I taught Lisa and the kids Bohnanza – The Bean Game this evening. The game requires drawing, trading, and donating cards containing one of eleven varieties of garden beans from your hand. Although simple in concept, it actually stresses the mind a bit to manage what beans to harvest and plant in your fields. The most unique part of this card game is that you are never allowed to rearrange cards in your hand. When it’s your turn to play (you become the active player) you must always play from one end of your hand and replentish cards from the other end of your hand. At each turn, all players may adjust this converyor belt of cards moving towards the playable end of your hand by trading and donating cards (in any order) to the active player. In this fashion you can get rid of cards in the middle of your hand so that the cards you want arrive at the playable end of your hand when you become the active player. I’ve owned the game for almost two years but have never played it with my family since I thought the kids would find the concepts too hard to grasp.
After recently successfully teaching the kids Amazonas, a game I also thought would be too complex, I decided to give Bohnanza a try. Unlike some other games, this one proved to be easy to teach but required a lot of coaching throughout the game to illuminate why you might or might not want to trade and what might make a good offer to another player. Overall it was a successful night in that the kids and Lisa enjoyed it and we got to do something together as a family for the entire evening…always a good thing. In the end, the kids said, “I like that game!” We must have done something right.