Wyatt Earp Card Game Review

Like Bohnanza, which I reviewed last month, the Wyatt Earp card game is published by Rio Grande Games. I’m a big fan of their games in general, and, along with Fantasy Flight Games, they’re what I’d consider some of the top card game and board game publishers in the industry. (I also like Steve Jackson Games, but I don’t want this to turn into a post about game companies.)

Wyatt Earp was a famous American lawman during the Old West. Your goal, as a player in the Wyatt Earp card game, is to “capture” seven outlaws. Outlaws are captured as players create melds with the cards in their hands, so Wyatt Earp has a distinct similarity in gameplay to rummy type card games.

You create melds by putting together multiple cards for specific outlaws. The game includes 49 outlaw cards, 7 for each of the 7 outlaws featured in the game. The outlaws include some of the famous Old West outlaws that you might expect in a game like this: people like Billy the Kid, Belle Star, and Jesse James (among others).

The deck also includes sheriff cards, which affect the number of “capture points” you get when you create melds. For example, the “bank robbery” card is a sheriff card. When it’s played, it increases the number of capture points for each of the outlaws by 2 points, and it also increases the reward money for the outlaw by $1000. Some of the other “sheriff cards” have other effects.

The game isn’t hard to learn, and it’s a lot of fun once you have learned how to play, especially if you’re a fan of the Old West. In fact, I can’t think of any other card games with an Old West theme available for purchase. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist–it just means I can’t think of any right now. Unless, of course, you think poker counts as an Old West themed poker game…and I think you know that’s not what I mean when I talk about Old West themed card games.

Like all of Rio Grande Games’ products, the production values are excellent. You can play Wyatt Earp with as few as 2 players or with as many as 4 players. It takes about an hour to complete a game, and the rules are a little more involved than what I described above. I was trying to give more of a “feel” for how the game is played than trying to actually explain to the novice how to play.

One of the things I liked most about the Wyatt Earp card game was the authentic artwork. They use actual drawings of the outlaws from the time period, the ones you’d see on the “Wanted” posters of the time, in order to illustrate the cards. Wyatt Earp isn’t a new game. I’ve had my box for at least 3 years, but I think the game has been around for at least a decade.

If you like rummy style games, or if you’re a fan of the American West, then Wyatt Earp is a good game to try.


Bohnanza Card Game Review

Bohnanza is older than some of the card games I review here, but it’s also probably one of the more unusual card games I’ve written about, too. Even the word is spelled funny–that’s because this is originally a German card game, and the American version is a translation. (“Bohne” is German for bean. You already know what a “bonanza” is. Get it?)

The players are bean farmers, basically, and Bohnanza offers a lot of different kinds of beans for you to farm. Some of these beans are real world beans, but some of them are beans that I’ve never heard of. Here’s a partial list of the beans in the game, but there are quite a few, so I won’t list them all here–just a representative sampling of the real beans versus the fantasy beans:

  • Coffee beans
  • Stink beans
  • Green beans
  • Blue beans

There are about a dozen bean varieties in the game. Depending on the type of bean, there might be a lot of them in the deck or very few of them in the deck. For example, there are two dozen coffee beans in a deck, but only four cocoa beans in a deck. This matters, because it affects gameplay.

Another unusual aspect of the game is that you have to keep your hand in the order in which the cards were dealt at all times. That’s unlike any other card game I’ve ever played.

When it’s your turn, there are things you have to do, and there are things you can opt to do. For example, you have to play the first card in your hand into the field. You can (if you like) also play the second card in your hand into the field. Then you have to take two cards from the top of the deck and place them face up on the table in front of you.

Players can then trade cards from within their hands for the cards in the trading area. The trading phase continues as long as the active player thinks it should continue. When trading ends, the players takes the cards that are left in her trading area and plants them in the field too.

Then the players get two or three more cards from the deck to replenish her hand, and the next players gets to take her turn.

Another aspect of the game involves harvesting your beans. You must have a certain number of beans (depending on the type) planted in the field in order to harvest them. This amount varies by the type of bean. The harvested beans get turned into money, and some of the cards go back into the deck, which gradually gets smaller as the game progresses.

If this sounds complicated, it’s probably more because of my writing skills (or lack thereof) than it is the complexity of the game. Once you’ve read through the rules and followed them step by step, you’ll have no problem playing Bohnanza. I think once you’ve played it, you’ll also find that it’s one of the most entertaining and enjoyable card games you’ve ever played.

Bohnanza is published in the USA by Rio Grande Games, and the production value and quality of all their games is excellent. Bohnanza has been popular enough to warrant multiple expansions and spin-offs. If you’re looking for an economic-themed card game that plays differently from Monopoly or other economic games, then Bohnanza should fit the bill nicely. And it’s a good value for the money, because the replay value is excellent.