David Grim
United States
Ukiah
California
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Bohne: bean. (German)
bonanza: 1) an especially rich vein of precious ore, 2) boom, or gold rush, gravy, godsend, manna from heaven, windfall, bunce: a sudden happening that brings good fortune (as a sudden opportunity to make money); "the demand for testing has created a boom for those unregulated laboratories where boxes of specimen jars are processed like an assembly line" - wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Ergo,

Bean-rush, bean-gravy, bean-boom, bean-bunce. All of them better, in my opinion, than Bohnanza, which might work over there in the Vaterland, but I think most Americans probably don't get the whole Bohne + bonanza thing.

For me, it's Beans.

[Let Us Begin]

On any given post-putting-the-baby-to-bed night, my wife may ask "how about a game of Bohnanza, the German-style card game of trading and politics, designed by Uwe Rosenberg and released in 1997 by Amigo Spiele?" Actually, it's more like "how about a game of beans?" Or "Want to play beans?" Or simply, "How about beans?" Or even, "Beans?" Anything works, really, in my household to signify the desirability of "a game of Beans." The yellow box sits in the living room on a shelf where the baby can't investigate it and affect change on it, way up high, next to a deck of cards, Manoover, Ogre, various magazines and rulebooks, and some random USB-cable detritus. Suffice it to say, it's close at hand, and always ready for the regular action it receives.

Beans is the only game in my collection that I can say I've played hundreds of times. But only the two-player version. I've only played with more than two players a few times. Why? Because when you have more than two game-willing players on hand, you tend to want to take advantage of the situation and impress on your prospective players more satisfying, larger experiences. Not to say that Beans isn't satisfying, it just hasn't worked out like that in my life. In any case, Beans is an excellent couples game. And I'm here to inform you of this just in case you haven't gotten the message from among the other 52 reviews.

[Gameplay]

First, start by facing one another. You and your game partner. Shuffle the deck after removing the cocoa and garden bean varieties. You'll never need these cards again. Give them to the baby. No, don't do that, because it only takes about three minutes of nomming before they're rendered pulp and become a choking hazard. I'm from the future; I urge you to heed my warning. Give them to the dog.

Shuffle the deck. It's big, and you'll need ten-inch fingers to shuffle them properly. Or you can split it and each shuffle half, trading quarters a couple times to mix the cards further. Thankfully, we don't have to go to such lengths, since my wife has inordinately long fingers.

Next, set the deck to the side, then deal out five cards to both players. Don't rearrange the cards; leave them in the order they were dealt. On each one of your turns, do the following:

1. Play the first card (required).
2. Play the second card (optional).
3. Discard any card (optional).
4. Draw three cards from the deck and lay them out in a row.
4a. If any cards in the discard pile match those that you've turned out in Step 4, take them and place them on top of the latter.
5. Choose which cards you want to "plant" in your two "fields" in front of you. (These are imaginary spaces. Imagination is required for the full experience.)
6. Sell any cards which you move out of your fields, if you have sufficient quantities of each type.
7. Draw two cards from the deck, one by one, and put them into the back of your hand in the order in which they were drawn.
8. You may not have taken all, or any, of the three cards you laid out in front of you in Step 4, so these will go to the other player for them to decide if they want to keep or discard them.

You can't have more than one kind of a bean in one field at a time, and you sell your beans once they have increased in number to a certain point. But you decide when you want to let them go. Also, depending on how you discard your one card, and how you deal with any leftover cards from the other player, you can line them up in the discard deck so that you increase your chances of getting them back in a cascade of beans. You start with one bean field, then get a final third once you've earned and spent your first three coins for it.

With two players, the gameplay is not hugely interactive, although it's more so than many others. On the Grimstuffed Interactivity Scale (GIS) of 1 to 10, with one being Princes of Florence and ten being Cosmic Encounter, Beans is a 3.768. Again, this is with two players.

