Board Game – Jab: Realtime Boxing Review – Card game by Gavan Brown
Jab: Realtime Boxing Game Review Short Version: Jab: Realtime Boxing is a unique card game built on the Speed/Slam classic card game, requiring you to play cards with both hands and the addition of combo cards to collect. Jab: Realtime Boxing is a fast, fun filler that does a good job emulating its subject matter.
Jab: Realtime Boxing is a card game from Gavan Brown and published by Tasty Minstrel Games that takes the mechanics from the classic Speed/Slam card game (where each player must get rid of the cards in his hand as fast as possible, matching by next highest number) and turns things up a little bit. Cards in Jab: Realtime Boxing have both a punch type (Uppercut, Cross, Haymaker, Jab, and Hook) as well as a color. At the beginning of the game, each player divides his deck in half and may only play cards from the deck in front of each of his hands (left deck with the left hand, right deck with the right hand), otherwise play proceeds as fast as possible. However, instead of simply allowing players to play in a central deck with the goal of getting rid of cards, players in Jab: Realtime Boxing must play on of his opponent’s two body halves or his head (three total piles). Different cards are worth different numbers of points (and can be ‘blocked’ by playing a matching card on top of the card on your own fighter, cancelling out the points for that card at the end of the round). There are also counter-punches and combo in Jab: Realtime Boxing that provide additional points at the end of the round, as well as the chance to knock the opponent out outright if you can do enough damage to an opponent and flip over the opponent’s Clinch tile (which lets them heal at the cost of taking a point loss at the end of the round). A round in Jab: Realtime Boxing can also be stopped by taking the ‘Ding’ card, which ends the round instantly. Scoring is based on one of the three stacks on your opponent, with your opponent getting to eliminate one, followed by you choosing one.
We had a ton of fun playing Jab: Realtime Boxing, it’s a pretty light game, but for a game that you are playing in real time, there is a ton of stuff you are keeping track of. You need to be watching the Counter-Punch and Combo cards (which provide valuable points), that you are evenly distributing your own cards (so you will score a lot at the end of the round), that you are causing enough damage to build up for a knock out (if you are playing for it), and watching your own piles for block opportunities. Believe me when I say, once you are into a round, you will have more than enough to keep you busy. The games play extraordinarily quickly (10 to 15 minutes, approximately), and it’s an awful lot of fun. It does a great job of emulating boxing with the real-time gameplay, as well as the hand restrictions. Jab: Realtime Boxing definitely lends itself well to trash talk between rounds, with the fast rounds and gameplaying leading to victories that feel earned, but defeats that you know will pass as soon as you start another round. The components themselves are nice, with thick cards and tokens that feel like they can stand up to some abuse, although I imagine some intrepid players could destroy them in any case given the nature of the game. Jab: Realtime Boxing retails for $19.95 and is available directly from Tasty Minstrel Games, as is the Jab: Realtime Boxing rulebook. You can also check out Gavan Brown’s official page for all of his contact information.