There is often a wide chasm that separates the digital world of video games and the analog world of the table-top game. Sometimes this is facilitated by a generational difference, sometimes by the clash of personalities between traditionalists and early-adopters. There are also some very real differences between the gaming experiences—fundamental differences that keep good games from crossing over. Even at their fastest, board games tend to be slower and more deliberative than their electronic counterparts. And when table-top games are built for speed, they generally require the players to physically manipulate objects—a mechanic that is often problematic for video games.
Asmodee’s takes something of a hybrid approach with their grabby, slappy, trippy card game Jungle Speed. It is not a remake of an existing video game, but it successfully captures the frantic action (and bug-eyed rabbit characters) of a series of games for the Xbox Kinect: Ubisoft’s Rabbids.
Jungle Speed Ravin Rabbids is essentially a fast-paced matching game. Cards are evenly dealt to all the players. Extras go into a pile (called “the pot”). Players turn over cards and if a match occurs, the two players with the match try to grab the “totem” (a soft plastic tube that stands on one end in the middle of the table). The loser takes the winner’s face-up discards and puts them at the bottom of his or her pile. In this manner, winners get rid of cards and losers get more cards. The game ends when one player is out of cards.
Special cards complicate things (naturally!!) If the “rabbid hunter” card appears then all players try to grab the totem. If the “BWWWWAAAAH” card appears then all players must put bunny ears behind the player to the left and laugh maniacally. There are others but the effect is the same: players never know if they are going to be in a duel with one of the other players or ALL of the other players.
The cards for matching have some small differences which make mistakes maddeningly common. And mistakes are costly. If you grab the totem at the wrong time you get ALL the face-up cards from ALL the players. The game also comes with t little Rabbid figurine that sits on top of the totem. Whenever someone grabs the totem, the figuring falls off. The first person to grab the figurine can get rid of one card.
Although the Rabbids are not the first to move from the video world to the wider world of popular culture (Pac Man Fever anyone?) they do bring with them a wild, hilarious, and Major Fun game that will have you swatting and cursing at your friends around a cozy table. Much like you would if you were playing in front of a Kinect.
For 2 – 10 players, ages 8+
Jungle Speed created by Thomas Vuarchex and Pierric Yakovenko. Published by Asmodee. © 2011 by Ubisoft Entertainment.