Recommend
2 
 Thumb up
 Hide
21 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Recommendations

Subject: 2 player San Juan or Jambo? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: cards [+] recommendations [+] twoplayer [+] [View All]
Pedro
Portugal
Lisbon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi

I'm looking for a meatier 2 player game and after searching a bit I've narrowed it down to these two contenders: San Juan and Jambo.

I need to know what's your opinion on these 2 games, from a 2 player only perspective (I know that San Juan can acomodate more than 2 players, but that's not really relevant for me, since I'll be playing it with two almost exclusively).

Thanks in advance.
Pedro
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan McLelland
United States
Draper
Utah
flag msg tools
Don't touch me!!!
badge
Hi! How are you?!?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I wouldn't call either of these meatie in the least. They are both quite light. What are you looking for, comparing against, etc..
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
True Blue Jon
United States
Vancouver
Washington
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I prefer San Juan by a mile.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pedro
Portugal
Lisbon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RyanMC wrote:
I wouldn't call either of these meatie in the least. They are both quite light. What are you looking for, comparing against, etc..


Meatier than other 2 player games like Lost Cities, Odin's Ravens or other stuff from the kosmos 2 player line.

From reading the reviews I got the impression that both san juan and jambo where meatier. I'm not looking for heavy 2 player games (are there any?) or wargames. I wanted some middle weight stuff for 2, and I thought these 2 fit the bill. Am I wrong? Which meatier games for 2 do you recommend?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"that's a smith and wesson, and you've had your six"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'd go for option #3 Roma. It's a pretty good 2P game, and I like it better than Jambo.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pedro
Portugal
Lisbon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MWChapel wrote:
I'd go for option #3 Roma. It's a pretty good 2P game, and I like it better than Jambo.


That's good advice! My only problem with it is that I already own (and enjoy) Roma...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Blumer
United States
Oshkosh
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My wife and I both enjoy these as 2-player games. I don't think you will go wrong. Both have a fair amount of luck as play depends on drawing cards. Both also require some getting used to and learning as there are many different types of cards. They are roughly equal in length of play. San Juan has more strategy and paths to victory that can be developed through different card combinations. There is a little "stick it to 'em" in Jambo as some cards can take things or mess things up for the other. There is little of that in San Juan, although role choice considers what is best for yourself and least desireable for your opponent. There is a little down time with Jambo as one person acts and the other waits, but it is not a long or difficult wait. Whereas San Juan has both players taking actions with whatever role is chosen. Both have some interaction, San Juan through the role choice mechanism and in Jambo in some card choices and actions, including cards with bidding or you chose one thing and the opponent chooses the other. Both are played on your own play area and not on a common board.

Hope I've given you some considerations that are helpful.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ryan McLelland
United States
Draper
Utah
flag msg tools
Don't touch me!!!
badge
Hi! How are you?!?
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Of the two San Juan is a much better game, I don't find it any deeper than most of the Kosmos 2-player games. Jambo, is also quite light, but not as fun, and more luck dependant.

Some games that I think are brilliant but a step up in complexity would be:

Attika
Java
Any Gipf Series game
Blue Moon
Torres
Java
Battle Line
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Reed
United States
College Station
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Both are good games and fit my definition of meatier two player (without getting to the wargame end of the spectrum). Which to get depends on what amount of player interaction you want.

There is limited indirect interaction in San Juan (timing which role you pick can be nasty to the other player - in other words, choosing to produce goods when your opponent has no production ability or trading when your opponent has nothing to sell), but no real direct interaction.

Jambo has many cards (especially the animal cards) that allow you to directly affect your opponent's situation. It can be a lot more confrontational and has a definite "take that" aspect.

Michael, thanks for the tip on Roma - I have been thinking about it for a while. I guess I will have to bump it up on my list.

I see that some are knocking Jambo for being luck-driven. In reality, you can say that they're both rather luck-driven - they're card games, after all!

Another two-player game that I have enjoyed (admittedly, it is a recent addition, so I may cool on it) is Fjords. The first part plays like Carcassonne (in a good way), while the second part has a good strategy element with no luck (the luck was in the first phase).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Skip Maloney
United States
Wilmington
North Carolina
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There's an Olive Garden commercial in which a diner says that a particular dish "hit the spot." His companion says, "You said that about the last dish." He replies, "Different dish. Different spot."
My partner, who is not, overall, much of a gamer, prefers Jambo. I'm like the diner. I like them both for different reasons. With both games, you are being forced to do the best you can with the cards you are dealt or choose, and from my perspective, you're able to control your potential destiny better with San Juan. This might have something to do with a greater familiarity with San Juan. It's been around a LOT longer and you can play on-line at BSW and with an AI program (which sits on my desktop), but I suspect the subtle differences are inherent in the game.
I think, of the two, San Juan is more subject to the analysis paralysis factor, whereas Jambo tends to be straight up fun as you make your choices.
Hope this helps. . .
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ken B.
United States
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I am quite fond of San Juan, I was rather impressed with the gameplay. I have not tried Jambo so can not give an absolute recommend as to which is better, only I can say that San Juan is very, very good.

