IntegrityDAO
Published in

IntegrityDAO

Jambo Mambo: Thoughts on Whitepaper 2.0

Today Jambo Mambo dropped its Whitepaper 2.0 outlining what is next for the self-proclaimed “P&E” (Play-AND-Earn) project. Jambo Mambo is one of my personal favorite projects (see end for disclosure) and so I am excited to share my thoughts on it.

The whitepaper is, in a word, hefty. While it is packed with a ton of interesting information and I recommend you read it, I’ve taken the liberty to break it down for you here and provide some context about the project and why I am so excited about this project.

The Story So Far

The team describes Jambo Mambo as a “Play-AND-Earn” project built around a PvP battle royale game in which Jambos fight each other to the death. Jambos, for the uninitiated, are cute-but-savage dog-like creatures that live in Jamboland and are separated into four tribes — Bonbon, Voodoo, Starlight V2, and Agua.

Jambo Mambo’s main NFT collection, the 4444 Origin Jambos, minted for 1.5 SOL in late November 2021. These Jambos will be the only primary-sale collection from the team. All other NFTs related to Jamboland will either be created as the result of gameplay (e.g. crafting and loot drops) or through owner-controlled breeding (more on that later).

cute
but also savage!

Since that initial mint, the team has rolled out staking for Jambos (Jambo Camp) and host regular events in the Discord for the community to participate in (sometimes the events even have prizes, such as gachapon known as Mysterious Roopacks). The community is tight knit and active, with active members hanging out and chatting at almost any time of the day.

Team

The Jambo Mambo team is composed of ~36 members including 20+ full-time game developers. Links to LinkedIn profiles for some core members can be found on the Jambo Mambo website, however I will highlight three team members here — Melty Tantiwanich, Germán Palau (aka JpegMaxi), and James Finley.

Melty leads Creative Direction & Communications and Germán leads Operations, Biz Dev, and Tokenomics. The two of them previously worked together on creating Dropzone Music Festival, a ~20,000-person multi-day event. While at first blush running an NFT project may seem to have little in common with a music festival, I’d highlight just how intensely such an event demands logistical and operational expertise. Putting on an event of that scale requires organizing dozens of staff members with laser-focus, building a roadmap that carefully plans your steps to achieving the long-term vision, rallying a community of diverse people around a common thing, and executing quickly and precisely. In short, I see it as exactly the type of experience that would make sense for directing the operations and community growth of an NFT project. It helps, too, that both Melty and Germán were quite early to Solana and are well-established in the ecosystem.

As for James, he leads Game Dev and has a similarly appropriate background, having led a creative studio for the past 13 years that has contributed to massive projects such as Sonic Dash 2 and Game of Thrones: Conquest.

Camp

A critical piece of the team’s success so far has been the rollout of their soft-staking platform, Jambo Camp.

At the time of writing this, 96.1% of all Origin Jambos (4273/4444) are staked on the Jambo Mambo Camp platform. Jambos staked at Jambo Mambo Camp can either train (level-up) or hunt (loot for gachapon boxes). After each hunt owners receive an NFT for the gachapon (e.g. “Adventurous Roopack” or “Shiny Crate”), which will be opened during an event just before the launch of the PvP game. Hunts currently last 5 to 15 days depending on the quality of their gachapon (longer hunt == better loot). The contents will all have utility, likely ranging from in-game items to currencies (more on that below). At the same time, Jambos will preserve their earned level going into the game so the level of your Jambo is important. Given that Jambos do not level up while hunting there is some strategy involved — do you level up your Jambo or go for the loot?

Logistically, Jambo Mambo Camp uses a semi-soft staking system, which alters your Jambo’s metadata to ‘lock’ it but allows you to ‘unlock’ it at any time (e.g. even if you’re on a 5-day hunt you can stop early, forfeiting all progress). In my opinion the site is very smooth and user-friendly (so long as Solana’s TPS are healthy enough to support transactions).

a hunting boi

Whitepaper 2.0 Breakdown

As I mentioned before, the whitepaper is LONG. It is chock-full of great details on what the team is planning. To give just a concise, high-level overview I’m going to hit on three pieces: gameplay, economics, and benefits of the Origin Jambo Mambo NFTs.

Gameplay

The game mode being developed right now, Mini Rooyale, is a battle royale where 8 Jambos fight to the death.

