If you’ve played a game of Scrabble, you’ll probably feel at home with Jabuka, a fast-speed/simultaneous word game for all ages.
Jabuka aims to bring something familiar yet different to fans of word games.
What’s in the bag?
The first thing you might notice about Jabuka is just how unique the game looks. All the letter tiles come packed into a hessian bag. This fits in perfectly with the game’s coffee theme.
Continuing the theme, the letter tiles themselves are shaped like little coffee beans.
And while the game’s theme is very strong, it’s more than just about coffee. Jubuka is also an environmentally friendly game as the components are made of 100% recycled wood. So, not only does the game look great but it is also an environmentally responsible product.
How do you play it?
Jabuka is a word game in a similar vein to Scrabble. Players have to use the word tiles to spell out words and score points.
A game starts with each player taking one of the blank bean tiles. These special tiles can represent any letter and serve as a sort of a wildcard.
The rest of the letter tiles are put in the bag, shaken and then spilt out onto the table (or playing area). Some of the tiles will land face up and others face down.
There aren’t any turns in Jabuka, instead, the players take their turn simultaneously. Players shout out the words that they can spell using the visible letters and then grab those letter tiles.
Should they not be able to combine the visible tiles into cohesive words they then shout “flip”. After all the players have shouted “flip” each player then flips over one of the face-down tiles. This continues until the final tile is flipped and one last word is created.
If you think that this sounds easy, there are a few complications.
Firstly, most of the bean tiles are twistable. This means that a letter that looks like a “d” can be twisted to form a “p”, or a “t” can be twisted to be an “x”. It’s an interesting mechanic that forces players to look at the tiles in different ways, allowing them to think outside of the box.
The second snag is that your fellow players can steal your tiles.
Should a player be able to create a word using all of another player’s words, then that player can steal those tiles. This counts even if you have to twist and turn their tiles to create the new word. This means that you are never quite sure how many completed words you’ll end up with, and adds quite a bit of tension.
Scoring is done by counting the number of tiles a player has. Each tile in a word counts as one point.
What did we think of Jabuka?
Jabuka is a word game that sets out to be different. Whether it’s the environmentally responsible components, or the ability to twist and turn letters to change them, Jabuka does not shy away from being unique.
Sure, rounds can devolve into chaos as players continually grab, shout and twist, but there is something enjoyable about this type of chaos.
Some might like the more formulaic turn-based mechanics of word games such as Scrabble. For those players, Jubuka might be a tad too chaotic.
My wife immediately knew when the kids and I were playing Jabuka as the house resounded with laughter and shouting. This is definitely not a quiet game and hence my kids loved every moment.
Overall, Jabuka tries to do two things. One is to be an enjoyable and loud word game. The second is a way of teaching younger players to think out of the box. In both these aspects, the game succeeds.
For more information on Jabuka, visit solarpop.co.za. The games retails for around R250 locally.
Jabuka is a fun chaotic take on word games, that might not be to everyone's tastes.
- Easy to learn
- Great teaching aid
- Forces you to learn out of the box
- Might be a too chaotic for some
Complexity vs. Depth