I'm a big fan of Uwe R. because of Agricola, and I look forward to trying Le Havre sometime soon when I have the opportunity. Bohnanza is in a completely different category, though, and I was surprised to see that Uwe R. had designed it. At first glance, I was reminded more of Empyrean Inc. than anything else, but even that comparison is weak. I'd read a number of reviews of Bohnanza, and while they were largely enthusiastic, none was particularly positive on it as a two-player game, so I hadn't really given it much thought.
Based on our session this evening, though, I've bumped it up on my wish list. Bohnanza is a clever little game of shifting relative values among cards and tight decision constraints. A lot of the fun is in the wheeling and dealing to trade off unwanted bean types for better prospects. Whereas we tended to play a semi-cooperative, "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" approach, I can see how this game could be very cut-throat in a competitive environment (like a tournament). As a social gamer, I appreciated the "benevolent negotiator" approach that we took at the table this evening.
I would imagine that a lot of the fun elements would be muted in a two-player game, which has no trading, but Stephen and Shelly insist that they have a lot of fun just playing the two of them. Their copy of the game is "well-loved," which shows that it has had a lot of play. So I think Kathy and I will have to give this a look. Many thanks for Stephen and Shelly for turning us on to this new discovery!