Unmatched: Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors by Mondo Games and Restoration Games
Playtime: 20-40 minutes
Perfect for: Players who enjoy asymmetrical balanced dueling games, incredible art, and the thrill of the classic dinosaur adventure film.
Unmatched: Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors is a game of strategic combat. In this standalone expansion within the Unmatched series, players compete against one another either as Robert Muldoon, the gamekeeper of Jurassic Park whose job it was to keep the beasts in line, or a pack of three very hungry, very clever velociraptors.
To begin Unmatched: Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors, two players choose who they will be playing as and receive that person/creature’s deck (drawing a starting hand of five cards), health tracker, miniature(s), and allies if playing as Muldoon. In this version, Muldoon’s helpers are fellow InGen workers that move around the board just like the heroes but have special cards to provide an advantage such as extra movement. Also, a bit different from previous Unmatched versions, the raptors have three controllable heroes but no “allies.”
On a turn, players can perform two actions from the following options: draw a card and move a number of spaces equal to their speed, attack, or play a special effect card. Combat is resolved with the attacker playing a card and defender doing the same, if they so choose. The cards are revealed simultaneously and after resolving all of the effects, damage is recorded if any has been taken. Once a primary hero’s health is reduced to zero, they are eliminated from the game. To be clear, in this particular version all three raptors must be destroyed to achieve Muldoon’s win condition.
What works in Unmatched: Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors is the continued ingenuity of the creative team to create characters with fresh new mechanics that also fit well into the existing paradigm and ever-growing universe. For example, Muldoon can lay traps on the board which stops villains’ movement and deals one damage. Raptors get bonus attack power if multiple dinosaurs are adjacent to the person they are nibbling on. And even included the velociraptor map board introduces the concept of one-way routes which adds to the claustrophobic suspense of this particular Unmatched entry. Finally, you can indeed play this title by itself, or mix and match Muldoon and the raptors with other previous characters with ease (Muldoon v Bigfoot v King Arthur v Medusa was particularly entertaining). The battles remain both tense and balanced.
This bears repeating from previous reviews: the components of Unmatched are unparalleled, and this newcomer is no exception. Leveraging the Jurassic Park IP, the three distinct raptor miniatures in particular are fantastic. Artist Oliver Barrett continues to illustrate the series and once again puts forth stunning artwork on everything from the box to the cards, many of which recreate moments from the film while also maintaining the trademark Mondo style. When it comes to the look and feel of these games, the team spared no expense.
Players who prefer cooperation over competition, or games that are a bit lighter on strategy, may not enjoy Unmatched: Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors as much as others. Furthermore, those less familiar with the iconic 1993 Jurassic Park film may not appreciate the nuances and references throughout the gameplay. Unmatched at its core leverages the mechanic of head-to-head combat and requires players to be cunning and devious against their opponents. And while it could be said there is a dash of luck in the game considering the random card drafting mechanic, the more one plays the more it becomes apparent that it’s less about the cards drawn and more about knowing how to use the hand you’re dealt. Specific to this version, Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors, has the same funny “problem” that nearly every entry has—whomever your opponent is, they feel overpowered at first. But rest assured, with a few playthroughs players will get used to the new tactics and find the balance.
Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors is another solid entry in the Unmatched franchise. The game adapts the franchise in inventive ways and makes for both an excellent addition to one’s Unmatched library, or a great competitive two-person game for people who love the dinosaur classic.
Recommended if you like: Unmatched (previous entries), Heroscape, Star Wars: Epic Duels
Final Grade: A
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