Nicht die Bohne!
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A tricky pack of cards, with which the players try to collect as many cards of the same color as possible. All players play a card face up in front of themselves each round and auction them to their opponents. At the end, the collected cards count plus or minus points according to special cards. Whoever has the most points at the end wins.
Average Rating: 3.9 in 7 reviews
This is a fantastic game. You can find an overview of the rules elsewhere so I will not go into them here but the dynamics of the game is great. As in Ex & Hopp this does become a game of screwing the leader and helping whoever is behind. I seem to have a soft spot for mean games and this fits right in there with Ex & Hopp, Green Thumb and Wortelboer. Very highly recommended.
What is it with Germans and beans? Weve had Bohnanza, La Isla Bohnita, Space Beans ... and now Nicht die Bohne. Ive had the great pleasure of traveling extensively in Germany and dont recall beans being a large dietary staple or being such a big deal. Nevertheless, beans seem to be an enticing theme when it comes to games.
Nicht die Bohne, designed by Horst Reiner Rosner and released by Amigo, is a clever Essen release which has been mostly overlooked. That's a shame, as it is quite a fun and nasty card game with some interesting twists.
The game rules and mechanics are very simple, but do require one to warp his thinking outside of the normal patterns. There are four sets (colors) of cards, each color with two sets of cards numbered 1 - 10, three 'minus' cards, one x2 card, and one 'Nicht die Bohne' ('Not the Bean') card. These are all shuffled together and dealt out evenly to the players. The game can accommodate from 3 - 6 players, but I've found that it would actually plays better with 5 or 6.
The start player places one of his cards face up on the table and marks it with the wooden bean token. All other players then simultaneously play a card face-down from their hands and they are then revealed. The start player then chooses one of the cards (not the one marked with the bean token) and places it in his field in front of him. The player whose card was chosen then selects one of the other cards. This continues until only one player hasn't had a selection, and he gets the original card marked with the bean token. He will now be the 'start' player for the next round.
What are you trying to accomplish? Well, once all cards have been played and collected, the scoring round is held. Players score each of their colors independently. You tally the numbers on each of one the cards for one color you managed to collect. If you have either 0 or 2 negative cards, the result is positive. If you have 1 or 3 negative cards, however, the result is negative. This figure is then doubled if you collected the x2 card ... which, of course, could be either a negative or positive result. This same calculation is done for each of your four colors collected and the totals added for a final result.
The game is played over three rounds and the player with the highest cumulative total is the victor.
Again, sounds easy enough. The warped thinking required, however, is that when you are the 'start' player, you usually want to lead with a card no one would want. This forces your opponents to play cards you desire so you will choose their card, allowing them to pick next. They are all trying to avoid being the last player to have his card selected, otherwise they will get stuck with the nasty lead card. So, to get a good card, you have to lead with a bad one. Hmmm.
However, you don't want to help your opponents TOO much, so sometimes it is wiser to offer horrible cards that your opponent will have to take, even if it means you getting hurt, too. With more players, however, this gets more and more difficult to accomplish.
One also must keep a careful eye on the number of cards which have already been played, especially the 'negative' cards. Getting stuck with one negative cards isn't a tragedy IF the other two negative cards have not yet been played yet. However, one must be careful to not to get stuck with that last negative card if it will result in an overall negative score for you for that color.
During the card selection process, with four players, it is not too difficult to decipher which cards will likely be selected by whom. That's the one real problem I see with the game. It tends to bog down as a player contemplates, 'If I take the yellow 3 from Bill, then Bill will likely take the Blue 1 from Greg, which means Greg will have to take the negative green from Ashton, who'll then get stuck with the yellow negative. But, if I take the negative green from Ashton, then Ashton will take .....'. You get the idea. The game is one which is very susceptible to such analyzation and calculation, which with four players greatly bogged the game down. Later playings with 5 and 6 players actually sped up the game as such analyzation and calculation proved to be too cumbersome and difficult, so players didn't try to do it.
