We Were Playing it Wrong: Camel Up

Camel Up, by Steffan Bogen, 2014, Z-Man Games, illustrated by Dennis Lohausen, 2-8 players

I received Camel Up, by Steffan Bogen, in the BGG Secret Santa last year when I asked my santa for a game that is good with a larger number of players. This game is a quick-and-dirty racing game where players make wagers on which of their favorite camels wins the race. It has a cool mechanic for movement that was the source of some confusion. Each camel has a different color (blue camel, green camel, etc.) and a correspondingly colored die. All the dice are put into a cardboard pyramid such that they only come out one at a time. We got that part right, but as soon as we resolved a move, we put the die back in the pyramid. Whoops! Turns out you’re supposed to keep them out until each of the camels has moved, whereupon all the dice go back in at once. Playing our way produced some outlandish results, like the time when a single camel moved maybe one or two spaces until the end of the game but still managed to win the race from way behind. Sometimes I miss playing it that way.

The game’s desert tiles also produced a little bit of confusion. At first we failed to observe the rule preventing players from placing desert tiles next to other desert tiles. This created fun slip-n-slides where camels would shoot ahead or tumble backwards as they hit him. We also failed to observe the rule where a desert tile is removed at the end of a leg.

This game is a lot of fun, and I think it says something about Camel Up that it can be so much fun even when half of the rules aren’t being properly followed. With all of its attendant rules in place, the game is much more procedural and predictable but still a great time. And it plays nicely with a large  headcount too.

We Were Playing it Wrong: Camel Up