Jimmy “The Infamous” Murphy was good enough to guest write a review of Camel Up the card game, let’s hear what he has to say…..
Camel up is a fun board game that can go to 8 players with expansions.
If you’ve played that game then you’ll find a lot of similarities.
It’s still a game about betting on camels racing down a track and hoping that the next move will go your way.
The betting options are largely similar. You have a set of bets on where the camels will come in this leg of the race and a set of bets on the final places. There is one end of race bet for each camel to either win or lose. The payout for being fight is pretty large in the game context so getting it right is important. You can only have one win and one lose bet in front of you but you can swap then so it is entertaining to watch the musical chairs effect when camels make big gains or losses in a round.
The leg bets are on each camel and decrease in value so there’s a pizza too grab them quick, the downside being getting it won’t can lose you money. The bet payouts are generally good enough that players are encouraged to make bets and be engaged in the race.
This version runs on cards, literally. Track is a set of cards and the movement is governed by the race deck. The race deck is built by each player getting a hand of cards and splitting that hand into discards, secret race cards ,one known racecard and one card they can play in their turn.
This makes the game interesting as each player has a certain amount of knowledge about what’s in the race deck. Numbers vary on the player count but if 3 player it’s the following.
You get 9 cards.
You put 3 into the race.
You discard 4.
Then you have one you hold and one you reveal to the table on your turn if you choose.
So the rounds run with everyone trying to grab the best bet, choose the perfect moment to play their secret card and wondering what the fates and the other players are going to do to them. The level of engagement for players is high even on other people’s turns as you are watching the race unfold. There is a lot of silent and not so silent commentary on the performance and probable hereditary of the camels each leg.
When it looks like the race is ending the banter and plots hit a high point. Alliances are made and broken based on the likelihood of the player with the currently leading camel to be able to reach the end line if everyone else is discarding the cards that make that camel lose. This is the leg of significant nods and smiles and flat out bluffs
For me camel up cards is not as much fun as the board game with the expansion. But I Think it’s going to be a handy one for casual play. Works well with kids and goes to six players. The real bonus is the box is about the same size as a tiny epic game making this a much more portable version.