Friday, February 9, 2024

Tape Jam is just okay… but I keep playing it

 The theme was the only reason I decided to make a copy of Tape Jam. Untangling an unspooled cassette tape? I feel like half the audience that’s going to see the game will have no idea what we’re talking about.

The game consists of a deck of cards with wavy lines, recalling magnetic tape, and numbers on the top and bottom. The numbers go one to nine. If someone told me the game was developed with a set of dominoes, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

You are building a tableau of ten cards. Your goal is to get either runs (numbers in order) or sets of numbers (the same number over and over) And that counts both the top and bottom of the cards.

You draw two cards and place them in a, oh, let’s call it a market. You then pick a card from the market to play in your tableau. The market can only hold five cards so when it gets to four, you only add one card.

You can place a card on either side of the tableau or in between cards already in the tableau. However, once a card is placed, you cannot change its position or orientation.

A run or a set has to be at least three cards. Then it’s worth three points. If it’s more than three cards, it’s still worth three points. A run of one to nine would be worth three points. Numbers that aren’t in a scoring group are negative one point. 

I have a mixed opinion about Tape Jam. It feels like a pretty run-of-the-mill solitaire game. As I’ve said before, you could play it with a set of dominoes. While I don’t remember playing a game just like it, every single mechanic is familiar.

And the other hand? I do find myself getting Tape Jam out and playing a few games. It’s honestly not that different than playing a solitaire game with a regular deck of cards but it’s Tape Jam I’m playing.

Earlier this year, I learned games like Voyages and The Royal Limited that I felt were really great games. Tape Jam isn’t one of those games but it’s okay.

It’s pedantic of me  but I am amused at how the theme doesn’t really work. I have plenty of memories of respooling cassette tapes (and trust me, I do not miss cassette tapes. I can see the appeal of vinyl but I’m glad cassette tapes became obsolete) Tape Jam is about splicing tape and I don’t know anyone who did that.

No comments:

Post a Comment