Jabuka Review

Quick Look: Jabuka

Designer: Not identified
Publisher: Jabuka
of Players:
 2–4 players or teams
Ages: 8+
15–30 minutes
more info on BoardGameGeek.com

is a fast-paced word game. What creates the speed of play is everyone uses the
same tiles, or beans, to make their words without taking turns.
tiles are coffee beans. On each one is a letter or a combination of letters.
Some are printed in yellow, and those beans can be twisted in different
directions to make different letters. For example the same bean could be a “c,”
“n,” or “u” depending how you twist it into the word you want to make. The
others are white and are not able to be twisted into different letters.
are not only pulling the beans from the center pot, but you can also take the
words other players have made by changing it into another word. This can be
done by twisting the yellow beans and adding new beans to the word.
of us sat down to play Jabuka and had fun. It was a little bit of a slower
start for them because they had played other word games, like Scrabble, and
were unfamiliar with the fast-paced style of calling out words and grabbing the
beans. Once they got into the play, they were enjoying themselves.
had the feel of many other word creation games I have played. The ability of
twisting letters and racing to create words gave it a unique feel. While we
played I thought about not only Scrabble, but Boggle, Quiddler, and Paperback.

How the beans start.
the beans. Each player/team draws two of the wild beans and spread the rest of
the beans until they are a single layer. Don’t turn them over. You start the
game with the beans you can read.

the beans are flat, start calling out words and bringing the beans together in
front of you to spell them. The yellow beans can be positioned to create
letters of what fits to make the word.

Call out words and make them.
also call out words that can be remade from other player’s beans. You have to
use all of the beans in the original word, but they don’t have to be the same
letter. Twist them around to come up with a new word and steal the beans. You
can also add letters to the new word. The one thing you can’t do is separate
the beans to make multiple smaller words. We saw one set of beans get stolen
back and forth several times changing a letter, then adding one, the changing
one, then adding some more, then again by adding some more and changing them
you have a word in front of you, you aren’t allowed to change it. You must wait
until someone has it in front of them. You can also make the same word again,
if you are using new beans.
pulling words around until everyone agrees there are no more words to be made.
Then each player/team turns over two beans and everyone is back at it with
another round of making words and stealing beans.
over more beans to start another round until there are no more beans to flip.
the end the player who has the most beans wins.
Twist other players words to make new ones.

and Mechanics

rounded beans work well because you are not able to line up the edges of the
tiles. Some beans need to be at an angle to work (the “t” can be twisted into
an “x”).
speedy play gets the brain working. Everyone is racing to find the words. We
also found it fun that when you look at the words in front of the other players
you are seeing the beans in a twisted state. Seeing them in this different
format allowed to see some of the other words that could be made with them.
theme of coffee beans is explained by the history of games in coffee shops
where people would come and share ideas while having a drink and playing a

and Components
bean tiles are durable. They should withstand many games.

  • Easily
    portable allows it to be played as a cabin game.
  • Fast
    play could be used as a filler game.

You can add letters and combine, just can’t take them apart.
has won several awards and they are well deserved. I like a good word game and
this is one. I have some friends who like a little slower paced game and they
have already figured out some alterations so they can slow it down and chat
while they play. Another was talking about the faster pace would get their
children more involved with a word game because they don’t like the games that
are slower paced.

Who Like
  • Word
    games like the ones a mentioned above (Scrabble, Boggle, Quiddler, Paperback)
  • Head-to-head
    fast paced games

Check out Jabuka on:


Daniel Yocom – Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.

See Daniel’s reviews HERE.

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