Monday, July 8, 2013

Game Review: Jungle Speed

Jungle Speed designed by Thomas Vuarchex and Pierric Yakovenko and published by Asmodee

Jungle Speed is a game that will test your ability to see matches between cards and snatch the jungle totem as fast as you can. The game has a deck of cards evenly divided between two to ten players. They all sit around a yellow "jungle totem" that should be in easy reach of everyone. Players flip a card face up in front of them to their individual discard pile, each on their own turn.

Four-player layout for Jungle Speed

If the shape on the card matches the shape of the card on top of someone else's discard (regardless of the color), the two players are in a duel. The first one to grab the totem wins and the loser has to take the winner's discard pile and their own discard pile and put all those cards at the bottom of the deck. Also, if any special cards have been played under the totem, the loser has to take those cards as well. The first player to run out of cards (both the draw pile and the discard pile) wins the game.

Cards that don't match each other (don't be fooled!

More non-matching cards and special rules change cards on the bottom

As you can see the cards are often quite similar but not exactly the same. The penalty for grabbing the token when you shouldn't is taking everyone's discards and adding them to your deck. Various special rules-changing cards increase both the excitement and the difficulty, for example one card (white arrows pointing in) that requires everyone to play a card simultaneously, resolving any duels that result. Or another card (colored arrows pointing in) that switches the matching from shapes to colors. These cards are played under the totem, to be collected by the next person to lose a duel.

The game play is a lot of fun. Often people are fooled into taking the token at the wrong time or almost grab it but save themselves in time. We played a four-player game and had lots of laughs. My wife decided that this is the sort of game where a ten-year old cousin would totally dominate regular adults. Highly recommended!

Zombie Apocalypse Appropriateness: The game comes with special rules for two- and three-player games, but it is really best as a larger party game. So you'll need a big group to play with which may not happen in the inevitable apocalypse. The game is fairly compact, just a deck of cards and the totem, so it's easy to carry. It also causes a lot of laughter, which will lightened the mood but probably the noise will attract nearby zombies. Best to play it in a sound-proof room. So it's really not that appropriate for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. It is a lot of fun, though.

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