On my Easter post, a few people asked about the game I mentioned. The infamous Bohnanza.
So, as is my style, here is about ten times more information than you wanted and the story starts in 2005. So grab the last of your Cadbury Eggs (just joking - those things are nasty) and buckle up.
In 2005, we went to spend Christmas in Las Vegas with my family. We came back to Utah a few days before New Years and decided to have a little party with Sherry and Eric, and Abe and Erin (definitely the folks we hung out with most while at BYU). It was a bit last minute, but it ended up being a complete blast.
Sherry and Eric were house-sitting for a semester and so we were at their big mansion-like house and we played competitive Tetris, Ticket to Ride, and Acquire. We ate snacks and at midnight we poured ourselves some sparkling cider and made all sorts of hilarious toasts.
The most memorable one was when one couple (I can't remember which) toasted to "No babies in 2006" and everyone heartily "Hear, hear"ed that one. And none of us did have babies in 2006 (or 2007 for that matter).
You may be wondering where Bohnanza comes in. Well, hold your horses, friends, because you're still two years early.
By the end of 2006, Bart and I were in Austin, Abe and Erin were in Michigan, and Sherry and Eric were still in Utah. There was no New Year's party.
But a few months ago, for New Year's Eve 2007, all of us were in Utah for the holidays. And we decided we should have another New Year's Eve party. Alas, we were not all available on the actual night, so we decided to have a December 27th party. Close enough.
And (here's where Bohnanza comes in), Abe and Erin brought the game. We played two rounds of it and I was hooked. The very next morning, we went out to buy our own set and then we forced Bart's parents to play it with us approximately ten times a day for the duration of our stay. This plan backfired slightly when Bart's dad turned out to be ridiculously good at it (he'd never played before) and he crushed us nearly every time.
So, the game is a card game and it works like this: you have two bean fields in front of you, you plant a different kind of bean card in each field (red beans, cocoa beans, garden beans, black-eyed beans, etc) and you accumulate points by collecting multiples of whatever kinds of beans you're in. And you barter with everyone else to get the bean cards you need and get rid of the ones you don't need to avoid having to uproot your already planted beans.
Each kind of bean is worth a certain amount; for instance, you have to get four coffee bean cards in order to get a gold coin, but only two red beans to get a gold coin. You can earn up to four gold coins for any particular type of bean by collecting between 4 and 12 of them, depending on their value. Sometimes, though, you have to harvest early and take less than four coins (or no coins at all, if you haven't collected enough of them to break the first level).
The other trick of the games is that when you draw cards, you have to keep them in the order you drew, so you may be forced to harvest an existing bean crop early in order to plant the next card in your hand.
Besides the game being very fun on its own, there is something hilariously wonderful about taking it to someone's house and saying "we want to teach you this game. It's about planting beans."
Anyway, there you have it. And you can buy it here: Bohnanza at Amazon.com. I wish I got some sort of monetary reward if you bought the game, but I don't, so if you do decide you must buy it, feel free to throw a few dollars in the mail with my address on them. Or just come over and play it with us. Because we haven't played it since last night and I'm already going through withdrawals.