Jungle Rumble

by Mikko on November 14, 2014

in Reviews

Jungle Rumble boxThe game: Jungle Rumble by Eros Lin, Nightsorrow Chou and Zeldaaa Ling, published by ErosGames in 2013.

Elevator pitchPuerto Rico action selection meets Agricola farming and feeding in a small box with cute kittens.

What’s in the box? The small box is packed with field tiles, kitten tiles, action tiles, cardboard food tokens and wooden bits for water ways, stores and gold. The components are quite decent for such a small game, and the artwork is cute and idiosyncratic. The box is just the right size – except for the English player aids, which don’t fit in the box without folding.

What do you do in the game? Expand your kitten tribe, feed the cats by collecting food and building and irrigating fields and score points by selling food and gold to shopkeepers. These are the main point sources. The game plays like Puerto Rico: there are five action roles available (collect gold, build fields, build water ways, collect food, recruit new workers), and you choose one. The active player gets to do the action several times by flipping worker tiles to sleepy side. The other players can follow and do the action once, or rest: collect one food or wake one worker.

Once a round is over, the unselected roles get a food token, and the starting player passes to the next player. The workers are an interesting twist: they tire, and need sleep after working. If you use all your workers, you won’t be able to leech from other players roles. Also, waking up the kittens costs food: one is free, more costs food.

You also need to feed your cats: two food per kitten. Initially this is a restriction, but it’s easy to build enough fields and water ways to provide enough food for your tribe. This feeding mechanism brings to mind Agricola, but is not nearly as strict.

Lucky or skillful? There are no random elements in the game, just chaos from player actions. An experienced player should be able to win almost always.

Abstract or thematic? The kittens are certainly cute. The farming theme is fun, but not particularly deep. It works, though.

Solitaire or interactive? There’s no direct conflict between players, but as in Puerto Rico and other similar games, best players will consider what actions other players need and want.

Players: 2–4. More is merrier. The two-player game doesn’t shine. The turns go A-B / B-A / A-B, when A-B-A / B-A-B / A-B-A would probably be better.

Who can play? Official age recommendation is 12+, but my 8-year-old son (who plays Agricola) could handle this just fine. For me, Jungle Rumble is probably mostly a family game or a filler for gamers. The game isn’t particularly deep.

Length: This is a quick game, 30 minutes or so, even with four players.

What’s to like: Cute kittens; Quick, compact gameplay; Compact box; Familiar, well-tested game mechanisms.

What’s not to like: Slightly confusing rules; Narrow decision tree.

My verdict: Jungle Rumble was recommended to me as a fun little filler that scratches the same itch as Agricola, just in a lot more compact form. To me the Puerto Rico comparison is even more significant. The game is cute and fun, but seems a perhaps a bit simple: a large part of the fun in Agricola is the wealth of possibilities and variety of actions. Jungle Rumble doesn’t have quite that wealth.

However, the game packs a decent amount of interesting play in a small box and a short timeframe: growing the fields to support a large tribe, getting the gold to create that tribe and making sure your shopkeepers get as much gold as possible are an interesting challenge. I’m not sure if the game is a keeper for the long run, but I’m quite sure I’ll get enough play out of this game in order to justify the purchase.

On the scale of EnthusiasticSuggestIndifferent or AvoidJungle Rumble gets Suggest.

Games with my son

by Mikko on October 27, 2014

in More about games

My son has become my most regular board game opponent. We often play in the mornings: on weekends and on schooldays when his school starts on 9. He’s eight years old, and quite the gamer, and here’s what we play now:

