Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Jungle Speed

My eldest daughter stopped playing games with us after The Settlers of Catan turned into The Cities & Knights of Catan (and then all the rest of the Eurogames). The one exception is Apples to Apples, which she loved to play with her friends, even though many were native Israeli and A2A features English and American culture.

So it was surprising to hear that she found a new game to play with her friends that she liked so much, she actually went and bought a copy of it. It's Jungle Speed.

Jungle Speed is a deck of cards and a wooden "totem" or stick that stands up on its end. It comes in a drawstring bag. It's a pattern recognition / speed reaction game, not the only one of its kind (there's an Israeli-invented game called Halli Galli which is pretty similar and has a bell instead of a totem).

Going around in a circle, each play reveals a card from his or her personal deck. Whenever two people have cards with the same pattern revealed (color doesn't matter), whichever one of them grabs the totem first gives all of his or her cards to the loser. First player to have no cards left wins.

Additional cards add some twists: one causes it to be color, and not patterns. One causes all players to simultaneously reveal a new card. One requires all players to grab the totem (first to do so places their cards under the totem, which are given to the next player who loses a grab). Some of the patterns are quite close and so designed to cause confusion. Grabbing the totem when you're not supposed to gains you all cards in play.

I admit, it's a great game for the right age group - I think I'm just past that age group now, unfortunately. More to the point, the game concept is a great idea, and probably any number of similar games would be just as enjoyable. You could probably play with with a standard deck of playing cards and some odd rules (such as jacks and sevens are matches) to make the game confusing and interesting.

Anyhoo, I played it for the first time against three teenagers and lost thoroughly. Of course, they were all experienced with the different patterns, and so had an easier time distinguishing when they matched and didn't.

Pictures of my first encounter with the game here.

Some other games: I played Scrabble with Rachel and lost by about 70 points, even after I played LAV onto ROOMED to make VROOMED. I played bridge online at for a few hours. Probably a few others which I can't recall right now.

And I have 12 spanking new copies of It's Alive to sell (Israel only; I don't want to undercut my publisher) or give away. I'm going to give at least one away in my 2,000th post here (I passed 2,000 on Purple Pawn a while ago).

1 comment:

AzureDarkness said...

I'd love to buy a copy... the only problem being I'm never in Jerusalem.