My First Bohnanza is a game by Heike Kiefer, Hayo Siemsen and Uwe Rosenberg, published by Rio Grande Games. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players will be planting and harvesting many different types of beans to earn coins. The player that can collect the most coins will be declared the winner.
For this review, I will mainly discuss the basic or beginner version of the game. Later I will give a brief overview of the more advanced ways to play. To begin, only 4 types of bean cards will be used; the Mean Beans, Sour Beans, Broad Beans and Stink Beans. The remaining cards are set aside in a pile with the coin side up. The 4 basic beans cards that were just named are shuffled together. 5 cards are then dealt to each player. The player places these cards face up in front of themselves in a line. The first card that they receive is placed to the left with new cards being added to the right of the line. Once all players have their 5 cards, the remaining cards are placed in a draw pile in the middle of the table with the coin side up. Each player is then given a bean field board with is placed above the line of bean cards that they just placed with only two of the three bean fields showing. The third field is folded below the other two. Play now begins.
On a player’s turn, they will follow 3 actions in order; plant bean cards, trade bean cards and draw bean cards. The first action is to plant bean cards. To do this, the player must take the first card on the left of their line and plant it by placing it on one of their bean fields. The player is then able to plant the next card in their line if they would like. The player is only able to plant 2 cards per turn. These cards will either begin or expand a row of bean cards of a particular type.
The second action is to trade bean cards. For this step, the player flips over the top 2 cards of the draw pile, putting them next to the deck. The player whose turn it is, is then able to trade with the other players or keep the two new cards. Only the current player is able to make trades. The player is able to offer any cards from their line as well as the 2 new cards that were just flipped over and may request any card or number of cards from another player. The player is also able to give away cards as a gift for nothing in return. The other players are not forced to take any such gifts though. The players must then plant any bean cards that they receive in trade or decided to keep from the newly revealed cards. Players are able to plant cards in any order and are allowed to harvest beans before planting the next card. More on this in a moment. Once this phase of action is finished and all trades or lack of trades has been completed, the trading phase ends.
The final action is to draw bean cards. The last step for a player to do is to draw 3 cards from the draw pile one at a time and place them in their line adding the new cards to the right of the row. Play then passes to the next player.
Earlier I mentioned harvesting beans. Let me explain how that works. Each bean card has a beanometer on it. This shows a coin with a number below it. This number is the amount of matching bean cards that must be planted together in an unbroken row to be able to score 1 coin. Once the right amount of cards has been reached, the player is able to harvest them, placing the harvested bean cards in a discard pile next to the draw pile. The player then takes one of the cards off the top of the coin card pile and places it in front of themself. These cards are kept separate from the other cards.
It should be noted that the beginning game has what’s known as the Mixed Patch rule. This rule basically means that if a player has to plant a third type of bean when they already have two other types of beans on their field, they may place the third type in either one of their fields. The bean cards beneath this new cards are not able to be harvested until the the new type has been harvested first.
The game continues until the draw pile has been emptied a certain number of times. This number is dependent on the number of players. Once this happens players add up their coins and the player with the most coins is the winner.
Once players are familiar with the basic rules they can then use the other bean cards and/or add in the more advanced rules. The remaining bean cards have 2 beanometers, one that allows the player to collect 1 coin and 1 that allows them to collect 2. The advanced rules take players one step at a time closer to the full rules set as laid out in the regular Bohnanza game. It starts with using all the cards and adding in the third bean field. The player uses one or two of the harvested bean cards as coins in this step. The next step removes the Mixed Patch rule and makes it possible for players to harvest beans for no coins, simply to remove them from their fields. The next step makes it where players start with 2 bean fields and are later able to purchase a third field for 3 coins. The next step makes it where players must hold their cards in their hands instead of placing them face up in front of themselves. For younger kids, this is a bit difficult so it’s noted that this step can be skipped until they are better able to deal with the cards properly. The final step adds in the protection rule for single bean cards in a bean field. This means that a bean field with only one card on it may only be harvested if the player has no more than one on any of their other fields.
This game simply comes with a deck of cards and some player mats. Inside the deck are 10 different types of bean cards. Each one has some really cute and humorous looking artwork. The backs of the cards show a giant coin. As mentioned earlier, this is the currency to the game. My daughter and I both really love the artwork. Her favorite cards are the magic beans and of course, the princess beans. The cards are well made and are good quality for little hands. The bean field player mats are a bit thin but are made good enough for younger players. That same type of humorous artwork is also present on the player mats as well. Overall the cards look great and will entertain even the younger players.
8 out of 10
The rulebook is small and fits nicely inside the smaller box. Even though the book is small there’s still plenty of information inside. There are plenty of great pictures and examples throughout the book. Everything is easy to read and understand. Each step of a player’s turn is explained in great detail so that there should be no misunderstandings. The book also contains the advanced rules in a step by step format so that you can build on the skills that you’ve already learned in previous playthroughs. This is great for helping the younger players learn the rules of the game. I really liked that addition. Another really nice addition is the cute little story that the book opens with. It tells a story of a beautiful princess who loved beans. Reading this with my daughter was lots of fun and she really enjoyed it. The story actually made her want to play the game even more. Overall, I’d say that the designers did a great job with the rulebook.
9 out of 10
This is a really cute and fun card game. It isn’t hard to teach or learn. It’s not overly complicated and doesn’t take long to play. What’s not to like? It’s really simple for the most part and it’s got plenty of player interaction. I like that the game basically forces you to make trades. This is gonna help the other player but also help you in the long run. You just have to decide how much you’re willing to help your opponents. I mean, ultimately the idea is to get the most coins but you will find yourself keeping a mental track of how many coins the other players have as well. I really like that the game takes you through the rules of the original Bohnanza but with baby steps so that you can fully grasp each concept. This has been a big help for my daughter. She really has enjoyed playing it and loves the trading aspect of the game. I’m beginning to see that player interaction is a big thing for her. While set collection may be the main mechanic for the game, trading is a very close second. This is simple and easy enough that younger players will enjoy it. It’s even fun for their parents. It surely beats out Old Maid or Go Fish any day of the week.
9 out of 10
My First Bohnanza is a very light and introductory game that helps younger players to learn the more advanced rules of playing the classic game, Bohnanza. It’s very easy and walks players through each idea and concept in a step by step way. It’s fairly quick playing with most games lasting no longer than 30 minutes. Kids will love the humorous and silly looking artwork. Fans of set collection and player interaction will really enjoy this. I would highly recommend this for parents, home schoolers and families. This is one of those games that can be played with the little ones as well as grandma and grandpa. Everyone will enjoy it. This one is kid tested and father approved.
9 out of 10
For more information and this and other great games, please check out Rio Grande Games at their site.