Arrrgh, better get to your ship you filthy pirate, The race is on!
Number of Players: 2-7 (Not so good with 2)
Game Time: 30-45 minutes
Age Appropriateness: 8 and up
Game Type: Racing, set collection
In Jamaica, each player is a pirate captain in a race around the island of Jamaica. Along the way you have to manage the inventory of your ship’s hull, including food for your crew, gun powder for your cannons and of course gold. The pirate with the most gold and treasure at the end of the race is the winner.
Game Play: Each round is divided into day and night with an action taken by each pirate in both. The actions are determined by a pair of dice, the cards in your hand and the captain of that round. Move your ship or perhaps grab some gold or food. Make sure you have enough gun powder as well, as anytime another pirate ship occupies the same space, the cannons are firing.
The first player to the finish line at Port Royal gets the most points for the race, but the winner is determined by adding those points to the total amount of gold, so don’t forget to stop along the way and grab some doubloons.
Component Quality: Jamaica is a great looking game. The art and attention to detail in the board, cards and all the components are really top notch. The solid color plastic ships stick out a little bit as the rest of the components have the same style. The rule book is a fold out treasure map and looks amazing. It is not the easiest rule book to read because of that, but it is a simple game and after a few plays you won’t be referring to the rules much anyway.
My Take: I like Jamaica, especially for a family game that everyone can enjoy. The board and artwork on the cards is top notch, some of the best I’ve seen on a board game. I love how each turn is broken down into two parts, and that the captain for the round gets to choose which dice represent each half. Players get to make choices and aren’t just stuck with the luck of the dice so to speak. Sounds more complicated than it really is. Each player has an identical deck of cards to play. The primary difference in the game becomes when each player uses their cards. Different strategies and card shuffling ensures not everyone plays the same card at the same time.
Jamaica is a great light to medium weight family racing game. If you haven’t played a racing game other than say Sorry, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.
Expansions and Replay-ability: No expansions. Fun for many plays, but the board and routes stay the same. If the game was purely a race to see who got to the finish first, I would say the replay factor would be lower, but adding the treasure to the finish position makes things interesting. The person that finishes ‘last’ in the race can still win if they collect the most gold. That said, after a dozen or so plays this one is suggested for play less frequently. We tend to use this one with guests who haven’t played many strategy games a lot.