Review: Koehandel Festival (Ravensburger) – English

You can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but what about a purchased cow? I am sure most of you are familiar with the bidding game Kuhhandel where players play with each other in the livestock market like a bunch of animals. During the Festival, these rules are just a tad different. Are you in the moo-d?

In the classic game, players compete for a quartet of cows. During a turn, a player can start an auction or a cow trade. In an auction, a random card from the draw pile is turned face up and players can bid on this card with their money (cow ponies). Won cards players place in front of them. If players have cards in front of them, they can also start a cow trade with another player in which players compete for equal cows with bluffs.

In festival, things run a little differently from regular cow trading. Players each have their own draw pile, and during an auction, a player can decide which two (yes no less than) two cards to put up for auction. As in a regular auction, players start bidding on the cards and the highest bid wins, but the auctioneer may choose to match the bid to take the cows for himself.

During cow trading, players can again use bluffs to try to fool each other to win cards. This time players are not trying to collect quartets, but at three cows a set is complete and the fourth cow of a quartet earns minus points or can be used as a cow coupon during a subsequent bid or bluff.

Kuhhandel Festival is a variant with slightly more player influence in that players can decide how an auction is initiated. In this way, players determine which cows appear on stage at what time. Furthermore, the structure of the old familiar game is present so that this game is easily played by both young and old.