Jungle Race by Cranio Creations Review

Theme and What is it?

You have made it this far. Your speed and split-second decision making have brought you to this point. You are at the Jungle Race finale. You and a host of other critters have dominated your heats and it now comes to this—three races and a new king of the animal kingdom will be crowned. Move over lions, you may be dethroned by a turtle.

In Jungle Race, players influence how the finale of the greatest race known to critter kind will shape up. Will the speedy cheetah come out victorious? What about that super charged elephant? Wait…is that a turtle with a jet engine motor attached to his car? Yep, anything goes when you are dealing with animals.

Gameplay Mechanics

Jungle Race is a push-your-luck racing game. Cards that represent each animal are shuffled out to the players. Players play cards to move creatures ahead of others on the racetrack. When an animal card is played, that animal jumps to the front of the creature in front of it (unless it is in first place, then it moves to the very last position). Players want to move animals up far enough to land in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place. These are the only positions that score any points. Scores are given to each card played that has an animal in one of the top three spots. Players have to decide which animal to push forward in an attempt to have them finish in the best position possible. At the end of three races the player with the most points wins.

Initial Impressions

Jungle Race is a fun, competitive game. You create strategies based on your cards and the current positions of the race, but don’t get to comfortable with that strategy. It can get blown up in a just a move or two. Trying to get the animals that I wanted to the front of the pack was not an easy task. I would either play my cards too early, just to see the other players knock them back, or I would wait too long and not have enough to move them far enough up the line. Since you are moving more than one creature (you are dealt a hand with a mix of all the animals) you have to decide which animal to bet on and which animals to transition to when your chosen bet is not working out as planned. I played the game with my six and nine-year-old.  They forced me to revise what I had planned, and it became a very competitive and fun game.

Game Build Quality

There are not too many components in Jungle Race—the animal cards, the character tokens, the race track and victory coins. All of the components, except the cards, are a very nice cardboard. The cards are also nice and should hold up well, especially with younger players being involved with this game. Overall, players will be satisfied with what they get in the box.

Artistic Direction

Jungle Race has a fun, flowing design. The characters all seem to be flying along the track. Artistically the game skews toward the interest of the younger players with its cartoon driver design. I really enjoyed the unique animals and their individual vehicles. The game is very lighthearted and the art helps that come across.

Fun Factor

I think it is very easy to overlook Jungle Race. Unless you are looking for a game for the kids, most adult gamers might just pass right by it. I decided to get it because I thought the kids would really enjoy it. When it did make it to the table, the kids loved it and thought that moving animals ahead of ones that other players need to score points was the funniest thing ever. Not only did the kids enjoy the game, but the adults that have played have also been very surprised by how fun and challenging Jungle Race can be. Please don’t skip this title. It is a great game for occasions where a quick, easy game is needed to break the ice or to get a game night started just right.

Age Range & Weight

The Age Recommendation is 6+. The youngest player I played with was six. He was very engaged in the game because he felt like he really had a shot to win. He was playing at a very competitive level and was making strategies to both get points for himself and cost other players points. Jungle Race has the potential to be a great gateway game for really young players. They will love the artwork and it is easy for them to figure out what they need to do. With a little coaching most kids should catch right on.

Conclusions

The race is underway. Will you be victorious or will you eat dust? You must make your move at just the right moment to cross into first place.  Others will want to hold up the trophy too, so make sure you time everything just right and end the race as the leader of the pack.

Jungle Race is fast paced and very interactive. Although the game is built to play well with children, I don’t see any reason why adults wouldn’t enjoy it. The ease of play and small box also make it a great travel option. Give Jungle Race a try and see if you can become king of the Jungle Race.