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Subject: Session Report rss

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Jon W
United States
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My wife and I played our first two games of Jambo. As with any game with special card interactions, the initial forays tend to be a bit halting and filled with ill-considered choices. Both of us made some screwy choices, but we enjoyed the games quite a bit regardless.

Game one was very much an "isolated" game, with neither of us playing animals for quite a long time. I believe I wound up playing one Crocodile on her to get rid of a pesky Boat, but she played another Boat the next turn! I made a notable early blunder by using a Dancer (fulfills a Ware card without having the exact wares) when I had another Ware in hand that would've fulfilled it with just a little manipulation (thus saving the Dancer for a better circumstance). In the mid-game, I was starved for Ware cards, so I opted to use the Scales (draw two, give one to opponent). I used them four times, and never got one! I did, however, manage to draw two Small Markets in one draw, thus granting my wife one at long last (which she immediately put to use). On the whole, the Scales definitely benefited her more than me. I was quite suspicious of my shuffle when, afterward, we found a clump of 10 or so uninterrupted Wares! But toward the end, I thought I had a slight edge, and I opted to end it with exactly 60 (I used Portuguese Merchant and then took 1 gold for two unused actions). My wife had four cards but only two wares showing, so I figured I was OK. Wrong. She used a Boat to get one ware, then bought (cheaply, b/c of that card that gives -2/+2 cost/sell) the exact three she needed to complete one of the 6-ware sales (for 18+2 gold). She then turned in a Weapon and got to...62 or so for the victory.

Game two saw her march out to 40ish within the first few turns. She had all kinds of matching wares, with little or no effort needed to get things in order. I, OTOH, was going nuts buying, swapping, frantically trying to keep pace. She finally hit a dry spell and I moved closer, but then she lowered the boom. She hit me with an Elephant (put everyone's cards face up, then draft them back and forth) and an Ape (ditto with wares), while she had zero of the respective resources. In each case I had three, so I was basically raped and pillaged. Then, adding insult to injury, she had two Parrots in hand, and snapped up two more of my wares just prior to sale, giving her exactly what she needed to push to 65 or so while I was floundering the mid-30s. So a second victory for her, with all the accompanying elation and trash-talking one might expect.

I was initially apprehensive about the game's suitability for my wife, as she tends to prefer less "nasty" games. But she didn't have any concerns on that front. After the blowout, I was a little annoyed at being the victim of what appeared to be an unstoppable juggernaut. She raced to an early lead, then drew a bunch of animals that directly prevented me from catching up in any reasonable amount of time. Worse, she drew animals that not only hurt me, but helped her at the same time. Also, I didn't draw a single Guard until after all these animals hammered me. However, I allowed her to have the Elephant (I used a Psychic and took something else, leaving the Elephant buried deep, but she opted for a deep draw that turn and snagged it), and I set myself up in some fragile positions. I'm still pretty sure I couldn't have won that game, never know. Her animals came at the cost of not drawing many Ware cards toward the end, while I had some decent options if I could've extended the game a bit. At any rate, I really enjoyed the game, and, significantly, she did too, so it should see some further plays soon.
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