Transport related games are always a hit in our house and I was therefore intrigued to come across Jump the Queue for just £2 in a local charity shop. I noted that it was from Spears Games and having had so much success with their games previously I didn’t really give it much thought before paying for it. After all it was only a couple of quid. But it was £2 very well spent!
About Jump the Queue
Jump the Queue was released in 1989, but the whole game has a very 70s or early 80s feel about it. The illustrations on the board and the playing pieces really remind me of those in some Ladybird books from the early 80s.
Aim of the game
The aim of the game is to score the most points by beating your opponents in a race to a beach resort in various modes of transport. Each player has five different vehicles that they are trying to get to the resort: limousine, coach, camper, bubble car and scooter. Just the inclusion of a bubble car in this list gives it a vintage feel.
Each different mode of transport is headed to a different seaside hotel and the player who gets there first gets the best parking space, with the most points attached.
How to play
The game starts without any playing pieces on the board. As each player takes their turn they roll the special die which tells them which playing piece they should move, but not how far they should move it. That all depends on how long the queue is.
The way the game works is that you move your playing piece to the first available space on the board, jumping any queue that might be in your way. Hence the name of the game. You can play with up to four players, and this can mean some quite long queues that need jumping!
The die also has on it a “joker” and if you roll that then you are allowed to move any vehicle, but more importantly, you can have three moves. So this could mean that you move one vehicle three times, or instead that you’ve three different vehicles. Whichever you decide it can make a real difference to how you are doing in the game if you roll a joker.
When you get to the end of the route on the board with a vehicle, moving it over the zebra crossing, you can then park your vehicle at the designated hotel. Each hotel parking slot has points attached to it. If you’re the first player there then you get the top parking slot, second you get the second best one, and third the third best one. However, if all three spaces at the hotel are full you have no where to park your vehicle, and so get zero points for it. Hence, you have to be a bit strategic in how you play the game and which vehicles you move when.
Ending the game
The game ends when all five top parking spots are full. This may mean that one or more players still have pieces out there on the board, or maybe have not managed to get a single vehicle to the seaside destination. This is why the order in which you move your vehicles can be so important as the game progresses.
The most complicated part of the game is probably working our each player’s score at the end. It does add a level of mystery to the game though as unless you keep on top of everyone’s scores you might not know who is actually winning. With five vehicles to park it’s not necessarily just a case of getting all five there to win, but depends on when you get there in comparison to the other players.
Jump the Queue – the verdict
Everyone here – aged from 6 up to 70+ – enjoyed playing Jump the Queue. It’s got a great mix of simplicity and strategy. Younger players may not concentrate on the strategy element quite so much, but for them the ideal of leap-frogging other (older) players on a board is always an attractive one. The jolly illustrations make it feel very retro
Jump the Queue – the facts
Produced by Spears Games in 1989.
For 2 – 4 players, aged 6 to adult.
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