Will you be the one who breaks the Camel’s back?

It’s been a bountiful day at the bazaar. The caravan is leaving, and you must quickly pack your items onto the back of the Camel. But beware; even beasts of burden have their breaking point! Straw is a light-hearted family game where the players try to pack as many item cards as they can on top of the Camel without breaking its back. Be careful not to load the Camel too close to its limit, though. If your card breaks the Camel’s back, you lose! But if you can break the Camel’s back with the Straw card, you win!

Straw card samples
images © Alderac Entertainment Group

User Reviews (2)

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Player Avatar
7
Veteran Grader
Paladin
Strategist
Junior
8
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Light as a Feather!”

KEY POINTS:
-Straw has extremely fast-paced turns that will keep players on their toes.
-Each player adds a card (worth a specific value) per turn to the pile, increasing the total “weight” of the camel’s burden while trying to avoid going over the magic number of 50 pounds.
-Unique cards allow players to add a little strategy to their play in a given turn.

GAMEPLAY:
The game is played over several rounds, equal to the number of players. A fresh hand of cards is dealt to each player at the beginning of the round.

Each turn, players:
-Choose a single card from their hand. Most cards have a specific positive weight value ranging from 1-10.
*Note: Some cards have unique abilities. These allow a player to: copy a previously played item’s weight, reverse play direction, call out a specific number (magic genies add to the theme, right?), decrease the overall weight (magic carpets can lighten the load), or block other players from scoring in a round.

-Total up the weight on the camel’s back after each card is played and announce the tally.

-Draw one card.

The Camel’s Untimely Demise (or How the Game Ends):
When the total weight exceeds 50 pounds, the round ends and is scored based on the cards remaining in a player’s hand. Players want to achieve the highest score possible each round to get a higher cumulative score after all rounds are played.

Scoring, with a twist!:
Generally, the person to break the camel’s back by exceeding a total of 50 pounds does not score that round. That is, of course, unless that person played the…wait for it…feather. Wait, what?! That’s right, a feather can be used to break the camel’s back, not a straw as one might expect based on the name of the game. If the total weight on the camel is 50 pounds exactly, the next player can use the feather card to effectively exceed the poor camel’s carrying capacity. This also reverses the normal scoring rules, so only the player of the feather scores that round.

Why this game is fun for all ages:
The mechanics are very basic, but there is a definite element of risk-taking. With a hand limit of four cards, it can be tricky to find the right balance of cards to keep and play each round. Keeping high-value cards in hand is risky, as they could mean exceeding the weight limit. Then again, they can bring added value to the total at the end of the round. Decisions, decisions!

COMPONENTS:
The 65 cards are of good quality and the box is sturdy for a card game (i.e., not a basic tuck box).

RULES:
At two pages per language (with illustrations), the rulebook is a breeze for anyone looking to pick up and play a fun family game. The instructions are rules are clear, leaving little to be desired and rendering examples unnecessary.

REPLAY FACTOR:
At first glance, this game does not appear to have much depth. However, the rounds pass quickly and with much laughter as players have fun plotting strategies to leave the next person up a creek without a paddle. The game is played so quickly that players often want to play again to one-up their “mortal enemy” from the previous game. With proper shuffling to ensure card randomization, this game has a lot of replay value as a lightweight and fun filler game. I was surprised to find myself and others pulling this game out time and time again to play.

PROS:
-Quick turn play with simple mechanics.
-Well-explained rules with illustrations.
-Arabian themed, cartoonish artwork that appeals to younger players.
-Risk-taking hand management decision and basic strategy.
-Zero set up time (beyond shuffling and dealing cards).
-Easy enough for kids to learn, but with enough back-and-forth play to hold adult attention spans.
-Incorporates basic math skills that can fun to help children learn addition and subtraction.

CONS:
-Cards get played several times over the course of a game and may exhibit faster wear with time due to finish.
-No scoring pad provided to keep track of scores over several rounds.

VALUE:
With the MSRP of $14.99, this 65-card game may feel a little bit light on quantity of components, but the replay value and fun factor are worth it. A great buy for families and casual gaming groups alike!

SUMMARY:
Straw surpassed my expectations and won me over for a lot of reasons: quick set up and play, excellent rules, themed artwork, quality box, and just enough “take that!” moments that will leave your players smiling and ready for more.
Example: Inevitably, someone will play Aladdin’s Lamp to increase the weight total to exactly 50, leaving the next player in a predicament. Then the next player comes back with a Reverse card and dumps the seemingly hopeless situation back on the first player. But wait! The clever first player had planned for this all along and triumphantly whips out the feather card, ending the round and leaving everyone else without any points! Oh the laughter, groans, and grumbling that ensue! This game is a must-have game for the family or casual game night.

 
Player Avatar
8
Norway
Book Lover
I play blue
Paladin
9
22 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Watch the back!”

This is an easy card game. You start with having a camel. He can take a weight of 50. You don`t want to be the one to break his back! The cards are compiled of different wights, some on the plus side, some on the minus side. Also there are some special cards that can change turn order, or make you chose how much weight you put on. A feather helps you win the game if the weight is at 50. Then you`re the only one to score. Otherwise the one who breaks the back don`t recieve points, while the others score the number cards in their hands, summing up plus and minus.

It`s a fun card game, you try to throw off the others, and playing it late at night is even more fun. It is also good as a filler game, if you have just like 20 minutes to kill, and laughter is a short way away. I am always ready to sit down and play it. Not much thinking required, so if you`re tired, then it`s just that much more fun!

 

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