Bomb Jack: The Board Game (a COVID Lockdown project)

With COVID Lockdown still in full effect I decided to make “Bomb Jack: The Board Game”

During this lockdown we’ve played our board games A LOT. It’s no secret that I’ve always liked Bomb Jack, specifically the Spectrum and Arcade versions. Three things have driven me to make Bomb Jack: The Board Game: –

  1. I needed something fresh and nothing in the shops really took my interest.
  2. I’ve always wanted to make my own board game.
  3. I like the idea of classic video games turned into board games, if done properly.

So I set out to create Bomb Jack: The Board Game. I wanted to try and stick to the basic premise of the video game so ultimately the goal is to collect “Fire Bombs”. Now, 23 fire bombs seem a little excessive for each player to collect in a board game so I opted for 5 (this may change depending on how the beta testing goes). The game is for 2-4 players, each playing a variation of Bomb Jack or Bomb Jill (Bomb Jack Twin).

About the game

The board layout is inspired by the first four levels of the arcade game. Top left is the Sphinx in Egypt, top right is the Acropolis in Greece, bottom right is Castle Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, and bottom left is Tekhan Headquarters in Japan (I believe). At the roll of a dice the players move around the board as if moving through each of these levels.

Bomb Jack: The Board Game
Bomb Jack: The Board Game playing board

There are various obstacles and aids along the way in the form of enemies and bonus squares. Some bonus squares allow Jack/Jill to ‘fly’ ahead several squares. Some cause the player to lose their turn and others require the player to pick up a ‘Fire Bomb’ card.

Bomb Jack: The Board Game Fire Bomb Cards

Fire Bomb Cards

Fire Bomb cards will either give the player a Fire Bomb to collect or offer a bonus, penalty, or task. Bonuses include, (B) Bonus Cards, (P) Power cards, (E) Extra cards, and (S), Special cards.

Bonus Cards: Bonus cards allow you to move to the nearest (B) square OR, if depicting your character, allow you to choose two more Fire Bomb cards and choose the most advantageous of the three.

Power Cards: Power cards stop enemies having an effect on the player.

Extra Cards: Extra cards allow the player to trade the card in at any point during their turn for an extra turn, a Twofer.

Special Cards: Special cards challenge the player to throw the dice and offer a penalty or bonus depending on the value thrown.

A set of dice control player and enemy movement. A blue dice controls player movement and a red dice for enemy movement. If an enemy lands on your square then you lose a turn. I may change this to a lives system. I’ve not fully decided if to incorporate lives yet but I do have some ideas on that.

That’s about where I’m at right now. The game is playable as is so I’ll be giving it a trial run later in an attempt to gauge fun factor and to work out any kinks or oversights.