I had first heard of Jungle Rummy from The Game Crafter, who I wrote about in an earlier blog post. It had been at least 2 decades since I last played gin rummy, so I thought I’d enjoy an updated version of it, as well as help Kickstart a fellow game creator.
The premise is pretty simple. You’re trying to complete the current objective by drawing a card from the discard pile or deck before your opponents do. When a 3rd volcano card is drawn, the game is over and whoever has completed the most objectives by then wins. If the first or second volcano card is drawn of the game, everyone turns in their hands and all the cards are reshuffled and re-dealt.
Objectives can range from X number of a kind, straights, flushes, etc. On your turn, you draw a card from either the deck or discard pile, play a special card if you have one (draw an extra 2 cards from the deck, steal a card from an opponent, etc.), take the target objective card if you can, and then discard down to 9 cards or draw until you have 5 cards, whichever is applicable.
Overall, the game plays very well. The ever-changing target objective cards keeps the game fresh on each round and deters hoarding of cards as volcano cards force you to turn in your hand. Playtime can vary depending when the 3rd volcano card comes out, which also adds a level of urgency to obtain the target objective as quickly as possible.
As far as quality is concerned, I wish the instruction manual was a bit better-crafted. It’s held together by a single, uncentered staple and the pages feel like they’ll come detached easily. The box the cards come in is a good size with no wasted space, but could be a bit thicker. I’ll more than likely buy/make a custom box for them since it’s a game we’ll play quite a bit. If you’re looking for a new twist on traditional gin rummy, check this one out.