Other than a handful of people who prefer Jurassic World, I haven’t heard from anyone who doesn’t have the first Jurassic Park film as their favourite in the series, of course this varies from person to person. Judging by the rate these sequels are churning out, that can change, but it’s a very high bar. Considering last year was the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park, a movie marathon, a visit to Jurassic Park River Adventure, and playing a Jurassic Park board game all look like good ways to celebrate!
A 10+ Ravensburger game designed by the Forrest-Pruzan Creative Group, who also worked on Disney Villainous and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle, Jurassic Park Danger! was strangely first released only in certain US stores. It came out when the Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom DVD was released, which can only add to the fire of desirability for the game. The logo and gritty style of the box doesn’t half grab your eye as well.
There have been a few board game flops when it comes to Jurassic Park, so it’s understandable to be a bit wary. However I’m open-minded, and as someone who enjoyed the newer film’s I was in a good state of mind to see it what provides. Plus also this is a strategy game, which made me curious as to what kind tactical prowess it could bring out. Ready to dive into this game at no…or maybe a little…expense?
What Do You Get?
- 1 Die
- 3 Dinosaur pieces
- 5 Perimeter frames
- 10 character pieces
- 11 Player mats – 10 Character mats / 1 Dinosaur mat
- 13 fences
- 19 Island tiles
- 19 tokens:
- 1 Helicopter token
- 1 Dinosaur token
- 3 Location tokens
- 4 Lock tokens
- 10 Goal tokens
- 110 cards – 10 Character decks / 1 Dinosaur deck
How Do You Set It Up?
- Assemble the outer frame of the board art side up whilst keeping the perimeter, center and start tiles separate, perimeter tiles are outside next to the frame, center tiles are the next layer in, and the start tile is in the middle of all tiles.
- Put the visitors center, control center and maintenance shed tokens grey side up on top of the perimeter tiles, adjacent to their labels on the frame.
- Put all other tokens and the die next to the board.
- Players must decide who will play as the character’s, and who will play as the dinosaurs.
- Each player chooses a character. For a greater challenge, choose randomly.
- Place your character’s mat in front of you and take all of your character’s card to form your hand. All cards are available to human player at the start of a game.
- Put your character’s piece on the start tile.
- Each character has their own unique goal which they need to achieve before escaping the island. This goal is described on your character mat. Read your goal aloud to the group.
- If your character needs to go to a specific space on the board to collect their token, place the goal token on that space.
- Place the dinosaur mat, cards and token in front of you.
- Shuffle the cards and draw three to form your hand.
- Place the rest of the cards face down o the draw pile on your mat.
- Place the dinosaur token on the rest space.
- Place all dinosaur pieces on their corresponding starting spaces. Dinosaurs may start on a space with a location tile or a character’s goal token. You will control all three dinosaurs.
For a two-player game:
- One player plays as the dinosaurs, the other will control two characters simultaneously.
- Choose two characters and take their mats and cards.
- Place their pieces on the start tile.
How Do You Play?
How to win:
Human players have to work together as a team to activate the locations (visitors center, control center and maintenance shed), as well as get a specific number of character’s to the helicopter with their goal tokens in order to escape. When a location is activated, it’s effects will stay in place for the rest of the game.
Accomplishing goals and activating locations can be done in any order, but both must be done before a character can escape. Once done so a character can be moved to the safe area with the helicopter pad space.
When you’re at a location, once per round you can attempt to activate that location by:
- If you get 5 or more when rolling the die, you succeed. If you do not succeed, you can boost your roll to increase your roll amounts by sacrificing cards in your hand.
- If you succeed, flip the location token to it’s colour side and read the location effect below.
- If two or more character’s are at the same location, they may each attempt to activate it.
- Each character has a unique goal to accomplish before they can escape. Character goals are described on each character’s mat.
- Some character’s will start with their goal token and must avoid losing it.
- Some character’s have to accomplish specific tasks in order to collect their goal token.
How to win:
The dinosaur must eliminate three characters in order to win.
A human player’s character can be eliminated in three ways:
- A dinosaur attacks a character when their human player has no cards left in their hand.
- A human player cannot select a card to place on their character mat.
- A human player voluntarily chooses to eliminate their character.
The game is played in rounds, consisting of the following four steps being taken in order:
- Dinosaur – Select one card from your hand and put it face down on your mat. Once face down it cannot be changed. Draw a new card to bring your hand back to three cards.
- Humans – Select one card from your hand and place it face down on your character’s mat. Once face down it cannot be changed.
- Dinosaur – Reveal your card, move your dinosaurs according to the card, and take one optional dinosaur action.
- Humans – Reveal your card, move your character according to the card, and play optional free actions.
At the end of the round, discard all cards played.
These can be performed either before or after you move your dinosaurs using the moves on your card. Actions are unique to each dinosaur, and may be used even if a dinosaur was moved during this round.
