Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Andreas Schmidt


No. of Players:
2 - 5



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

A fairly sober Jackal and his friend Bernard High, who seems to be drugged to the eyeballs, are the protagonists in the small dice / card game Jackal & High. We can find the two crazy animals on all cards of the game, except of one, called the Vulture Valley. 36 playing cards and 15 eight-sided dice are all we can find in the small box from the German publisher ZOCH. But that is enough to give us a reasonable fill-in for the grown-ups and an entertaining and a good educational game for the smaller ones as well as for the whole family.

Every player is equipped with three 8-sided dice, with each player receiving a set of dice of his own colour. These are the funds to get profitable cards of Jackal and High. Each round a display of cards is available for the players, with their number being one card more than the number of players, and these cards are placed in the middle of the table. Next to the funny drawings of Jackal or High (for the children they are just funny, for us grown-ups especially the woozy High is also responsible for the one or other snigger) we can find a number from 1-21 and up to 3 paws on each of these cards. The latter are the victory points, whereas the number must be matched with our dice in order to win the card.


To win a card, we first have to throw the dice. A game turn consists of up to three rounds of rolling. The players roll their dice simultaneously, and with each roll at least one die must be placed on a card of the display. The aim is to match the number of the card, so it is allowed to place one or several dice on a card, but you may never exceed the value of a card with the dice placed there. There is no other limitation for placing the dice, so that it is possible to place all three dice in the first round or to place only one die in every round. If there is only one die left at the beginning of a roll round, it is allowed to roll this die up to three times, thus enhancing the chances to get the right number. As there are only D8 available, it is necessary to place more than one die to match the values of cards ranging from 9 to 21. But even for cards with lower values it can be useful to use more than one die (for example 2-3-2 for a card with a value of 7), because when it comes to a draw, i.e. more than one player have matched the card`s value, it comes to a contest. For this each player takes his dice on that card and rolls once. The winner of the card is the player who gets the highest sum in this re-roll, and naturally you are in a better position if you have more dice on the card than your opponents....

In most cases the number of paws on a card (and so the victory points) increase with the value of the card, but there are two exceptions from this rule. A special "Take 2"-card always has two paws, and whenever such a card is drawn another card is put on top of this card. Both cards can be won by matching the second card's value. If this is a card with a low value, it is quite easy to get many paws. The other exception is the card "Lucky 8". If this card is in play, the player who wins it gets all other cards from the display that were not claimed by another player at the end of the turn.

But what happens with the dice that cannot be placed or did not contribute to matching the value of a card at the end of the turn (because the total of all dice of the same colour did not match the value)? Well, those dice all go to the Vulture Valley. Here is the last chance to get a card of Jackal and High, at least if there is a card in the valley. If not, the player who has at least one die in the Vulture Valley (or the looser of a contest, if there are more players with dice) must place a new card to the Valley from his already won cards. After Vulture Valley has been dealt with, the remaining display is cleared and a new round begins until the deck is exhausted so that the display cannot longer be replenished.

The box and the content of Jackal & High are small and nearly inconspicuous, and so this game could easily be overseen in the mass of new products that congest the market year after year. But in case of Jackal & High this would be quite a pity, because it has more to offer than might be guessed on first sight. The game is especially attractive for families, since the artwork of the cards inspires children as well as grown-ups (in a variety of ways). The game is rich in variety of game situations and thus has some interesting tactical elements for children and a high replay value. Children love the game, because of the funny animals on the cards, the quick confirmation of their actions and the short game duration, and so "Let`s play it again!" is something I heard quite often after the first game of Jackal & High. In addition, the children learn to calculate and weigh the odds of the one or other variant. To a lesser extent this also applies to the grown-ups, particularly if played as a fill-in game, but I especially liked to play it with children seeing them adopting their first strategies and watching their progress in winning the game.

And, just by the way, the small game box makes it a perfect travelling game or small present!

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Copyright © 2012 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany