Wednesday, March 18, 2009

#28: Dschungelschatz

Dschungelschatz/Jungle Treasure
  • designer: Robert Fraga
  • publisher: Haba
  • date: 2006
  • BoardGameGeek rank/rating: not ranked/7.19
  • age: 6+
  • # of players: 2-4
  • print status: in print
  • cost: $15.99 (
Robert Fraga is a little nutty about speed/reaction games - this is the same guy who designed Squad Seven, Dancing Eggs (Eiertanz), Gamewright's Pounce!, Time is Money, & Trotofant. Jungle Treasure packs all of this kind of silliness into a small box for your enjoyment... and the enjoyment of your kids.

The theme is pretty simple - the players are jungle explorers, searching for treasure in Mayan temples. Fighting through the jungle involves a variety of tasks: rebuilding ancient ruins, finding needed supplies and/or dangers, reassembling jeweled masks, and rushing to the help of other adventurers. (There's also a "throw a gem in the air & catch it" task that I just can't come up with a thematic reason for... but who cares?)

On your turn, another player flips the (roughly) 1 minute timer over and hides it behind his hand as you pick a gem out of the bag - they come in three colors: red, green & yellow.
  • if you draw a red, you must complete two tasks
  • if you draw a green, you must complete one task
  • if you draw a yellow, you don't have to do anything

Once you finish your assigned tasks, you can pull another gem or call "Stop!" - of course, if you don't call "Stop!" before the time runs out, you get no treasure (points) for this turn. (Ouch.)

The tasks are a variety of speed, dexterity & recognition "games":

  • flipping one tile at a time, find a specific item shown on the card (worth 2 treasure)
  • throw a gem up in the air & catch it with one hand (worth 1 treasure)
  • build a building out of 6 wooden blocks as shown on the card (worth 2 treasure)
  • complete a jeweled mask as shown on the card using gems from the bag (worth 3 treasure)
  • grab the adventurer figure first (worth 1 treasure, but can be grabbed by non-active players during your turn!)

Each player gets three turns... the person with the most treasure at the end of the game wins.

Sounds simple, eh? It is... and that's part of what makes it such a good little game. It's blindingly simple to teach - once you explain the timer, you take the first turn & they'll figure most of the game out. Kids love the frenetic activity and the mystery timer mechanic (borrowed from his earlier game, Time Is Money - this, btw, is the better game)... but don't count adults out. I've tried this with numerous groups of adults only, always with success.

Fraga recently released Treasure, Ready, Go! (also published by Haba) which is very similar to this game with a slightly younger (age 5+) range, a larger box/component size & sillier art. I haven't had the chance to play it yet, but I want to! (You can pick it up from for $34.99.)

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