Bad Beets is all about being the sneakiest kid at the dinner table.
Bad Beets places each player in the role of a kid, sat at the dinner table with a giant plate full of disgusting, nasty and terrible beets, competing with the other kids at the dinner table to be the first to finish, or get rid of, all of their beets in order to have ice cream. Players get rid of beets based on actions listed on the game’s cards with the understanding that they aren’t limited to the action shown on the solitary card in their possession.
The actions in Bad Beets are relatively simple. Players can bite the bullet and simply Eat a Beet, although this is by far the least exciting and least efficient way of getting rid of beets. Beets can be disposed of much more quickly if a player chooses to Feed The Dog, or “Share” with one of the other players. Even better, players can attempt to Tattletale on one another, guessing which card their opponent is holding, in an attempt to get rid of beets. A player with the Copycat card can get rid of some beets when another player says they will Feed The Dog and a player holding a Nuh-uh card can turn the tables on a Tattletale who attempts to guess what they are holding.
The crunchiness of Bad Beets comes from that fact that players aren’t required to actually perform the action on their card, but can attempt to bluff and take a different action altogether. There are only 15 total cards in Bad Beets, and each player will begin their turn with two, passing one to the player on their left and keeping one. As cards get passed around the table, there is a layer of imperfect, shared knowledge that develops, which lends the bluffing aspect of the game more depth and interest.
Players can play it completely straight instead of taking a risk and potentially being caught bluffing, but this opens them up to be the target of the other player’s Tattletale cards, while players who bluff too freely are going to be caught out and penalized. This means that there is no perfect strategy to Bad Beets, and the laughter and tension mounts as more and more cards are passed around the table, and players begin to believe that they have figured their opponents out.
Bad Beets plays in 5 – 10 minutes and is best played with kids. The theme is aimed squarely at younger players, and the limited number of possible card actions keeps it simple enough that kids don’t get confused when trying to choose which action to take. The actions on the cards, and thus the options that can be chosen, form a cohesive whole that have just the right amount of interaction without adding needless complexity to the game.
A note on “chrome”: The few components, art and card quality in Bad Beets are all good. The silly faces on the beets themselves are charming and the cards have a nice finish. The rulebook is simply a folded piece of paper, yet it lays out the rules in an easy to understand manner, making learning Bad Beets a snap.
The bottom line:
Bad Beets is a fun, if simple, bluffing game that is best played with younger players. The abilities on the cards successfully add a fun twist to a formula that would be very basic otherwise. It is a great example of what I’ll call a “restaurant game,” better known as a “micro-game” in the board gaming lexicon, in that it is easily carried in a pocket and it’s the perfect length for a family to take with them to a restaurant and play while waiting for their food to arrive.
Get this game if:
You enjoy quick, easily portable bluffing games.
You want a bluffing game to play with younger players.
Avoid this game if:
You want a deep experience.
The copy of Bad Beets used for this review was provided by Stoneblade Entertainment.
Bad Beets is a fun, quick bluffing game that is great for younger players. The different card abilities add a neat twist to an otherwise simplistic game.