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Subject: An Arcade Game on Your Table - A Review of Jasper and Zot rss

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Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
UT
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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Game Summary

Jasper and Zot by Nick Hayes is solitaire game about two wizards who live next door to each other and compete for vegetable prizes in the town fair. Jasper is an excellent gardener and grows prize winning pumpkins every year while Zot can only grow slimy asparagus. To get his revenge, Zot has raised an army of zombies to destroy Jasper's pumpkins. As Jasper, your job is to protect your pumpkins by transforming Zot's zombies into flowers which you can then destroy.

Game Play

The game is played on a long grid. At the top of the grid is Zot’s house and in the bottom few rows is Jasper’s pumpkin patch. On each turn you will roll two dice to determine the location and arrangement of the new zombies that Zot has created. These zombies spawn on the top row and then move two spaces down the board towards you.

You play as Jasper and can only move him from side to side along the bottom row. On each turn he may move and cast a spell which either turns the approaching zombies into flowers or burns the flowers and any adjacent zombies to a crisp. Most zombies will slow down as they move through the flowers but some zombies are on fire and can plow straight through them. If any zombie reaches your pumpkins, he will destroy them. Your final score is determined by the number of pumpkins you saved and the amount of zombies you were able to destroy.

The game in play with the zombies approaching.

Quality of Components

Nick Hayes is a terrific artist and graphic designer so the game so this game looks fantastic. The grid is well laid-out with very clear areas designating Jasper’s garden, his spell casting range, and the area he can move. In addition to featuring great artwork, the pieces are also well designed so it’s very easy to see what they are at a glance. The grid is slightly larger than the counters so it is easy to move them without bumping into other pieces. I give the components very high marks.

Theme

Obviously, the theme to this game is a bit silly. Wizards dueling over vegetables and fighting with zombies and flowers is a highly… um… unique theme. But it is also a very clever and funny, which should appeal to all types of gamers. While the game features zombies, this is not a horror game and features no violence or brain eating. (The zombies only want to smash the pumpkins and don’t ever attack Jasper.) Nick has smartly themed the game around gardening so people who don't normally indulge in the zombie genre can still enjoy this game.

Print and Play Information

How Much Time to Make? How Difficult is it to Make? And What Components Will You Need?

This is a very easy-to-build PNP game with only a board and small sheet of single sided counters. The game was in fact originally entered into a design contest where all the components had to fit on one page so you know it’s pretty small and fast to build. The PNP components are also available in an enlarged version that doesn’t fit on a single page but that makes it much easier to handle the pieces. I printed my copy on regular cardstock paper, mounted it to thin cardboard, and cut the counters with an X-acto knife and straightedge.

How much ink is needed?

The game is in full color but there are only a few sheets so it really won’t use up much printer ink. You can also download a black-and-white version low-ink version available. That version can also be used as a coloring book for kids. The rules are entirely in black and white and won’t use any more ink than a regular Word document would. (They are fairly easy to comprehend though so you could probably get away with not printing them at all if you read them online.)

Final Comments and Rating

The game is an homage to the arcade games of the 80s and successfully evokes the feeling of games with ever approaching enemies like Space Invaders and Centipede. Like those old arcade games, the game gets progressively harder as you play. The zombies start appearing in larger groups and in formations that aren’t connected so it’s harder to kill a group of them with a single spell. This helps the game retain playability and remain a challenge even after you’ve figured out the basics.

The game plays in about 15 minutes which usually means I play several games in a row. The game can eventually start to feel a little samey, but when I get tired of it I put it away for awhile and pretty soon feel the urge to play it again. I’ve been playing this game for years and it has remained one of my favorite PNP games making frequent appearances on my gaming table. If you’re a fan of classic arcade games, do yourself a favor and print and play this game.
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