Okay, I admit it, I do not have enough experience with this game to write a review, but darn it, I’m not going to let that insignificant detail stop me.
Sharks and Jets is simply... brilliant!
Sharks and Jets is a game based on a starter set to a game based on World War II squad level combat with a theme based on a Broadway musical about 1950’s gang fights, which is based on a Shakespeare love story. I am not joking.
The entire time I was reading the rules I kept wondering how in the world Ted Torgerson, the designer, came up with this notion and have it spiral into what this game has become.
My history with ASL:
Long ago, I used to have the ASL rules in a binder. I read them often, kind of like I do with RPG handbooks, but I never actually played a game.
ASL Starter Kit #1 was released, and I promptly purchased it. It had great reviews from ASL vets, and with years of feedback, I hoped that they had streamlined the rules and catered it directly to newbies. After all, it is titled, ‘Starter Set’.
Alas, I had a very difficult time with the rules. I set up the game several times and tried to work my way through scenarios while continuously referencing the rules, but it was drudgery. I gave up until I could find someone to actually teach me the game in person. And then along came Sharks and Jets…
My history with Broadway musicals:
I’m not real hip to the scene, but I do enjoy Andrew Lloyd Webber and some of the other popular stuff. I have seen several musicals such as Phantom, Les Mis, Starlight Express in Las Vegas, and others. I think that the most talented musicians, song writers, and singers are in theatres, not on the radio.
My history with West Side Story:
I have only seen the movie. I liked it very much the first time I saw it. Now, I can’t sit through the marathon length dance/fight sequences… And THAT is what this game is all about!
My history with Romeo and Juliet:
Romeo and Juliet is my favorite Shakespeare play. This bias may or may not have affected my review. I’m not saying.
This is a print and play game. You get what you put into it.
The theme is strong with this one. There are quotes and pictures from the movie throughout the rulebook, it includes the obligatory choreography and pantomime combat tables, weapons consist of pipes, chains, and bricks; and the counters depict gang members leaping and frolicking. Well done.
This is where the designer could easily have revealed himself as a fraud to veteran ASLers. No need for concern. There are copious abbreviations throughout.
Wacky sense of Humor:
I have rarely laughed so hard at anything game related. It’s not just the warped humor, it’s the whole concept. It all comes together beautifully. Ted did not miss an opportunity in use of verbiage, analogies, ideas, or in-jokes. A character must pass a coolness check, or else he becomes uncool which makes him freaked out. How cool is that? And don’t get me started on finger snapping…
…And the brilliant part:
I believe that the original idea of this game was to make it easier for people to learn the rules of ASL starter kit #1. So, did it succeed, or did it all get lost in the parody? Well, like I said at the start, it is too early for me to make a call with any validity, but after reading through the rules and starting an initial learning game, I have to say that the results are positive and I am excited to play through it. Besides, it will be fun along the way.
Download it, print it, learn it, play it. As far as I can tell, Sharks and Jets accomplishes just what it sets out to do, albeit in a wonderfully quirky sort of way.
- Last edited Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:30 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed May 24, 2006 7:24 pm
...it includes the obligatory choreography and pantomime combat tables...
That is too stinkin' funny!
That was a very enjoyable review, by the way.
- Last edited Wed May 24, 2006 11:10 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed May 24, 2006 11:09 pm
IGNITION - bringing enlightenment where once all was dark
The rules are worth reading just for a laugh.