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Jumpin' Java: a lesson in design

If you were asked to design a game that would be perfect in a coffee shop, Fundex's Jumpin' Java would be the standard for the kind of game you might hope to create.

First, and most apparent, the packaging. Presented in a well-made wooden box with pieces that look like miniature cups and saucers and a board that looks like a string of coasters, the game is perfectly themed for coffee house consumption. The vacuum-formed packing holds each object in its place, making storage easy and self-guided (you know right away if you're missing a piece). Slide the lid off the box, look at the other side of it, and there are the rules, clearly written, and almost impossible to lose. Now that you see how well this game is packaged and designed, you realize that this, really, is how every game should be made. Every game design school and game designer should keep it on their shelves for reference.

As for the game play, it is a fast, compelling strategy game for two. Not too deep. And just long enough to play a couple times before you've finished your coffee. Which is, of course, precisely the kind of game you'd want to play, if playing a game in a coffee house was you wanted to do.



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