Bohnanza

Team: Salil Apte, Parth Vaishnav

In Bohnanza, each player must plant beans in different fields, which can be harvested for coins or credits. But you only have two bean fields where you can plant beans, though you can buy a third bean field. Furthermore you have to plant the beans according to the order in which your cards are dealt to your hand, so it isn’t as simple as just choosing and planting a bean. In order to help players to achieve the maximum profit possible, players can negotiate between themselves and either trade or donate bean cards. The player with the most money at the end of the game wins.

Strengths:

1. The game is highly interactive in nature. Indeed, in each round of trades, negotiations can reach frantic levels as all players will attempt to get the best deal from trades. With a larger number of players, it becomes a challenge to remember who traded what. This is the game’s most interesting facet.

2. One is always vying to make sure the beans you plant now will have many more planted later on in the game in order to win as much money as possible while at the same time trying to not to benefit your opponents much. This game does reward long-term plans as much as short-term plans and is, therefore, a superior game because of it.

3. The bean theme of the game is essential for making the game more attractive, since more real world themes (like trading shares of stock, etc) would be less fun.

4. The amount of luck factor in the game is lower than most games. Indeed, after dealing of the cards, a player’s performance is mostly influenced by his/her strategy, and group dynamics.

5. Players will not easily grow tired of playing the game repeatedly. The games high degree of variability in each play (especially with different players), makes it appealing to repeat.

6. It has a high degree of dynamism, since most players will not be able to keep the same beans in the fields for more than a few plays. This keeps all players on their toes.

7. Due to the negotiation aspect, the nature of play depends on the nature of the players. The game can be anything from a congenial negotiation to a cutthroat competition.

Weaknesses:

1. The constraint that players can begin by planting only the first and possibly the second card limits the ability of a player to form an appropriate strategy for the current round, and for future rounds. This limits, to a certain extent, the efficacy of forming long term strategy.

2. The theme of the game play, though fun, is a bit on the abstract side, and not completely related to the skills being tested.

3. The game is very time-consuming. A game with only 3-4 players could take up to 45 minutes to finish.

4. Though, the theme makes things more interesting, the game does not look very attractive.

Opportunities:

1. In a more cutthroat variant of the game, hostile takeovers during negotiation rounds could be introduced. This would entail “forcing” other players to trade card based on some condition such as possession of x # of coins, etc.

2. A wild card which allows players to plant beans in any order, instead of the first and second card would be a very interesting addition.

3. A wild card that allowed players to draw more than three cards at the end of their turns could be introduced.

Threats:

1. Cheating in the game is fairly easy. During the trading round, when everyone’s attention is on negotiations, a player could easily alter the order of his/her cards.

2. If the same small group of players plays the game repeatedly, things become very predictable, and the games variability, and volatility is lost.

Digitization:

Due to the highly non-linear and volatile nature of the trading phase, it would be very difficult to digitize this game. This is because, in this game, trading events are highly reactionary. An offered trade by one party, might result in another party offering a “better” deal. These aspects would be very difficult to capture digitally. In addition to this, the game clearly has a very strong human aspect which is brought out in each turn of the game. Digitizing the game would take away from this important feature.

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