When taking an action, move your dinosaur token next to the dinosaur action being used. You may not use the same action two rounds in a row, and not after the human players reveal their cards.
Velociraptor – Move up to two spaces in a straight line.
Tyrannosaurus Rex – When you attack, select two cards instead of one at random from the human player’s hand.
Dilophosaurus – Attack one player in an adjacent space.
If you choose not to use a dinosaur action, move the dinosaur token to the rest space on your mat. Next round all three dinosaur actions will be available.
Human move cards:
Each card in your deck consists of a free or move action. Free actions are played as described on each character’s cards. Your move cards are:
Run – Run into an adjacent space.
Climb – Climb over cliffs or deactivated electric fences.
Sneak – Sneak to hide from dinosaurs. To sneak, roll the die equal to or higher than the number shown on the card. If successful, lay your character on it’s side to indicate it’s sneaking.
Pros Of The Game
- Good quality and looks great
- Creative, fun gameplay and role assignments
- Promotes teamwork and collaboration
- Good strategy and tactical elements
- Brilliant theme with a strong connection to the original film
Cons Of The Game
- Complicated at first, takes some attention and reading in the first few plays
- Can be frustrating when relying on die rolls to progress
- Dinosaur player does not do much during gameplay
- Game is complex and difficult to win
- Gameplay can drag out or overwhelm depending on the number of players
Should You Get Jurassic Park Danger!?
As first impressions on looks go I find this game visually pleasing, I mean you’re looking at Isla Nublar! It has a good quality board and pieces, sturdy and colourful, which try to put you in Jurassic Park. It doesn’t take long to put together, and some of the tiles across the board are randomly placed. Between the board and the striking cards with the cool logo on the back, the game is quite nice looking.
Other than cards and player mats being a bit thin, the design really pops out. The frames and tiles are a thick cardboard and fit together fine, a bit tight, but will be fine if taken care of, like any game. It’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle, if one of the pieces is a bit wonky, it can have trouble fitting with everything else, so care is significant.
So with initial gameplay, it can be complicated at first and may take some focus for the first couple of rounds. There is usually the odd game which requires this but the rule book for this game can be a bit intricate. Some patience and thorough reading will go a long way here. Clearly, understanding the game is where you have the best time playing.
There’s human players and one dinosaur player. It’s a game based on pure survival, at least for the human character’s. It gives a good method of fearing for dinosaurs in a strategy game that keeps you on your toes, providing unique game play with how you manoeuvre around the board, how you achieve objectives and how you assign objectives amongst players.
I like these sorts of games with alternating objectives, one aiming to just win, and the other set out to stop them. It’s imaginative and gives different perspectives to gameplay, leading to repetitive playing. Some people will even have a preference on what role they will play. It’s an interesting workaround, where rather than have everyone face off to win and have the same objectives, players are split, leaving one to take the role of the dinosaurs and go at any lengths to stop the others from succeeding.
The strategy part involves helping you stay in the game whilst holding back the dinosaur player. You can use out-of-turn Distract Cards to lure dinosaurs away, use the Control Center to lock down objective spaces from dinosaurs, use the Visitor’s Center to replenish cards, use the Maintenance Shed to turn on electric fences, and steer away or hide to preserve your cards as you manoeuvre around the board. There are also skill checks, which vary depending on the character, enabling you to sneak and climb.
Co-operation is key amongst the human players, even if the dinosaur player can hear them planning. The unity between character’s to escape is a good motivator, and as you activate areas and collect goal tokens, there’s good interactivity and immersion here to experience together, promoting engagement and teamwork.
The dinosaur player really has it easy here. It’s good fun letting out your inner beast and constantly plan out how you’re going to munch on the human players. The board can be hard to wonder with three dinosaurs ganging up on you. The dinosaurs also don’t take any damage, making it quite daunting. Your best defenses are sneaking and activating the Control Center to secure all locations to hold the dinosaurs back. Card management is a big factor. Once you’ve activated the locations you’ll need enough cards to make your way to the helicopter pad to get away.
Your character’s health relies on the number of cards you have, and these get taken when a dino munches on you, so you need to weigh up your options and stretch out what you have as the game lengthens.
It can be a bit of a simple and frustrating element to have locations activated only with a die roll, the hindrance on luck and lack of progression could be replaced by maybe a cool mechanic related to the film’s. Saying this you can exchange cards for more rolls to move along whilst keeping you on edge. The difficulty does have some chance involved, so you might be waving your fists in the air at how the odds are not in your favor as the game boxes you in.
There’s a slight annoyance with how you get forced out of a location when you don’t roll the correct number. Though this can be understandable in terms of gameplay, it can be a bit frustrating within a strategy game to depend quite highly on a die roll.
