Star Wars: Jabba's Palace Review

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace is a card game that comes in a shockingly small package, but does that mean it's an overly simplistic game? Read our review to find out.

Published: February 11, 2022 12:30 PM /

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Star Wars: Jabba's Palace - Game Contents

It’s always good to have a few ice-breaker games on-hand when you’re running a tabletop night. Not only are they great for getting people a bit more relaxed, but they’re also perfect for lulling players into a false sense of security before you bust out Scyth again. Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace is possibly the most classic example of an ice-breaker game that I’ve ever seen, with setup taking literally a few seconds, and learning the rules of the game not much longer than that. Despite this, there’s also a fair amount of strategy and depth to the gameplay that makes it something players will come back to more than once under the right circumstances. 

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace - Contents Contained
That entire game is so compact that you can sneak it into game night with ease, unless you have a particularly paranoid host. 

Portability and Playability

One of the most striking things about Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace is just how small the whole package is. Everything you need to play the game fits into a single draw-string bag that is no bigger than some dice bags. That means it’s super easy to slip it into your pocket and take it with you pretty much anywhere. This perfectly suits the quick-play style of the game and makes it incredibly easy to set up and put away again once you’re done with it. 

The package includes the bag, a rulebook, 29 cards, and 6 tokens. That’s it. Luckily, everything that you do get is of the highest quality. The cards are well printed on decent card stock, the tokens have highly stylized artwork that matches what you’ll find on the bag, and care has been taken to make sure that the rulebook is small enough to actually fit in the bag, while still being readable. The only minor complaint I could even make on the physical side of things is that the bag doesn’t feature the title, so if you dispose of the flimsy box to save space, you’ll have to check the rulebook to remember the game’s title. 

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace - Cards
Some of the art on these cards is classic and that's probably reason enough to get the game on its own. 

How to Play Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace

Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace is a game about social deduction, just like the game it’s based on, Love Letter. The key difference between this and Love Letter is that your goal here is to figure out what cards are still in play and who has them so you can eliminate the other players. It’s sort of like a card-counting game, with the added advantage that each player is given a list of all the cards that are in the game and a short-hand version of what they do. This avoids having to learn what each card is. 

Each player is dealt a single card and on each turn must draw another and choose one to play. Once played, these cards go in front of the player face-up so everyone knows who has played what. The goal of each round of the game is to be either the last player standing or to fulfill the conditions on the agenda card. The winner of each round gains victory tokens, and once one player has enough the game is over and they’re declared the overall winner of the game. It really is that simple. 

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace - Gameplay
Figuring out what cards are left and what cards are left in the deck is integral to doing well in this game. 

A Question of Player Numbers

While Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace is a very simple game, that doesn't mean it doesn't come with a bit of an in-built problem from the get-go. Although the game is designed so that anywhere from 2 to 6 players can enjoy it, with 2 it’s a very stunted experience, even with the extra rules thrown in to make things more playable. The issue is that by its nature this game can have very short rounds, and when you only have two players in the game, those rounds are even shorter. It’s not uncommon for a player to get knocked out of the round on the first go. Obviously, when there are only two of you, the first move can end up benign the last one of the round as well. 

That means that you can end up spending much more time shuffling and dealing cards than actually playing the game, and it ends up leaving the overall experience feeling a little underwhelming. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy it, but it’s certainly better with more people. Having said that, it's not like there are no problems at the other end of the spectrum. At the higher end, a player can be knocked out at the start of a round, and then end up having to wait for the rest of the round to finish before they get to do anything. This is officially one of the only games where bringing your phone to the table to play Genshin isn’t rude in a tabletop gaming setting.

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace - Cards Close Up
While the reference card is helpful, learning what all the cards do certainly helps the game to flow more smoothly. 

Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace has Surprising Depth

The benefit of the simple design is that it can lull players into a false sense of security. While the rules and mechanics are incredibly easy to understand, you might be tricked into thinking that the game lacks nuance. The truth is there are a lot of subtle strategies at play here, especially with more people in the game. Having a good memory and a keen understanding of math and probability specifically will help you out to no end.

The more you play the game, and the more you learn what cards do, the easier it becomes to learn patterns and figure out what needs to be done to win. Of course, that’s not to say that the game is endlessly complex or overly strategic. It’s fun and simple, with added depth, but if you tried to play it for hours and hours over and over again you’d certainly see every possible combination of plays relatively quickly. 

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace - Bag
The bag it comes in is so nice that I sort of want to use it for something else, but then what to do with the actual game? 

Should I Buy Star Wars: Jabba's Palace

If you're a fan of the Star Wars universe looking for something that you can trick your gaming friends into playing without too much fuss, then this is the perfect game for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for a quick game to play between two people, then you might find this game doesn't work out best for your needs. It also probably won't work for you if you're looking for a game that will last you months or years of playtime. 

The copy of Star Wars: Jabba's Palace used in this review was provided by the publisher.

Review Summary

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace is a very simple card game about deducing exactly what cards are liable to be remaining in the deck. (Review Policy)

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Will has been writing about video games professionally since 2016 and has covered everything from AAA game reviews to industry events and everything in… More about William