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Subject: O, the great woes of being a Bohnanza lover... rss

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Tanner Griffin
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Ogden
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This game is one of my favorites. I absolutely love it. I have never played a game that I enjoy more per play.

There are only a couple of problems with it, but those problems make it so I can rarely ever find a chance to play it.

1) It doesn't play well with fewer players
As a two-player game, it takes all that I love about the game and throws it out the window. As a three-player game, there is enough of the player interaction to make it a good game. With four players, this game is fantastic. 5-6, it is my favorite game. I still haven't played it with 7, but I suspect it would be the bomb. But...this combines with problem number--

2) My family dislikes it
My dad enjoys it enough. He's willing to play anytime. (Of course, he will play any game anytime.) But my mom just can't get the idea of the game down. She can't ever remember if 4 wax beans makes 1 coin or if 1 wax bean makes 4 coins. She can't get the fact that you can only harvest a field if there's two cards in it or if there's one in both. She hates how you can't rearrange your hand. Once, when I got her to play, and I explained a certain rule she had forgotten, she just said "That's why I hate this game! I can't get all the rules right!" Sheesh. Once, when I was arguing with my brother about whether this game was better than Hey, That's My Fish!, he claimed that HTMF was better because "It's actually fun." shake I don't dare spring this on his wife, who has a hard time understanding Settlers. At least my girlfriend enjoys it. But...her family hated it. Her family plays Catan almost daily but shudder at the mention of "The Bean Game".

3) It's nearly impossible to teach to non-gamers and every time that I've tried, I don't dare teach them another game. Make sure that they understand at least one gateway game before springing this one on them.

4) On BSW, it's slow, long, and takes forever to find other players
Whenever I really feel like playing this game, I try BrettSpielWelt. However, this never satisfies my itch because no one else wants to play. The few times you do play, it'll be 3 player. I cannot fathom getting 5 players on that, it'd take hours of staring and telling people they can join. And then, all the turns would last forever because of the confusing offer/trade mechanic that BSW uses for this game. It's bad in 3 player, it'd be bad in 5 player because of too much down time.

However, when I do play this game, I am quickly reminded of why it is one of the best games ever. It has a ton of player interaction. The math put into the game is fantastic--playtesters must have been at this game forever. The cards are high-quality and feel great. People laugh at the cartoony pictures and the horrible puns involved, but then (if they enjoy it) they realize the strategic and interactive potential of this seemingly simple game. People make bean puns the entire game (I've bean wanting to play this game forever!). It doesn't let you do everything you want. When you make a huge deal, it's satisfying.

I must say, the pros well outweigh the cons, but it is majorly frustrating when you can't find anyone to play your favorite game. Just now, even, my family is watching a movie without me (I am sick of movies, having watched about 6 in the last 2 weeks) after turning down an offer to play Bohnanza with 6 players. 6! What a game it would have been!

But, alas, problem number 2 persists.

And that, combined with problem number 1, makes the game of Getting People to Play Bohnanza the hardest and most confusing game I have ever played.
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Brian Forsythe
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Are we playing the same game? I've taught this to plenty of non-gamers, the youngest being nine years, and everyone gets it in about five minutes. You mention Settlers, and Bohnanza is much easier to grasp than Settlers.

If this isn't sarcasm, I would suggest you consider that perhaps you need to work on your game-teaching delivery?
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brian
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megasycophant wrote:
Are we playing the same game? I've taught this to plenty of non-gamers, the youngest being nine years, and everyone gets it in about five minutes. You mention Settlers, and Bohnanza is much easier to grasp than Settlers.

If this isn't sarcasm, I would suggest you consider that perhaps you need to work on your game-teaching delivery?

This is one of my most successful gateway games. Everyone I have taught love the game. I enjoy it with 2 and agree it is a much different game. And we have played with 4 and 6 and maybe a few of the odd numbers as well. Most people I teach this game to go out and buy a copy.

I'd have to echo Brian and say maybe it is your delivery.

Coins vs beans? The same pattern of coins is on every card (except the beans that don't generate certain sets). So the number always represents the amount of beans you have to harvest. Not sure how that is something that would be continually confusing.

People can't grasp the "can't harvest a single bean rule"? Tell them that the single card is the seed that is beign planted. They can't harest it until it sprouts, i.e. a 2nd bean comes up. There are ways around making these rules stick.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Friff14 wrote:
Just now, even, my family is watching a movie without me (I am sick of movies, having watched about 6 in the last 2 weeks) after turning down an offer to play Bohnanza with 6 players. 6! What a game it would have been!

Watching a movie at home? On a TV? It would be a real shame if something were to... happen... to that TV, wouldn't it.
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First off, you're not using the fan edition of the game are you? That's sure to confuse the hell out of newbies. Otherwise, at least to me, it's pretty clearly labeled how much $ each type of bean card gives given the 4 different thresholds.

I myself enjoy SoC more. It turns out, I'm not big on trading and batering. At least in SoC, that mechanism is mitigated by stuff offered by the rest of the game. Same reason why I despised Chinatown. I already spend enough time negotiating between other people what game to play and on what table. I don't need more of that in the format of Chinatown... deciding what to build and on what lot. Reminds me of the South Park episode where the boys pay $$ for the "line ride".
 
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Freelance Police
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I think the problem is that, for new players, much of Bohnanza is counter-intuitive:

a) In nearly all trading games, the stuff you want to trade will have some value to you. In Bohnanza, "hoarding" cards will not work.

b) In almost all trading games, you trade "equally", typically some cards for the same number of cards. In Bohnanza, this will not work.

c) In all card other games, you get to rearrange your hand. If a player does this even once in Bohananza, they've "ruined" the game.

d) Most games do not use the backs of cards to score points.

e) While Bohnanza has few rules, they need to be understood all at once, including all that un-learning of the card game conventions the adults have learned all these years.

f) Non-gaming adults don't listen to all the rules.

g) Kids are taught to pay attention. Adults make snap judgements. The latter won't work with Bohnanza.

In a Eurogames group, we had no problems. As others, even young children do very well with this game. But Eurogamers are used to learning new rules, including non-conventional ones.

File this under, "Why can't my mother throw the dice somewhere besides the center of the board when we play Settlers?"
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