Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
AN EXERCISE IN RANDOMNESS WITH FRUSTRATION AND TEDIUM THROWN IN FOR FREE.
on 4 February 2017
I have tried the game Jamaica a couple of times now with two different groups of people and with just two players, me and my wife. Looking back on it, I don't know why I tried so hard to like this game. Given how I felt about the game after the first go, I should have left it well alone. I'm honestly racking my brain trying to figure out why this has such high ratings. The game mechanics amount to nothing more than a painful exercise in random actions. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing exciting about playing this game whatsoever. Everyone I know who has played this, hates it. Hate is a strong word, and when I say they hate it, they really hate it bar my wife. She's a very positive person bless her. She described it as "Just a waste of time." And "Boring."
At a first glance it appears like there is some sort of resource management. WRONG! You have little to no control over what cargo ends up in your ship.
Then there is the movement system, which for what is billed a racing game you would think is all important. This is simply awful. You draw 3 cards which makes up your hand and you select which card to play that turn with a morning and evening action you must result. Once you factor in the randomness of drawing cards, plus the cost of some locations meaning that if you can't pay you go back to the next location that doesn't sting you, you end up with a movement system that's simply painful to play.
I understand randomness in games can be very fun. But the game has to be in itself fun. My opinion, but this game this is not.
If you like the sort of game where 5 turns later you are still in the same place on the board (even though you have moved about quite a bit) and you have had to replace your collection of varied and useful tokens for a heap of only one type which will make things much harder, then you will absolutely love this. In all three games I played every player came away with this scenario as the only memory they took from the game which for me was not good. The comments I got from everyone was stuff like "I never want to see that again." or "When we are having a games night at mine, don't bring that."
On the plus side, the game is beautiful to look at with lovely artwork and components, and the rules are extremely easy to pick up. I just think that in todays market of fantastic boardgames, this just doesn't cut it. I could understand it being released 20 years ago, but not now. I have owned this for just 7 days, but after 3 plays it's going on Ebay or the bin if it gets no takers.
After my last attempt at this I needed a heavy session of Carcassonne to get me back on track again. I doubt anyone out there will be looking at this and Carcassonne, and weighing up which of the two they will go for. BUT if on the off chance anyone is..... Go for Carcassonne for heavens sake. In fact, go for any game over this.