Posted Thursday, 23-Apr-2015
Playing snap as a kid, did you ever think ‘what this needs is abstract symbols and a greater risk of injury?’ If you did then you were right, and Jungle Speed proves it.
Jungle Speed is a card game. But to lump it in with the likes of Dominion and the Game of Thrones card game would be to massively miss the point. This isn’t a card game of careful consideration, but one of observation and lightning reflexes.
Essentially a multi-player version of snap, Jungle Speed is played with a deck of cards showing colorful abstract shapes. Each player in turn flips over their card, and if it matches that of another player then they grab the special stick sitting in the middle of the table. Whoever grabs the stick first gets rid of some of their cards, and the first one with no cards left is the winner.
This is complicated by cards with different effects. One means that everybody should grab the stick, another that everybody should turn over a card, and a third switches between matching colors and matching shapes.
The ordinary cards also cause confusion, being full of shapes that are similar but not the same. In their haste to grab the stick players often make a mistake and suffer the penalty of acquiring everybody’s cards. But grabbing too slow means losing again and again.
This leads to a game in which players have to think, but have to do it quickly. It’s good for parties, provoking laughter and chaos as people race to grab the stick. It’s also a good game for kids, simple and reliant as much on reflexes as on smarts or experience.
More than anything else, Jungle Speed adds variety to a game collection. So many board games reward patience, planning and calculation — it’s nice to break that up once in a while with a game of intuition and fast physical action.
Jungle Speed doesn’t really fit into a category of games, being practically a category to itself. Eighteen years after its release, no-one has come up with a game to match it. Long may its chaos reign!
Published by BoardGamePrices.com