Monday, August 22, 2016

Memories of Bohnanza

Bohnanza is the source of one of my favorite Gen Con memories.

The first Gen Con after I discovered Boardgame Geek was a big one for me. I had read about all these games that everyone there knew were classics that I had never even seen. And, while I had a couple friends who owned Catan and Puerto Rico and Carcassonne, I ended up being the first person in my crowd to really get into designer board games.

So I had a list. And a budget, which I blew through. After I reached the point of stopping, I saw a booth that had Bohnanza on sale and I couldn't resist grabbing that too.

Spoiler: out of all the new games I bought at that GenCon, that last minute impulse purchase of Bohnanza was the one that has seen the most play with the greatest variety of groups and it has easily kept its place on the game shelf.

That night, after the gang got back to the hotel, we opened up Bohnanza and got in a three-player game of it. And then another. And then another. At that point, everyone was so exhausted that we crashed. But we all knew Bohnanza was a brilliant game.

Indeed, Bohnanza, a game about planting beans and managing a hand of cards that you can't rearrange except through trading with other players, is a great example of simple mechanics with deep choices. While the designer, Uwe Rosenberg, has gone on to greater fame with heavier games like Agricola, Bohnanza is still one of masterpieces.

I have played a lot of games since that Gen Con, both at Gen Cons and even more outside of Gen Con. But the magic of discovering Bohnanza still shines.

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