Review: Bonbons

Posted by James (admin) on September 14th, 2012

When I was young, I used to play a memory game (like we all probably did) where playing cards were laid out face-down and you turned over 2 of them to try to find a matching pair.  I was surprised that Gameworks’ game Bonbons was based on this premise as it seems such a simple game; however, Gameworks have a great track record and I was pleased to find out there was more to it than I expected.

In the centre of the table are 36 face-down sweet/confectionery/candy tiles: there are 32 different sweets (8 types each in 4 colours) plus 3 tiles showing coins, and 1 tile showing an empty wrapper.  Each player takes 4 of the 32 round tiles (which show the same sweets as the square tiles) and places these unseen, face-down in front of them.  The winner is the first person who has all the round tiles in front of them face-up.

On your turn, you get to turn over 2 tiles (square or round).  If you turn over a matching pair (which would be 1 square tile and 1 round tile), they stay face-up.  Most importantly, you can turn over an opponent’s round tile and, if you turn over the matching square tile too, you get to place that round tile in front of you and they get one of your face-down round tiles in return.  This stealing of other player’s round tiles really adds some fun to the game and it means you’re not just trying to match your own tiles, but are trying to match anyone’s face-down tiles.  It’s funny when you steal someone else’s round tile which they’ve been trying to find, but even funnier to see the look on their face when you give them one of your round tiles that hasn’t been turned over at all yet so they’ve spent lots of time and are back to square one.

As you can turn over any 2 tiles, you can turn over 2 square tiles (to find out more about what tiles are where), or you could turn over 2 round tiles (to see more about what you, or your opponents, need to find) – of course, your opponents get to see these too.   This adds some extra approaches to the game, plus means you don’t have to keep seeing your own round tiles over and over again.

A player who turns over the empty wrapper tile has to take an extra round tile.  The rules say it stays face-up, but I think it’s more fun to turn it face-down again as you’d be surprised how many people forget it’s there and it’s funny to see someone pick it a second time, especially if it’s by the same player.  The 3 coin tiles are slightly different – if you turn over 2 of the coin tiles you are allowed to turn over a third tile, and if it’s the third coin tile, you get to take all 3 coin tiles and place them on one of your face-down round tiles which counts as if it has been found.

Overall, Bonbons is a fun, little game which actually develops the basic pairs memory game into something a lot more entertaining.  It surprised me a lot and I can see why Gameworks published it.  To ensure it is hard to remember where things are, having the 8 types of sweets appear in 4 different colours does a surprisingly good job. The new elements of stealing other players’ round tiles, turning over any 2 tiles (square or round) and the coins and wrapper tiles all add a bit more depth and variety to the gameplay.  As with all Gamework games the production value is great too.

Bonbons will go down well with families, light players and younger players, especially where the adults want more of a game than the usual non-thinking stuff.  Regular gamers will probably dismiss it without trying it which is a shame as it works well as a very quick filler and has more entertainment value than it first sounds (plus, I think it could make a good drinking game too).


[Played with 4 players]

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