One rule we steadfastly enforce following the first round is 'no helping other players'. Let them play their own game, for better or worse. Otherwise, it would be very easy to coach players to take this card or that one.
Nicht die Bohne is quite fun and, to my surprise, quite vicious. In a recent edition of Counter magazine, Stuart Dagger accurately said, 'This is not a game where you have a huge amount of control, but it is one that often offers plenty of scope for group malice.' Due to this 'malice', I don't know if this game is really destined to be a 'family' game that I originally envisioned. But that's OK ... a little viciousness within a circle of gamers can be a fun thing!
Nicht die Bohne is a wonderful card game. It can be taught quickly, it plays relatively quickly (I find that a game takes about half an hour), and it has the obligatory 'wooden bit' in the form of the Beanchip.
As with any card game, there are occasional problems with excessive randomness. But I think there's enough skill in Nicht die Bohne that it's not really that much of a problem.
A definite winner. Highly recommended.
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Collect beans numbered 1 to 10 in each of four colors, along with others that double the values of numbered beans, but watch out! Pests can ruin your crop in two ways: (1) Negative multipliers reverse your fortunes, and (2) a Nicht die Bohne card reduces a crop's value to zero--but may be used to cancel a negative total. After the 60 cards are dealt, the starting player chooses one card from his hand (probably something awful). The others then reveal a card simultaneously; the lead player chooses one of the faceup cards (invariably something good) and places it in his scoring area. The player who chose the card then picks any card except the one led; this is taken (usually grumpily) by the last player without a card, who begins the next sequence. Scoring, which can be traumatic, occurs when all cards are taken. Highest score after four rounds wins. This bizarre and lively game will fill a hilarious half-hour with cutthroat fun.
This is a card game where the designer would seem to have begun with an idea for a scoring system and then built the game around it. Consequently, the scoring system seems like a good place to begin the description. The deck has 60 cards, divided evenly between four suits. In each suit there are cards numbered 1 to 10 and five specials. These specials are three minus signs, a doubler and a 'Nicht die Bohne' and they act as multipliers. At the end of the hand each player will have a collection of cards face up on the table in front of them and arranged into suits. The player will calculate a score for each suit and the sum of these four numbers will be their score for the hand. The score for each suit is got by adding up the numbers and then multiplying by each of the specials. Each minus sign multiplies by -1, the doubler multiplies by 2 and the 'Nicht die Bohne' multiplies by 0. So if you have zero or two minus signs in a suit, a high total is good, the doubler is welcome and the Nicht die Bohne the last thing you want present. If, on the other hand, you have one or three minus signs, all those verdicts get reversed.
At the beginning all the cards are dealt out and a start player is chosen. This start player initiates the trick by playing a card face up on the table. Each of the other players then also plays a card, initially face down, turning them face up once everyone has made their decision. It is now a matter of selecting one of the available face-up cards to be one of your scoring cards. The start player has first choice and may pick any card other than the one they played themself. For example, Mary is the start player and after looking at what is available, she decides that the card in front of Colin is the one that she most likes the look of. She picks it up and places it face up as her first scoring card. The choice now passes to Colin who may select any card other than the one in front of Mary. He takes Alison's card, which makes her the next person to choose. This continues until there is only one person left who hasn't chosen and this player gets the card that Mary laid initially and also becomes the start player for the next trick. This continues until players have no cards left in hand, at which point you do the scoring as described above.
This is not a game where you have a huge amount of control, but it is one that often offers plenty of scope for group malice, because the choosing mechanism means that it is not difficult to direct a particular card to the person who wants it least. So the strategy, insofar as there is any, is to do with such commonsense matters as not collecting a lot of big numbers in a suit while there are still unassigned minus signs around and laying down a good card if the start player lays down a bad one.
Not a deep game and certainly not a classic, but good fun for all that.