Board Game Review: Bohnanza
Rating: 7.2 out of 10 stars
What I hope to accomplish with my card game reviews is to introduce you to a new game and help you determine whether the game is a good fit for you. I will consider and rank five criteria: gameplay, design, strategy, originality, and replayability.
Bohnanza is a hand management and negotiation game for 2-7 players. The play time is about 45 minutes, which seems about accurate based on my experience. The suggested age for players is 13+ years.
Gameplay (8 out of 10 stars)
Bohnanza is a game where the objective is to plant and harvest beans to gain coins.
In the beginning, each player receives five cards. The order of the cards matters in this game, so you cannot organize the cards in your hand.
On your turn, the first action you must take is to plant bean cards from your hand. The first card you must play on one of your fields. The second is optional, but can only be placed if it matches one of the beans you already have in your fields.
The cards you place must be the first (and second if you decide to place two) card on the right side of your hand.
Next on your turn, you turn over two bean cards from the top of the deck. You can then decide if you want to keep and immediately plant those two cards, or get rid of them. The only way to get rid of them is by trading with the other players. If no one is willing to trade, you must plant those beans. The active player can also trade cards in their hand along with the two beans from the deck.
A player can also give bean cards for free. This may happen because they want to get rid of cards they would otherwise have to place in their fields.
The third part of your turn is planting the turned-over cards from the deck if you haven’t traded them, and/or planting the traded cards. If you plant a bean that doesn’t match either of your stacks of beans in your fields, you must harvest your largest bean crop and then plant the bean.
You can harvest beans at any time, whether during your turn or someone else’s. When you do, you look at the beanometer at the bottom of the card that says how much different amounts of beans are worth. Then you gain coins matching the amount listed on the bottom for the number of beans you have.
The game ends when the draw pile is emptied and shuffled for a third time.
There is a variation that includes several more types of beans: the cocoa been, wax been, and coffee bean.
There is also a variation with slightly different rules for the two-player game. (For example, the game ends when the draw pile is emptied the first time.)
Design (4 out of 10 stars)
Design includes two categories: art and components.
The art is just plain ugly. The green bean above, who is standing next to a pool of vomit, is a prime example of how horrible the artwork is.
The player mats are flimsy, so thin and easily to damage that my dad laminated ours.
Strategy (9 out of 10 stars)
There is a lot of strategy of the game, but most of it is bargaining to get the beans you want and get rid of the beans you don’t want.
Knowing when to harvest your beans is also strategic, as is choosing which beans to focus on since some are worth more than others but are less common.
Originality/Creativity (8 out of 10 stars)
I would say this game is pretty creative. I have never played a game before where I was so desperate to give away cards for free. Having a game where you can’t organize or reorder your hand is also very unique.
Replayability (7 out of 10 stars)
The game has good replayability because of its variation and how fun and easy it is to play. I would even be willing to play it more than one time in a row if everyone at the table was enjoying it.
I admit I’m not a huge fan of card games compared to board games, but I found this one to be interesting and engaging.