Posted by: gschloesser | August 9, 2011

Nur Peanuts!

Designed by:  Heinz Meister
Published by:  Goldsieber
2 – 6 Players, 30 minutes – 1 hour
Review by:  Greg J. Schloesser

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This review also appeared in Counter Magazine #14

I received this new Goldsieber game as a gift from a friend.  I had heard absolutely nothing about it and, based on initial appearances and a reading of the rules, I was not impressed.  By all appearances it was a ‘roll the dice and move’ game with some ‘push your luck’ elements thrown in.  I was expecting the worst, but just had to give it a try.

Sometimes expectations play a huge role in one’s ultimate experiences or opinions.  For instance, I was (and still am) tremendously disappointed in Reiner Knizia’s Africa … due in large part to my expectations.  I was expecting and anticipating a deep, strategy-laden game set on the dark, mysterious continent of Africa.  What I got was a very light, family oriented game with minimal decisions.  Had I been expecting such a game, my opinion quite likely would be higher. 

The opposite occurred with Nur Peanuts.  I was expecting a luck-laden game with few interesting choices or decisions.  I expected to dislike it and trade it immediately.  Instead, what I discovered was a fun, ‘push-your-luck’ game that contains some interesting choices and strategies.  Our group has had a blast playing it… and this fun has not worn off in over a half-dozen subsequent playings with both my gaming group and outside friends.  Certainly, this game is MUCH better than what I was expecting.

The game is designed by Heinz Meister and released by Gold Sieber in one of their smaller, more conventional sized boxes. The board contains an oval track consisting of 24 spaces, each space containing a value from $100 – $2,400 which is marked with a corresponding token.  This track has 3 lanes, one each for ‘starting’, ‘moving’ and ‘parking’.  Players each begin the game with $9,700 (why not $10,000, I have no idea!).  Since 17 of these bills are received in $100 denominations, it does take awhile to count and distribute all this starting cash.

To begin the game, players take turns purchasing two properties, one property at a time.  The corresponding value tokens are placed in front of their owners.  The player’s pawn is placed on the ‘starting’ lane on the final property he purchases. 

On a player’s turn, he rolls one or more dice and moves his pawn the corresponding number of spaces.  The dice however, are numbered a bit differently than normal dice.  The two white dice are each numbered 0 – 5, while the lone black die is numbered 1, 1, 2, 2, 3 and 3.  A player must decide which die or dice he will roll on his turn.  He may roll:

a) 1 Black die;
b) 1 White die; OR
c) 2 White dice

After a player has selected and rolled the die or dice of his choice, he moves his pawn to the center lane and moves the corresponding number of spaces.  He may then roll again, or end his turn by moving his pawn to the inner ‘park’ lane.  There are a number of caveats, however:

1) If a player opts to roll again, he must pay the value of the space he landed upon to the owner of that property.  If no one owns the property, he pays the corresponding amount to the bank.  If the player himself owns the property, he doesn’t pay anything. 

2) If a player rolled a zero on one of the dice he rolled, he gets a ‘free ride’ and doesn’t have to pay to re-roll.  He can still park his pawn if he desires.

3) If a player opts to park his pawn and there is already another player parked on that space, that opponent’s piece is dislodged and moved back to the start lane.  That player will take move again when his turn comes around.

So, just what are you trying to accomplish?  Well, once all players have moved and parked their pawns, the player whose pawn rests on the highest valued space will be paid by everyone else, unless an opponent parked his pawn on a property that he owns.  The amount of payment is the DIFFERENCE between this space and the space upon which each opponent’s pawn rests.  So, if Jim is on the highest space for the round, say $2,300, and I’m on a $1,800 space, I must pay Jim $500.  There’s an additional bonus if the player who is on the highest location also owns that location … everyone must pay double their amount owed!  Once everyone pays this fortunate player, that player may purchase one additional property of his choice.  Play then continues until the game ends, which can occur in one of three ways:

1) One player possesses six properties.  That player wins … cash or property values do not factor into this determination.

2) One player goes bankrupt.  The game ends and the player with the most CASH is victorious.  Again, property values have no relevance.

3) If playing with less than 6 players, neutral stones are used.  If the one of the neutral stones is the highest player, it purchases a property, which goes to the bank.  If the bank ultimately possesses 6 properties (an unlikely event), the game ends and the player with the most cash wins.

Easy rules, yet the game is filled with some interesting choices.  Clearly, each player is attempting to end his turn on the highest valued property.  However, the choice to keep rolling can be quite agonizing as, unless you rolled a zero or landed on your own property, you must pay someone (a player or the bank) in order to keep moving.  You find yourself constantly performing mathematics as you juggle the numbers to determine whether it is worth paying now, paying later or going for broke and trying to reach the highest spot.  Eventually, greed hits everyone and it is often heard, “What the heck!  I’m going for it!”  Usually, but not always, this results in even more money being expended, with lots of hooting and laughter being heard.

Purchasing property is also a critical decision.  The lower valued properties seem very appealing as they cost less and players are far less likely to park their piece on those locations.  So, the owners of these properties tend to be paid often, but not in great quantity each time.  On the other hand, the high valued properties are usually destinations and often result in being the highest location containing a pawn on a round.  If you are on your own property and are the highest for that round, the payout from your opponents is doubled!  Nice!  So, which do you buy?

There’s another factor that I also consider.  The properties surrounding the highest valued properties ($2,400, $2,300 and $2,200) tend to be landed on frequently, as every player is shooting to land and park on these properties.  Playing the odds, this means that many of those players will fall just short or slightly over-shoot these spaces.  Thus, these surrounding spaces are landed on quite frequently, usually resulting in payouts as those players often roll again in an attempt to land on the high valued location.  I usually try to purchase these surrounding properties and have done quite well with them.

No, the decisions to be made aren’t as deep as you might find in games such as Euphrat & Tigris, Die Macher, Princes of Florence or other ‘deep’ games.  Still, they are significant.  But much more important, the game is fun.  Players get caught up in the action and the ‘get to the rich spot’ mentality.  Success is only a die roll away and you often get caught up in this gambling fever.  Of course, the taunting and pressuring of the players makes this all the more enjoyable.  My good friend Mark Jackson believes the game is the perfect bridge between Monopoly and German style games.  He may well be correct.  Certainly, this is one game where my expectations and ultimate opinion have been on opposite ends of the spectrum … for the better!

Advertisements

Responses

  1. Nur Peanuts is an enjoyable press-your-luck dice roller that deserves a re-issue with some kind of theme. The original pressing is too clinical and suffers from one too many game-end conditions. The property ownership feature means that somebody at Hasbro could snap up the rights to Nur Peanuts and re-theme it as a Monopoly spin-off. It’s far more fun to play. (6/10)

  2. Very appealing press your luck game. You have to get lucky to win this one. 7/10


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: