Occasionally for my meetups, I like to buy a new board game to introduce to the well played collection I appear to have amassed.
I mean let’s think about it: If you have a monthly party where the party plays out exactly the same way each time, but just with a few other people, it has to get relatively stale for the host. So I decided whilst I was London Anime and Gaming Convention to go ahead and buy myself a new board game. I approached a dealer who was selling a lot of board games on the stalls closing hours and he said “You’ve gotta think fast, we’re packin’ up over here.”
Taking that as a hint, I picked up a game all about being fast; naturally. There it was, in it’s bright red packaging. It was honestly quite a sight to behold… Not a terrible price and supports up to 10 people. Without thinking about the circumstances of what I was about to purchase, I picked up the totem grabbing game of snap and I proceeded to leave the area. I put the game down with the rest of my stuff so I could finish off my shift.
Mistake one: I just happened to pick up a game that makes people ruthless, aggressive… Violent.
I kid, of course, but it does really bring out the speed and aggressiveness of peoples playing styles. This game, Jungle Speed, was a game not to be trifled with. It literally is a game of snap, where instead of calling out snap, you have to grab a totem. That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Inside of the packaging was a nice plastic casing for everything, but the box was way too big for the contents. Inside, there was a bag, some square cards and the totem in question. The totem isn’t much bigger than my hand – For a bloke, I have relatively small hands, too. The box was probably the length of my triceps, which again – I’m quite short over all. There, I’ve said it. I’m a shorty.
So okay, the packaging was far too over the top, but what about the quality of the product? Actually, it’s awesome! The totem is made from what appears to be a really nice, smooth wood. It is fair to note however that depending on the version you get, you could get a foam or a plastic totem. It’d make sense, as during our first ever game of Totem Speed, I managed to knock the totem into my head.
The game works as snap, you draw your card from your deck and you draw it away from you, so you can’t cheat by spending time to look underneath the card before others. Instead, it’s in your best interests to get your card on the table as soon as you start to turn the card. Then the next person puts their card down and so on. Ultimately, you start the game by trying to match the shapes that’s on the cards. If the card in front of you matches another shape, you then grab the totem. You then give your on the table face-up card/s to the person your card matched.
There’s a few special cards; one that gets everyone to put down a new card at the same time, one that changes from shapes to colours and one that lets someone put their pile of cards underneath the totem, basically giving that person freedom of their old cards. The aim of the game is to get rid of all of your cards.
It’s a really simple game, which we managed to play at our last GeekOut South-West session and honestly, I’d recommend it to everyone. There’s nothing smart about the game, but ultimately it’s a barrel of laughs.
I’ll give this board game a 4.5/5 – It’s close to perfect. For people with slow reactions or poor hand-eye co-ordination, this game could be quite demoralising… But if everyone is on the same rough skill level, it’s great fun to play. Especially after a few pints.