Jamaica - Family Board Game
Imagine a pirate galleon race around the island of Jamaica, where you try and pick up buried treasure en-route, and on occasion exchange cannon fire with your fellow rivals… You have imagined GameWorks’ Jamaica, by popular designer, Bruno Cathala! Up to six salty seadogs (erm, players) can join the race: one lap around the island, the game end triggering when the first ship lands back in Port Royal. But the first buccaneer back isn’t guaranteed to win… Instead, the richest pirate at this moment takes the bragging rights.
Each player has the same deck of beautiful, large cards that they shuffle and then draw a hand size of three. The first player rolls two D6 dice and assigns one to morning (left), and the other to evening (right). Then each player picks one of their cards, with the icons in the top-left/top-right being what they will activate that turn, according to the dice that were just rolled. This will either be acquiring food, gold or gunpowder, or moving forward or back around Jamaica.
Of course, the first player places the dice to suit a card of their own choosing. These might not work to such a good fortune towards your own cards. (It’s at this point in the game where verbal curses are hurled across the table, usually involving Davy Jones’ Locker.)
However, moving forward (or back!) in this race around Jamaica isn’t a simple case of raising anchor and whispering, “Bring me that horizon,” into your compass. You need food (to feed your crew, presumably) to land at a sea spot. You’ll need to pay doubloons to dock at a port. If not, you have to retreat to the first spot you can afford – which could undo all the hard progress you’d just made reaching it that far!
And on top of that, your ship’s five holds can only store so much, so your resource management has to be on top form. Or else you’ll have to toss goods overboard to make room for the new, and that’s not very pirate-y – every time you do this, somewhere, the spirit of ‘Calico’ Jack weeps a little.
There is buried booty to pick up along the way, too. This could be worth up to seven points come the game’s end, or it could be ‘cursed’ treasure (worth minus points). Alternatively, it could be an ability you can use for the rest of the game, such as a larger hand size, an extra hold to store goods, or a way to tweak the Battle Die.
Oho, yes. Jamaica sees ships that share the same space have a battle, where they invest gunpowder and have a dice roll-off (the winner steals something from the loser, whether that’s a treasure card or a complete hold worth of goods).
Jamaica is a gateway game that offers oodles of fun, theme and interaction. The golden age of piracy is translated here with a wealth of glorious colours, components and chunky dice: another winner from Bruno Cathala.
Time: 30-60 Minutes
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