Enter Jabba’s Palace, defeat your foes and carry out your agenda. If you’re a fan of Star Wars and Love Letter, this game adaptation is definitely for you.
Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game is a quick-paced game where two to six players will use 19 cards to compete against each other through a series of multiple rounds. Outlast all other players before cards run out or carry out the agenda that determines winning conditions.
Well-known characters represent Rebel Alliance and Palace denizen affiliations. You will encounter the likes of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and others. Each character has remarkable traits, which certainly feels like you’re playing a Star Wars-themed game.
Jabba’s Palace is a two to six-player “Love Letter” game that takes about twenty minutes to play. It plays best with four to five players.”
Love Letter is a well-known, easy-to-learn, and simple-to-play game.
At the beginning of the game, players select an agenda that defines how players can win each round. In the original game, there was only one winning condition. In this Star Wars game, theme-based agendas spice up the gameplay and enhance replay value.
The core mechanism consists of players holding one card in hand. On your turn, draw a second card, choose and place one of both cards in your playing area, and then resolve its effect.
Each card has a number, an affiliation, and an effect. In the original game, there were no affiliations. In Jabba’s Palace, Alliance and Palace characters contribute to the Star Wars theme.
Effects usually apply to an opposing player’s hand card affiliation, number, or both to knock them out of the round. Others give players special abilities like allowing you to compare hands with opponents’ or to look at top deck cards to draw and choose a preferred one.
A round can end up many times by kicking all gamers out but one. Or, if no cards are left, the agenda determines the round winner. After each round, the round winner gains a token. The game finishes when a player reaches a determined number of tokens that depends on the number of players. If the game has not ended, a new round starts.
Jabba’s Palace is definitely a “lovely” Love Letter game. It is a game of luck, and deduction, and being strategic about the probability of guessing the other players’ hands will undoubtedly give you the upper hand. While luck can play a role in success, player interaction is fundamental to gameplay. Predicting, bluffing, and reading your opponents are the main reasons for losing or winning a round.
The game borrows the core mechanics of the original Love Letter, and some cards are similar to Love Letter ones. However, it introduces new agendas, the concept of affiliations, and some unique card effects that make this game shine. The Star Wars theme does not feel like an afterthought nor a lazy appropriation of a massive franchise to a well-known game.
Jabba’s Palace remains simple, easy to teach, and easy to learn. It introduces minor twist elements to the original game without adding complexity overall.
One minor criticism about Jabba’s Palace is that Love Letter plays better as a two-player game. It is the perfect game to bring on a trip as a couple and an excellent filler for those moments of waiting. What makes it work so well as a two-player game is that it is not too easy to knock your opponent before the round ends, at which point the player with the highest value card wins the round. That forces you to play strategically and balance the choice of keeping a high-value card in your hand or playing it when it is advantageous.
Jabba’s Palace does not play that well as a two-player game, though it plays amazingly with more players, especially from four to six. It is too easy to knock your opponent(s) before the round ends in two or even three-player games. It can be frustrating never to reach the point when the agenda determines who is the winning player. That means players may ignore the agenda entirely, resulting in less tactical gameplay. The game is still challenging, do not get me wrong, but it relies mainly on luck and less on strategy and deduction when compared to the original Love Letter.
For a tenner, Jabba’s Palace: A Love Letter Game is worth buying whether you already own the original Love Letter or not. Being a Star Wars fan is a bonus but not a requirement because the game is excellent based on its merits. The game mechanics are diverse enough from Love Letter to justify adding it to your game collection even if you already own the original game. And if you do and “love” the original, it is guaranteed that you will also “love” Jabba’s Palace: A Love Letter Game as much, if not more.
Final Score: 4 Stars – Jabba’s Palace is a great spin out of A Love Letter, with new twists and minor mechanic improvements that make it shine on itself. To summarize, it has great artwork and component quality, outstanding player interaction and replayability, and is an excellent Gateway Game due to its low complexity.
• If you are not a Star Wars fan, that may put you off, but it shouldn’t because the game is excellent.
• In most games, tactics prevail, but bad luck can spoil your fun.
• If you are looking for a complex, highly strategic, Eurogame type of game, this is not your cup of tea.