The human players have much more objectives than the dinosaur player, so the amount of gameplay can differ and may be unfair, but if you regularly swap it’s no big deal. However dinosaurs have much fewer options than humans, which makes sense considering their only objective is to hunt humans. This goes well theme-wise, yet the dinosaur player doesn’t need to get involved much as they’re kind of on autopilot. Perhaps automation of the dinosaurs so that all players can play cooperatively would be a better choice.
This is an interesting situation for the dinosaur player considering human players are on the opposite side of the spectrum where gameplay can be a tad much for them.
Players have their own personal goals to achieve and then must get to the helicopter pad to be safe and escape. This is good, but a big factor is how challenging it can be. It is difficult to win, and you’ll find there are some factors during certain situations which can influence the outcome, even if for the better it can be tough. So winning in itself can give replay value, if you don’t get fed up and might prefer a different type of strategy game. Some people might hate how challenging the game is and feel put off. On the other hand this can be a nice enticement for people to play as the dinosaurs, which might sway them to stick with it, they can more likely win then!
If your character is defeated, it is replaced by a fresh character, if available, which seems like an easy fix to the dinosaur player winning so easily, since you’re just burning through character’s to victory. To the same degree, if your character is safe, you move onto the next character, continuing gameplay.
Human character’s will feel much more restrictive as they lose resources during the latter part of the game, leading to repetitive circumstances by the end. There may be even no way to win after a certain point and you wouldn’t even realise it! Is the challenge impossible? Well you’d think so at times, it feels impossible to not come out of the game unharmed. Younger players may need a bit of help to accomplish their goals and working round the board. It can be slightly complicated for younger kids, so ages 10+ is efficient. If kids can survive the terrors in the film’s, your kids can too!
The game is two to five players, it’s probably better to have 3 or more. You can play as two, but it just means one of them will have to be multiple human character’s, which can be exhausting. As mentioned gameplay can be confusing to start with but can provide a satisfying challenge as you go on. It depends on how you view it from the human side, either this being a punishing experience that can aggravate you from endless loss of cards and character’s, or being a puzzle simulating the film where you have to do your best to make things work when it feels like hope is lost.
The game can drag a bit with too many players, whilst there might be too much going on with it if too few and have to manage multiple character’s. Considering the rules are quite complicated, more than they need to be. I’m sure some factors can be simplified here. I’ve heard Ravensburger have updated the rules, which can help gameplay, so they could be aware of some of the rule complications in the game.
Saying all this, I said there have been past flops with JP games, but this one is certainly a top contender. You get a connection to Isla Nublar and see a wealth of attributes from the film’s. All we’re short of is the JP film tune playing in the background. It felt like a good separation from your latest movie merchandise, because instead of creating something in relation to the newest film, it actually focuses on the original film in 1993. You can play as every character in the film, including good ol’ Jeff the Bluuuuuum.
This game is certainly for Jurassic Park fans, it has all the bells and whistles in terms of nostalgia and enjoying the franchise. Even goals relate back to the film, Ellie has to see the sick triceratops, Dr. Grant needs to distract the T-Rex, etc. It’s not every day you see a board game so engrossed in the film it’s based on, like it’s reminding you of your love for it in re-enaction, truly perfect for the 25th Anniversary. The fact it so intently runs with the film’s story and theme is the game’s biggest strength. You couldn’t ask for a bigger hit for JP fans of nearly any age!
As you look into the depth of how it connects with JP1 both in story and gameplay, you’ll find the details in it really show, a lot more than some other games, and it’s very respectful to the film’s lore and world, which is always appreciated. With a general gameplay time of 50-60 minutes depending on the number of players, there’s good fun here, worthy value, and it’s set up and orchestrated well for what you pay. Fans will at the very least feel content with what you get.
Jurassic Park Danger! feels like a good alternative to the game Raptor. You get good content, though I wonder how well this would have done if it wasn’t based on the JP brand, considering it is so en grained with it. Regardless, the layout, design, theme, and gameplay are all fun and you can get a level of enjoyment out of it. Definitely a good purchase giving you plenty. It evokes teamwork and cunning, as well as an incredible feeling you experience together if you win.
It’s more complex, pushing you to be more tactical, tougher than some of the previous Ravensburger’s games, so it can drive some people away, tenacity is required. It can be played without kids too since there is enough strategy to go round to keep things interesting. This is best played with families with older children who are looking for more intricate strategy games, as well as of course any fan of the films wanting to reminisce, they’ll love this. I personally will accept the challenge from this Jurassic Park board game, and play my fair share to achieve victory, so long as I don’t lose any limbs along the way.
Thank you for reading! How did you find Jurassic Park Danger!? Do you prefer playing as a human or as the dinosaurs? Do you find it plenty challenging? How nostalgic is it for you with the original film? I’m happy to read comments!