College football is pretty popular in my house–I’m an FSU grad, so I pull for the Seminoles. My wife and most of her entire family pull for Alabama; September 2, 2017, will be a little stressful in the Kelly household, but that’s two seasons away, thankfully. And I definitely feel for my oldest son, because he’s become quite the little football fan (he loves Denver and was sad to hear the news about Manning’s retirement) and he tries to root for both teams. While we anxiously await the 2016 college football season, however, I’ve recently gotten my hands on a fun little card game called Jukem Football that has become a HUGE hit in my house with both my boys (ages 9 and 6).
Jukem Football is from The Haywire Group, and it’s one of three sports-themed card games (the other two are Jukem Soccer and Jukem Basketball) that will be released April 16, 2016, for $9.99 each. The two-player game consists of 56 cards and a fold-out instruction sheet, all kept together in a durable and colorful box with a magnetic lid that holds tight even upside-down.
Note: This is a NEW version of Jukem Football–there have been some modifications to the rules and cards of an earlier version that have helped speed up the game, and I can attest to the fact that the gameplay is fast.
The game offers up the various options and twists and turns you’d expect from a game of football. Players take turns playing a card (or cards) face-up in front of them; the goal is to reach 100 yards using a combination of standard cards that include RUN, PASS, and CATCH. Each player begins the game with four randomly dealt cards and on their turn draws up to five cards for their hand from the remaining shuffled cards and attempts to make a play, discarding a card if they have no valid cards they can play and ending their turn.
RUN cards allow a player to advance the ball anywhere from 5 to 40 yards. PASS cards provide a range such as 5-20 or 45-75; a PASS card must be played together with a CATCH card that has a value that falls between the PASS card’s spread. The shortest CATCH card is 5 yards and the longest is 75 yards.
In addition to the play cards, there are some rare specialty cards that can have major impacts on a game when played at the right time:
- Blitz or Holding cards (1 each) – When tossed down during your opponent’s turn, you can remove the opponent’s RUN or PASS play.
- Fumble or Picked Off (1 each) – When tossed down during your opponent’s turn, you can remove the opponent’s entire drive (all their current cards on the table).
- Field Goal (2x) – When a player’s displayed cards total 70-95, play one of these for a 3-point field goal.
- He’s Gone (1x) – If played on a player’s first drive (first played card), this one awards an instant 50 yards!
- Pancake Block (1x) – Toss in with a RUN card and get a bonus +10 yards.
- JukemX2 (1x) – This card can be played with a RUN or PASS/CATCH combo to double the yards gained.
The player drawing the final card from the deck may place as many cards down as possible in an attempt to make one final score before halftime. All cards are gathered, shuffled, and the second half plays just like the first.
After playing numerous games with both my boys, here are my thoughts:
- Very fun! The game plays amazingly fast because the rules are few and easy to understand. After watching a single game with the 9-year-old, my 6-year-old played a game with no problems and no questions.
- Good for math! Maybe my youngest is just good with math, but he was able to track his own yardage without my help. (The game is recommended for ages 8+.)
- Some good twists! Both boys loved tossing down the special cards when they had them, stealing away a big play from Dad or doubling their yardage with the JukemX2 card, for example.
- Portable! My oldest was able to take the game to school in his already overstuffed backpack by slipping it into one of the small pockets. Bonus points given to the fact he was able to quickly explain the rules to some of his friends and get right to the game.
- Colorful and fun graphics! The artwork and coloring on the cards is great, and the text/numbers are large and easy to read.
- Fast play! Most games I’ve played have been completed in less than 20 minutes. For one game, we played while we waited for our food to be delivered… another game was squeezed in right before bedtime at one point.
There are a lot of games in our house, and most of them tend to find their way to the closet after a month or so… but not Jukem Football. It has remained in our living room for a few months now and the cards are already starting to show some wear and tear. When a friend comes over after school, Jukem Football is typically one of the activities for the afternoon’s agenda. I suspected my oldest son would enjoy the game, but I really had no idea that my youngest would also take to the game as fast as he did. Both of them have developed some good strategies with the specialty cards, waiting for the right time to play them. While I hate to admit that I now believe they’ve both had more wins at the game than I have, this dad is smiling big at the joy this game has brought to them.
Note: I was provided with a copy of Jukem Football after requesting the game for review purposes. The game may be pre-ordered here.