of this card. For example, if I have 8 points in red, then gain the red negative, I now have -8 points. The interesting point here is that there are three negative cards for each color, and two negatives cancel each other out to become a positive. For example, in the example given above, if I were to pick up a second red negative, I would be in the positive again.

The doubler gives a x2 bonus in the corresponding color. This also applies to negative scores as well.

The nicht die bohne card gives the owner of each card a flat zero points for the game in its color.

What's fun about these special cards is that their value to the players involved will change as the game goes on. The negative cards, for example, are usually bad, except when you already have one, in which you're desperate to get a second (but not a third). The doubler is great if you have positive points to double up, but it can be a game-loser if you're in the negative. The nicht die bohne card is usually bad, but if you're looking at a negative score in one color and you have little hope of changing it, it can wipe out the negative value and give you a flat zero points in that color, which is an improvement. The clever Nicht die Bohne player will be aware of the changing values of these cards as he plays them. Now, on to game play.

The deck is dealt in its entirety to all the players and one person is chosen to play the first card. The leading player will play a card face up on the table and place the small wooden bean token (included in the game box) on his card, indicating that his card will be the last one picked. The other players will then choose a card from their hands and play it face down. Then,when all are ready, cards are revealed simultaneously. Now, the leading player gets first pick among the other face cards and chooses the most appealing card. Once he is done, the player whose card he picked now has second pick. And then the owner of the card he picked has third pick, and so on. The original lead card goes to the player whose card is picked last, and that player becomes to the lead for the next card. This continues until all hands are depleted. Once finished, tally up the scores and the game goes to the player with the most points. Simple...

It may seem almost random in terms of playing cards, but an astute player will do well by playing good cards to avoid the junk leads, and by knowing what every player at the table wants and is trying to avoid. I've played this game a number of times but I still instinctually dump a negative card on the board as a "bad" card, only to be surprised to see someone gladly pick it up to cancel an earlier one. There's also a lot of room for screwing your buddy as an act of revenge for some dastardly deed he performed in a previous game. For example, let's say none of the cards left to choose from are of any interest to you. In this case, simply figure out which cards out there are bad for your opponents and leave those on the table. Did your buddy get stuck with a negative yellow after accumlating some 20 points in that color? Tough break for him...

Nicht die Bohne is fun, easy to pick up, and plays quickly. I view it as an ideal filler game that allows for plenty of socializing at the table. It's worth a look.
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