‘Camel Up’ board game review
By Ed Appleby, Senior Columnist
We have a long history of betting on animals, but rarely is the excitement of the track translated into board games, since it’s usually more relegated to casinos and carnivals. In board games, we desire control over what we wager on, and we’re not willing to give that up for fear of it becoming a straight-up gambling game.
Camel Up (2014) is a wagering board game for two to eight players designed by Steffen Bogen and published by Z-Man Games. In the game, players bet on a camel race by guessing which camels will win each leg and win the overall race. The players can affect camel movement by placing mirages and oases, as well as deciding when camels move. The player who makes the most money wins.
The camel movement is very slow—only traveling from one to three places at a time—and the game has a very unique stacking mechanic where camels in the same space stack on top of each other, with the camel on top considered in the lead. This adds to the challenge of betting on camels as their order can change very swiftly from round to round, and the order in which they move makes as much of a difference as how fast they go. It is safer to bet on camels later during gameplay, but the potential profits are much higher the sooner you act, which promotes some very risky betting.
I love this game. The rules are simple enough for family play, and there is enough complexity to appeal to more experienced players. Games are short, and you can play several rounds in the time you would play a much longer game. The gameplay is chaotic and exciting, with as much luck as strategy. I would highly recommend you check it out and maybe add this one to your collection.