Jurassic Park: Danger! By Ravensburger
Players: 2 to 5
Playtime: 50 minutes
Perfect for: Families who enjoy light strategic/secret movement of a competitive nature, and fans of the iconic dinosaur film classic.
Jurassic Park: Danger! is a game of escape from fearsome dinosaurs! One player controls a small team of the extinct reptiles including a velociraptor, tyrannosaurus rex, and dilophosaurus. Their goal: eat the humans! The rest of the players are the men and women of Jurassic Park (Dr. Ellie Sadler, Dr. Alan Grant, John Hammond, etc.) who must attempt to restore order to the island and then escape before becoming tasty snacks.
To begin Jurassic Park: Danger, the players divide into teams (1 v many). On a turn, all individuals secretly choose a card from their pre-assigned deck which will dictate the actions they will be taking on their turn. For example, dinosaur cards have three possible options on them: 1) Run, whereby one dinosaur moves into an adjacent space connected by ground; 2) Climb, which allows for movement into an adjacent space over a cliff or fence, or 3) Sneak, which grants the dinosaur the ability to reappear in neighboring space without alerting the humans. If a dinosaur ever ends up in the same tile as a human, it attacks by randomly removing one of the humans’ cards from their deck—if/when they are unable to draw, that person is eliminated. If the dinosaur gobbles up a predetermined number of humans, they win.
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The humans have other objectives. To be victorious they must a) activate three locations on the map; b) get to the helicopter; c) fulfill a character-specific goal; and d) not become dino food. Turns are similar to the dinosaurs’ in that they pick a specific card to play, but the options are a bit more plentiful and unique to each human (as is their personal objective). For instance, Lex has a special card that allows her to re-roll a map-activation check, and she must visit the Control Center on her turn to meet her goal. If a human is eliminated and the dinosaurs’ quota has not been met, a new one spawns to take over the challenges. The humans win if a set number of them successfully make it off Isla Nubar after all necessary criteria have been met.
What works in Jurassic Park: Danger! is the clever adaptation of the theme onto the strategic-movement and action mechanic. There are light touches all over that make the experience reminiscent of the movie and its characters, both human and dinosaur alike. For example, on a dinosaur turn that player can take a special action that corresponds to a particular species—the raptor sprints two bonus spaces, the T-rex attacks twice, and the dilophosaurus can spit-attack into an adjacent space. John Hammond’s personal goal is not let anyone else perish, but his…maturity…means that his roll checks for sneaking and climbing are higher. This level of detail demonstrates the care and reverence the creative team had in recreating a Jurassic Park experience in tabletop form.
Players who prefer games that don’t pit a team against an individual may not enjoy Jurassic Park: Danger! as much as others as it is a directly competitive game. Furthermore, individuals who are less familiar with the original 1993 movie might not night appreciate the nuances and references as much as others. Finally, some rule situations feel a bit hard to navigate. For example, if a player (particularly a human one) only has climb cards available to them, but the spaces surrounding them are meant for “running,” can the climbing be used instead of running (given that the former is harder), or are they just stuck? At times it feels as though a tiered action-swapping system might reduce some ambiguity in turn options.
Jurassic Park: Danger! is a light strategy game that is easy to pick up for all ages, and fans will likely delight in how the actions relate to the themes of the movie. To that end, more sophisticated players may want to seek out something with a bit more complexity (and possibly rule clarity). But, for families who want to relive the thrills of running from dinosaurs, Jurassic Park: Danger! is a really nice option.
Recommended if you like: Jaws, Die Hard, Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons
Final Grade: A-
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