Bohnanza Celebrates 20 Years, New Bean


local-favorite card game reaches its 20th anniversary in 2017, and Amigo Spiele is celebrating with a special edition. Bohnanza: 20 Jahre adds a new look and a new bean to the game later this year.

After years of being “that game Uwe Rosenberg was famous for before Agricola“, Bohnanza is enjoying a resurgence. In the last three years, the game has seen expansions, a two-player version, and a My First Bohnanza variant for kids. Amigo Spiele says it has sold two million copies of Bohnanza over the last twenty years.

San Marcos Bohnanza players get their beans on.

It’s hard to beat the simplicity and depth of the original, though. Players draw, trade and “plant” cards to build up sets of beans, then trade those beans in for the coins. There’s just one maddening constraint — you play the cards in your hand in a specific order. Trading away unwanted cards is so important that Bohnanza is one of the few games where giving stuff away is a winning strategy.

The New Spring Bean in Bohnanza’s Step

The new edition updates the bean cards with art the celebrates the 20th anniversary, but the big change is the new spring bean. The beans in the basic game score points when collected, but the spring bean triggers a brief card draft.

When you turn in a set of two spring beans, you draw cards equal to the number of players plus one. You plant one bean and pass the rest. Each player then plants a bean from the handful and passes it on. The last card turns into a coin for you.

It’s a daffy mechanism that gives you a great choice of cards, then threatens to disrupt the plans of other players down the line. I can see the spring bean throwing new players for a loop, and I think I would keep it out of a beginner’s game. But the chaos should be great for long-time fans.

I haven’t quite worn out my original German-language deck of Bohnanza yet — those cards are sturdy! But I might just talk myself into an upgrade when the game hits shelves. No word yet on when that will be, but it will be shown at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair in February.

Archived from the San Marcos Board Gamers website.

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