What: A crazy game of stacking camels and gambling
Players: 2 – 8
Time: 30 minutes
People: Come friends, come family, come all.
Available: Get it on Amazon here and support Best Play at the same time

The Gist

Why we recommend it

What is the one fact everyone knows about Camels? Your first guess might be that they have humps, and sometimes different amounts. Well, no actually. According to the most recent YouGov survey it’s that “Camels climb on top of each other into neat stacks when running.”

If you read that and thought “damn, I didn’t know that” then you must be one of the few people in the world that didn’t. I’ll tell you what – you need to play a game that embodies this infamous “camel fact” so that you can show your face in the pub again.

This is game is called Camel Up (and not Camel Cup as the box misleadingly implies).

Look at those camels all stacked up as nature intended. You can’t tell in this freeze frame but they are frantically racing around the board. If you can figure out which is the best camel (always yellow) then back it and to the victor go the spoils.

Camel Up is a game anyone can enjoy and it even makes a great spectator sport too – so don’t go out to the horses tonight. No, stay in with your friends, your partner, your kids, your parents, your neighbours and play together (Camel Up goes to eight players). You see, these camels I mentioned move when you roll the right dice.

These crafty dice are coloured to match each camel and although each looks like a regular dice, in fact they only go up to three. Witchcraft.

If a camel happens to have another on their back when they move, they’ll just have to carry them along for the ride. This means that when a round starts you can never quite tell where they’re all going to end up.

So what if all these camels are clambering all over each other? Why should you care? Because you, dear reader, get to bet on this nasty bunch of dromedaries.

A round ends when all the camels have moved, so at first you cautiously move them, trying to get more information before placing your bets.

The thing is, the earlier you bet, the better the odds and if you leave it too late you might not even be able to bet at all, as the other players have grabbed the slips before you. A camel in last place is just the right sequence of numbers and camels away from quickly being first.

These dramatic twists add to the excitement and tension as every dice drops out of the pyramid. You shake dice out of this lovely cardboard pyramid (we featured it in one of our favourite board game bits over here). You’ll find yourself projecting onto these little pieces of wood.

“The green always leaves it late”

If that was the game it would be fun and simple enough, but you can also manipulate the race in your favour with traps.

A trap pushes camels forwards or backwards when they land on it and, as we all know, a camel pushed back ends up on the bottom of the pile. Suddenly that move that would have put them out in front has shafted them into last place. So whether you’re using traps, rushing to finish a round quickly or just taking big gambles on one camel it’s a game of high stakes risk, pushing your luck and reacting to the other strategies you see going on around you.