Winner of Best Family Card Game of the Year 2008
Invented by Michael Schacht.
Don’t let the bull break your precious china!
Each player is trying to acquire the most china for their shop, but it is only a matter of time before the bull comes running through.
In Bull in a China Shop all players buy china in different colours, but soon your money runs out. The only way to gain more money is to let a bull do his shopping in your store, but will he destroy some of the valuables? You cannot avoid the bulls forever so the trick is to make sure you do not have what they are looking for, while sending them over to any opponents that might.
If you are careful, plan wisely, and take the bull by the horns, you will be in the money while your opponents are stuck picking up the pieces!
89 Playing Cards and Scorepad. Instructions in English/Spanish/French.
Ages 8 to adult, 30 minutes playing time, suitable for 3-5 players.
* strategic planning
* evaluation of choices.
Review by Ben Rainbird; Actor and Games entusiast:
Most of us have heard the saying “A Bull in a China Shop”
At times I have been asked not to behave like one. In this game all players are participating in the effect of allowing such a large and lively mammal anywhere near the expensive porcelain. the price to each player may be costly.
This neatly packaged game may make for some uproar, as players’ card hands are disrupted by rampaging bulls.
To start the game each player is given a pair of starting cards. These cards have Roman numerals on the reverse and every competitor gets a matching pair. Each one also receives one money card, one pass card and a score sheet.
Then the dealer must prepare the cards by shuffling all the china cards, then separating them into four stacks of ten cards (no looking!) A score card is then put on the playing surface and one of the stacks of china cards is placed face down on top of it. Then a score card is placed on that stack, then another stack of china cards on top of that and this continues, making sure a score card rests between each ten, the final one placed at the bottom of the deck. It is important to space these score cards accurately, as you will see.
Each player’s turn consists of choosing to either buy a china card or take a Bull card or use a pass card.
Naturally a money card is needed to buy a china card. The player may choose a china card from the row and it is placed face up in front of that player. The money card is placed in the centre of the table, by way of payment. A player may not have more than two money cards at any one time. If the player is out of money (and aren’t we all at times) then he or she must either take a bull card or use their pass card.
When the player takes a Bull card they must then watch out for the China, as it may be trampled. The advantage in this move is that the player may take a money card remembering, of course, that having more than two money cards is not allowed.
When the row of Bull cards runs out it must be refilled from the bull card stack. If this stack runs out discarded Bull cards can be reshuffled to make a new pile to draw from. china cards are never reshuffled as play finishes when they run out. Once a pass card is used (to skip a turn through lack of funds) it is finished with, they’re not reusable.
A player choosing a Bull card must be aware that this choice has consequences. Each small Bull on a card causes the loss of one of the player’s china cards, (he gets to choose which one), matching the colour of the bull.
A large Bull card means that the player loses all the china cards they have. A small grey Bull on the card means the loss of one china card of the player’s choice.
A large grey bull on a card which shows numbers will lose cards matching those depicted denominations. Players can only lose cards which are in front of them. The Bull cannot demand to trample a card which the player doesn’t have!
Scoring is achieved thus:
China is scored four times per game, when the score cards appear. Should the score cards run out, a player may add the the highest value China card of each colour and count the total. One card only from each colour may be scored.
At the end of the game the player with the highest aggregate score wins.
If all this sounds a little bit complex, do not despair. Once the rules are learned the game is absorbing enough to keep the interest of players of wide ranging age groups, though the colourful cards and wanton ruination of perfectly good china certainly incline it towards younger folk, so it’s just as well there are one or two lessons to be learned from the game. I like the inclusion of Roman numerals on certain cards, as children will naturally learn what numbers they denote as they play. Moreover, it illustrates the fiscal consequences of allowing your stock to be destroyed as well as pointing out the difficultly and importance of protecting your resources.
In all, fun and a bit instructional to boot! I, for one, now fully appreciate the risks of operating a china shop in these circumstances, and have been thoroughly convinced never to open a china shop anywhere near a farm!
Distributed exclusively in the British Isles by David Westnedge Ltd., London.