Date: 4th April 2003
Game played: Bean Trader ( Rio Grande Games ) BGG Id: 4395

Nige had just got the English version of Bohn Hansa, published by Rio Grande and being a fan of Bohnanza was keen to try it out. The idea of the game is to travel around various European cities, buying the different beans and trading with other players, in order to fulfill orders for certain combinations of beans at a particular city. Fulfilled orders bring a monetary payoff and the aim is to accumulate the most money by the end of the game. You start with a hand of 8 travel cards and 2 order cards. 2 of the travel cards are of a special variety: one requires a toll of 20 thalers (the game's currency) to be paid as the card is played; the other brings more beans into the game at certain cities( the harvest card). In typical Bohnanza style, your hand order must not be changed and the travel cards once played, go back into your hand to be played again later.

Each player's turn consists of three phases: a travel phase where you play at least one card from your hand to move, the further you move the more cards you spend. The quicker you recycle your hand, the more often the toll card appears and you lose money. However, you need to travel to get your orders delivered to the right city on time. Your order cards are mixed in with your travel cards and orders can be fulfilled at any time during your turn. But if they are played from your hand during the travel phase, you must either deliver the right beans to the right city on that turn or the order is cancelled and the order card discarded. The second phase involves trading with other players and purchasing any beans that are available at the city to which you've travelled. Trading involves inviting another player to the city where you currently are to trade beans. If you can agree a trade, the other player is immediately transported to your city (by playing the next card in their hand) so you can do the deal. This is very useful not only for acquiring the right beans but also for the trading player to move a long distance using just one card. The third phase normally involves just drawing a new order card and placing this at the back of your hand. Once a certain number of harvest cards have been played, the game finishes at the end of the round in which that final harvest card is played. Then beans you have left are sold to the bank for a fixed price and money counted.

We all found the game very good. Players tend to go through phases of having the right beans and being able to fulfill orders and those where you go short. Trading helps but I felt that there wasn't as much incentive to trade as in Bohnanza. It could be useful if the person offering the trade is close to where you want to fulfill an order, but often, you're wanting to travel a different way. Mark K twice used an option early in the game to discard one of his ordinary travel cards for an additional order card. This cost him dear because the order card he obtained wasn't especially useful and the lower number of travel cards meant that he paid the toll more often and his orders needed to be completed more quickly. In one turn he lost two very valuable order cards because of this. John kept his beans pretty close to his chest refusing steadfastly to trade certain of his beans late in the game. He had cashed in orders worth a massive 81 thalers on one turn which set him up quite well for the rest of the game. I managed to cash in pretty regularly but only in lower value orders - I never saw a "3 bean order" until very late in the game. Nige plugged away quite well throughout and benefited from a windfall of high value red beans being deposited at his location from the final harvest. These he bought cheaply without a second thought and was able to cash them in for big money at the end of the game. I made a big mistake in the last round agreeing to trade with Nige on his last turn. He benefited a lot more than me and he ran out a clear winner after cashing in his red beans. A good game that played in around 90 minutes and left us wanting to play again in the near future.

Mark K

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