Sunday, May 24, 2009

First play of Bohnanza

I've just finished playing my first game of Bohnanza, a 1997 card game for 2 to 7 players.

There were three of us playing and it was the first time for all of us. Considering that, it was a smooth transition into play. I started the session by explaining the rules. It was quite interesting to watch the family's eyes glazing over.

I don't think I was explaining badly it was just a little too much for them. I gave up explaining and instead played through one turn as the starting player. Of course even that didn't really explain everything as the trading aspect doesn't make sense to a player until they've got some beans on the table. So my first turn was planting a bean and then keeping the two cards that come up for auction.

My son took the second turn and when he drew the two cards I offered to trade cards that would add to his fields even though the cards I was trading for did me no good. That was the main hurdle and everyone could see the benefits at that point.

So play went round the table for a few turns and I made a comment about trading cards just to clear them out of my hand so I could play the cards I wanted to on my turn. This seemed to ring a bell and the trading stepped up a notch.

During one trade on my wifes turn she was asking for a Red Bean which was going to give her a score. I looked at the cards in my hand and offered her a Red Bean, but only if she also took two duff cards I didn't want that she didn't want either. She took them. I was well happy with the trade.

My son was collecting the bigger sets of cards. He was collecting Coffee Beans for the longest time and was trying to maximise the number of coins he collected. On the oter hand I was taking coins at every opportunity except on two occasions where I spent some time collecting Chillie Beans and Garden Beans, ut these were the exceptions.

My wife was doing a mixture of collecting big runs such as Coffee Beans and Blue Beans and doing some give away trades to complete the sets.

The game played on... and on... the game box says the game runs 45 minutes, for us it went on a good deal longer, but I can put that down to it being the first play. the rules say, you play through the deck three times, which we did, but it seemed a bit long for them. I think that in our next play we'll try going through the deck just twice.

I was very pleased to find that the down time in the game is minimal as you can get involved in trades during other players turns.

The final score left us with some very close scores, My son hit 22 while my wife and I both scored 23. This is a game we will be playing again.

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