It’s the middle of the afternoon. The sun warms your face as you strain to see the track. The crowd is roaring and urging the racers on. As the animals pound around the curve you see sand flying in every direction as jockeys strain to lean forward past the racer on their left and right. You shift forward in your seat and cheer as you feel your heart pound with every thud of the Camel’s feet as they ra….wait….CAMELS?!
That’s right! Camel up is a betting, action selection, push your luck game about an epic Camel race for up to 8 players. The theme is very cute, the gameplay is surprisingly deep for how simple it is on the surface, and the game has been a winner with every group I have played it with. So let’s put on some sunscreen, find a wide brimmed hat, and head to the sands of Egypt to take a look at Camel Up.
The basic premise of Camel Up is very simple. You will see five Camels on a track on the board that each have their own particular color. The track is around a wonderful cardboard pyramid that comes with the game and holds 5 colored dice. These dice are numbered from 1 to 3 and will be used to determine the Camel movement.
You can take one of four actions in the game. You can bet on a Camel to win the leg (which is when all five dice are rolled once), you can roll one of the dice (this will move the Camel matching the color of the dice rolled) you can place your Desert/Oasis tile on the track to try and effect the other camels racing, and you can bet on an overall winner or loser of the race.
The race will continue until one camel crosses the finish line. You then get to count up all of the money collected and the winner is the one with the most cash! The game has been a winner with my family and with larger groups in particular. If you’re looking for a game that can play party game type numbers but still feel like a legitimate board game with great mechanics, this one might be for you.
I know a lot of people give this game some hate and I’m not sure why. It has a roll to move mechanic which is unpopular by and large but I think in this game it works very well and creates the tension that one might feel at an actual race with money on the line. It’s 30-40 dollars depending on where you buy it and I would absolutely say buy it. This is a great game to play with new or experienced gamers young to old. If you want a fairly brief synopsis of how to play the game along with some thoughts about the play I’ve put a link to my YouTube “Walkthrough Review” below. Thanks so much for reading and until next time we’ll see you at the table!