Posts Tagged ‘Party Games’


Posted: December 7, 2010 in 2 Hearts

Swap! is a card game that I picked up in a dollar store. Its a 2-10 person game for ages 7 and up. The basic idea is similar to Uno: get all the cards out of your hand. Only the rules are crazy. So, there are a few types of cards: colors, swap, super swap, switch color and slap. Here’s where things get weird. So, about that swap card. It lets you swap hands with another player and the rules say this can be done at any time. That wasn’t any time on your turn, no that was at any time like…ever. So there I am, playing Swap! with some of my friends and its my turn…and one of my friends plays a swap on me. Why yes, it is this absurd. So, next up. The slap card means what it says. Slap the discard pile. The last person to slap draws a card from the hand of the person who played it. Fairly simple. Now get this: if someone slaps at the wrong time, make up a punishment for them. So that’s going to be pretty tame normally, right? But we’re college students. This just begs to become a drinking game or a stripping game. The super swap is decidedly tame compared to the rest of these. Its basic function is that the person who plays it picks a direction to rotate the hands in. There are also optional rules to instead leave the cards in place and swap seats on any type of swap card. I think that would also change the turn order. Interesting little twist. Then you combine this with the fact that swap cards can be played at any time and now you can steal someone’s turn. This rapidly becomes a surprisingly complex strategy game considering that its for ages 7 and up.

The cards are pretty simple artistically. I was amused when I looked at one of the blank color cards. They’re literally the same background all the other cards have, only they’re just a color. The colors are bright and distinct and the action cards clearly say which card they are without leaving any possibility for confusion. For all that the cards are nice and easy to understand, the rules are anything but. I’ve never seen a game with so many variant rules right in the main game instructions itself. Some of them are also really weird, like that whole thing where swap cards can be played at literally any time. This makes the game become extremely confusing after a rapid round of swaps where you sit there going “Who’s turn is it? I have no idea.”

For a dollar store game, Swap! is pretty decent. In the grander scheme though, the rules are ambiguous and while a group that doesn’t really get into the specifics of the rules and just plays how they think it should go will probably have fun, a group of college students who except a higher level of gaming experience will rip it to shreds and be baffled by what’s left. In light of that, I feel that 2 out of 5 hearts is the appropriate score for Swap! I enjoyed this game, but it was way too confusing and we were making an awful lot of house rules for a little card game.


Jungle Speed

Posted: August 23, 2010 in 4 Hearts

I love Jungle Speed. Its a gloriously difficult and usually some what violent card game about matching shapes and colors. There is a wooden totem in the center of the table which is the object that all of the players are trying to get. In order to grab the totem, your card must match another player’s card exactly. Unless of course the color effect card has been played, then you want to just match their color. When played in the campus center at my school, this game is known to draw in 10-12 players and become extremely cut throat. Its a very nice game to carry around with you a set up on a random table. Its easy to set up and seeing 2 or 3 people playing will draw in a lot more. The drawstring pouch the game comes with for storage is also small and so easy to carry with you.

The box says that it is for 2 or more players and for players ages 6 and up. Now this last part bothers me. I tried to teach it to my 7 year old brother. He couldn’t tell the shapes apart. When shown 3 shapes, 2 of which were identical and the third was merely similar, he couldn’t tell which 2 matched. The rules are also a bit complicated for a younger child. For example, you have to flip the cards so that the other players see them before you do. If a game claims to be for ages 6 and up, I think a 7 year old should be able to understand the rules when they are explained to him. Instead they were so complicated that he got angry and wouldn’t play with me for a few days. If you have an unusually smart younger child, or one who has been raised on this kind of game, it will probably go better.

Jungle Speed is one of the most complicated card games I have ever played, which in most respects makes it an amazing game. Its also a very social game, very good for parties or any kind of get-together. The totem is solid wood and can put up with the wear and tear inherent to the game. The worst I’ve seen happen to it is for the totem to go flying across the room. The cards themselves are printed on normal card stock and are prone to bending if not treated somewhat nicely.

Some poking about the internet on my part looking for information about this game, I discovered that there is a Wii Ware version of Jungle Speed out for those of you interested in a video game version of this awesome game.

And so, the rating. I do love Jungle Speed. Most of the people I know love Jungle Speed. My only complaint is that I feel they’ve marked the age wrong on the package. Perhaps its more for 8 or 9 year olds than 6 year olds. I will award Jungle Speed with a 4 out of 5 for being an excellent game.4/5 Hearts