clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Best legume-themed game: Bohnanza

It’s about beans. Glorious, profitable beans.

If you buy something from a Vox link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Dylan Matthews is a senior correspondent and head writer for Vox's Future Perfect section and has worked at Vox since 2014. He is particularly interested in global health and pandemic prevention, anti-poverty efforts, economic policy and theory, and conflicts about the right way to do philanthropy.

BoardGameGeek rating: 7.1/10.0, 378th.

Bohnanza is a game where you grow and trade beans (or “bohnen” in German). But as in real life, land for growing your beans is scarce. You begin the game with two plots, each of which can grow one type of bean. If you want to grow a third type of bean, you have to either buy a new plot (which you can only do once), or throw out all the beans in an existing plot. So to increase your yield, you need to truck and barter with fellow players to get the bean types you need (hint: cocoa beans are the choicest commodity).

Like most good Euro games, the basic plot is almost aggressively boring, but Bohnanza probably has the most complex and interesting trading of any game listed here. For that reason, it hasn’t translated well to digital form. A two-player iOS version is available, but need to play the game in person to get into it properly. I can’t vouch for any of the expansions, but if you’re looking for a cheap Euro game to start out with, and one with a less imposing universe surrounding it than Ticket to Ride or Settlers of Catan, you’re not going to do better than Bohnanza.

Buy at Amazon: Bohnanza ($15.51); Bohnaparte ($13.81); Würfel Bohnanza ($17.40).

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.