Can you Bandu?

Bandu was a game released by Milton Bradley in 1991. It's the American version of the German game called Bausack. The game comes with 48 wood blocks of various shapes and sizes, 6 wooden bases, and 30 plastic bidding beans. Each player starts out with a wooden base and 5 plastic beans to bid with. The blocks are put in a pile in the middle of the table. The blocks are really odd shapes, and the goal of the game is to be the last person to have a tower of blocks that's standing.

The way I learned to play it, one player would start (arbitrarily, or by some "rock, paper, scissors" type of choosing) and pick a block from the middle. The person would then ask "do you reject this piece?" to the person sitting next to them. If the person did not accept it, the person would have to lose one of their beans and they'd skip their turn. The block would then go back to the middle pile. If someone said "do you accept this piece?", then the block would get passed on to the next person and not go into the middle. The difference is that with the 2nd question, the block could very well come back to you and you'd be stuck with it. When someone's tower fell, we'd put their blocks back in the middle. Whoever had the last tower standing would win.

Now I have a feeling that isn't the conventional way of playing, but I think it is more fun than the original way. According to the box:

Just start with a wooden base block and five bidding beans.

Then build a tower on your base by using your beans to bid for choice pieces - or refuse unwanted ones.

Careful now, strategy's the clue!

Some pieces have angles, others have points, curves or holes.

Which ones are right for you?

Watch out - one wrong piece and CRASH, you're through.

But if you're the player with the last tower standing, you win!!

I just think its a great, laid back party game and a great way to get to know people while sitting around drinking something. Its fun to make up your own damn rules and not really worry about the specifics of it. I first encountered it at a local coffee shop and I like it a lot. Unfortunately, the game has been discontinued. It can be found on eBay sometimes, and there are a few online vendors overseas (mostly in England) that sell the German version under the name Bausack.