The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Review of card game Dschungel by Pevans

Bernhard Naegele's Dschungel (Jungle) is another in Adlung Spiele's range of card games. A deck of highly coloured, plastic coated cards is the game. The cards are laid out in a patchwork grid that is alternately face-up (showing paths through the jungle) and face-down (impenetrable). Each player has a starting position at a corner of the grid and there are three cards left over. In your turn you get to look at hidden cards secretly or swap cards around - including with the extra cards. Then you can have a go at making a path. Initially, the path has to start from your corner and get to one of the edges that does not touch your starting position. Your next path has to go from that edge to the other that does not touch your starting position. Finally, you have to find a path back to your starting position. The first player to manage all three trips, wins the game.

I sat down to this expecting serious brain burn - I don't like memory games, especially after a couple of beers. However, Bill Michell and I quickly decided that the thing to do was to try a route every turn: get lucky and you surge ahead. If it didn't work out, you probably gained a lot more information about what cards are where. The drawback is that all the other players get the same information. The end result was a game that played far more quickly than I expected. It also rewarded the lucky player - though I only beat Bill because he twice made mistakes on a route he had used before. The other players, sticking to the strategy of finding a route before attempting to use it, were well behind.

This is a game that turned out to have less in it than I expected. I don't know how the designer intended it to be played, but the fast-track tactics Bill and I used make it a short game that is largely dependent on luck. The production is high quality, but the designs used for front and back of the cards are hard to tell apart at a casual glance. Not a great game, but worth a look if you like the sound of it.

Dschungel (Jungle) was designed by Bernhard Naegele and published in Germany by Adlung Spiele. It is for 2-4 players and takes 20-30 minutes to play. Pevans rates it 3/10.
This review was originally published in Games Games Games 148, October 2000.

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