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The Board Game


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I only just recently discovered that there was a board game of Jagged Alliance, namely based on JA2. I am surprised I only found out about it in the last month as I enjoy playing board and card games. That is why it came as a complete surprise to me and I wondered why I never knew about it before. Then again, there are so many games that come out, it can be difficult to keep aware of such things, even if you are a fan of the subject the game covers.

The board game came out in 2019, so it has been a few years. I don't know how much coverage it had at the time and whether it was widely distributed. It came as an annoyance to find that it was out of print. It might have only had a small production and for whatever reason, when stocks ran out, the creators never made another production run.

Games of this type going out of print so quickly isn't rare, as I have discovered, causing me to miss a few games at the time of their distribution. I have managed to get several of these at unfortunately inflated prices, whether that is eBay, Amazon or from the publishers themselves. That latter is ok in itself but often, the shipping cost is very high if ordering something from overseas. With myself being in the UK, ordering games from the USA can be costly when it comes to shipping. After Brexit went into effect and caused the UK to leave the European Union, that created shipping difficulties also.

Back to the Jagged Alliance board game, I luckily managed to buy it. It was expensive once again but I would have been unhappy to miss out in it, especially as it looked really well made. I have not had a chance to play it and I was thinking about taking photos of it. However, there are far better quality photos of the game and more details of it on the following site:


There is also an expansion for it, which I didn't buy. This clearly follows the Sci-Fi option for JA2, where you go hunting for big nasty bugs underground:



I can't remember how I even discovered this game, whether it was searching for all of the computer game versions in the series, or because I found it on Board Game Geek while looking for something else.

Has anybody else seen the board game or better yet, managed to buy it for themselves?

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Yes, I have it.
It was made by Underground Games via a Kickstarter -> link to the page <-
I pledged for the base game and the expansion.

The guys behind Underground Games worked on jagged alliance online and shadowrun lockdown, for reference.

I played the base game solo, and I liked it.
I didn't try sci-fi expansion. As you say, it's like toggling on the sci-fi mode in JA2. It adds new underground zones, creatures and equipment. It seemed well done, but afaik you need to play the base game again with it (I didn't have the will to start over) and the difficulty seemed to grow significantly with it (base game is already tense).
Note that they published a free matavira campaign playable with the base box, too.

A word of advice, don't expect to play a boardgame copy 1:1 of JA2. This is a boardgame with Jagged Alliance flavor.
It does a great job at being a boardgame. Interesting and accessible mechanics, a good balance in difficulty, nice progression thorough the campaign (weapons, enemies, maps, challenge...)
The Jagged Alliance flavor is not as successful, as the illustrations differ too much from the base material, the notes here and there miss the target somewhat, and the campaign text/plot could have been better. But they made a great deal of work to put all they could of JA flavor into the game mechanics without bloating them too much.

In the end, I quite liked playing that game. I would like to play it with my group of friends, but they never got in JA and I 'm afraid of their welcome of the game.
I got quite involved in translating the game to my language during the kickstarter, the devs actually sending prototypes of the rules to small groups to translate, but they totally dropped the ball afterwards, offering no support to the groups of translators, their involvement, their translated files and else. I hoped to play with my friends with the translated rules to help for accomodation, but this move didn't help.
The fluff texts on the weapons, allies and such didn't help too. They read really weird when you don't know JA universe.
I've yet to try and invite them to play it some day, we'll see how it goes. I rewrote the intro to help the team dive in the game and its atmoshere properly, not sure if it will be enough.

Anyway, have fun playing it !

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I'm glad to read that you got the game, and that you enjoyed it. It certainly looks well made from the photos, with a nice presentation.

It's a shame that your friends aren't into it. I tend to buy games to play solo or with one other person, as that increases the possibility of getting it played (I currently don't know of any local gaming groups, so games that are a minimum of 3 players are off the list, even if they look fantastic). It is even more of a shame that this board game didn't have a good translation for your language. The creator's site showed it being what looked like a German/Polish collaboration but being in English. French translation is supposed to be there too. I wonder why they didn't continue with further translation, especially if they had volunteers and the translated instructions would appear online?

When you say they dropped the ball afterwards, do you mean that they abandoned further translation, leaving you to do it yourself, or that they did (or rather didn't) do something else?

Where are you from, Grim, if you don't mind me asking?

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I don't mind you asking, I'm from France.

In the end, I mean that they stopped supporting the game quickly after launch.

They were supposed to make additionnal minis for the mercs with a partner. No news about that at this date.
I sent questions on their site, got an answer promising to adress it, and never heard of it again.
About translations. I have no info about other languages, I never read anything about it except french translation I am about to explain (feel free to ignore, it's boring stuff ! 😉 )
During the kickstarter campaign, they sent copies of the rulebook prototype to be translated to groups of people. I was part of one of those. We worked hard on the translation and sent them back a fully translated copy, both by mail and available online. We never got any answer after that. After launch, there was a kickstarter update saying a french volunteer had made a translation, and they shared the file. It had nothing to do with our translation, the file was crude, nothing to be compared to the paperback rulebook in the box, and the translation was not that great if I remember well. I really don't understand why they didn't end correctly what they started with us, and probably other groups. They could have sent volunteer translators the final rulebook (word) file so we could work on it and send back a copy to them for approval and share to the backers. Everything was in place and ready for that but they didn't. It's sad.

Anyway, the game is good and I don't want to darken the picture with the aftermath of the kickstarter. I guess they went a bit broke like many boardgame creators and had to move to other projects.
I'd really like you to enjoy it and other people to discover and play this game. Once again, the game mechanics are great.


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It is sad to read how that all ended up. I am guessing that they were a small outfit to begin with, or had a great idea and the enthusiasm at the start, but by the time everything was given the go ahead, they might have found it more stressful than anticipated. I can't really think of another reason, especially when people like yourself were willing to help out where necessary. It doesn't explain how they screwed up with the extensive French translation that your group provided and instead went with an inferior version. That sounds as if they just had one person pick a French translation at random, rather than taking more care with it. That only ended up hurting the overall product.

That could explain why the game went out of print quickly. A small team dedicated to bringing out a game but underestimating the logistics of it all. I have been buying quite a few games recently and there are several that didn't last very long after the initial stock roll-out. Many of those lost their license to the game or didn't have enough demand to make another batch, even though they were rated as good games. A few of those games I failed to buy because I didn't discover them until later. It is particularly annoying when all the expansions are still readily available but the base game is out of stock everywhere (except for someone's pre-owned copy which they will happily sell you for the price of a small car).

Personally, regarding JA: The Board Game, I'm sure I will enjoy it and it will be fun to play while waiting for JA3.

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