22/04/2024

Jakarta Traffic, reminiscing the never-ending traffic jam [Preview]

Word on the street has it that a German designer is rolling out a new game set right in my hometown. Ah, Jakarta, do I miss you? Probably not. What better name could they choose, better than Jakarta Traffic? Those two words sum up the whole urban chaos in this metropolitan city perfectly.

Here comes the twist—instead of delving into the traffic woes and street mayhem, Simon Schmieder puts us into the world of online ‘mofa’ courier services. We’re talking about the juicy in-company rivalries among the drivers. Creative, indeed. I’m already hooked on the background story.

Disclaimer: We had the preview copy for this review, and it was not the final version. There might be possible changes and alteration from the publisher regarding the components, printing and build quality, rules and concepts in the official released product.

Their Kickstarter campaign is currently live and running.

A personal remark on Jakarta Traffic

The main board in Jakarta Traffic operates on a modular system. It ensures different experience. Each game requires different winning strategy, if not tactical approach, according to the distinctive layout. Thus, even from the setup keeps replay value high.

Each tile in Jakarta Traffic possesses the city’s interconnected routes. To win, we cannot rely on the default printed ways to gain points. Yet, we can’t really lay down new tracks, too. How to optimize the routes, then? Rearranging and swapping are keys. It’s the only way to manipulate the map and navigate through the urban maze as efficient as possible.

Each time an order is fulfilled in Jakarta Traffic, some aspects get a rearrangement. Where the order goes and who orders it shuffles. This mechanic offers a peek into market manipulation within the game. Albeit seemingly small, this aspect has the potential to significantly swing the game big time.

Pick-up and delivery mechanic is the heartbeat of this game. Jakarta Traffic does not only put transporting goods under the spotlight; we’ve also got passengers on board, too. It’s like a real-life flashback in Jakarta. Whenever I’m in Indonesia for a holiday, these services are always my go-to. Simon mirrors the reality to the game with 1-to-1 resemblance. Uncanny, it is. Is this how these drivers really feel on the road?

Your phone’s battery is the sole resource in the game. Without juice, no orders can be taken or completed. It’s a slice of reality, where this entire service really depends on smartphone and its power. To recharge, you’ll need to cross paths with the other drivers. Sharing the powerbank. A clever touch to keep the player interaction alive.

Jakarta Traffic does not really adhere to a fixed number of rounds. Instead, the players trigger the endgame. When one of the moped-drivers acquires a certain threshold of ratings. Some players may fancy this open-ended approach. Yet, it also introduces the possibility where the game ends prematurely. And vice versa; the game may drag on for an extended period.

Conclusion

Jakarta Traffic will undoubtedly pique the interest of players who enjoy the route-building mechanic. However, it deviates from the orthodox approach. Thanks to the tile rearrangement and shifting. This adds a new definition — or perhaps a new level — of chaos to the gameplay. Despite this added complexity, the rules are straightforward and easy to grasp, making it newbie-friendly as well.

It’s a fun pick-up and deliver game, and can be chaotic — just like the real Jakarta traffic. Does it make me miss my hometown? Definitely not.


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