Earlier this year I met up with Esdevium Games at the Toy Fair down in Olympia and we looked at some of their games for younger children. Jungle Speed Safari looked like fun and the sort of game you could easily pack in a case or handbag when travelling too.
Jungle Speed Safari is aimed at children aged 5 years and over and can be played with 2-6 players. The set comprises a carry bag, 5 coloured ‘totems’, and 42 playing cards, along with instructions.
To set up the game you place the 5 wooden ‘totems’ in the middle of the playing space with the food symbols facing upwards.
Then shuffle the playing cards and divide equally between the players, face down.
As you play the game of Jungle Speed Safari you use this pile as your ‘draw pile’ and create another pile as your ‘score pile’. Whoever has the most cards in their score pile at the end of the game is the winner.
The person to start the game is the best at impersonating a banana being pulled, but with only two of us playing on most occasions, we agreed that the youngest player starts here.
Now for the tricky part – and this took Monkey and I a while to remember. There are 5 different sorts of cards within the game, each requiring a different action during game play. We’ve had fun getting to grips with this, and actually it can be quite educational too.
The ‘normal cards’ have a white and green background and when picked from the players drawn pile there is no action to be fulfilled, and the card can just be added to their score pile. We talked about what each animal was as we picked them out and where they lived.
The ‘chameleon’ cards – now this is where you need to read the rules before you start the game (as we learnt the first time we played!). There are two options for play with this card which you decide before starting the game.
With JUNGLE rules you need to be the first player to touch something of the same colour as the chameleon on the card – purple in this instance. Sounds easy – but you can’t touch any purple item within the game, or anything worn by another player! The last person to touch something of the relevant colour loses the round, they lose the top card from their score pile which is placed in the centre of the play area and is not included in anyone’s final total.
With SPEED rules you need to be the first player to grab the same coloured totem, and that player then adds the chameleon card to their score pile. We’ve found this option works best when we are on the go or just playing with the two of us.
The ‘hunter’ card always makes us chuckle and I’m rubbish at protecting my cards! If you pick this card from your pile then you are the hunter and your prey are the other players score pile cards. Be quick and put your hand on someone’s score pile before they can cover your move. If the hunter gets there first, they win the top card from their opponents score pile, and add both cards to their own score pile. If they aren’t a top shooter then they just get to keep the hunter card.
The ‘hungry’ animal cards (bones in the background) have been great fun to play when selected. You need to be the first person to grab the relevant food totem for the animal featured. Again, I like the educational aspect to this, and it’s prompted some great conversations.
Whoever picks the correct totem first using only one hand (no cheating Monkey!) wins the hungry animal card for their score pile.
The ‘angry animal’ cards have provided mixed results here as Monkey hasn’t always been sure what to do. When this card is picked all players need to imitate the sounds and actions the relevant animal might make (there are some ideas within the instruction leaflet). The player who is last to impersonate the animal loses the top card from their score pile and this card is removed from play. With a 5 year old Monkey, this has been somewhat contentious when we’ve played Jungle Speed Safari as a two player game – work in progress!
We did struggle a little with Jungle Speed Safari when we first started playing the game, remembering what we needed to do with each card. The instructions did mention to remove the chameleon and hunter cards from the game for 5 year olds until they ‘get’ the general idea of the game. I tend to agree with this idea, and it’s certainly provided a smoother game play since we tried this option.
If you are looking for a fun idea to keep the kids entertained this summer then Jungle Speed Safari might just be the answer. It’s so easy to pop everything in the little carry bag and take out and about with you, with no tiny play pieces to get lost.
Priced at £14.99 I like the idea of this game, it’s something that Monkey can grow into and each time you play, it’s slightly different. It’s currently reduced over on Amazon and I’ve included my affiliate link for you below.
disclaimer: we were sent this game in exchange for an honest review