Released in 1996 Jingle All the Way is considered by many to be one of the worst Christmas movies ever made. I will admit that I have always been kind of a fan of it though. The movie is kind of stupid and silly. The message isn’t particularly good for a Christmas movie, even though it is surprisingly accurate picture of the commercialization of Christmas. While I can see the faults with the movie, I have always enjoyed watching it. In recent years Jingle All the Way has started to develop a cult following. This has lead to its first ever board game adaptation last year in Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time!. Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! can be a very mean game, but it has some interesting ideas that actually do a good job replicating the movie.
The premise of Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! follows the movie’s plot pretty closely. You and the rest of the players are competing to acquire an elusive Turbo Man action figure. Each turn you will get to play a card which gives you a special ability. These allow you to look at hidden toys, swap toys, and take toys. In addition to getting a Turbo Man, you want to collect other toys which will also score you points. Whoever scores the most points from their collected toys, wins the game.
If you would like to see the complete rules/instructions for the game, check out our Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! how to play guide.
After playing Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time!, I don’t know how I would exactly describe the gameplay. It doesn’t really fit perfectly into a specific genre. Probably the best way to describe the gameplay is to say that it feels like a combination of a memory game mixed with take that mechanics. Maybe throw a little trick taking in as well.
Memory plays a big role in the game. Some of the toys will be turned face up which eliminates the need to remember what they are. A large majority of the tiles will remain face down throughout the game. You can always look at your own toys, but you need to use cards to look at any other tiles. A lot of the card abilities are built around looking at tiles to see what they are. Throughout the game you need to try and remember which toys you have looked at. This will help you decide which tiles you want to trade for as well as what you do with your other abilities.
Having a strong memory will help you quite a bit in the game. Knowing what each of the face down tiles is, helps you make the best decision on your turn. It will help you acquire the most valuable tiles while also allowing you to mess with the other players more. There is more to your success than just memory, but a good memory will definitely help you. The memory elements aren’t really different than any other game that utilizes a memory mechanic. There is nothing wrong with this element. I have never had a ton of interest in memory games though. Therefore I wasn’t the biggest fan of this mechanic in Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time!.
Other than the memory mechanic, the other main element is a take that mechanic. Simply put Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! can be a surprisingly mean game. While you are trying to improve your own score, you are also trying to reduce the other players’ scores. A lot of the cards allow you to look at the other players’ tiles and even swap your tiles for theirs. There is nothing a player can do to prevent this either. Your only recourse is to steal the tile back.
Because of this take that mechanic, I would say that the game is not over until the last card ability has been applied. To illustrate let me give you an example from one game that I played. On a previous turn the Turbo Man tile was flipped over, and I was able to steal it. In the second to last round a player stole the Turbo Man from me which put me near or at the bottom in total points. I wasn’t worried though because I knew I would get it back. On that next turn I ended up swapping the Turbo Man tile for the fake Tubro Man tile in my cart. This move gained me 15 points and lost the other player 15 points. This move alone likely won me the game, and gave the other player no chance of winning.
Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! has a number of different ways to score points. The ultimate goal is likely to end the game with Turbo Man in your cart. It is worth the most points in almost all cases and only requires you to hold one tile to get it. This means that it is highly coveted though. If players know you have it, they will likely try to steal it for themselves. The player that ends up having the Turbo Man at the end of the game, will have a very good chance of winning the game.
There are a number of other scoring opportunities though. Two other tiles give you five and eight points, while another gives you negative five points. The other toys are the most interesting as they score points based on what other tiles you have in your cart. Basically they score more points if you have more of them. The Boosters and Demons rely pretty heavily on risk versus reward. They are actually the most valuable toys in the entire game if you can acquire a lot of them. If you fail to acquire more than one or two of them though, they are pretty worthless as they only score you a couple points. While this is far from deep or original, I like that it gives you another thing to consider when choosing which tiles to pursue.
The last mechanic in Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! that I haven’t really talked about involves the card you choose to play on your turn. You will play one card each turn. Each card has its own ability which you get to take. Before any actions are taken though, the players will compare the values of the cards that were played. The player who plays the highest valued card gets to take their action first. They along with the player that plays the second highest card will also get to take a tile from the middle of the table. The catch is that for the most part the lower valued cards actually contain the best abilities.
This creates a really interesting dynamic to the game. There is value to both high and low cards. Getting to add another toy to your Cart from the Shelf is always valuable. The abilities on the lower cards are usually considerably more powerful though. Obviously the best option would be to play a lower valued card and still get to take a tile from the shelf. The only way to guarantee this though is if you are the last player to play a card in the round. Otherwise you basically need to decide whether you want the benefit of a better ability, or the additional toy tile. Throughout the game you likely will bounce back and forth between playing high and low cards. Much of Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time!’s strategy comes from deciding which card you want to play on each of your turns.
Heading into playing Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time!, I was curious how a card game could be made based on the movie. I have to admit that the game actually does a surprisingly good job utilizing the theme. While I am not a big fan of take that games, it is a natural fit for Jingle All the Way. A lot of the movie is about what parents are willing to do to get that special toy that their child really wants for Christmas. Being able to steal toys away from other players and basically ruin their game fits perfectly with the theme.
On top of that the game’s components are quite good as well. The artwork in particular is great. The cards feature various scenes from the movie done in a cartoony/comic book style. Any fan of the movie will likely really appreciate the game’s artwork. The component quality is quite good as well where they will last if you take decent care of the cards and tiles. Everything comes in a small box as well making it easy to bring along to a family gathering.
As for the game’s complexity, I am not exactly sure how I would classify it. In theory the game is pretty straightforward. Choose a card to play and then take the corresponding action. For people that don’t typically play these type of games though, I could see it taking a little while to understand what you are trying to do. It may take a couple turns for players to remember what each of the different cards allow you to do in the game. There is a decent amount of things that you need to consider before choosing the card to play, and how you will utilize your card ability. I wouldn’t say that the game is complicated, but it may be a little more difficult that you would expect.
Ultimately I had conflicted feelings toward Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time!. There are quite a few things that I liked about the game. I actually think it utilized the theme better than I expected. The game is an interesting blend of memory, take that, and trick taking mechanics. I had fun with the game. Finding the right cards to play to get you the most valuable set of toys is satisfying. The game has good ideas, and I think fans of the movie will enjoy it. I would say the main problem that I had with the game is just the fact that it utilizes a lot of mechanics that I wouldn’t consider my favorites. I have never been a huge fan of memory games, and it plays a pretty big role in the game. Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! can also be really mean. With the play of just one card, you can totally ruin another player’s game.
My recommendation for Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! comes down to your thoughts on the theme and the fact that the game can be kind of mean. If you don’t generally like mean take that games or don’t like Jingle All the Way, I don’t see the game being for you. If you like the movie and don’t mind that the game can be kind of mean, I think you will enjoy Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time! and should consider picking it up.
Jingle All the Way: It’s Turbo Time!
Year: 2021 | Publisher: Funko Games | Designer: Funko Games | Artist: NA
Genres: Card, Memory, Take That, Trick Taking
Ages: 7+ | Number of Players: 2-4 | Length of Game: 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: Light-Moderate | Strategy: Light | Luck: Moderate
Components: Live-Action Turbo Man Figure, 16 Toy Tiles, 36 Cards, 4 Reference Cards, Instructions
- An interesting blend of memory, take that, and trick taking mechanics.
- Does a surprisingly good job applying the theme to a card game.
- Can be quite mean as you can completely destroy another player’s strategy.
- Is a little more complicated than you would expect.
Recommendation: For fans of Jingle All the Way that don’t mind games that can be kind of cutthroat.