Recommend
52 
 Thumb up
 Hide
10 Posts

JAB: Realtime Boxing» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Floats Like a Butterfly, Stings Like a Bee rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Eric
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
From the moment I heard the description of JAB, I was intrigued - the only other real-time game I've played and enjoyed is Pit. I suppose the reason there are relatively few real-time games out there is that they're difficult to do correctly; it's very easy to drift into complete chaos without the warm, reassuring boundary of turns. However, unlike Pit, JAB has more than just set collection going on, and I wondered if it would be too much to handle. I read the rules on-line (simple and direct, a true example of good rules writing), but I knew that reading the rules wasn't enough. I needed to see the 'tale of the tape', so to speak, so I bought it.


I'll start with a very quick break-down of the rules:

-Boxers can win either by KO or by decision (you need to win 3 rounds to win by decision)

-To win by decision, a boxer needs to successfully land punches, and go for combos and counter-punches for additional points

-To win by KO, a boxer needs to land haymakers (causing a 'stagger') and go for counter-punches; both cause damage

-Blocking punches is the way to deny your opponent the ability to score points from punches, as well as prevent damage from haymakers/staggers


Yes, this is all going on in real-time. You have two piles of punch cards (one for each of your hands), consisting of 5 different punch types, each in 5 different colors. The piles are face-up, but you can only look at the top card of each pile. When you pick up a card (right-pile cards can only be picked up with your right hand, etc), you can use it to punch your opponent by placing it on their right body, left body, or head; or, you can block the punches your opponent has put on you by placing appropriate punch cards directly on top of theirs. Counter-punches and combos consist of recognizing (possibly after intentionally setting up) a game-state, announcing it, and taking the appropriate card. For instance, if your opponent has 2 Crosses visible on him (say, one on his head and one on his right body), you can say, "Combo!" and take the combo card (assuming the current combo card is the Cross-Cross combo)

Though each component of the game (punching, staggers, counter-punches, blocking, and combos) is simple by itself, putting them all together can be overwhelming at first. I can't really explain the experience of trying to block your opponent's punches, making sure your own are successful, and keeping track of combo and counter-punch opportunities to the best of your ability...suffice it to say there was more laughter and excitement at the game table than I can remember in quite some time. Our first time trying it out, we played 3 games in a row (not only was it that fun, but we wanted to get better!)

The simple elegance of the rules truly allow JAB to float like a butterfly, but the intensely fun game-play will sting you like a bee.
35 
 Thumb up
4.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andy Andersen
United States
Ada
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I ordered this in a promo package from Tasty Minstrel and am glad to see your review. Thank you.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tim Seitz
United States
Glen Allen
VA
flag msg tools
Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
mbmbmbmbmb
Miner Cotren wrote:
... but the intensely fun game-play will sting you like a bee.

Sorry. I'll be sure to trim my fingernails before the next game.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Mindes
United States
Mountain Green
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Miner Cotren wrote:
Yes, this is all going on in real-time.


I think the key here is to be able to know what to concentrate on and when. For example, if somebody is blazing through their punches going for haymakers to knock you out, then you will be well served to concentrate of blocking and counterpunching while landing your own haymakers ocassionally.

Or if somebody is landing lots of combos, then you need to knock them out.

Switching roles in real-time and executing your objectives better than you opponent is why I love this game. I am glad you liked it so much!
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
DrMayhem wrote:
I think the key here is to be able to know what to concentrate on and when.


I completely agree! I need to play more games to hone that skill.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Josh Bodine
United States
Provo
Utah
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree this game is great. My wife was a bit overwhelmed at first at having to worry about so many things in real time. She seemed to like it when we finished our first game, but when she came to me the next morning and told me we needed to have another "boxing match" that night I knew she really liked it; she too wanted to play not only because it was fun but to get better at the game. The game is excellent--fun, tense, fast, and an overall fresh experience. Will definitely be playing this one a lot (especially since the wife likes it).
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gavan Brown
Canada
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
Eric,

I'm so glad you like it. As you've discovered, JAB is a developable skill, and the game has a lot with a lot going on. As such, your first game, especially your first round, can be a complete train wreck. I've found that it takes 2-3 games for a new player to be able to start competing with an experienced player. I've also observed that people who have a lot of experience with videogames, can pick it up by the end of the first game. Luckily, each game only takes 15 minutes! Once a player is over that initially steep learning curve, they are be able to really start peeling back the layers, and developing their own play style.

I hope to hear more stories and techniques you've discovered once you've played some more!

Thank you so much for supporting the independent games industry by giving JAB a shot, and for taking some of your valuable time to write a review. I truly appreciate it.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Terry
United States
carlsbad
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
This certainly is a fun game. We've played 4 times now, and it certainly does get better with more plays.

We were a little concerned that the game might be breakable by just slamming cards down as fast as possible on your opponent. So, we tried it. It didn't work. Even though he scored more points in one round crazily throwing down cards, by the end of the round I had taken his health down really low (playing normally). So what it meant was that he was doomed in round #2. So, nice trade-off mechanic there.

The one element that I think might be a little underwhelming is in the concept of blocking. Not only does it require more stringent conditions than attacking (need same color or card whereas attacks are any card -- this makes a big difference in real time!), but it seems to not really do much pointwise. Blocking seems to be reasonably valuable vs haymakers, but the odds of you being able to identify a valid block and play it before the haymaker finisher is played seems low to me. Much of the time when I'm going to stagger an opponent, I have two cards at the ready that I can just slam down fast.

So it seems to me that in the grand scheme of things blocking isn't that important. I've won most of our games not blocking at all -- just attacking / comboing / staggering. You can get more points concentrating on combos, and on counterpunches, which also hurt your opponent.

It's a good concept though and well put together. I'd recommend this game for anyone who appreciates speed games.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Mindes
United States
Mountain Green
Utah
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
mbmbmbmbmb
carlsbad wrote:
This certainly is a fun game. We've played 4 times now, and it certainly does get better with more plays.

We were a little concerned that the game might be breakable by just slamming cards down as fast as possible on your opponent. So, we tried it. It didn't work. Even though he scored more points in one round crazily throwing down cards, by the end of the round I had taken his health down really low (playing normally). So what it meant was that he was doomed in round #2. So, nice trade-off mechanic there.

The one element that I think might be a little underwhelming is in the concept of blocking. Not only does it require more stringent conditions than attacking (need same color or card whereas attacks are any card -- this makes a big difference in real time!), but it seems to not really do much pointwise. Blocking seems to be reasonably valuable vs haymakers, but the odds of you being able to identify a valid block and play it before the haymaker finisher is played seems low to me. Much of the time when I'm going to stagger an opponent, I have two cards at the ready that I can just slam down fast.

So it seems to me that in the grand scheme of things blocking isn't that important. I've won most of our games not blocking at all -- just attacking / comboing / staggering. You can get more points concentrating on combos, and on counterpunches, which also hurt your opponent.

It's a good concept though and well put together. I'd recommend this game for anyone who appreciates speed games.


On the other hand, I have experimented with a heavy blocking strategy, and have found it very viable. For me, block often becomes about controling the counterpuch, and occassionally landing haymakers.

Often this can lead to a slow build up to a knockout or winning the decisions.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Terry
United States
carlsbad
California
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
JAB: Realtime Boxing » Forums » Reviews
Re: Floats Like a Butterfly, Stings Like a Bee
I'll have to try that Michael. Sounds like there are tactics that we haven't properly explored yet.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.