FTW Staff Picks - Camel Up (Second Edition)

For The Win Board Game Cafe's Staff Picks is a weekly series where we take a quick look at some of the staff's favourite games, old and new. 

Camel Up (Second Edition)

Genre: Betting

Designer: Steffen Bogen

Player Size: 3 to 8 Players

Game Length: 30 minutes

For fans of: The Hare and The Tortoise, Manila, Colossal Arena

When Camel Up first burst onto the scene in 2014, it was showered with adoration and even claimed the illustrious Spiel des Jahres award. A few years later it was plagued with production issues and the often sought-after game could not meet its demand. We had long wondered when we would eventually see Camel Up again. Little did we know our prayers would be answered in the form of a second edition of the game. With vast improvements over the original in both components and gameplay, Camel Up (Second Edition) has made the wait long worthwhile.

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In Camel Up, players bet on the 5 camels as they race along the track - hoping to be the player with the most money accumulated at the end of the race. To begin each race the camels are placed in their starting positions determined by a roll of the dice. The dice are then placed into the pyramid for the race to begin. Each turn the active player may choose one from the following actions: take a Pyramid Ticket, take a Betting Ticket, place their Spectator Tile, or bet on the overall winner/loser of the race. The race is divided into legs, determined by the last pyramid ticket being taken each leg. The game is concluded when one camel or camel stack has crossed the finish line. The player with the most money at the end of the race is declared the winner of the game!

For the most part, the Second Edition plays much like the first. The two largest differences (and they are large) are the Crazy Camels and the Betting Partnerships. The first is essentially two Camels who move in reverse from the finish line. They carry any camels atop them backwards. But more importantly, because there is a 6th die in the pyramid and still only 5 Pyramid Tickets this means there’s always a chance one of the racing camels doesn’t move. The Betting Partnership allows players to capitalize on being stuck in a poor turn order. Which is a much needed relief for games with 6 or more players.

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In every way, Camel Up (Second Edition) is an improvement over the original (except for maybe the very unnecessary popup palm tree). The new insert is perfect. It even allows two variations for sleeved cards and un-sleeved cards. The build quality of the pyramid and coins are plastic and feel less likely to become damaged after just a few plays. They removed the unnecessary 10 and 20 dollar bills. And each section of the insert lists exactly what’s supposed to go in it. A lot of thought went into how to make an already good game, great. And Camel Up (Second Edition) is the perfect example of how to properly justify a revised edition.

Earl OliverosComment