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Bean Trader
 
 
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Store:  Strategy Games
Series:  Bohnanza
Theme:  Farming / Ranching
Genre:  Trading
Format:  Board Games

Bean Trader

English language edition of Bohn Hansa


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Ages Play Time Players
12+ 60-90 minutes 3-5

Designer(s): Uwe Rosenberg

Publisher(s): Rio Grande Games, Amigo

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Product Description

The players take the roles of bean traders and are members of the famous Bohn Hansa, the union of northern European cities and merchants involved in the bean trade in the middle ages. The players travel from Hanse city to Hanse city in wagons filled with valuable beans to deliver bean orders and to buy more beans. When a player is in a city and has an order card and the necessary beans to fulfill the order, he may deliver the beans and collect the value of the order from the bank. When two or more players are together in a city, they may trade beans among themselves. Trading beans is important as it allows players to get rid of unwanted beans and acquire needed beans. In addition, a player will buy beans in the city, if they have the kind he wants. From time to time, the bean supplies will be replenished as described on new harvest cards. After eight new harvests, the game begins its last round. After this last round, the game ends and the player with the most bean thalers (money) is the winner.

Product Information

Contents:

  • 150 thaler notes
  • 117 bean chips
  • 60 order cards
  • 35 travel cards
  • 10 new harvest cards
  • 5 figures
  • 5 player boards
  • 1 game board
  • 1 rule booklet

Product Reviews

Alan How
May 31, 2003

Franchise push out? Another new development in gaming? Where will the Bean game lead us to? The answer is that the [page scan/se=0027/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=10]Bean trade mark is following the [page scan/se=0041/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=10]Siedler franchise and moving beyond its initial boundary. When [page scan/se=1419/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=10]Bohnanza first popped its head out of the fertile mind of Uwe Rosenberg, we could little have imagined that five and a half years later there would be seven expansion sets and another, Bohnaparte, on the way. And now the germ has leaped species into a board game.

Perhaps the best feature of the original game was the way your cards had to be kept in order. No shuffling, no sorting, just take them as they were dealt and then make the best of it. The main way that you improved your gaming situation was by trading and it is these two elements that have made their way into the boardgame version.

The object of the game is to deliver sets of beans to specified cities. This involves travelling round the board - using the cards from the front of your hand as payment - and then acquiring new beans and trading in order to meet the demand requirements. The order cards are similar to those in [page scan/se=0197/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=10]Empire Builder -- you get beans (goods) from several cities and then travel somewhere where there is demand and hand in the card. The big differences between Bean Trader and Empire Builder games are that the routes are fixed in Bean Trader and that you can invite other players to trade with you. They will do so for two reasons: to get a better collection of beans (goods) and to get to areas on the board more quickly and possibly more cheaply.

The large, attractive board displays ten cities connected by roadways. Each city is seeded with raw materials (different types of bean) with a pricing mechanism that means more beans equate to cheaper prices (not Heinz). Players receive near identical hands of cards, which they arrange in a predetermined sequence. Each set of cards consists of a toll card, a production card and five others of less importance. In addition each player's wagon is filled with one each of the eight bean types.

The rotation of the cards is cleverly done - one card is handed in for each city on your route. If one of these is the toll card, you pay the duty (bad news), while play of a production card means that more beans become available in some of the cities. Which cities depends on the draw from a small deck of harvest cards and it is the depletion of these that will end the game, when cash in hand plus the value of the goods in your wagon will determine the winner. At the end of your turn the cards you have played in order to move are returned to the back of your hand. The rules for putting back the cards state that the toll and production cards are replaced first, which means that these will circulate faster.

When you get to a city (often with more goods to buy) you can invite other players to trade with you. To do so, they play a single card and move to the same city. This is less than they would have to play to travel in their own turn, which has the effect of making travel cheaper, because it means that the toll card appears less often. The economics of the demand cards are such that the 2 or 3 beans required to meet the order card will yield a profit, providing you don't have to pay too highly for the beans. So generally you will try to satisfy as many order cards as possible.

Bean Trader is an odd sort of game. You think it is something like Fische Fluppen Frikadellen (FFF), because of the fact that there are several modes of travel and the object is to deliver specific goods to demand areas. But FFF has some extra quality (not the multi board aspect), because of the range of options at each trading point. The other game it reminds me of is the Empire Rails series, but the crayon aspects make that one a more distant cousin.

There isn't a great deal of planning involved in the game, but this is offset by the opportunities offered by other players' requests to trade, and this I have found is the secret of the game. You must trade, for only that way will you acquire the beans and move round the board fast enough to be able to deliver the number of contracts that you need if you are to have a chance of winning. In terms of number of rounds, the game is over surprisingly quickly and this can catch out the player who doesn't get involved in the deal making.

The game is pleasant, rather than exciting; well put together rather than inspiring. It uses some of the mechanisms in the bean card games, but doesn't offer anything special.

Robin King
December 31, 2003

Uwe Rosenberg's entertaining card game Bohnanza is now available as a board game. Each of the 10 cities begins with two beans. Players start with one each of the eight kinds. Your initial hand consists of seven reusable Travel cards, and three random Order cards; one Order is discarded to determine your initial capital.

Each turn, use Travel cards (and, at times, Orders) to travel to another city, where you may purchase its beans at current prices, trade beans with opponents, and draw another Order. You may also earn money by filling an Order--that is, by discarding the specified beans at the indicated city.

When played, Travel cards are recycled, and Orders discarded. One Travel card requires the drawing of a Harvest card to add new beans to several cities and thus decrease prices. Play ends, and most money wins, after eight Harvests. Our kudos to Rosenberg for using his bean!

Other Resources for Bean Trader:

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