Theme and What is it?
“Welcome to the Jungle….we’ve got fun and games….” – Guns N’ Roses
As I was setting this game up and reading over the rules, I could not get this song out of my head. In theory, the theme of this game is just that. Players are rival crew leaders in back alleys, boardrooms, and nightclubs. They are trying to buy and sell goodies as well as gamble their way to become the kingpin of turfs in the city. Everyone wants it all. Will it be you? Welcome to the Jungle.
The goal is to be the first player to control the majority of turfs at the Kingpin street cred level to win. This majority varies by the number of players. There are five levels of street cred: Starter, Associate, Soldier, Underboss and finally Kingpin. Each street cred card requires certain resources (money or goodies) needed to move up to that level. Players collect these resources to then take over an unclaimed turf, raise the street cred level of a turf they control or take over a turf from another player.
Along the way, players can bet on other player’s actions and purchase weapons to defend or take over turfs. My favorite part of the game was when a player attempted to take over another player’s turf by initiating a turf war. At the beginning of a turf war, each player is dealt fifteen Crew cards and they keep ten. Crew members have an initial attack value but can build upon each other if they form a gang (cards with same name). Weapon cards can be used to boost crew members or a gang. A turf war plays over three battles, so it is important to use the cards wisely to survive the three battles. Once a player achieves the majority of Kingpin turfs, the game is over. Game plays over 1-2 hours.
I was excited to get to this to the table. The box is attractive and entices you to read further. The description of the game made it sound like a lot of fun. Merging the phrase “welcome to the jungle” with true animals from the jungle is a fun twist for a theme.
Game Build Quality
Overall, the components are good. The card quality is wonderful. The game board is nice and has a place for all the cards and discard piles. I love it when games have this or a play mat. I was skeptical about the roulette spinner as these are mostly seen in children’s games. However, my group LOVED this. It gave them a nostalgic feeling and is appropriate to the theme. It also helps when players are gambling on the spins. After playing the game, I agree with the designers’ approach for this component. The cardboard pieces are not bad but could be better. I would assume this will improve during the Kickstarter campaign as a stretch goal. However, I would back the game as it is currently. I had some clarifications on the rules, which the designers helped out with. I know this will be ironed out before the Kickstarter in the official rulebook.
The artwork on the cards and board in Welcome to the Jungle is fantastic. They did a great job of portraying the theme with the animals on the cards. I enjoyed the play on words with certain characters.
Welcome to the Jungle is a super fun game. It was not overly heavy but not light where it would be considered a filler. The rules were simple enough to grasp. We found that the combat did not start until about half way through the game for us. We all started grabbing unclaimed turfs and building them up before trying to steal other players turfs. Once the thievery started, our game ended pretty quickly. However, other players could have different strategies that could change this up. I feel like I would start the turf wars sooner the next time I play, because that was my favorite part of the game.
Age Range & Weight
The age suggestion is 14+. I found the mechanics very easy to follow and this might be little high. Younger children may not pick up on the humor throughout the game but could understand the mechanics during gameplay. Anyone twelve and older should be able to play.
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to preview this game before it launches to Kickstarter on September 18th, 2018! I enjoyed it a lot. I love the artwork and the theme. The gameplay is not difficult which makes for a pleasant experience right out of the box. I enjoy playing heavy games but the rules are not something I enjoy reading all the time so it is nice to come along a medium weight game. I look forward to seeing how well Welcome to the Jungle will do on Kickstarter. I see the potential for some neat stretch goals. Mark your calendar and check this one out!