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Camels riding piggyback:  Camel Up published Pegasus Spiele/Eggertspiele is a turbulent racing and betting game for all ages. From 2-8 players can enjoy this fun game, designed by Steffen Bogen (author of at least 10 published games).

FRIEDBERG, April 2nd 2014 – A crazy camel race through the desert, determined by the die pyramid – that’s the essence of Camel Up. While five capricious Camels race around the pyramid, going all topsy-turvy, players bet, which one will finish
first and which one will fall behind.

In Camel Up everyone watches the five camels, racing around the pyramid. On a turn, players bet which camel will lead at the end of each leg and which one will win respectively lose the race. But that is harder than it sounds, since these camels jump on
top of each other, stack and carry one another for a few steps – or get sidetracked by oases. Only players who both keep track of the race and dare to place early bets, have a chance to gather wealth in a game of Camel Up.

There are five coloured camels in the race and five dice that are the same colour as the Camels - one per camel. These dice are placed into the pyramid (after you have constructed the pyramid from the card pieces and held it together using an elastic band.

Each player has their own deck of 5 cards; the colours of the camels on these cards being the same as the dice and the camels. Players also have one square counter, printed on one side with +1 and with -1 on the other - these can be played in front of the
racers in the hope of camels landing on them. If a camel or group (stack) of camels land on your card you gain a coin (not one per camel in the stack) and the camel (stack) is moved backwards or forwards depending on the value of the card.

     

The game begins with the camels on their spaces next to the coloured tents on the board. The stack of 5 movement/1 coin value cards are set at the top of the board. A start player is determined and they have the option to take one action. This
can be taking a Movement card and then shaking the pyramid, placing it on the board, upside-down, and pushing in the release mechanism; this should result in one die being released from the pyramid. The result shows which camel is to be
moved and how far (1, 2 or 3 spaces) - that camel is then moved round the board.

If the moving camel lands on a space occupied by another camel or camels then it is placed on top, making a stack of 2 or more. Obviously this camel can not be moved again during this round as its die has been removed from the pyramid.
However, when a camel underneath another camel is moved any/all camels stacked above the moving camel are moved with it. The die pyramid and stackable camels make Steffen Bogen’s Camel Up an eye-catcher. Camel Up by Pegasus
Spiele’s editorial partners eggertspiele (Kennerspiel des Jahres 2012: Village) is a fast-paced family game for two to eight players, playing in around 30 minutes – released with English and German rules. RRP 24,95 €

      

On a player's turn they can do one action, chosen from a few. They can place their personal counter on the board in front of the Camels - two of these can never be placed on adjacent spaces - they can take a Movement card and then operate the
Pyramid to reveal a die and move a Camel. They can take a betting card - each Camel has 3 of these valued at 5, 3 and 2 - this is what you win if the Camel ends the turn in 1st or 2nd place. If it fails to be first or second you have to pay a coin.
You can also make money by betting on the Camels coming first or last when the game actually ends - it usually 6 - 8 turns before a Camel crosses the finish line. To bet you place one of your cards face down on either the Win or Lose space on
the board - you only score these at the game end. By turning the stacks over you see who bet first etc. There is a higher bonus for being the first to make the correct bet in each case - for each wrong bet you lose 1 coin.

      

The box has been designed to hold the components safely, including the Pyramid while it is still constructed. This is brilliant, simple but brilliant. I say this loudly because so many games want you to build cardboard constructions and then break
them down to store them. Constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing obviously weakens the bends and folds in the cardboard until fraying and tearing occur.

The game is simple, the rules are easy to understand and follow without problem and the components are highly colourful and sturdy. The Camels are designed so that their humps make for perfect fitting when they are stacked and the two legs are
solid enough to allow even fully loaded stacks to be moved and keep their balance.

The mechanic of movement (not "of" not "for") isn't particularly new, moving a piece also moves any stacked above it as they are carried along, and of course any piece or pieces landed on become part of the stack. It is the delivery of the movement
points that makes the game different. There have been many containers of all shapes and sizes - aeroplanes, spaceships, towers etc - in games that give them their one unique difference from other games, and in CAMEL UP it is the Pyramid Dice
Dispenser that gives the extra visual appeal.

Games are fast paced and take about 30 minutes to play. They are fun and frivolous and there is no intensity, win or lose all players have a memorably enjoyable game. Not what I would label as a gamer's game, although there are some tactics amongst
the options which family-style play may not immediately pick up on. Thinking on this I would rate it 65-35 tipped toward Family over Gamer.
 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015