Bohnanza Rules: How to Play Bohnanza the Card Game

Introducing the Bohnanza rules to a new player may seem daunting at first as there is plenty to be aware of before the game can begin.

But once all players are up to speed then they will realize that something like harvesting beans can be very strategic while being great fun too.

The objective for players is simple – be the player with the most gold coins at the end. Getting them is less than straightforward though, but fortunately, we have a guide to assist you in not only teaching the game but mastering it as well.

So have a read of our guide to the Bohnanza rules and you should discover that farming and harvesting in this game requires a lot more strategy than you think.

What Is Bohnanza?

Bohnanza Card Game Info Image

Bohnanza is the bean collecting game where players need to plant, trade and harvest assorted beans to progress in the game. 

Originally a German game, the name is actually a pun but you would only immediately get it if you spoke German alongside English. ‘Bonanza’ is an English word meaning a sudden increase in wealth or assets and ‘Bohne’ is German for a bean, together forming ‘Bohnanza’.

Number of Players Required: 3 – 5 players.

Who Can Play It: 13+ for the main edition.

Difficulty: Medium to hard difficulty.

Length of Play: Around 45 minutes.

Similar to: Arboretum; Slyville; Oltre Mare; Sleeping Queens

Main Objective: Harvest beans to collect gold coins, and have the most gold coins by the end of the game to be the winner.

Why we love it: Bohnanza is a game that has its own specialist cards and rules meaning there is quite a bit to learn but makes it so rewarding if you are able to become the winner. Master strategy to maximize your harvest, and improve your decision making the more round you play of this game.

Playing Bohnanza – What You’ll Need

Bohnanza has its own game set with unique cards that are specifically needed to be able to play.

This set should include the following:

  • 166 assorted bean cards
  • 5 double-sided Bean Field mat

As you can see, there are a lot of different cards included and they all have different values attached to them.

The cards listed above are for the standard game set, as are the rules that we will be explaining in our guide.

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However, there are other versions available to buy such as kids editions, 2 player editions, and expansion packs to the main version.

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How To Set Up Bohnanza

Start by giving out each player a bean field mat. On one side there will be 3 bean fields, and the other will have 2 bean fields.

The side that you use is dependent on how many players are playing – 3 players will need the 3 bean fields, 4 or 5 will use the 2 bean fields.

Use whichever method you would like to pick a player to start, give them the starting player card. Shuffle the entire deck of cards, and deal out 5 cards to each player.

Ensure that all players pick up and look at their cards as they come. A key Bohnanza rule is that cards cannot shuffle and must play them in the order that they get dealt.

All remaining shuffled cards go into the middle as the draw pile, be sure that these are all placed gold, coin up.

Create a discard pile by overturning the top card of the discard pile and placing it in the middle as well. Players will naturally create a pile of their gold coin stack on their part of the floor or table as they play through the game.

Bohnanza card game playing image

Bohnanza Rules and Gameplay

The game gets played in turns in a clockwise fashion. Once you complete setup and everyone has understood that they cannot shuffle their cards, let the game begin.

Starting the Game

As you would expect, the starting player is the player who has the starting player card.

Bohnanza has different phases that each player plays in order when it is their turn.

How to play Bohnanza

Phase 1 – Plant bean cards from your hand

  • Players must start by planting the first card that is visible in their hand onto one of the open fields.
  • If possible, players can then choose to plant a second card that’s visible onto the second field, but cannot plant a third if applicable.
  • When a player plants a card, they either start a new pile or extend an existing pile of cards that is within the field.
  • If a player wants to plant a bean that they do not have space for, they will need to harvest an existing field first.
  • Players can only plant 1 kind of bean in a field at 1 time, they can plant the same bean multiple times on the same field.
  • If a player does not have any cards in their hand or have finished planting their beans then they proceed to phase 2.

Phase 2 – Turning over and trading bean cards

  • Draw 2 cards from the draw pile and turn them over for all players to see. Players can choose to either plant them in their field if possible or keep them to trade.
  • That player offers any card that they can’t plant to players for a trade. Check out our FAQs on the rules surrounding trading cards.
  • If nobody accepts the first trade, then the player offering a card for trade can add additional cards from their hand to sweeten the deal.
  • If a trade is successfully negotiated, players place the cards that they receive next to their fields. Players cannot add these cards to their hand.
  • When trading finishes, move onto phase 3.

Phase 3 – Planting newly received cards

  • As part of the third phase, any player who received a card and placed them next to their fields must now plant them. This includes the drawn cards that players kept.
  • These cards get planted in any order. If a bean doesn’t match what is in the field already then the field has to get harvested and replaced with the new bean.
  • Once these get planted, move onto phase 4.

Phase 4 – Drawing more bean cards

  • To conclude a player’s turn, they must draw 3 cards from the draw pile and add them to their hand.
  • They must go at the back of the hand in the order that they got picked up. Once done, it’s the player to the left’s turn to start from phase 1 again.

Scoring In Bohnanza – Harvesting Beans

The scoring in this game works by referring to the ‘beanometer’. This tells players how many gold coins they receive for each bean that gets harvested.

For example, if the bottom of the card says 2 with a picture of 1 gold coin above it, then it is telling you that for every 2 beans of that class gets harvested, you will receive 1 gold coin.

When it is time to harvest a field, count up how many gold coins that yield is worth. Overturn the cards to the correct amount as there are gold coin pictures on the back of the cards.

Place any cards that aren’t used for gold coins onto the discard pile. Players can harvest at any time even if it isn’t their turn.

It is worth noting that there is a bean protection rule, where players cannot harvest if they have another field containing more than 1 bean card.

If the draw pile runs out of cards, shuffle and overturn the discard pile to continue the game. Once the draw pile has run out 3 times in a game, then the game must end once the current phase is complete.

At this point, players count up how many gold coins that their harvesting has yielded. They also give themselves an additional gold coin for any cards still in their hand.

The player with the most gold coins at the end of the game is the winner.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Bohnanza rules around trading beans?

Bohnanza has fairly strict rules regarding trading beans, as this can really make or break the end result of the game.

It’s important to note that only the player in phase 2 during their turn can make trades with players. Contrary to other rules, players can use any card in their hand for trading as well.

Participants cannot use cards already in the field for trading but can trade any number of beans for any number of beans. So 3 beans traded for 1 for example.

What happens if there is a tie at the end of the game?

Official rules state that in the event of a tie, then the player sitting furthest away from the person who had the starting game card wins the game.

This is because that player is likely to have less opportunities to have a turn as the game can stop at any time.

However, like all card games, if you dislike this method of deciding tie-breakers pick whatever works for you and your friends.

Alternative games to Bohnanza

Bohnanza is recommended for older ages as it can get quite complicated and involved. But with harder difficulty comes more chances to develop a strategy.

If you’re somebody who is looking for more games considered to be challenging, then have a look at the Resistance rules and the Gaia Project rules. Both are examples of board games and card games designed for teenagers and adults.

Be sure to also refer to our list of group games for teenagers for some of our favorite games that are ideal for that age group too.

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