In battle, Jambos can activate skills via commands. They can get power-ups and heal through the use of pills. They have special attacks that are driven by their toys (one example of this appears to be a cactus bomb, as teased by Germán here). The maps that players compete on are dynamic, shrinking as the game progresses to keep each round to being just the right length of time. On the map players can find blueprints, incubators, and crafting materials, all of which will be described in the next section. It is winner-take-all for these items and for the on-chain currency, $JAM, which is harvested from the bodies of dead Jambos (yes, you read that correctly). Given the winner-take-all nature, the stakes are high for players to both try to accumulate as much loot as possible while staying alive and ultimately winning. Players have to burn energy if they wish to compete for $JAM and collectible materials. Energy is replenished 2–3 times during the day for every Jambo. Players do not need to burn energy if they wish to play the game with $JAM and collectible materials turned off (e.g. to practice or just to have fun).

Importantly, all players must have a Jambo Mambo NFT (whether an origin or a later generation via breeding) in order to cash-out on $JAM and other rewards. However, there is a free-to-play mode that will ‘store’ these rewards for a short amount of time. When a free-to-play player buys a Jambo, they unlock whatever ‘stored’ rewards have not expired. In this way new players can try out the game or just play for fun and then convert later without having ‘lost’ anything. The expiration on the stored rewards keeps a player from building up large amounts of rewards without purchasing a Jambo.

The team is considering plenty of game modes to come out after the initial Mini Rooyale alpha build, including some ideas such as a “control-the-zone” game, a materials-gathering game, and a team elimination game. My personal favorite of the proposed versions is Roogon’s Revenge — a mode where there’s a big NPC boss for everyone to cooperate against but it is at the same time a free-for-all. Players will have to balance whether to eliminate their opponents directly and forfeit a chance to get the best loot from the NPC or if they will cooperate first and fight after. Relatedly, private lobbies are on the roadmap so that you can play against your friends and place bets on the outcome (typical loot does not exist in this game mode to prevent collusion).

As we’ve seen with battle-royale-style games such as Fortnite, a continuous stream of new game modes will be important to keep Jambo Mambo’s players engaged and ultimately returning to the main game.

The team’s ambitions don’t stop there, though. In the whitepaper they make a nod towards PvE and Co-op game components as potential future pieces of the Jamboland economy, with the view that the game slowly would evolve to include other aspects more akin to an MMORPG.

While the first version of the game will be on desktop due to the regulatory difficulty of bridging blockchain gaming and the Apple App Store, the team has strong ambitions to make the game not just available on mobile but very intentionally mobile-friendly. This will help widen the audience and potentially bring in casual players, a critical piece of any P2E gaming economy.

Here’s a first peek at the gameplay:

A sneak peek a the gameplay

Economy

Speaking of the Jamboland economy, I think this is where the project really shines (and, as someone who works alongside the field, where I get most excited). The economy was clearly designed with a focus on sustainability and maintaining a fun game for all players.

To simplify things a bit, the team lays out aclever dual-loop system for the Jamboland economy.

I’ll dub the two loops the Earning Loop and the Progression Loop.

The Earning Loop is focused on the P2E side of things. This economy is driven by $JAM, which is used to breed new Jambos, craft new items, post buy-ins for tournaments, and buy more energy to play more games.

$JAM also can be used for aesthetic upgrades but I leave that out of this loop as it is simply a sink for $JAM — aesthetic upgrades just burn $JAM, by their nature they don’t otherwise impact the economy.

In this loop, you earn $JAM by winning matches, and you burn $JAM to do things that help you financially but weaken the economy (primarily, minting new NFTs). Whenever you choose to breed a new Jambo NFT or craft a new NFT item, you have to pay $JAM to complete the action. Similarly, if you wish to push past your daily number of $JAM earning opportunities you have to pay $JAM to replenish your energy.

Relatedly, taking these actions also require limited-drop items such as incubators for breeding and blueprints for crafting. The scarcity of these items will both serve as a lever by which the economy can be stabilized and will serve as an incentive for active gameplay. Put another way, you cannot just buy $JAM on spot to breed new Jambos, rather there is effective price discrimination for each action via scarce components. This gives $JAM utility while allowing the economy to dynamically react to the economic needs of different $JAM utility cases.

Critically, $JAM only flows from winning matches and from staking $JAM to participate in governance. This means that a player will have to be successful at playing to earn $JAM, which means they’ll need to make their Jambos stronger and higher-leveled. This is especially true as Jambos compete in leagues, with the fiercest fighters squaring off against each other (for larger rewards) and newer/casual Jambos learning the ropes against each other (for smaller rewards).

And so this is where the Progression Loop comes in.

