Do your kids love sports?
There’s just something exhilarating about running around trying to score a point, a goal, or a touchdown.
Kids around the world love participating in community and competitive sports. And parents around the world love watching their kids playing.
In fact, it’s so popular that we commonly hear mothers referred to as “soccer moms”.
They’re the backbone of sports shuttles worldwide.
So it probably comes as no surprise that sports are also very popular themes for board games and card games.
Today we’re reviewing 3 such games by the Haywire Group: Jukem Football, Jukem Basketball, and Jukem Soccer.
As you’d guess from the titles, these 3 games share common traits:
- They’re all 2-player games
- They all consist of 56 cards
- They all play out over different rounds (game periods)
- They all play quickly
So the main question you’re probably asking is, “Why 3 different games?” Or in other words, “Would we want all 3 games?”
We’re happy to report that even though they share a lot of similar traits, the game experiences are distinct.
See our short reviews of each game to find out for yourself.
Just like in an American football game, in Jukem Football players are trying to score the most points through touchdowns and field goals.
Players do this by playing cards that combine for progressive yards.
On a player’s turn, they first draw back up to 5 cards in their hand. Then they can make an Offensive Play by playing either 1 Run card or a combination of a Pass and Catch card face up in front of them.
A Run card will gain the number of yards shown on the card.
A Pass card will show a range of numbers. To complete a Pass, the player must also play a Catch card with a number that’s in the Pass card range. The number on the Catch card is the number of yards gained.
Once a player has made one Offensive play, their turn is over and play goes to the other player. That player will then make an Offensive play of their own.
If a player holds a Defensive card in their hand, they can play it right after a player makes an Offensive play to stop them.
Defensive cards include things such as Sack, Fumble, Picked Off, or Holding. They will either remove the opponent’s last offensive play or destroy their entire offensive drive.
When a player has played an offensive drive totaling exactly 100 yards, they score a touchdown.
A player may also score a Field Goal by playing a Field Goal card once they’ve gone at least 70 yards on their drive.
Once a player has scored either a touchdown or a field goal, they remove their cards from play. On their next turn, they’ll begin a new offensive drive.
Once the last card of the deck is drawn, that player can make as many offensive plays as they would like that turn. Once they’ve run out of plays, scored, or were stopped by a defensive card, it’s halftime.
All the cards are shuffled together and the second half of the game is played just like the first. Whichever player didn’t start the game will go first to start the second half.
We should also mention the special Jukem X2 card in the game. There is only one such card and it’s a great one to get because it doubles the yardage and can’t be stopped by a defensive card.
Once players have gone through the deck a second time, the game is over. The player with the most points wins.
Our Thoughts on Jukem Football
Since we’re right in the middle of college football season, Jukem Football was the first of the Jukem Sports card games we played.
The game is very simple to understand and can be played rather quickly. And the way the game plays out, it’s very well tied to the football theme. Stringing plays together to get scoring opportunities is fun.
The hardest part of the game is getting 100 yard exactly to score a touchdown.
Run yards are the easiest cards to play. But the Pass/Catch cards are the ones we like the most because we can gain more yards. However, with only 5 cards in hand, getting the right combination for a big yard gain can be tricky.
Defensive cards can also hamper the excitement of a good play or drive rather quickly. Getting close to scoring and then having your opponent throw down a Fumble card isn’t fun at all.
But we guess that’s the same as when our favorite football team turns it over inside the 10 yard line. It hurts.
The good news is that there’s only 1 of each of the defensive cards in the game. So not all of your drives will be stopped. You’ll get through for points here and there.
If they’re not in your hand, you know they could be in your opponent’s hand and it keeps the game interesting with each card play.
Because of the difficulty in getting 100 yards on the dot, there isn’t a lot of scoring in Jukem Football. Most of the time, the game feels balanced between the two players.
Unlike Jukem Football, there is plenty of scoring in Jukem Basketball.
Of course, that shouldn’t be a surprise because real basketball are also higher scoring affairs than real football games.
As such, Jukem Basketball plays quite differently than Jukem Football.
For starters, most cards in the deck score points. The deck of 56 cards is full of both 2-pointers and 3-pointers.
However, there are also plenty of defensive cards in the deck that negate the scoring cards.
On a player’s turn, they can play an Offensive card such as a 2-pointer, 3-pointer, or dunk. In addition, they can also play an “And 1” card along with it to add another point.
After a player has made an offensive play, the other player can play a red defensive card such as a Miss, Brick, Block, 3 Second Violation, or Air Ball to stop the score.
