Bad Beets is a two- to five-player bluffing card game by Justin Gary, with art by Liz Nugent.
It works for ages 8 and up and plays in about 15 minutes.
Bad Beets is published by Stone Blade Entertainment and retails for $14.99 but can be found for around $10.
In Bad Beets, players are kids at the table trying to get rid of their beets before the other kids.
How it works:
Each player gets eight beet tokens and a card to start. They also get a card explaining all of their possible actions.
The first player takes one more card, then passes one of the cards in his hand to the player on the left. (The person who received the card can’t look at it yet. On the next turn, that player will choose between the card already in her hand and the one passed to her, passing another card to the left.)
Players have to pretend the action they’re taking matches the card they hold (except for eating a beet). But they’re allowed — and sometimes encouraged — to lie.
Players can do one of the following on their turns: eat one beet; feed the dog three beets; guess another player’s card and give that player four beets if they’re right; or share two beets with another player.
But any opponent can call their bluff. If the player has a card with the action she claimed, the accuser has to take a beet. The card is discarded and the player draws a new one.
If the player didn’t have a card that matched his action, the accuser gets rid of a beet and the player can’t do the action.
There are also a couple of cards that can be played in reaction to the active player. If a player tries to guess your card, and you have a Nuh-uh! card, you can give the guesser four beets. If you have a copycat card, if the active player feeds the dog, you can get rid of two beets yourself.
Any time there are two of the same card in the discard pile, the whole pile is reshuffled into the draw deck.
The first person to get rid of their beets wins.
You can also play tournament style, where the winner of each round gets an ice cream token. The first player to get three ice cream tokens wins.
Why you might buy Bad Beets:
This game is downright charming. The artwork is bright and funny, and the theme is perfect for the style of game. Each action feels like something a kid would actually do.
The player aid cards are some of the best I’ve seen.
If you were ever a kid who didn’t want to eat their vegetables, this game will make you laugh.
For all its cuteness, though, Bad Beets has surprising depth. Sometimes it will behove you to accuse another player even when you know that player is telling the truth just to get a powerful card out of their hand.
Toward the end of the game, you’ll be lying outrageously trying to catch up with someone who only has one beet left.
It’s tough to find a bluffing game that works well with two, and Bad Beets does it well. It’s better with at least three people, but the two-player game holds up.
It’s nice to see several ethnic groups represented on the cards.
While this game is great for families, a group of adults will have just as much fun with it. In fact, they’ll pick up on the subtleties of the game that younger players will likely miss.
The price is right.
It’s quick, and it’s easy to teach.
Why you might not like Bad Beets:
If you don’t like bluffing games, this probably won’t win you over.
You will have to lie to play the game well.
Some people might think the theme is too childish.
After an … incident, beets were one of two vegetables I didn’t have to eat growing up. When I saw this game, I knew I had to play it.
I was worried it might feel too kiddish, but it doesn’t. It’s extremely well designed. Everything about the gameplay works.
The fantastic art and graphic design add to the appeal.
You can’t beat the price, which makes buying Bad Beets an easy choice.
Full disclosure: I got a review copy of Bad Beets from Stone Blade Entertainment. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.