May The Best Camel Win With Camel Up

Have you ever felt the itch to go to the racetracks and place a bet?  If so, Camel Up satisfies your craving for gambling without the risk in the form of a fun and family-friendly board game.  In the world of Camel Up, you’re a rich desert inhabitant looking to score a fortune by betting on some speedy camels.  Do you have the skills to choose the winner?

Legs of the Race

The game begins with each player taking on the role of a rich desert inhabitant placing bets on a camel race.  Five camels race around the game board, giving you different opportunities to place bets and potentially win or lose coins.  Each camel starts out within 1-3 spaces from the start line depending on the roll of a die.  The race is then run in several legs, with each camel moving once per leg.  

Betting Tiles

Each turn you get four options.  The first option is to take a betting tile, which allows you to bet on the camel you think will win that individual leg.  First and second place winners get coins, but losers end up with a one-coin penalty, so place your bets carefully!  

You can also bet on which camel will win the overall game at any time, which will remain secret until the very end.  The earlier you place this bet the more coins you’ll win, but patience may allow you to weed out the strongest camel from the rest of the pack.

Pyramid Tiles

Taking a pyramid tile will allow you to roll a die and move the camels.  One of the coolest elements of the game is the cardboard pyramid located in the center of the board, which allows you to shake one die loose at a time.  The color of the die corresponds to the color of the camel that moves, and the leg ends as soon as each camel has made their move.

Desert Tiles

One final option that you have each round is to play your desert tile, which each player has one of.  This tile can be placed on an empty space anywhere on the board, and if a camel lands on it, they’re forced to either move one space forward or backward.  You’ll also gain a coin every time a camel lands on your space, so it pays to place your desert tile wisely in order to rake in those valuable coins!

Totaling The Score

The game ends as soon as one of the camels crosses the finish line.  You’ll calculate everyone’s total points and then read through the bets on the winner in whichever order they were placed.  This is where betting early can make a real difference, as correct early guesses can win much bigger awards than ones placed later.  Your prediction skills will be on full blast in Camel Up, as you may have to risk it all if you want to walk away the winner.

Later Editions of Camel Up

Camel Up is a simple game that allows for anywhere from 2-8 players.  Later editions, however, have implemented new elements that make gameplay a bit more challenging and even allow for as many as 10 players in one game.  The 2018 second edition of Camel Up comes with a new game board and pyramid design.  It also comes with new and interesting game modes such as rogue camels, which begin the race by running in the wrong direction.

Camel Up: Supercup builds off of the base game with four additional modules.  The new modules add elements such as an extended race track that lengthen gameplay or betting partnerships that allow for greater cooperation between players.  This expansion can turn a simple game of Camel Up between into a captivating game for a large group.

All Bets Are Off with Camel Up

Camel Up is the perfect family game, with incredibly simple rules and gameplay that’s suitable for ages 8 and up.  Playing time is only 20-30 minutes, so you’ll be able to get multiple rounds out of this entertaining game.  Place your bets and choose wisely with this lighthearted game in the land of Egypt!

This is one of the best games there is… You want it. (Jedi hand wave)

 

How to Play Camel Up

It’s Queen Bee vs. Queen Bee in the Game Of Hive

Chess is a time-honored classic that pits two players against each other as they strategically move pieces around a game board in order to capture the other side’s King.  The game of Hive turns chess on its head, getting rid of the game board and replacing the pawns and rooks with spiders and beetles.  Hive lets your build the game board yourself as you deftly place these hexagonally shaped bugs in an attempt to capture the powerful Queen Bee of your rival hive. 

Insects of the Hive

There are 22 total pieces in the game, so each player gets 11 pieces for their hive.  Each of the pieces contains a colorful insect carved onto a shiny black or white hexagonal tile. Unlike a traditional beehive, both hives in this game are populated with additional insects that defend the Queen Bee and attempt to trap the other player’s Queen Bee.  Each player gets one yellow Queen Bee piece, which can only move one space at a time.

Players also get two brown Spiders pieces and two purple Beetles pieces.  While Beetles can only move one space at a time, they can climb over other pieces and prevent them from moving.  The Spider, on the other hand, can move three spaces around the outside of the layout, which tends to be more useful early on in gameplay rather than later.

The three green Grasshopper pieces can jump over pieces in a straight line, while the three blue soldier ants can move as many pieces as it likes around the edge of the hive.  Each insect must be deployed to either protect the Queen Bee or surround the other player’s Queen Bee.

Capturing the Queen

Players take turns setting down their pieces and forming patterns, allowing them to play their pieces however they see fit.  The Queen Bee piece must be played within the first four turns of the game, which gives each player a limited amount of time to develop their opening strategy.  Every turn after that forces you to decide between putting another piece on the game board or moving one of your current pieces.

