Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Peanut Club


Henri Kermarrec

Lumberjack Studios

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

A peanut can be a very valuable thing! All the same applies to camels. Who cares about dollars? In a real crash, you will be astonished that all of your banknotes will be worth nothing at all. In a book of André Kostolany, a famous stock market expert, I even learnt that there were times in Amsterdam when a single tulip was more worth than a modern car. Yes, it is all a matter of demand. So why not make peanuts for buying valuable objects?

Of course I am telling you all this stuff, because there is a game that uses peanuts and camels as a currency next to the deadly boring dollars. Appropriately enough this game is called Peanut Club, an elite auction house where you can acquire rare objects, be it luxury, antique, furniture or modern (four more categories are available).

At the start of the game players draw cards from a currency card pile, until they have a value of 35 (or more) in their hand. This is regardless of the number of cards (there are cards with a value from 1-5) and the currency type. From that moment on the players must operate with that shoestring budget, there is no way to get new money in the game. But the preconditions for the players may differ a lot, you might say. Yes! That's true. The one player might begin the game with a lot of peanuts and only a few banknotes, because she or he has drawn only higher values, while another player starts the game with a lot of one dollar notes.

So what? You will see that this isn't telling against the one or the other player. The reason for that are the five different power tokens that are given to each player. These power tokens can all be activated once in the game (sometimes a second activation can be possible). But before we have a closer look at these tokens, let's see how we deal with the different currencies and how we auction the objects off:

At each round one or more objects will be set for the auction. The number of cards is simply determined by the back of the top card of the object pile. After the objects for the round are revealed, the auction immediately starts. From that moment on all players may make offers as they want until there is only one player with the highest bid. This player then pays from his hand (beware: there is no change) and takes all the revealed objects cards for the round.

The currencies vary in their value. Three currency value cards, randomly drawn at the set-up, show us which currency is worth more that another. And there is no exchange rate: a single card from a currency with a higher value beats any number of cards from a currency with a lower value. As a result an auction usually starts with some bids in the lowest currency, until a player announces a bid in a higher currency. In the end the auctions normally will be won with money of the currency with the highest current value...

Now, back to the power tokens: The first power token can be used to crash the currency values. By playing this power token, a player can take one currency value card and place it at another position in the currency value column. Peanuts, at the one moment the highest currency, for example, can dramatically diminish in value. Of course you should only play this token, if you have more money in another currency than the most valuable one in that moment.

Another useful power token is Niet that temporarily suspends a currency for that round. Or maybe you wanna play “a la carte” making every card worth only “1”, regardless of the real value of the card (especially useful if you are the player with all those “1” cards).

While the power tokens above are all used during the auction, the two last power tokens are taken for the payment: Convert let's you make use of any currency to pay your bid. Abracadabra on the other hand doubles the value of one of your cards used to pay (this is definitely useful for a “5”).

The games ends with the last object to be auctioned, approximately after 20 short minutes. Then it is time for scoring. It is the player's aim to collect series of three identical type of object cards. And there are extra points for luxury and antique objects as well as for secret mission objects for each player. So, it is not the sheer mass of objects you are heading for, however you must consider very carefully for what you will spend your rare banknotes. Sometimes it is better to leave out an auction and wait for more interesting objects than to waste your money. If you don't have any object after the first half of the game, this doesn't mean that you will loose the game. All other players will have spent more or less of their money, and it will be much easier (and cheaper) for you to win the auctions in the second half of the game.

Oh yes, Peanut Club is a very simple game. But it's awesome, if some of your fellow players like to let their hair down. It is best, if all players talk across each other, cry their bids and in the first moment of silence a player begins calling out “Going once, going twice...”. It is a wild game and should be played in that way. If you only one by one place your bid without talking big (like most players do in skat) the game falls off. But I'm quite sure that many players will draw inspiration from the great (I love the French illustrators) and funny artwork of the game. A game that's asking for revenges, because the end comes much too fast.

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany