A spectacular upgrade for the dromedary-dashing delight that won't give you the hump
Camel Up (as it’s now undeniably called, thanks to the new logo of this second edition clearing up the ‘Camel Cup’ debate) is the definition of a feel-good game: a fast and fun, simple and silly betting experience that takes the unpredictability of rolling dice and turns it into near-unbeatable entertainment that’s just as good at home with the kids and grandparents or over a few drinks with friends.
The basics here remain the same: roll dice, move camels and try to predict which will cross the finish line first. Camel Up 2.0 takes the brilliant chaos of seeing the racers pelt it around the track with potential passengers stacked on their humps and amps it up even further with two misguided dromedaries running in the opposite direction, which can see the leader quickly carried to the back of the pack. It’s a fantastic addition that leans into the game’s sudden reversals of fortune and risk-reward of placing bets early and comes out a complete winner. (The new rules can be ignored for those who prefer less chaotic outcomes – but if you’re not here for that teetering tower of camels, you’re probably missing the point.)
The game’s creators clearly know its strengths as a spectator game: the new 3D pop-up palm trees on the board and plastic pyramid dice-shaker (replacing the cardboard original) join the still delightful camel meeples, plastic Egyptian pounds (clink!) and outstanding refreshed artwork from Chris Quilliams for a table setup that invites the hours of laughter and cheer it deserves.
If you’ve already played Camel Up, you know what you’re in for – only better. The only caveats here are that this comes at a cost: around a tenner more than the original game, depending on where you look, and the inability to use the longer track and modules of expansion Supercup, which makes it a bit of a needless upgrade for existing fans. There’s also a superficial increase of the minimum player count from two to three that has no bearing on gameplay – other than reflecting that the betting still works best with bigger groups. Those minor points aside, if you’re yet to experience the hilarity of seeing a stack of camels wobble its way around a race track, this version of Camel Up will have you laughing harder than ever.
PLAY IT? – PROBABLY
Designer: Steffan Bogen
Artist: Chris Quilliams
Time: 30 minutes
This review originally appeared in the January 2019 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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