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Jambo - a great game for 2 people
on August 27, 2008
It's often difficult to find a good board game that can be played with just 2 people. Rio Grande Games has done a great job with Jambo, a board game that uses cards and "tokens" (for wares and gold) to depict a market competition between two merchants. Basically you and your opponent are two merchants competing to buy and sell wares, and the first person to reach 60 gold effectively triggers the ending of the game (but his or her opponent then has one last turn to try to catch up to win). The game play is not difficult to pick up but is still complex enough to be slightly strategic, particularly given the wide array of utility cards, people cards, and animal cards that you can play to help yourself and/or hinder your opponent. I wouldn't recommend this for extremely young children, but anyone 12+ should enjoy it.
Compared to other games we've tried, Jambo stands out because it has more replay value than games like Gloom or Guillotine (both games which are fairly dependent on luck, and have low replay value because the fun lies largely with the novelty of the cards and the game concept).
If you're interested in Jambo but want to consider a few other 2-player games, I'd also recommend "Lost Cities" (another card game by Rio Grande that offers a good mix of fun and strategy) or "Set" (this card game is a pure thinking game, sort of like Memory, no luck involved, so I'd recommend it if you're looking for an educational game that can be played with a flexible number of people).