Tabletop Game Review – Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar is a game of sparing no expense to create the world’s greatest theme park filled with wonder and awe.

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar by Funko Games
Price: ~$120
2 to 4
90 to 150 minutes (per adventure)
Perfect for:
Groups who love strategic cooperation, task assignment, legacy stories, and (of course) dinosaur mayhem!

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar is a game of sparing no expense to create the world’s greatest theme park filled with wonder and awe. And the star of these future attractions are genetically engineered dinosaurs. Join up to become part of a team of architects, geneticists, paleo-botanists, and visionaries to create a marvelous island tourist destination spot—and oh, do be sure to keep everyone safe while you’re at it. Welcome to (the future) Jurassic Park!

To begin Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar two to four players select their park employee. Each personnel member has a distinct ability that allows them to complete particular jobs more efficiently than others. The chosen adventure (twelve in total, played in a linear story-driven fashion) determines a few elements such round-by-round perils and overall goals. Other variables include which buildings you’ll be using (or constructing), dinosaurs on the board, and items which help players along the journey. As the game progresses, more components become unlocked as players continue developing their custom park.

Each of Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar’s twelve adventures have five rounds and unique win conditions for overall success. Player turns can be asynchronous, depending on strategy. Each character typically has multiple actions they can choose to take, but the group determines when and where they occur. In general, players move around the board avoiding threats (like dinosaurs looking for snacks) and tackling the objectives most well-suited to their abilities. For example, a common goal in an adventure is to rearrange DNA tiles into a specific pattern. One character has a special ability to move said tiles more efficiently with every action they take, so assigning them to this task is often wise. After the players take all their actions, the end of the round occurs. This is when dinosaurs roam and hunt, and new goals (or consequences) may occur. Should the group fulfill their objectives by the end of round 5—including keeping island inhabitants alive in the process—they win.

What works in Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar is the collaboration and the thematic world-building. Communication is paramount as teams must optimize completing the tasks, while considering lots of factors. There is a constant weighing of risk vs. reward—is it wiser to run to a building and suffer some damage by racing by a velociraptor? Or should the player go the long way, but possibly not finish in time leading to other problems?  In addition, Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar very much has the feel of the franchise. The characters, objectives, and threats align nicely with the stories from the films. And as the game evolves, groups will feel ownership as they unlock new abilities and grow their personal park. Finally, the components are fantastic with impressive miniatures and an aesthetic that leans into the era up of pulp comics.

Players who don’t enjoy fully cooperative games, often filled with mildly stressful situations, may not enjoy Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar as much as others. Especially in early games, the mechanics are very task oriented. The actions characters must take may feel prescribed, and thus could give players the impression that the game is “on rails,” with minimal decision-making. This does change as Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar grows in scope over several adventures and more strategic considerations emerge. Related, these mechanics and structure open up the possibility of alpha gaming where one player dictates how everyone should proceed. Finally, Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar can be a tense game. This is especially true of dinosaur movement where a T-Rex, through a result of a dice roll, can essentially teleport somewhere new on the map and wreck the most well-laid plans.

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar is a strong story-driven game whose enjoyment will be determined by the people at the table to play it. With a small, cooperative-focused bunch, there’s a rich and rewarding experience waiting to be unearthed.

Recommended if you like: Pandemic, Clank! Legacy: Acquisitions Incorporated, Forbidden Island

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