  • Agricola — We play the family game, and recently started using the Farmers of the Moor expansion. My son has still some problems managing the farm, and hasn’t really been near winning yet, but he likes the game nevertheless. He also competes against his own personal records (currently 29 with the expansion, and 25 without, I think). It has been very enjoyable for me to get back to this old classic, last time I’ve played the game this much was back in 2007 when the game was new.
  • San Juan — I made a Finnish translation for San Juan, one of my personal favourites, and introduced it to my son. He likes the game a lot, which suits me fine. I’ve yet to lose to him, but in this game it’s likely to happen sooner or later.
  • Pantheon — This is one of those games I like, but few people care about. Almost nobody even plays it here in Finland, or at least it’s very silent. I like it, and so does my son. We’ve played several games, and the two-player game is quite nice.
  • Stone Age — This is a new one for us, we’ve played twice so far. Here he’s quite far from winning, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem. In our second game, my son managed to build quite a few huts, but fell badly behind in cards – and that, of course, means lots of points lost. Well, we have time to practise this.
  • Lost Valley — Simple and peaceful adventure, looking for gold. I had this when the game was new, but didn’t really want to play it after the novelty ran out. I recently rebought it, and it was a good move: my son likes the game, and I don’t mind playing with him. The two-player game is a bit bland, but it doesn’t matter in this case.
  • Walnut Grove — The Agricola Lite. Not that we need one, as Agricola takes us about 30-40 minutes. Well, this is faster, and quite fun. Not a keeper for me, except for my son, but a nice family game to play.
  • Lewis & Clark — My son has had this thing for explorers, so I thought Lewis & Clark might good for him. It was, and I like it too. The 30 minutes per player play time scares me from trying this with my friends, but I should, so I could write a review. Two hours of this sounds way too much, but as a two-player with my son, this is quite tasty. The combo-building is fun.
  • Subdivision — He hasn’t asked for this one for a while now, with all the new games, but we’ve already played this more than ten times. It’s a fun little puzzler.
  • Suburbia — The big brother of Subdivision. This is slightly complicated, because the tiles are in English, but since the tiles are public and open all the time, it’s not a huge deal.
  • Machi Koro — I bought the Japanese edition and needed a translation anyway, so I made the translation in Finnish. My son and I have played this quite a bit, this has been one of our favourites.

My 2014 top 100: 20–1

October 17, 2014

Here’s the final installment of my list. See the previous part. Now we’re getting to seriously good games. 20–19 String Railway — Build railways of strings. Simple, sometimes frustratingly imprecise, but all the same very charming. This is a delightful game, a lovely filler in a small box that works with a full range of […]

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My 2014 top 100: 40–21

October 15, 2014

Here’s the previous part. 40–39 Australian Railways — The third Early Railways Game on the list. The three games are almost identical, but this one’s different, and the best: it features organic link growth. So, instead of railroad links appearing in the middle of nowhere, they form a contiguous network. That’s pretty clever, huh. This […]

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My 2014 top 100: 50–41

October 14, 2014

Third part of my Top 100 list. Here’s the previous part. 50–48 Qwixx — Delightful filler game with dice. I’ve made an online score sheet for the game. Pantheon — This is the highest-ranking Bernd Brunnhofer title on my list, beating St. Petersburg and Stone Age. Is it a better game than the two, especially Stone Age? […]

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My 2014 top 100: 74–48

October 13, 2014

This is the second part of my Top 100 list. Here’s the first part with more explanations. Looks like here I’m starting to move to games rated 8+, the previous list was mostly games rated 7. 74–72 Timeline — Very simple idea; other games do the same thing, with more complications. This simple version works quite well, […]

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My 2014 top 100: 75–104

October 12, 2014

Since everybody else is doing these top 100 lists, I’m joining the fun. This is the first installation, stay tuned for the next parts in the next days (I’m not following Mark’s suit and dribbling the list one by one, especially as the lower positions are essentially tied). How did I make the list? I […]

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Realm of Wonder

August 25, 2014

Realm of Wonder is a new, upcoming title from Mindwarrior Games (and Tactic). They asked me if I could write a review of the game in exchange for pre-production copy of the game now and couple of copies of the game once it’s done. Since I’m always interested in new Finnish titles, I agreed. That […]

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Koboldbande / Troll Trail

August 21, 2014

The game: Koboldbande or Troll Trail by Gina Manola, published by Amigo and others in 2014. I have the Nordic Troll Trail edition from Lautapelit.fi. I did the Finnish translation. Elevator pitch: Simple co-op game for young kids and their parents. Find the a way through the forest and get the treasure before the dragon gets to it! What’s in the […]

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New game notes

August 21, 2014

Red is a new mini game from Carl Chudyk and Chris Cieslik. Play a card and/or change the goal. Only requirement? You need to be winning after your move, otherwise it’s game over for you. Fun little filler. Suggest. Pick-a-Pig was familiar: I’ve played Formissimo, which is the original version. This one’s cuter. My kind […]

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