To have a strong Jambo you’ll need to level them up and to do so requires Roonium which cannot be bought. Instead, you earn Roonium by winning (or losing!) matches. Therefore your Jambo’s earning ability is dictated by your engagement and gameplay, not by the size of your wallet. Similarly, Roonium is used for item upgrades, buying crafting materials (if you fail to scavenge them during a Mini Rooyale), and for creating pills (single-use boosts that cannot be traded).

There are a few cases where the Progression Loop and Earning Loop could touch. The team could turn on limited purchases with $JAM to help stabilize/stimulate the economy. You can read more in the Whitepaper on that. However this seems to be more of an exception rather than the norm. The only permanent structural connection between the two loops is via gameplay itself; if you want $JAM your Jambo has to be strong, if you want him to be strong you have to progress through the game. You can only progress through the game through playing, you can’t buy your way to $JAM earnings, nor can you lucratively grind for $JAM mindlessly.

This, to me, is the brilliance of the whitepaper. It makes it incredibly hard to be an extractive player, that is, one who just plays to cash out and remove value from the economy. At the same time, it keeps capital flows fully open — as soon as you earn $JAM you can cash it out if that’s what you want to do; it is a regular on-chain token. Relatedly if you secured an incubator but are short some $JAM you can top up by buying more. This way financial flows are unrestrained at the same time the game prioritizes engagement and passion for the game.

As a final note, readers may have come away from this section concerned that the emphasis on gameplay makes it difficult for whales to participate/invest in the game with the size of funds that they wish. The team addresses this concern through Jambo Daycare, an on-platform lending service by which owners are paired with players (‘scholars’ as some call them) based on both party’s needs and desires. Since it is all on-platform, neither owners nor scholars need to worry about issues around key management, theft, or loot allocation. The platform can handle all of those concerns behind the scenes so that scholars can play with ease and rewards can be distributed based on what the scholars and owners determine at the outset.

To recap these last two sections, here’s a useful table from the Whitepaper summarizing the different game/economy components:

Origin Jambo NFTs

Astute readers will have noticed that breeding was referenced earlier. Of course as with any NFT that allows for breeding, a question arises as to how to maintain value for the original collection while not disadvantaging new players. Several benefits are conferred on to Origin Jambos including $JAM staking APY multipliers, earlier access to game modes, and a higher breeding cap (6 as compared to 4).

Breeding requirements will be 1 Jambo from each of the 4 tribes, 1 incubator, some $JAM, and some time (the latter two are dependent on how many times each Jambo has been bred). If you do not own 1 Jambo from each of the 4 tribes there will be a system in-place on-platform for you to find other owners that you can breed with.

Another note is that Origin Jambo holders will acquire their Jambo’s toys at the launch of the game. The toy NFTs will separate from the Origin Jambo (only once per Origin Jambo) and will from then on be able to be sold, upgraded, or swapped.

Lastly, Origin Jambo holders have access to Jambo Camp right now to level up their Jambos and earn loot for when the alpha drops. While there is nothing leaked about the rewards that will come from Jambo Camp, but some likely possibilities are: $JAM, toys, blueprints, incubators, gears, crafting materials, command courses, Roonium.

I’ve intentionally failed to capture all the nuance here — this write-up is already too long as-is! However I hope this has given you a taste for what’s in store. The TLDR on all of this is that the team clearly is focused on (1) preserving fun gameplay and (2) building a sustainable economy that caters to different types of players, both of these are key to a successful P2E economic model.

I am very excited about this project because the team has all the right ingredients for something very special — a strong team with the right skills for the job, a dedicated and vibrant community, a new twist to a proven gaming model, and an incredibly robust and logical economic structure that is designed to last.

More than all that, though, I see Jambo Mambo as one of several possibly important gateway to bringing new folks into the Solana ecosystem.

And of course, they’ve got the best stickers.

Disclosure: I hold a position in Jambo Mambo NFTs because I believe in the long-term vision of the project. I may choose to sell these NFTs or to buy more at any time for reasons that may be related to the project (e.g. my outlook changes) or unrelated to the project (e.g. liquidity reasons, portfolio rebalancing, etc.).

Nothing in this article constitutes professional and/or financial advice, nor does any information given by the author and publisher constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto. Neither the author nor the publisher are fiduciaries by virtue of any person’s use of or access to this article or content. You alone assume the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any information or other content before making any decisions based on such information. By engaging with this article, you agree not to hold the author, his affiliates or any third party service provider liable for any possible claim for damages arising from any decision you make based on information or other content made available to you through this article.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store