As anyone who has seen Jurassic Park knows, a trip to Isla Nublar is filled with deadly dinosaurs, malfunctioning equipment and a nail-biting race to safety. The board game Jurassic Park: Danger! emulates all of this, while giving players the ability to play as their favorite characters, or creatures, from the movie that kicked off the dinosaur craze.
Jurassic Park: Danger! is an asymmetrical multiplayer game, which means one player will take on one, two, three or four others. The single player is the dinosaur team, and controls three dinosaurs. The rest of the players are the human team, and control one character each. The humans race around the island, visiting iconic locations from the movie, then race to the southern tip of the board to escape on a helicopter. The dinosaurs must prevent this from happening by attacking the humans.
There are 10 different human characters, including favorites like Dr. Ian Malcolm, Dennis Nedry and owner John Hammond. Human players must complete a unique goal specific to each character, in addition to managing a small deck of action cards that also serve as your health. Characters die when this deck of cards runs out, but one character death doesn’t mean the game is over. Jurassic Park is a dangerous place, after all.
When (moreso than if) a character dies, the player controlling that character picks a new one and starts back up. The goal is for the humans to rescue three characters, or for the dinosaur player to kill three humans. There’s some slight adjustments based on the number of players in a game, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
The first time I played Jurassic Park: Danger! there were three human players and one dinosaur player. Playing as the dinosaurs, I was surprised at how quickly the humans reached the early objectives at the locations. Trying to attack all three with different dinosaurs was tricky, and managing the special ability dinosaur players get each round became tough. Ultimately, I managed to chomp one human down before three players made it to the helicopter and escaped.
Everyone at the table had fun, and some said running from the small, wooden T-Rex provided them with the same thrill as if they were watching the movie. The game felt challenging, but fair. With a few more attempts, it’s possible I could have come out on top to defeat the humans.
Another game pitted two human characters against the dinosaurs, and the shifted odds made it feel like the dinosaur player easily hunted us down. The human team still managed to complete all of the early tasks fairly quickly, but getting to the tip of the island and the waiting helicopter proved very challenging, to the point of feeling unfair.
I didn’t have the opportunity to play with four human players, but it seems like that would be an unfair advantage for the humans. Adding another character to chase after as the dinosaur team sounds like it would be way more challenging than having an equal number of members on each team.
While there is some fun to be had in Jurassic Park: Danger!, especially if you’re a fan of the movie, I’ve never seen a game have such wildly different difficulty changes depending on the number of players. Keeping it to three human players and one dinosaur player seems like the best way to go, and it’s recommended you try the game like this. Any other configuration, and you might have one side feeling cheated.
Jurassic Park: Danger! is available now, exclusively at Target.
So what do you think? Are you interested in trying Jurassic Park: Danger! for yourself? Have you played other asymmetrical board games with iffy balancing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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