The publisher recommends a couple of opening strategies, although potential strategies are limitless.  One recommended strategy is to place a Spider, Bee, and Ant in a V formation, allowing the Ant to protect the Bee while the Bee is free to roam.  Another strategy is to form a V with two Spiders and a Bee, giving you the freedom to move quickly to block your opponent.  Once a Queen Bee has been surrounded on 6 sides by the other player’s pieces, the game is over.

Hive Expansions

Several expansions to Hive have been released that add new pieces with their own unique moves.  The Mosquito piece can be used as a wild card, taking on the movement of whichever piece it currently touches.  The Ladybug expansion released in 2010 and Pillbug expansion in 2013 create additional offensive and defensive opportunities that can allow you to pick up other bugs or rescue your ailing Queen Bee.    Because the original gameplay of Hive is only 20 minutes, these expansions can extend playtime and make Hive last almost as long as a chess game.

Build the Hive and Capture the Queen

If you’re looking for something a little more kid-friendly than chess, Hive is the perfect option.  It’s just simple enough that kids can enjoy it while still allowing for adults to enjoy a more complex game.  The beautiful wooden hexagonal tiles are also one of the biggest standout elements of the game, creating a visually stunning board as the game goes along.

Similarly to chess, Hive is designed for only two players.  While this is not the game for family game nights or group hangouts, it’s an excellent game for couples or lighthearted tournaments.  Hive is suitable for ages 9 and up, so two kids squaring off can have just as much fun as a parent and child can.  The more you play Hive, the more you’ll begin to uncover the numerous strategies and methods you can employ to win the game and avoid the dreaded stalemate.

 

How to Play Hive

Party Like a Hero with Red Dragon Inn

Sure, everybody knows the story of the heroic adventurers who save the day, slay the evil monsters, and collect their share of the treasure.  But what happens to them after they’ve finished their righteous conquest?  A night of drinking, gambling, and roughhousing of course.  Red Dragon Inn is a comical game with rapscallion characters engaged in a debauched good time.  

Choose Your Adventurer

In Red Dragon Inn, players get to choose between four different heroic adventurers who’ve just come back from a fresh conquest.  Each character comes with their own special deck of cards that provides them with unique abilities during the game.  The first is Deirdre the Priestess, an elf under the protection of a goddess that can get her out of scrapes and help her heal.  

Fiona the Volatile, on the other hand, is a tough female warrior who can cheer on her fellow players to drink more heavily while turning her own drinks into greater strength.  Gerki the Sneak comes with plenty of cheat cards that make him an excellent gambler (as well as a few poisons hidden up his sleeves).  The last is Zot the Wizard, whose half-demonic pet rabbit Pookey aids him in his quest to drain the other players of their gold.

Gambling, Drinking, and Roughhousing

Every player gets their own board where they can store their decks, discards, and drink cards.  Players start out with ten gold coins and seven cards that they can use to gamble, drink, and gain the upper hand against the other players.  Each turn gives you several options: you can discard however many cards you like and redraw, you can play an action card, or you can buy a drink for someone else.

Buying a drink for someone else will add another drink card to their stack, but it also forces you to take a drink yourself by drawing a card from your own stack.  While this may end up raising your alcohol content and getting you one step closer to passing out, you may end up gaining fortitude from the drink.  You can only play one action card per term, and these cards will usually force the other players to either take damage or drink more.  

Hold Onto Your Coins—and Your Sobriety

Some action cards will trigger a round of gambling, which invites each of the players to bet their gold and play their gambling cards.  Some characters are better at gambling than others, so your character’s profile will play heavily into your strategy of whether or not to favor gambling or drinking.

If a player’s alcohol content gets too high, they’ll pass out and lose the game.  However, running out of gold coins from gambling too much will also kick you out of the game.  The winner is whoever manages to be the last person to hold onto their coins and stay conscious.

Red Dragon Inn Sequels

Red Dragon Inn has spawned a handful of standalone sequel games that can also be integrated with the original game.  Red Dragon Inn 2 adds characters such as Dimli the Dwarf, a gold-hoarder who can handle his liquor like nobody’s business.  It also adds Fleck the Bard, a music loving half-elf who steals the hearts of all the girls.

Red Dragon Inn 6: Villains puts a unique twist on the premise of the game by taking on the villain’s perspective.  With this dark and twisted sequel, you can engage in Boss Battle mode that pits all the players against one evil villain.  No matter which Red Dragon Inn sequel you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy fun new characters that can make the original game even more expansive.

Enjoy the Spoils of the Hunt with Red Dragon Inn

Red Dragon Inn is suitable for ages 13 and up, mostly due to its slightly adult themes.  It can serve 2-4 players, but adding expansion can allow for larger groups and parties of up to 8.  Playing time lasts around 45 minutes, which should make for a decent round of debauched fun.  With Red Dragon Inn, you’ll be sure to enjoy its lighthearted nature and clever spin on the classic “hero”.

 

How to Play The Red Dragon Inn

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