Jumbo Grand Prix
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An exciting card game for fast racing drivers. Before you can win the race, you first have to collect a complete combination: tyres, a body, an engine and not forgetting of course the driver. The one who collects the fastest combination wins the race. But... every race gives a different number of points, so it is important that you make your best combination for the race with the most points.
This game is easy to learn and easy to play. If you have younger kids who like cars then they will enjoy this game. So it's not very in depth and only divides the cars into 3 parts, Body, Tires & Engine. But it's still fun and it's a bit of a challenge as you have to decide what cards to keep and what to throw away. Just the pictures of the race cars kept my kids interested long enough to want to play the game.
Our game group opens or closes with this quick, fun game at least once a month since we got it.
No, it's not Knizia's best, but it's got his signature in it with several subtleties. This game is best played with 4 or 5, and we made our own optional rule for 6.
Anyone who has read many of these capsule reviews will notice that I am a pretty big fan of Reiner Knizia. While I think he is the most talented designer in the field of strategy games, he does have occasional misfires on his long resume'.
Jumbo Grand Prix is marginally similar to Lost Cities, which is a fine game with lots of subtle, tough decisions. In Jumbo Grand Prix players start with a hand of four cards and over the course of four rounds, they each discard a card and draw two cards (either from the deck or discards); or draw only one card and hold all the others. After the fourth round, a set is made with one card from each of the four suits. There is a little bit of Knizia-arcane scoring here, but basically the highest valued set gets the highest prize, and so on.
With only four rounds to complete a set and very few cards to choose from each round, there is too much randomness in creating a 'car'. Making sure that the four remaining cards are a good foundation for the next round is even iffier.
The game is decidedly light, and will probably appeal to those who don't want to have to think too hard to play a card game. For those of us who want and expect more, Jumbo Grand Prix just doesn't make it.
Well, what can I say... when Dr. Knizia puts his mind to it, he has created unquestionably some of the greatest games of the last 10 years (for which I hold him in great respect and am personally eternally grateful). When he mails it in, though, we get some of the most indescribably boring games I've ever played. Jumbo Grand Prix would be in that latter category.
With essentially no player interaction, virtually no decision making, an appalling lack of any connection at all to auto racing (or anything involving cars and/or track), and nothing to engage the brain, there is basically no reason to play this game except as filler if you're tired of everything else. It's vaguely reminiscent of For Sale in some ways, except that it's much worse. It's also somewhat similar to Knizia's own Zirkus Flohcati, itself a rather pedestrian and uninspired design--but still better than Jumbo Grand Prix.
Sorry, but I just can't think of anything good to say about this game other than that it's short. I am always somewhat traumatized to see a smaller company take a flyer on a mediocre Knizia game in the hopes of cashing in on his name recognition, but what can you do I suppose.
Let's build a racing car for a trip with a more relaxed and accessible Dr. Knizia. Deal out the 20 score cards (valued 1 to 20) and reveal as many as there are players. Shuffle the numbered body, engine, tire, and driver cards (which will be discarded in separate piles), and deal four to each player. Turns consist of (1) discarding a card faceup and drawing two new ones from other piles or the deck, or (2) drawing one card. When everyone has eight cards, each player must lay down four. Those who put down a complete car (body, engine, tire, and driver) add up the cards' values, and earn bonuses for cards of matching denominations. Score cards are awarded according to totals, new ones revealed, and used cards shuffled back into the deck. The player with the highest total when all score cards have been won is the Grand Prix Champion. We recommend this as a tranquil interlude between games of Dr. Knizia's Taj Mahal and Stephensons Rocket...
Unless I'm grievously wrong, isn't this an unusual departure for Jumbo? A card game, that is, and the second in quick time from Reiner Knizia (following the disappointing Ohio) published by this Dutch company. Like its predecessor, it has quickly faded from the table, but that is more to do with the opinion of my regular host Alan How rather than the game's quality.
Jumbo Grand Prix has three things going for it, beyond the credentials of the author. Firstly, it has a very popular theme (motor racing), and is easy to learn and play. And, as the game is played in rounds, catch-up is possible.
The sturdy pack comprises four sets of grand Prix "essentials"--car bodies, engines, tyres and drivers--which must be collected to score variable points. Criticism one. If the game is based on Formula One, why wasn't the traditional points spread (1-10) used? Each player is given four rounds to collect the best car and driver available, from the initial deal (four cards) and subsequent play.
A turn consists of discarding one card, and drawing two more. These can be taken from the "general" face down pile, or, as cards are rejected, from one of the four face-up piles; the cards are stacked in type once they are relinquished.
This process is repeated until each player has accumulated eight cards, and the best of each category is revealed. The maximum point value of each card is seven, but a combination of three car cards or these plus a driver of the same value. ie all '4' raises their collective total to '7' each. The maximum total is therefore 28, from either four times '7' or four of an equal combination. Ties are decided by the highest driver rating, but if these are the same, the clincher is the laurel "winner's" motif depicted on these cards.
The four remaining cards are retained by the player, the rest shuffled, and the process is repeated until all the score cards have been earned. You can, of course, play to time.
What will inspire you to continue is the chance to pass another player on the closing straight, as it were, when the big '20' is revealed. But then I must raise criticism two, which is firmly pointed at the bland graphics. No sense of speed is generated, and this, of course, is contrary to the point. Nonetheless, Jumbo Grand Prix is a far better effort than the irksome Ohio, and their hiring of Reiner might point to a "major" release (with all the Jumbo trappings) in the future.