Race around Jamaica! Feed your crew! Fight your friends! Steal their treasure! Hope that treasure isn't cursed! Read the Jamaica Board game review!
Today we are looking at Jamaica published by Asmodee / Gameworks. Jamaica is a racing/resource management game for 2 - 6 players in which players each command a ship in an attempt to gather gold and treasure while racing to be the first to make a complete trip around the island of Jamaica.
In each round of Jamaica the players will have a hand of 3 cards showing two actions each, one to take in the Morning and one to take in the Evening. The player who has the Captain token for the round will roll two dice and place one on the Morning space and on on the Evening space. This determines the numbers used for each player's action, whether it be moving a number of spaces or loading a number of goods tokens. Player will all simultaneously choose one card to play from their hands and, beginning with the Captain, play their Morning action followed by their Evening action.
[caption id="attachment_2341" align="aligncenter" width="690"] The art on the cards and components is wonderful. The symbols on the upper left and right are the actions that you will take. The rest of the card is just to please the eye.[/caption]
Players need to manage their ship's hold, which has room for five stacks of goods.
Doubloons, which are used to pay port fees when landing on a port space and count towards a player's point total at the end of the game.
Food, which is used to feed a player's crew when landing on spaces showing food squares.
Gunpowder, which is used to modify the die roll when players land on the same space and fight each other!
[caption id="attachment_2342" align="aligncenter" width="995"] The board looks wonderful on the table. Each player will manage their ship's hold and needs to balance which goods to load and when to load them in order to lead their ship to victory.[/caption]
Players are also able to claim pirate treasure cards if they manage to land on one of the Pirate Lair spaces. These treasures either impart a special ability to the player, grant extra points or, in the case of a cursed treasure, grant negative points. Players can fight to steal these treasures from one another, steal a hold full of goods or force their defeated opponent to take one of their cursed treasures.
Players need to manage their goods, stack as many Doubloons as possible and race around the island as quickly as they can while gathering pirate treasure cards, avoiding cursed treasures and avoiding (or attacking) the other players.
A note on game length: A game of Jamaica usually lasts around 60 minutes. As you add players the game length increases only slightly as all players plan their moves at the same time. This is a great game to play with 6 people as it doesn't get bogged down with increased player count.
A note on “chrome”: The art and components of Jamaica are wonderful. The box insert holds everything perfectly and the game is absolutely beautiful when laid out on the table. The cartoon-ish art fits the theme and game-play perfectly.
The bottom line:
Jamaica is a great family game and a great lightweight game to play with both gamers and non-gamers alike. It is quick to teach, there is very little downtime and is beautiful to look at.
Get this game if:
You want a fun family game / lightweight filler game.
You enjoy the pirate theme.
Avoid this game if:
You want deep strategy and the ability to plan ahead.
You dislike randomness.
Jamaica can be purchased via Amazon.
A rules explanation video can be found here.