Sunday, April 21, 2024

Jokkmokk: The Winter Market Is A Cozy Slice Of Snowy Bliss

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Jokkmokk:The Winter Market is sort of an odd duck. It’s a set collection game from WizKids but with a totally unique, Swedish folk art style that feels out of place with Wizkids usual style. Plus it’s interesting to see a theme this narrow from a company that loves its licenses. But I think it proves that the company’s efforts to enter the hobby market with truly original gaming are starting to pay off. So with winter just about over and we sit atop the dawn of spring, let’s get cozy and warm one more time as we look at Jokkmokk: The Winter Market.

What’s In The Box?

Jokkmokk box and content examples

What’s In The Box?

  • Rulebook
  • 1 Game board
  • 10 Family Members (2 in each of the 5 Player Colors)
  • 18 Set Reference cards
  • 204 game cards
  • 1 Current Player token
  • 1 Midgame Scoring token
  • 12 “5p” tokens
    • 10 “50p/100p” tokens

As you might guess from the name and theme (yes it’s the same as the table), this is a very IKEA-core game. Not In the boxy simplified instruction manual way. More the vibes they have at their stores all folksy and filled with trees and lingonberry. This has that energy thanks to the frankly adorable artwork that mixes a folksy geometric quality with more detailed, but still very old school, drawn items.

How’s It Play?

Jokkmokk Current Player token
Jokkmokk’s Current Player token, which is helpful in chaotic games

The game’s basic premise is simple. Each player plays as two family members going around the titular Market in the titular Swedish town (again, not the table), purchasing winter items and gifts of the season while also experiencing the sounds and activities of the seasons. These different facets of Swedish winter are all represented by cards, one of which is picked up at each “stall” on the board. This is everything from sparklers to candy to meeting with friends. There’s even the infamous Surströmming, which is worth negative points and acts as a sort of “hot potato” that moves from person to person.

Which cards you include is where the replay ability and difficulty of each game. The more sets you include the harder it sets. There’s even themed sets like “Couple’s Dinner” or “Souvenirs” to help curate the vibes. Each card has a points value that you add to your score at the mid or end of game. They also all have different effects, some immediate, some longer term. Some even have you do a little sub-puzzle in front of you as part of the collection. Collecting the cards in a set, naturally, end up giving you more points thanks to different combinations of bonuses. From there it’s all about strategy, planning, and just a bit of luck.

The Verdict?

Jokkmokk is one of those hyper-specific games you only bring out during the right season, or that you’ll no doubt see in a ton of ski resorts this year. It’s a very cozy game that evokes a very sweet experience even when you’ve not been to Jokkmokk (or Sweden). It uses its striking folk art look to set the stage and then gives you those little hits of artificial nostalgia that help you sit back and enjoy thinking about what your plan is while reminiscing about winter’s past. Jokkmok should be played with mugs of mulled wine or something. It’s just…pleasant. Not too hard, not a total cakewalk. There’s also a not of innovation with the design as such, but that’s more than made up with character.

You can grab Jokkmok from the Wizkids Shop, Amazon, or your FLGS at an MSRP of $34.99.

Images via Wizkids Games

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