126 of 126 people found the following review helpful
Brilliantly simple trading game.,
= Durability: = Fun: = Educational:
This review is from: Bohnanza (Toy)
Bohnanza is a brilliant little game. It's social. It works well with anywhere from 3 to 7 players. (There are rules for a 2 player variant, but it's so-so.) It works for all ages, and is fun for dedicated gamers and normal folk alike. Simply put, this is one of the best all-around games out there.
The premise is simple: You are a bean farmer, trying to make as much money off of bean growing as possible. You have only two bean fields, and each field can only be planted with a single kind of bean at a time. You have to accumulate a certain number of beans in a field before it is worth anything as a sale. How many beans this is depends on the kind of bean planted - the more of a bean there are in the deck, the less each is worth. Thus, while it's easy to collect coffee beans (with 24 in the deck) you need 4 of them before they're worth even a single gold coin. At the opposite extreme, cocoa beans are worth a gold coin each. (You still have to accumulate two before they can be sold.)
The twist that makes this all fun is that your hand of cards (beans to be planted) always remains in the order that you drew it, and you MUST plant the bean-card at the front of your hand every turn, even if this means wrecking one of the fields you had been trying to build up to a good value. The only way to change your hand is by trading cards with other players. Thus, you have to plan ahead, take some risks, and keep a good name.
I rank this game a 5 for educational value because of what it rewards. No where is it written in the rules of bohnanza that you must play honorably, or treat the other players well. However: after many games, I've seen time and again that the players who most often win are the ones who treat other players fairly and honor their bargains. Keeping a good name is vital. You have to play hard-nosed to win, and bargain hard. However, you also need to be known for being a good person to trade with. It's worth it to trade in abstract 'favors' with the other players and to take the occassional loss to keep your name good and your rivals happy with you. You also need to know when to advertise what you have, and when to keep your mouth shut and surprise your rivals. These are lessons that children and adults alike could use more training in!
I have one friend who declared that if she were to be exiled to a desert island Survivor style, and allowed only one luxury item, a copy of Bohnanza would be it. What better review can a game get?