If the play is blocked, the cards are discarded.
If the opponent doesn’t have a red card to stop the score, or chooses not to play one, they say “take it” and the player moves that point card to the side where they keep track of their points.
Also, if a player has the Jukem card, they can play that with their offensive play to prevent it from being stopped.
Then it’s the next player’s turn to make an offensive play.
Play continues until the End of the Quarter.
When the last card of the deck is drawn, players continue back and forth until they can’t play any more cards or one of the players plays the Half Court Shot card.
Players tally up their scores to this point then shuffle all the cards to create a new draw deck. The next quarter is played out the same way — alternating who starts.
When the 4th quarter ends, the game is over and the player with the most points wins.
Our Thoughts on Jukem Basketball
Jukem Basketball plays super fast.
Rather than planning out yard gains, players are simply tossing down cards one after the other.
With so many scoring cards and blocking cards, there isn’t a lot of thinking going on. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any thinking going on.
With every score card played, there’s a high probability it will get blocked. So players hesitate a bit before playing the big 3-pointer cards — sometimes first trying to get their opponent to use up their block cards.
Knowing this however, often players will let 2-pointers score while holding on to their defensive cards for the bigger plays (3-pointer & +1).
We’ve also found that there’s often a lot of scoring right at the end of a quarter. Often at this stage players have played all their defensive cards so player can put out 3 or 4 scoring cards without them being blocked.
So even though Juken Basketball has players going through the deck 4 times instead of just 2 times like in Jukem Football, the total time to play the games come out about the same.
Hopefully you haven’t run out of steam reading our review yet, because Jukem Soccer is our favorite of the bunch. (Last the best of all the game.)
While there isn’t rampant scoring like in Jukem Basketball, Jukem Soccer still plays more quickly than Jukem Football.
In Jukem Soccer, players play cards to set up and score goals.
On a player’s turn they can either play cards to Set Up for a scoring opportunity or they can try to Score.
Each green Shot card indicates how many plays need to be made before attempting to score. For example, it may say “4 Play”. This means that a player must first play at least 4 play cards before they can play a green card on a subsequent turn.
If a player would like to Set Up for a shot on their turn, they play as many black Play cards as they’d like such as Pass, Header, or Flop.
Opponents can play Penalty cards to stop offensive plays. To do so, the player plays their Penalty shot right after a player makes an offensive play and does what the Penalty card indicates.
If, on previous turns, a player has played enough Play cards, they can now play a green Shot card to take a shot.
To take a shot on goal, the player announced that they’re going to shoot. They hold their green Shot card face down in front of them. Their opponent can then choose a red Save card from their hand and hold it face down as well. Players reveal their cards at the same time and compare icons.
If the ball icons on the Shot card match up with the X icons on the Save card, the shot is blocked.
If at least one of the ball icons matches up with a blank spot on the Save card, the player scores a goal!
If the opponent doesn’t have a Save card to play, the player scores a Goal uncontested.
In either case, all the Play cards for that possession and the Shot and Save cards are discarded.
Like in the other Jukem games, if a player has the Jukem card they can play that with their offensive play to prevent it from being stopped.
Once the draw deck runs out, players make as many more plays as they can. Then the half ends.
Players make note of the first half score and then shuffle all the cards together. The second half then begins and plays out just like the first half.
At the end of two halves, scores are totaled and the player with the most goals wins.
Our Thoughts on Jukem Soccer
Like we mentioned earlier, Jukem Soccer is our favorite of the 3 Jukem Sports Card Games.
And we don’t think that’s just because we enjoy playing soccer more than either football or basketball.
We like it more because it feels like there are more decisions to make.
Yes, it’s still driven a lot by the luck of the card draw. But the shot and block cards with their highlighted areas of the goal create more uncertainty in the outcome.
Players also often have a choice of which Shot cards to play. The Shot cards that create the best opportunity to score also require more Play cards to be played first. So determining when to shoot adds a fun dimension to the game.
This in turn keeps Jukem Soccer feeling more engaging throughout.
As you can see, like many quick card games the Jukem Sports Card Games have a healthy does of luck involved. Which cards you draw will have a big impact on how the game turns out.
And that’s okay – as long as you know what you’re in for when you start.
If you’re looking for a strategic sports game, the Jukem Sports Card Games aren’t for you.
But if you’re looking for something light to play with your kids who enjoy sports, then pick up a copy of whichever Jukem sport they enjoy most and have fun!
Thank Haywire Group for these fun 2-player cards games to play with our family.