As you’d expect from a kids game, Jungle Speed Safari is not a complex undertaking. 42 cards are split evenly between players and placed face down in a deck in front of them with five totems placed in the middle, each depicting a food: leaves, a banana, ants, fish and meat. The aim is to have the most cards at the end.
You take turns to play a card, which come in five flavours. First up are white cards, which do nothing and the turn passes to the next player. If someone draws a blue “Hungry Animal” card, the first player to grab the appropriate food for that animal wins the card – fish for the pelican, banana for the monkey, etc.
The pack also contains five red “Angry Animal” cards, with players racing to be the first to mimic that animal, pretending to be a gorilla for example, with the last to do so losing a card. These three are the basic card types, and they’re pretty simple. Even as an adult it can be pretty funny with everyone doing an elephant impression. My only reservation would be that, with a number of small children – the recommended age is 5+ – it can be hard to tell who did the impression first. My girlfriend and I argued about who had been the first to do an impression plenty of times, and we’re in our 20s. With children it could lead to tears.
There are two other types of card, which the instructions recommend leaving out if playing with children under 6, or if you’re playing for the first time. The “Chameleon” cards each have a (you’d never guess) chameleon on them in a different colour. When played, you have to touch an item in the room the same colour as the reptile, with the last person to do so losing one of their card.
Finally there are the “Hunter” cards. The player who draws one has to try and place their hand on another player’s score pile, while the rest of the players must cover their cards as quickly as possible. If the Hunter wins they claim the top card from the other player’s pile.
It’s all very child-friendly; the totems are wooden, about an inch and a half high and an inch across at their widest, while the cards are large squares. It looks quite nice, and it comes with a small bag for storage.
The artwork is similarly pleasing. The animals are varied and some of them are quite stylised. A concern would be that it can be hard to tell at first glance whether an animal is normal or angry – it’s the background that becomes the giveaway, but it can lead to players jumping the gun a bit on an action. I guess this is part of the game – you lose a card for getting it wrong – but it has the potential to lead to arguments.
VERDICT: Although it may cause the odd spat of sibling rivalry, Jungle Speed Safari is an inoffensive and colourful kids game. It remains simple while at the same time moving beyond a basic card game, encompassing impressions and hunting for items around the room. As a result, it’s certainly more geared towards smaller children.