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Subject: Rumble in the Jungle: A Better Mousetrap? rss

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Paul Boos
United States
Falls Church
Virginia
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I just recently got Rumble in the Jungle for my son when I picked a few other games at Tuesday Morning. When I picked up the box, there were two things I noticed right away:

- The photo on the back made it seem like it would be a bit like Mouse Trap by Milton Bradley. I know many people don’t like it, but I have very fond memories as a kid building the trap and having it go off and felt my son should be exposed to something like it. (This doesn’t mean he will ever get the The Game of Life.)

- Since it was by Tomy, I expected some electronic wizardry to make it really snazzy.

The premise is that you are after the golden monkey statue, but the monkeys of the jungle have set 7 traps for you to get past.

The Components:

You get oodles of stuff to put together. Unlike Mouse Trap, you put together the game before play. This pretty much requires an adult. There is a Ferris wheel (The Wheel of Death), which shuttles steel balls (boulders) up to run through a very cool marble run-like maze of stuff, setting off contraptions the whole way. This “run” is a b!+c# to put together, but works very cool once it is. The player pieces are explorers with the old style explorer hats and binoculars. There is a single die for movement.

The board has spaces on it that indicate hazard or danger zones (e.g. Snake Pit), when to crank the Wheel of Death and how many times, jump forward or backward a number of spaces, or go to a specific space.

The Game Play:

Surprisingly, it is not as bad as Mouse Trap. On your turn, you roll the die and then select what you want to do –

- You can move that many spaces forward
- You can move an opponent that many spaces forward
- OR -
- You can do nothing

OK, very basic choices, but choices none-the-less. This spices up a basic roll & move game. Landing on a danger spot puts you at risk if the next player cranks the contraption and it gets you with one of the items knocking you over; you then have to start over at the base camp (starting) space.

What I noticed is once you got past the Monkey See-Saw, you were pretty much safe. This sort of protects the leader. In some ways this makes game play a little less fun, but it probably keeps the game from going on forever.

The Contraption:

Overall it is very interesting – you will activate it a lot during the game. As mentioned before, the object is that you are after the golden monkey statue, but the monkeys of the jungle have set 7 traps for you to avoid. The “rumble in the jungle” is a boulder (steel ball) set-off that activates the traps as it rolls.

The action when picking up the balls in the Wheel of Death could be a little smoother; we had a few that seemed to get dropped. It would also be nice if there was some element that prevented the two boulders from always being one after another. A little randomness would be nice when a boulder is picked up. I found the snake for the snake pit didn’t work as well as it should have and like Mouse Trap, there was an overly sensitive part, in this case the monkey that falls on the see-saw.

The ball rolling through the entire run is very well done and how an explorer when he gets into the final spot, no longer falls over, but redirects the boulder (ball) to trigger launching the “golden monkey” is brilliant.

Conclusions:

Sensitivity of and adult construction of the contraption aside, I like the game. It offers some basic choices, which from my memory of Mouse Trap are not present. The contraption is as interesting and exhibits no worse flaws as Mouse Trap’s. The only downside is it has to be put together ahead of time and this should really be an adult so it doesn’t get broken. I am not sure this is a game with high repeatability (but then Mouse Trap isn’t either), but the occasional rainy day game of Rumble in the Jungle would be a good change of pace. There is something inherently good about kids seeing chains of action-reaction. While the players don’t get a lot of choices, eventually kids will see and understand risks of being in certain “danger” spots on the board and choose movements accordingly. And finally, my son liked it – rather simplistic, but a good gauge for a kid’s game IMHO.

As far as the electronic wizardry – no batteries needed – a nice, pleasant surprise.

I give it a 5.5 with my play with my son - remember it is a kid's game. I love watching his eyes light up as the boulder rolls around.

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Gavin Kingsley
New Zealand
Christchurch
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I would like to endorse this review. My 6 yo son loves this game and will quite happily just play with the mechanism to watch the traps do their thing. Even from an adult's perspective the elaborate mechanisms are pretty amazing.

The only downers are when the mechanism does not quite work as expected. For example, our Wheel of Doom often fails to scoop up the boulder. This usually pushes the boulder back up Elephant Pass far enough to knock off an explorer. We rule the explorer as safe, but another interpretation would be to rule that as a valid hazard. Sometimes you get the opposite effect where an explorer survives a triggered hazard. It would be nicer without this ambiguity.

Highly recommended children's game.
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Michael
United Kingdom
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Picked this up on a whim. to be honest i realy enjoyed it. no kids needed, just grin as you move your fellow explorer on to a danger tile. a nice no brainer, but it takes so long to set up we then play 3 or 4 times. I agree that the ability to make choices reay sepertes this from a ot of simple games
 
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David Stretch
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We acquired this from a charity shop today, missing the instructions. I managed to figure out how to put it together using the picture on the box but your post above helps us know how to play it. Thanks!!
 
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