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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Fits in the pocket as a great pub game
  • Easy to learn
  • Perfect filler game

Might Not Like

  • You need to like Star Wars
  • Some bad luck can really put you behind
  • Player elimination
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Jabba’s Palace Review

jabba's palace star wars love letter

Letters Of Love -

We now live in a world of 'Love Letter'. Designed by Seiji Kanai and first published in 2012 this mini card game has become a staple filler game in most collections. The original game themed itself around the eligible men of Tempest as they seek to woo the princess. Unfortunately, she has locked herself in the palace, and you must rely on others to take your romantic letters to her. Did she lock herself in Jabba's Palace?

The word 'theme' is used very loosely here as what you are really doing is trying to deduct what card the other plays have in their hand and take them out of the game. There is a huge similarity to Coup from the same year, where characters give you different powers to help with the deduction, but here they often contradict what the main theme is meant to be.

Luckily the mechanisms of the game are what make it interesting. And with such a short play time, it attracts playing game after game. This addictive game-play has lead to a whole host of 'Love Letter''s. Some add characters and others re-skin completely for various intellectual properties. A strange highlight was the release of 'Batman Love Letter' where the princess had been replaced rather oddly by the Joker. This title quickly became a joke in itself, and continues to be voted one of the strangest titles in board game history.

It wasn't until 'Marvel Love Letter', that led to changes to the game play in an attempt to thematically link to the theme. Unfortunately, they changed things so much that it lost what made the original so charming. However, with the newest version, lessons seemed to have been learned and the brand feels like it is taking massive steps forward.

From One Palace To Another

In comes the newest entry to the catalogue, 'Jabba's Palace'. You will notice that this is the first to use the phrase "A Love Letter Game". It is this placing in the world of the game rather than trying to explain to an audience why you’re trying to send a love letter to Arkham's worst, that might break the curse of absurd titles. Now we are transported to the iconic palace of Jabba the Hut, as seen in Return of the Jedi.

The game is presented in a fabric pouch (which will be recognisable to any 'Love Letter' fan), and is perfect for stuffing into your pocket for a trip to the pub. You will also get a handful of plastic point markers, like those introduced into the deluxe edition, a number of years ago. And finally, you get your cards. The deck is made up of characters, numbered from one to eight with powers getting stronger at the higher end. Rather than focusing on the princess, this version is more interested in the two sides of good and bad. On one side is the rebel alliance starting with C3-P0 on card one working up to Luke Skywalker at seven. On the other side is the palace and it's ruffians, including Bib Fortuna, Boba Fett and right at the top on the highest card sits Jabba himself.

Scum And Villainy

The game of Jabba's Palace is simple. You all start with one card in your hand and one card is removed from the game. On your turn you will draw a card and play a card. Powers include, "choose another player and guess a number. If they have that number they are out", "Draw two cards and pick one. Place the other two on the bottom of the draw pile" and "Choose another player, if they have a rebel card they are out".

The point of the game is to figure out what card other players are holding. This gets easier as the game goes on as discarded cards are placed face up in front of each player. What I love about this mechanism is that it is just as satisfying to make a Sherlock-like deduction as it is to guess blindly and be correct. Usually, last person standing wins that round and the first to a certain amount of points wins the game. This version also introduces tie breaker cards, but I can't say I have seen a game to that.

The Force Is Strong With This One

Having played a number of iterations of this game, 'Jabba's Palace' has quickly become my favourite. It has the elegance of the original but has enough new stuff to make the decision making more interesting. The two suits mean that there is a little more to track but they add a much needed variety to the game. It's hard to advise against the elegant simplicity of the original, but thematically it can leave you cold. If you have an interest in the Star Wars IP then this edition ties in the theme to the mechanisms so much better. And let's be honest, any game with a Rancor is worth a try!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Fits in the pocket as a great pub game
  • Easy to learn
  • Perfect filler game

Might not like

  • You need to like Star Wars
  • Some bad luck can really put you behind
  • Player elimination

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