REVIEW – Bohnanza

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BohnanzaName: Bohnanza
Publisher: Rio Grande Games
Type: Cooperative game
Players: 2-7
Best with: 2-7
Length of Playtime: 45 minutes

 

Give It to Me Quick: Bohnanza is a simple, slightly quirky card game where you will build sets with unique gameplay. Designed by Uwe Rosenberg, creator of Agricola and Caverna. It is easy to learn, easy to understand, easy to play.

Fun, quirky, easy to learn.

Fun, quirky, easy to learn.

 

Gameplay Summary

In Bohnanza, players will be planting different types of beans in the “fields” in front of them. Players will start with two fields, and can upgrade to three during the game. The same beans must be planted in the same field in order to gain coins. The number of the different types of beans in the deck varies; certain varieties will show up more often and are thus worth more coins if you are able to accumulate them.

Working on two bean fields.

Working on two bean fields. This player can can harvest his chili beans for one coin, or wait to get three more chili beans and harvest for two coins. He needs one more black-eyed bean to harvest that field for one coin.

The unique mechanic of Bohnanza is that players’ hands cannot be re-organized during the game; they must play or negotiate beans from their hand in order as cards will always be played from the front to the back of the hand. Players must plant at least one bean from their hand per turn. If they haven’t planned ahead, they will be forced to harvest a bean field that they are trying to build on in order to plant a new card.

Always have to play from the front of your hand.

Always play from the front of your hand. The Soy bean is next here.

Depending on the number of players, gameplay changes somewhat. With two players, trading and bargaining between players is eliminated; instead players can discard one card per turn after planting. With 3+ players, trading/bargaining/donating is how you get rid of the unwanted cards. This often creates a free-for-all if several players want the card that you are offering.

 

How many players is it best with?

This is definitely one of the major strengths of Bohnanza. A two player game feels distinctly different from a 3-4, 5-6, or even 7 person game, but we almost enjoy it more with just two players. And this is saying a lot, since 3-4, or 5-7 players is also a lot of fun and adds a lot of player interaction with bargaining and trading into the mix. The 3-7 player games don’t work if people don’t want to get involved.

 

Our Positives

After just a few plays of Bohnanza, it feels comfortable and classic. It’s a unique mix of easily learned gameplay, an acceptable amount of luck, bargaining requirement, cutthroat competition, and quirky theme. My wife thinks the literal bean illustrations (coffee beans, black-eyed beans) are “cute” and fun to play with.

Anyone who remotely “gets” games will pick up on this very quickly. There aren’t a lot of rules to remember. You’re really just making sets, but its a lot more interesting than that sounds because of the fun ways that you will be gaining cards. We’ve played several back-to-back-to-back games multiple times.

It’s also a small, easy to transport game that you can break out anywhere. It’s a nice break from the large boxes that take up a lot of room.

Lot of fun in a small package.

Lot of fun in a small package.

Our Negatives

Sometimes the same exact trade can exist between two different players, and players can show favoritism by trading with one instead of another. There isn’t really a way to protect against this.

If people arent interested in bargaining or haggling in a 5+ player game, it can feel like the game drags a bit until your turn comes around again. Players have to be involved to make it fun.

 

Accessibility:

playbegins_accessibility7

 

 

 

 

35_party for a Party For a more “gamey” group, sure. It’s not your typical party game, but it might work.
casual Casual Absolutely, quick and easy to pick up.
35_competitive Competitive Yes, there are multiple times when you can pick up a card or work a swap to stick it to an opponent. You’ll be the target next time, though!
35_strategy Strategic Yes, luck of the draw plays a factor, but there’s definitely strategy here.

 

Final Thoughts on Bohnanza

Bohnanza at first glance just looks like a simple card game, but there is a surprising amount of depth and fun hidden inside it. It’s one of my wife and I’s favorites to wind down after a day at work. It’s the classic example of simple, strong gameplay carrying a game. I can see us playing this game for years as a favorite. Fantastic!

 

Check out more reviews!

 

Bohnanza

8.3

Replayability

80/10

    Engagement

    90/10

      Game Mechanics

      85/10

        Theme/Fun

        77/10

          Likes

          • - Easy to learn, easy to play
          • - Great gameplay design
          • - Lot of player interaction

          Dislikes

          • - Can suffer from the Catan style of trading where one player favors another

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