Purchased together they wouldn't break the bank, I'd just take the plunge and get them both. Two very different games.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Nelson
United States
chattanooga
Tennessee
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Having recently gotten my wife into gaming, we picked up a copy of Jambo about a week ago. She has wanted to play it every night since, and our previous card favorite (Blue Moon) has taken a back seat for the time being.

I am not familiar with San Juan but I do see Jambo as a nice small "step up" from some of the other card games we have been playing like Blue Moon. Many of the cards introduce different mechanics at different times, such as auctions, or deciding between two positive actions for yourself and your opponent. "Managing" all the bits n pieces is far from difficult, but it does make it feel like a bit more than just cards. There is a heavy element of luck of course, but still most of our games have come out very close (the only exception being a round where I was embaraced) and there is some room for strategy with several of the cards.

Light enough to sit and watch baseball and joke around, but at the same time it feels like a move toward something more serious. Maybe a baby step but still a step.

Hope this helps
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Binning
United States
Rollinsville
Colorado
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Jambo definitely feels "meatier" to me, as there are many cards, which can interact in lots of interesting combinations.

San Juan is fun, though two player, we always play to 15 rather 12, to give the buldings a chance to be used a bit more before game end.

Another game you might look into is Hera and Zeus, for a meatier feel, and perhaps Babel.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Curtis Mason
United States
Heyburn
Idaho
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I do not know that I would call either of them meaty. Jambo is alright but has a "so what" feel to me. San Juan never grabbed me but it does seem to have more meat to it than Jambo. Do not expect Puerto Rico from it though because it is more luck based and much lighter.

Looking at your own list I would recommend Starship Catan over either of these. Strictly 2 player and plays much better than Settlers of Catan. Very well themed and implemented as well.

Also you might take a look at Druidenwalzer. It is poorly rated here due to some difficulty with the English translation but it has some very tough decisions.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Stephen Waits
United States
San Diego
California
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Get both. Jambo feels a bit chaotic at times, but it's dripping with theme and is maybe my most enjoyable 2p game. San Juan, I think, offers a slight bit more strategy, and can be played with more the 2p; but, I find it less interesting thematically (in the Puerto Rico vein). In fact, I think SJ is better with more than 2, though it does work very well with only 2.

But yah, get both if you can. If you only get one, you'll get a good one - they're both good.

--Steve
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Roger Yim
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Some additional factors to consider:

1. Jambo is a much nicer-looking production than San Juan. Jambo has beatifully illustrated cards and is quite thematic. San Juan looks like, well, Puerto Rico's buildings.

2. Jambo can take an 45 minutes to an hour. San Juan can be played in 20-30 minutes.

3. Jambo is a good game for people who like to buy and sell. San Juan is good for process-oriented people -- that is, people who like to optimize the order of their actions and set up systems.

4. Both games have cards with text describing special powers, but Jambo's action cards give the game more of a CCG feeling than San Juan's (maybe because of the way they look).

5. Jambo uses action points and players alternate turns. San Juan uses role selection and all players act on each turn.

I play San Juan much more often than Jambo, probably because it's quicker and it offers a Puerto Rico fix when I don't have the time for the board game. San Juan's play flows continuously, while in Jambo, a player's progress speed up, slows down and hits obstacles due to the action cards. It's just a matter of taste, however. You can't go wrong with either.

Roger

edit: I'm still enjoying Aton, which is nicely decorated but essentially is an abstract area majority game. I thought at first that it would get tiresome, but so far it hasn't ...

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brice Feal
United States
Endwell
New York
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
We like San Juan, but Jambo is easily the most played game we have. Both my wife and lunch time game partner really get into it.
There is a great variety of tactics depending on the cards you get.
And we are reasonably good at it that the games are always very close.

A most excellent game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pedro
Portugal
Lisbon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, I got San Juan! I played it today and really enjoyed it!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Clint DeSena
United States
Plainville
Connecticut
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Glad you like San Juan. I just purchased it too, and I like it much more than Jambo. If you're looking for another card game, grab Battle Line; just played my first game and I'm very impressed.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pedro
Portugal
Lisbon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
axelay80 wrote:
Glad you like San Juan. I just purchased it too, and I like it much more than Jambo. If you're looking for another card game, grab Battle Line; just played my first game and I'm very impressed.


I already own schotten totten (the new version, wich includes the tactics cards from battleline). I normally don't use the tactics cards but I agree with you: it's a very good 2 player game!
 
 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.