Game Review: Jump Drive

A quick card game review—

Jump Drive. 2–4 players, 10–30 min.

2007’s Race for the Galaxy remains one of the very best and most deeply satisfying games I have ever played. Ten years later, Jump Drive is the no-calories version. It’s literally a direct simplification, from the same designer and using many of the original’s card titles and art with closely related but less complex mechanics. Whereas Race arguably has somewhat of a learning curve that yields an impressively elegant system, Jump is just straightforward. It’s definitely a “filler” game, not nearly as deep in strategy or storybuilding as the original. But in that role Jump is very solid. It’s short and sweet, with just enough decision making and theme along the way. Right when you start to wonder how interesting the game actually is, you realize this is the last round and you need to make a couple very optimized decisions if you’re going to win. So in no way does Jump Drive replace Race for the Galaxy, but it seems a lot more friendly to introduce to more casual gamers, or to play when you’re really pressed for time. Overall a valuable contribution to the RftG franchise.