Camel racing is a tradition in warmer countries, it is something that is as popular as horse races in the west. To make sure that you don't have to travel to far to have a go at these races, there is the board game Camel Up, that will try to give you the same feeling. So gather your cards and coins, because it is time to bid on the fastest camel!
Camel Up is a game in which five camels compete to be the winner of a race in multiple exciting stages. Players have the opportunity to bid on which camel will be in leading position at the end of every stage. But if you want to score the most points, you will have to predict which one of the camels will go over the finish line first. You can influence the race by placing obstacles or boosts on the race board to manipulate the camels. The player who has collected the most money by the time the race finishes is the winner!
The game contains a rectangular playing board with the race track for the camels on the one side and all possible ways to bet on these camels on the other side. In the middle of the racing track, there is a square spot that holds the pyramid, this is probably the most interesting component in the game. The pyramid has an opening on the top through which you can insert the dice in it. When you want to move a camel, you turn the pyramid around, press the button and a random dice will come rolling out of the pyramid.
The camels themselves are made of durable wood and are so formed that they really look like camels, but you can also easily stack them on top of each other. The reason for this stacking ability will be explained later on in the gameplay section. Every camel also has a dice in its color that depicts how for the camel can move that stage.
All of the components in this game, even the pyramid that is shaken quite well at times, are made from very good materials which allow for many game session without any damage.
On each player's turn, they can execute a single action, this goes on until all dice have been thrown from the pyramid and so, every camel has moved. At this moment, the current stage is over and money is distributed according to the bets that have been made. The different actions a user can take during his or her turn are the following:
|Get a dice from the pyramid
You may take the pyramid, shake it, turn it around and place it on the table then press the button. A single dice will fall out of the pyramid and the camel with the same color must now take the number of steps depicted on the dice. You will also receive one coin at the end of this stage.
|Place an obstacle
Every player has one obstacle they can place on the track. This tile can be placed anywhere with two simple rules: the tile cannot be placed anywhere that has a camel on it and there may never be two obstacles next to each other. When a camel ends on an obstacle, the owner receives a coin and the camel moves backward.
|Bet on the current stage
If you think you know which of the camels will win the current stage, you can take one of the betting cards for this camel. Each stage, there are three cards available for each camel that are worth 5, 3 or two coins. But beware, if you are wrong, you will lose coins!
|Placing a bet on the finish line
The last finish of the game is also important. Every player has five cards with the colors of the camels on them. You can place these cards on one of the betting stacks at any time during the race. There are two stacks, one for the big winner and one for the last camel of the race.
At the end of each stage, coins are distributed to players who used the pyramid and to players who got the correct betting cards for this stage. The betting cards for the stages are returned to the board, the pyramid gets filled with the dice again and a new stage can start. When the first camel crosses the finish line, the current stage immediately ends and the game is over. Coins are still distributed for the stage and also for the finish.
There is one plot twist that we have not yet included. Before we state that the camel miniatures can be stacked, when a camel moves and ends on a position that already has a camel, that camel can go on the back of the camel that was already on the square. Whenever a camel moves during the game it also takes all camels on its back with it. This makes it much harder to guess what camel will be winning each stage because even the last camel can become the first one with this rule.
Our opinion and conclusion
Camel Up is a family game that can be learned to new players in minutes. Even though scoring coins in this game is mostly by luck, it's so much fun hoping your camel will win this race and seeing your opponents bet on the wrong camels. You also have to be fast to bet on camels because the earlier you bet, the more coins you can win.
This is most certainly a game that comes often to the table and more so if there are new players. This is a strong recommendation for players that enjoy not too complicated family games.