Designed by Uwe Rosberg
Published by Amigo Spiel
Reviewed by Eamon Bloomfield - April 4, 1997
$12 / £
This review is taken from the April issue of the Games Corner Catalog with Eamon's kind permission.
BOHNANZA is a play on the word 'Bohne' which means 'bean'. I played this one so can review it. In the game there are different types of Bean Cards, in different quantities. The cards feature a picture of the Bean and the number of cards of that sort in the pack. At the bottom of the card it tells you how many of these Beans you must collect to earn from 1 to 4 points. Each player starts with a hand of 5 Bean cards. Unusually, these cards are kept in the order dealt out (and new cards drawn during the game must go on the back of this pack, again in the order drawn).
In a turn a player MUST first play one or two cards to the two Fields in front of him. Each player has an imaginary two fields in which to grow their Beans. If they have two Fields already growing Beans and their top card is of a different Bean, then one of the Fields must be vacated (cashed in) to make way for the new crop. It therefore becomes a major stratagem to stop this happening. At the beginning there is no problem because both fields are empty. After playing one or two cards, the top two cards of the pack are turned over and the players discuss deals with these cards. You can trade any cards from your hand (not necessarily those in order) but any cards traded for must be put into your fields that turn. Any cards not traded away (from these two turned over cards) MUST be added to the player's field whose turn it is. It follows that if they did not match his current fields he may well be desperate to get rid of them, even offering to give them away. However, as is often the case, someone else may well need them and be willing to trade for them. So the game goes on, dealing back and forth. Promises can be made (but not binding) on future deals.
When a field is cashed in, it is worth points (and cards are used face down to record points, in effect removing those cards from the game). The draw pack will run out and is shuffled and used twice more before the game ends.
A final detail worth mentioning is that, at any time, you can spend 3 points to buy a 3rd Field Site. In my experience, this decision is a close run thing, but usually pays off if done early enough. Our game was won by the only player NOT to buy a 3rd Field and she won by one point, so, as I said, it is a close decision..
A very nice game, best played with those who join in a trading game, and don't just sit back refusing to negotiate.
The Game Cabinet - firstname.lastname@example.org - Eamon Bloomfield