Note: this is my first attempt at a session report, built on my National Games Week session report - I would be very interested to hear what people think of it.
One of the gems of the Kosmos 2 player game, Rüdiger Dorn's Jambo is a game that my friend Zac and I have played several times since I bought it this summer. The English language edition is published by Rio Grande Games and it is in the standard Kosmos two player game box.
As I said above, Jambo is a game that Zac and I have played a few times before, and it has reached the point of being a favorite. The theme is commerce, but there are a lot of card interactions that almost have the feel of those in a CCG.
Jambo is a trading game. Each player has a market stand, and they are trying to buy the six commodities and sell them in a way to make enough profit to reach sixty pieces of gold (each player starts with twenty). Along the way, there are utilities, persons and animals that can change the hands, goods or interfere with the other player. A core aspect of the game are the five action points each player has during their turn. There is a draw phase, where a player can draw once per action point spent (but can only keep the last card drawn) and a play phase where the cards are played from the player's hand. Goods cards can be used in two ways - they allow goods to be bought for the price on the left-hand side or sold for the price on the right-hand side. If a player uses three or fewer actions, they get a gold piece for free.
Zac leapt out to an early lead, by making some good buys and sales. I worked on my infrastructure, building a small market that I had found in my initial deal. I also put some key utilities which allowed me to convert cards I did not want into new cards, buy commodities for two gold pieces, and search the deck for goods cards. Zac, on the other hand, built a utility that allowed him to pull two cards, pick one to keep and send the other to me. He used this to try and find a small market, while I used my utilities to try and find some goods cards that worked together. Through his draws, he added utilities that allowed him to convert commodities into cards and gold, and eventually the market he was looking for. Once he found that small market, he ditched the scales and added a utility that allowed him to buy a good for two gold. A stalemate ensued, while each of us tried to get in position for a run for sixty gold. Unfortunately, I was unable to get goods cards that worked well together until very late in the game. I managed to get this together just before Zac managed to push himself over sixty gold pieces, triggering the end game. Another interesting aspect of Jambo is that the first person who reaches sixty gold announces the fact and then gets to see how their opponent can do - if the opponent can tie their total or get more gold in their final turn, the opponent wins the game. In my case, I was two gold and an action short. One more action and I would have been able to win the game by a handy amount. Oh, well...
As usual, we both enjoyed a hard-fought game.