Shadowfist Boom Chaka Laka Expansion

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Home > Sets > Boom Chaka Laka
[posted 23 Feb 2003; updated 6 Jan 2006; links checked 19 Feb 2008]

What's in the set? - rarity, distribution by faction, and obligatory statistics
Nitpicker's Guide - errors big, small, and ludicrously small
Storyline summary - the story behind this set, summarized in a couple of paragraphs
Card list - opens in new window
Etc - whatever's left, random thoughts and comments, sometimes my opinions on this set or cards in it, and/or the State of Shadowfist at the time of this expansion

What's in Boom Chaka Laka?

Shadowfist Boom Chaka Laka booster display boxBoom Chaka Laka is a booster-only expansion set released by Z-Man Games in July 2002. It's a 91-card set that contains 88 new cards, with rarities divided into Common, Uncommon, and Rare. The other 3 cards are reprints of Daedalus-edition cards such as Napalm Sunrise. There are no errata cards appearing in this set. All cards are black-bordered with a pair of nunchuks (nunchaku, whatever :) Boom Chaka Laka in the upper right corner. The symbols are color-coded according to rarity: white for rare, grey for uncommon, and black for common (the color is hard to see since the symbol is thin). Still not foil.

Shadowfist Boom Chaka Laka booster packBooster packs contain 10 randomly assorted cards; each display box contains 24 boosters. Booster wrappers are waxy paper like Dark Future, except printed in full color. Distribution is very good, with a box typically yielding no duplicate rares, although overlap between two different boxes is another story. But it's much more likely that you'll get a set out of two boxes than with the three previous sets, partly because of the improved distribution and partly because the set is smaller.

Boom Chaka Laka




















I didn't find any secret messages on the display box or the booster wrapper. If you did, please let me know where, and what it says. Thanks!

Here's the breakdown by faction and by card type. The table on the left shows the overall breakdown (for new players), the table on the right shows the breakdown of the new cards only (for not new players). Apologies for the formatting of the table, but it's much smaller to plop an image in than write a table in HTML. Eventually I'll try out the CSS thing and redo all my tables...

Shadowfist Boom Chaka Laka breakdown by faction and type, including reprints and errata   Shadowfist Boom Chaka Laka breakdown by faction and type, excluding reprints and errata

Looking at this graphically may or may not help you, but I like it. Click either graph to see a larger version in a new window. These plots include errata and reprints.

  Shadowfist Boom Chaka Laka breakdown by factionShadowfist Boom Chaka Laka breakdown by card type

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The Nitpicker's Guide: Boom Chaka Laka

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Storyline Summary: Boom Chaka Laka - Movin' and Groovin' and Blowin' Stuff Up

The Boom Chaka Laka story was written by David Eber in 2002, except for one piece (the fight in the death ring) contributed by none other than Jose Garcia. It's posted on the Shadowfist website [, 19 Feb 2008].

Dr. Zaius, a Jammer scientist, invents the Discombobulator, a device that opens gateways from the Netherworld to any open juncture (for those of you who don't also play Feng Shui, this is important because the only current way to make a gate is from the real world to the Netherworld, which isn't very useful for the Jammers). They try to make a portal to 2002, but instead they open one to 1970's San Francisco. The Jammers send in operatives to blow stuff up, of course. They take the Ascended by surprise, since they believe the juncture will be closed until the 1990s.

When it looks like the Jammers have a real chance of actually blowing up a significant number of feng shui sites, Curtis Graham breaks ranks and tells the Dragons about the portal. They send the Golden Gunman and Zheng Yi Quan through the portal.

The Jammers join forces with Master Chin to gain his help in destroying some key feng shui sites, in exchange for their help in eliminating his chief rival. Serena Chase, an Ascended spy, learns what is really going on, but is caught. She is rescued by Isis Fox.

The action converges on the waterfront, where Chin intends to confront the Big Boss. Billy Chow leads a group of Guiding Hand loyalists to oppose Chin at the same time, and of course the Dragons show up too. The Jammer forces are scattered in the fight, and Chin is killed by Billy Chow.

Meanwhile, back in the Netherworld, the Architects (both Bonengel and Boatman's forces) and the Monarchs assault the Monkey House, trying to seize the Discombobulator. The Purists send Rama Singh inside by sorcerous means; he captures the device and Dr. Zaius as well, then triggers a massive explosion that destroys the Monkey House.

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Etc: Boom Chaka Laka

A Shadowfist set based in the 70s. Huh. The first new juncture to open up since Limited Edition, and it's the 70s. You can imagine the controversy that generated in the discussion group, but you'd be wrong—much of the yakking revolved around what icons/cliches/stereotypes should have been included, rather than whether it should have been done at all :) The chrome is pretty generic 70s (disco, etc.), so even those of us who weren't old enough to participate (or those of you who weren't born yet) can get most of the references. Most of the Event names are pulled from song lyrics and/or titles, in case you hadn't figured that out already.

Whether or not you approve of the setting, it's here, and it has some pretty good cards in it. The Dragons did quite well, with CB Radio plus a bunch of Characters that jumped into decks: Taggert, Isis Fox, Good Ol' Boys, and Rookies. Everybody else got something, although not quite as much as the Dragons. Billy Chow is no slouch for the Hand, and Fatty Cho cries out for a deck. Buffalo Soldiers is a welcome addition to the Jammer stable. A number of cards are aimed at encouraging Vehicles, which is good, since they needed help in general.

Only 3 reprints in this set, or 1/30th, quite a decrease from the previous sets (and one of those you might not even consider a reprint, since it's Funky Monkey, with rules text). It was still commented on, but not much.

This set introduced some new twists on old mechanics, like Superfreak's 1/2 Ambush, and new stuff as well, like John Tower / Big Daddy Voodoo's pay-damage-as-power trick. There were a bunch of questions at first but they seem to have settled into Shadowfist at large without too much trouble. Fire in the Sky caused a lot of frothing, as in "why did the Architects need another Event that smoked Characters?" but it hasn't turned out to be a problem. We Got The Funk has to win an award for most convoluted wording to create an effect that should have been easy to describe but turned out it wasn't really (edging out Eagle Mountain). I haven't seen it in play yet, I think it puts people off because it takes so long to read :)

The trend that disturbs me is the growing number of cards like Street Gang and Mr. Simms that seem aimed squarely at Temple of the Angry Spirits. If one card is causing a problem, I would much prefer to see that card errata'd rather than various silver (or some much less valuable metal, in the case of Mr. Simms) bullets pop up. The danger is that with enough silver bullets around, the feeling will be that the problem card is ok because of the metagame, and then more cards with similar problem abilities will be made. Fix the actual problem and be done with it.

Art in the set, as you can guess, features lots of afros and bellbottoms and suits with wide lapels. There are a number of interesting pieces; Brian Rood's photo-realistic style stands out, but the clear winner for me was Kevin Wasden's Che Gorilla. I know, it's not really in this set, but it was in the print run so I'm commenting on it. One of the best Shadowfist pieces ever. Christian Saksida seemed to generate the most controversy, replacing Drew Tucker as the love-it or hate-it artist of Shadowfist. I personally don't mind his graffiti-ish style.

But one important question remains: where are my High-Heeled Aquarium Boots?

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