Last year’s camel racing season was fine, but the new year must always be a little better and bigger. Main reason is to attract not only viewers and racers, but especially bettors. Those are the biggest sources of income in our sport. It is no longer enough, that camels will sometimes carry each other on their backs. Two other crazy runners now have their own goals, running the other way! Racing will be redesigned.
Camel Up comes in second edition, while first was prepared for us by designer Steffen Bogen as early as 2014. The publisher remains the same now and its pair eggertspiele and Pegasus Spiele. But behind the new illustrations is Chris Quilliams (last time it was Dennis Lohausen). The new second edition bears the stamp of 2018. Esdevium Games is behind the distribution across the European continent.
On the lid, however, we will be captivated by great, more mature illustrations. They continue inside on the board and cards. But as soon as you decide to spread out the quarters of the racing board, a surprise awaits you. From the folded board, you will see a paper palm forming an elegant oasis, that completes the atmosphere of the Egyptian race. The players place betting cards on the plan (corresponding to the individual camels) and pyramid tokens.
Each player at the beginning gets three Egyptian pounds coins to make him happy, while the other finances remain in the bank beside the plan. Above all, players get a set of viewer cards of one character to represent him. Each camel has one die in his color, and players roll them all simultaneously to determine their position on the grid. If the same digits is rolled more than once, the pieces must be placed on top of each other. The gray cube will determine, where the black and white camels will start. Once the deployment is complete, pour all the dice into the pyramid into a space, that opens after rising its lid. They place plastic pyramid at the designated place on the plan.
Camels themselves compete for their own gain and players can only watch them and cheer the right ones. But this is not quite true, because the players take turns to move them. They always have one action at their disposal and can use it as a base to extract one dice from the pyramid (they also take one pyramid token).
The plastic building contains a magical mechanism. Player first shuffles all the dice carefully with the pyramid upside down, then place it on the table and press the button. As a result, one of the dice falls under the pyramid and of course shows the random value of one to six dots.
A camel of the same color will move by this number of steps forward. If other competitors are resting on his back, he will bring them with him. Likewise, if he meets an opponent on his target field, without asking them, he climbs on his hump. The special exception is the gray die, in which the roll outcome determines the movement speed of the pair of cameled camels, who run in the opposite direction (counterclockwise). But even these camels affect the situation and carry their passengers on their back, even backwards! Used die is not returned to the pyramid, but stays on the board.
But it’s all just one of the four actions available to player in his turn. Instead, he can become bookmaker and take the top card from the betting pile. They express their belief, that camel of that chosen color will be among the leading three racers at the end of the lap.
Instead, players can use their audience pieces to cover the fields on the track. And each such tile has two sides – one with cheering and the other with booing viewers. If a camel stops at such a place, it will be influenced by the fans – their cheering will move his pawn one step forward, while booing will slow him down. In addition, plate owner gets one Egyptian pound as a reward for his clever trap. Over time, the favorites of the whole race will be more apparent. As the last action on your turn, a player can make a bet on the total winner or absolute loser.
One lap ends, when most dice have been played – only one remains unused in the pyramid. Pyramid tokens are counting down the round for the whole time. The leading camel is the one, that is furthest on the track, or is standing on top of leading pack. Players then earn money based on how well they guessed. All the cards, that are in front of the player are scored, but some may even produce a negative value. To do this, the player receives a pound for each pyramid plate, which he then returns.
Dice move back into the pyramid, but the racers remain in place. The game continues until one of the camels crosses the finish line. Participants will be rewarded for the right tips for the overall winner and loser, in order they made the bet – the sooner they have guessed, the more money they will earn. And as in the true betting game, the winner is the one, who has the most Egyptian pounds in his pocket.
Camel Up was an excellent game already in its original version. We liked her frivolity, which combines the speed of game, betting and racing. Fortunately, nothing has changed at all. Still everything is beautifully simple and crazy.
But it is clear, that coincidence is a big deal. The dice are randomly determined by drawing from the pyramid, and even their value cannot be influenced in any way. One of the colors stays in the pyramid during the round and is not pulled out at all. But camels can still move forward, just to be well seated on the back of another racer, who is forwarding them.
The novelty brings even more unpredictability in the form of two camels running in the opposite direction. It is not possible to guess them, but that does not mean, that they cannot influence the results of the race. Their backs will often move one of the favorites back a few steps, and thus they can perfectly shuffle the overall sprint development.
Children will love this game as well as families. This is also due to the very fast playing time, that is needed to perform one complete circuit. So you can know the winner in twenty minutes and it is not even important, how many competitors participate in the game. The most dynamic is the betting, that players have to think about. This can be done outside the move, but the situation is constantly changing.
The central motive is betting. The development of the race is difficult to estimate. Yet the game forces players to make guesses as soon as possible. It is the order of the right tips, that will determine the number of points as a reward at the end of the race. In addition, partnerships enter into games with more participants (from six) to change the overall experience. And it is also a game, that is the only one of the racing tipsters we know, to be playable in more, than six opponents.
The game has officially thrown a two-player variant overboard and we agree. And it’s purely and just for the sake of the overall experienc,e that dragged her down. In fact, Camel Up was certainly not good in two, and even three players are still the absolute minimum without the proper fun. This news is more pronounced with a higher number.
Processing is absolutely fabulous, and since the first version it has gone a long way. Illustrations themselves are better for the game, but above all the plastic pyramid and the gorgeous cardboard game plan mean, that the overall impression of the game is great. But camels remain big and woody.
The second version of the Camel Up is even more appealing. It is enjoyed by players of different levels, because it offers a fun-crazy spectacle. It is astonishing, how immensely fun the game is, even though it contains all the elements we normally criticize – chaos and coincidence. But here they just belong to the entertainment, that you somehow automatically approach with a smile. The second edition of Camel Up is an enhancement on all fronts and a guaranteed fun!
Camel Up comes in a second edition, that would seem to have nothing different to offer. But there are minor changes. Although, if you have the first version, you probably won't buy the box, because of a pair of confused racers in the opposite direction. However, the new board and the quality of the components can be the reason. Overall, the Camel Up is still great fun, that is ruled by a steady hand of fun.
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team variant allows to play even with high numbers