Even with a relatively low interactivity score, there are plenty of opportunities to screw your opponent here or there in little teasing ways. (For those of you who don't like a little "screw you" in your games, you're missing out on a fun part of life. Expand your boundaries. Test your proclivities.)

[Stra-teh-gah]

This is what I've learned: Don't fall in love with your beans. Especially not coffee or wax beans, the more plentiful legumes in the game. They pay slowly, you'll need a lot of them, and it's best to just flip them when you get four.

When you first start out, you need to get those licks in and get them good, and to do so you need that third bean field as quick as possible, so...

Look geeks, look geeks. Lets go for the easy tricks.

Lets do beans with soys and stinks, geeks.
Lets do beans with greens and blues, geeks.

First, I'll make a quick trick bean flip.
Then I'll make a quick trick field flip.

You can make a quick trick green flip.
You can make a quick trick soy flip.

And here's a new trick, geek...
Wax on greens and greens on blacks.
Blacks on soys and beans on fields.
Beans and fields on geeks on box.

Now we come to the tips and thoughts, geeks...


[Thoughts]

This is the 53rd review of Beans. If you're reading this there's a good chance you live under a rock. Congratulations. Life above ground is good, and there are many fun things to do under the sun. One of them is to play Beans with someone when you aren't in the mood for something more lengthy or mentally engaging.

As a 3+ player game, I think it can be amazing. The banter that goes on between players to trade for the right cards can be hilarious and continuously engaging. Without the right players, it's still pretty good. But be aware that with more than two players it's a completely different game. So, in essence, you get two different games in the box, they're just both about beans.

Final words: Buy it. If you own it, play it. If you don't play it anymore, trade it to someone who does want to play it.

...And that concludes this completely superfluous 53rd review of Bohnanza.


-grimstuffed
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Rin
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grimstuffed wrote:

On the Grimstuffed Interactivity Scale (GSI) of 1 to 10


Shouldn't that be GIS?

Yes, I read the whole article.
No, I don't live under a rock.
But it was an interesting read
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Cynan de Leon
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I love this. I had guessed that I wasn't the only person that referred to this game as "Beans".

Basically, my wife only wants to play 3 board games now:

- Beans (Bohnanza)
- Dice (Roll through the Ages)
- Catan (invariable Cities and Knights)

For a while, other options included "Slaves" (Puerto Rico) and Agricola (the only game she liked that didn't get a nickname).

So I can totally relate to:
Quote:
Actually, it's more like "how about a game of beans?" Or "Want to play beans?" Or simply, "How about beans?" Or even, "Beans?" Anything works, really, in my household to signify the desirability of "a game of Beans."

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Andreas
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Slaves is a nice name. But those brown people are settlers dont forget it.
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(Barry) eldrbarry McWilliams
United States
Everett
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Actually "The Bean Game" is probably one of the most popular games for our game nights usually with at least six people. It is easy to set up, not too complicated to play, and not overly long. Even with regular interruptions by grandchildren. And despite the "stinky beans". And everyone I have introduced the game to has proceeded to obtain their own copy soon after! - eldrbarry
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David Grim
United States
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shurynn wrote:
grimstuffed wrote:

On the Grimstuffed Interactivity Scale (GSI) of 1 to 10


Shouldn't that be GIS?

Yes, I read the whole article.
No, I don't live under a rock.
But it was an interesting read


Yes! Thanks for pointing that out. That makes it even better.
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David Grim
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eldrbarry wrote:
Actually "The Bean Game" is probably one of the most popular games for our game nights usually with at least six people. It is easy to set up, not too complicated to play, and not overly long. Even with regular interruptions by grandchildren. And despite the "stinky beans". And everyone I have introduced the game to has proceeded to obtain their own copy soon after! - eldrbarry


You're right. I've changed that part of my review to reflect a change in heart based on several recent plays.
 
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George Leach
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I'd never dream of playing this with less than 3 or more than 5. At those player numbers it's one of Rosenberg's best.
 
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