Jambo

JamboJambo is the greeting provided by Swahili traders before the colonial powers came to Africa, and in this game, players take on the role of traders in the marketplace trying to accumulate gold.A fun, fast moving card game that is easy to learn but very in-depth.One of the best 2 player business card games around.Appearance: Jambo comes in a rectangular card board box about an inch in height and 6 inches wide and long.Cardboard pieces are provided for the goods that you will trade and the card stock that make up all the other items in the game are of high quality.Artwork is pleasing to the eye, with cartoonish but appropriate images that are quite well done.

Rules / Ease of Learning: Jambo excels in its easy-to-learn rules.Players each receive a hand of 5 cards to begin and 10 gold with 1 large merchant table.Each turn, a player has 5 actions that can be used to draw, look and replace or take a card; to play a card or to activate a played card.As the end goal of the game is to reach 60 gold, players must strive to buy and sell their goods as depicted on the cards effectively.Of note in the draw phase is that players may only ever take 1 card in a turn, thus limiting the number of actions he can take.

Cards in the game consist of Good cards, People, Utilities and Animals.Good cards can be used to either buy the goods depicted or sell them.Perhaps most importantly, players must buy or sell all the goods on the card.Inability to buy or sell any of the goods makes the card unplayable.

People cards are often one-off ‘event’ cards that can alter the game, while Animals are similar in action though often more ‘offensive’ than People cards.Utility cards are item cards that may be played (3 maximum at a time) and then activated throughout the game for a single action.

An additional card is the ‘small traders table’ that can be paid for to add more spaces to place goods. As you only get 6 spaces to place goods on the main table, you will need the additional table.

Lastly, a special note that any actions that a player has left are discarded at the end of the turn.If a player has more than 2 actions left, he receives 1 gold.

Actual Gameplay: Each turn in Jambo plays fast (2 – 3 minutes per turn maximum) as the number of actions are limited and players have a limited set of choices (draw a card, discard that card to draw another or play the cards in hand or on the table).Card combinations are definitely a necessity to win this game, while the explanations on the cards are easy to understand.

Jambo has a good mix of both ‘defensive’ cards as well as offensive cards that can change your opponents plans, either by removing their utilities or goods in most cases. A few cards also allow you to exchange cards with your opponent, creating a good balance to the interaction between players.

Conclusion: Jambo has definitely shown why it’s won the many awards it has in my book. It’s a good 2 player, economic game that is easily portable and fun to play with involved strategies and tactics but easy to learn rules.