Camel Up Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

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    Camel Up Review

    Camel-Up-Review-1.jpg

    Fancy taking a board game Bactrian to your place? Camel Up won’t give you the hump – its top of the pyramid.

    In Camel Up two to eight players take on the role of eccentric Egyptian aristocrats, betting on camels racing around a pyramid. Whoever has the most money once one of the camels crosses the finish line wins. The game, which won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres in 2014, is designed for families and is both easy to learn and quick to play.

    Mechanics

    Camel Up introduces a unique stacking mechanic where both the turn order of the racing pieces and the distance they travel is very important. If a camel lands on a space occupied by another camel, it jumps on its back and hitches a free ride. This can lead to ridiculous racing towers of perfectly tessellating camels. It also adds a huge amount of unpredictability to the game – at any one point in a game the majority of camels could feasibly win the race.

    Much of the fun and excitement comes from the unpredictability of the stacking mechanic. In my first game, the green camel looked like it was going to win from turn two, racing away from the rest of field. Fast forward 15 minutes, and the final moves of the game see the orange camel desperately catching green, and hopping onto its back.

    Green then looks to sprint away, and just about gets to the finish line. But the free-riding orange camel stretches its neck out and crosses the line first (the camel on top of a stack always counts as being in front).

    Winner, winner, (camel) dinner

    But you’re not just betting on the overall winner - each race is broken down into legs, which end as soon as each camel has been moved. You earn almost as much money being the first to bet on the winning camel of each leg as you do by betting on the race winner. This is very clever as it means the whole race is hotly contested, rather than just the very end.

    To get around the issue of live odds, Camel Up provides the first player to bet on the winner more money than the second player, who wins more than the third and so on. It works on the basis that clarity on the likely winner improves over time. The first player to place a bet on a camel is likely doing it with very little information and therefore should be receiving the longest odds.

    Stacked against you

    This works well most of the time. However it can simply reward the player who takes their turn after the player who likes to move the camels. As the first person able to respond to the improved clarity provided by a benefactor, the next player in line can cash in. This is only exacerbated in larger games with five or more players.

    While we’re on the topic, one paltry gold for moving the camels doesn’t incentivise players to want to move the camels enough. Other players can win five gold plus from the extra information provided by a single camel's movement.

    Finally, aside from placing bets or moving the camels, players can place an oasis or mirage on the race track. This provides the player with a gold coin every time a camel stack lands on it, and also allows players to influence movement on the board. A mirage forces camels backwards while an oasis allows them to move on an extra space.

    Components

    Camel Up is very well made – it doesn’t feel like a cheap game. The pyramid, an eye-catching but functional centrepiece, must be built from a few pieces of card and an elastic band. A DIY pyramid sounds dodgy, but it fits together so well, it’s almost as solid as the real thing. The card components are thick and robust, while the camels themselves are a joy to stack atop one another, tessellating perfectly.

    Out of Africa

    As I’ve lived in the Middle East, I have to point out that the Bactrian (two hump) camels used in the game and artwork are confined to Central Asia. Only the dromedary (single hump) lives in Egypt.

    The two humps clearly tessellate better, but I’m a stickler for accurate geographic distribution (which probably says all you need to know about me).

    Final thoughts on Camel Up

    But it wouldn’t be pharaoh of me to make too much of any gripes I have with the game – it is a fun and well-made family-friendly game. It doesn’t have to be played with kids either, a little imagination and a crate of beers could quickly turn Camel Up into a drinking game.

    It’s a great light game with some neat mechanics, and a worthy addition to any games collection. At a low price it’s also an absolute bargain.

    Excellent
    08000075444
    Bowthorpe Main Centre, Unit 15, Norwich NR5 9HA
    Zatu Games is rated 4.91 based on 11146
    Reviews

    Great prices for awesome boardgames games and cards, would recommend.

    Great prices for awesome boardgames games and cards, would recommend.

    Ordered on Sun 24/05, was shipped on Wed 27/05 and delivered today on Friday 29/05 to Ireland!!! What a fantastic service! My first order with Zatu and definitely not last. The best prices in Europe! Thank you very much!

    Ordered on Sun 24/05, was shipped on Wed 27/05 and delivered today on Friday 29/05 to Ireland!!! What a fantastic service! My first order with Zatu and definitely not last. The best prices in Europe! Thank you very much!

    Excellent delivery time, game came in flawless condition and really pleased with my purchase :)

    Excellent delivery time, game came in flawless condition and really pleased with my purchase :)

    Really pleased with the great selection, price and fast delivery from Zatu. So placing my second order today.

    Really pleased with the great selection, price and fast delivery from Zatu. So placing my second order today.

    really good prices, and good customer service, thanks zatu

    really good prices, and good customer service, thanks zatu

    Great selection, great value!

    Great selection, great value!

    Amazing service, products and price! Looked around for a while to get the best deal, and it was from here the cheapest! Ordered late night on Tuesday, arrived 1st thing on Thursday!

    Amazing service, products and price! Looked around for a while to get the best deal, and it was from here the cheapest! Ordered late night on Tuesday, arrived 1st thing on Thursday!

    I spoke to Charity from Zatu on the phone today. She did a brilliant job of sorting an delivery issue out with my order and also adding on "victory points" which hadn't ended up on a previous order. Great phone manner, outstanding customer service. Zatu as a board games company are often the cheapest and although you do pay for delivery, if you accrue enough points you can often waive the cost or more. Delivery is normally sent out same day and products always have arrived when expected or sometimes even earlier. Would recommend wholeheartedly.

    I spoke to Charity from Zatu on the phone today. She did a brilliant job of sorting an delivery issue out with my order and also adding on "victory points" which hadn't ended up on a previous order. Great phone manner, outstanding customer service. Zatu as a board games company are often the cheapest and although you do pay for delivery, if you accrue enough points you can often waive the cost or more. Delivery is normally sent out same day and products always have arrived when expected or sometimes even earlier. Would recommend wholeheartedly.

    I love this site! Excellent delivery time and brilliant prices. Have been using Zatu since found it. Always find the games I looking for.

    I love this site! Excellent delivery time and brilliant prices. Have been using Zatu since found it. Always find the games I looking for.

    Great selection of games and good prices

    Great selection of games and good prices

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