By Len Pimentel
Written by Joshua LH Burnett and published by Hex Games, this supplement for the QAGS tabletop role-playing game provides you with a setting designed to imitate and mercilessly parody G.I. Joe, specifically the toy-commercial-disguised-as-entertainment G.I. Joe cartoon from the ‘80ies.
You don’t buy a supplement like this for its production value. The simple layouts and cartoony illustrations aren’t supposed to be especially pretty or evocative. They’re supposed to be just enough to get by, which seems to be the design philosophy for many QAGS supplements (with Laser Ponies being a notable exception). That’s a shame, because QAGS is actually a brilliant little system that deserves better visuals than most QAGS books receive. While presumably done to maintain a low price-point, amateurish visuals cheapen the overall impression one gets when reading a QAGS book. This brilliant supplement, in particular, would have been better served without any art, or with just a respectable cover cartoon parodying the G.I. Joe characters. As it is, the visuals actually detract from the product and distract the reader from images of those wonderfully ridiculous cartoons. Style Score: 2 out of 5.
If you like QAGS and want to play what amounts to a brilliant parody, it’s tough to go wrong with JINGO. The hysterical read alone is worth the price, especially if you’re old enough to remember the G.I. Joe cartoon and the era in which it aired. The supplement does a great job of warmheartedly lampooning both the cartoon and the Regan era jingoism (ah, now I get it) that lay just under the surface, even though none of us realized it back then. It also provides just enough in terms of setting, rules, equipment, vehicles and villains to get you going without being overbearing. This is a light-hearted setting, and the decision not to bury the reader in background details, rules or all that much of anything else was right on the money. Sure, if you were looking to play a more serious game, you might want more details and more “crunch.” But if you were looking to play a more serious game, you probably wouldn’t have bought something called JINGO! At 21 pages plus a character sheet, JINGO gives you everything you need and never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously. While JINGO isn’t perfect (for example, it doesn’t do nearly enough to tone down the lethality of the deceptively simple but surprisingly deadly QAGS system, something essential if you want to parody the G.I. Joe cartoon), the imperfections are quibbles. The game system is easy enough to house-rule into submission and make your own. The hard part of playing a parody game like this is finding just the right tone and feel for the overall setting and the characters, and that’s where JINGO shines. Substance Score: 5 out of 5.
If you are old enough to remember the G.I. Joe cartoon, if you want a rules-light game setting you can play for laughs, or if you just want to take a walk on the silly side of role-playing, go buy JINGO right now. America is counting on you!
Jingo is available from: