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Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar Board Game Review

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar

WBG Score: 8

Player Count: 1-4

You’ll like this if you like: Pandemic Legacy Season One, Jurassic Park Danger, Horrified.

Published by: Funko Games

Designed by: Prospero Hall

This review will be as spoiler free as possible. Whenever there is anything close to a spoiler I will give you warning and let you know how much to skip if you want to avoid it by giving the spoiler section blue font.

This is a legacy game. This means you will be doing things each adventure that permanently change your game. There is a prologue you can play as often as you like to get into the swing of the game and rules. We played it once. It's pretty simple. And then you have 11 adventures. 10 main missions and a finale you can play over and over again.

I don't think any review of this game can start without referring to the Dice Tower video, where four separate people all scored this a 3/10. A three!? If you want to read my thoughts, that will come at the end, scroll on down if you want. I will also leave off the usual set up and how to play as that will spoil the surprises in this legacy game. And the pictures will only be of things you can see in the prologue, bar the empty box shot! But first, we will address the concerns of the Dice Tower crew. This was what they said they did not like about the game.

  • Set up time is too long. Too many new rules each round.

  • The game is on the rails. Felt procedural. You couldn't make plans for your turns as you just follow the games. The game plays you.

  • And yet the game didn't change enough each round.

  • Boring mini games.

  • Hard to understand mini games.

  • The game is not fun. The game is tedious.

  • The game is not a puzzle to solve. Just steps to follow.

  • The game plays you.

  • The game is luck based.

Let's get into those points, one by one.

Set Up Time. Too many new rules each round.

It does takes a while to set each game up. They are right to say this. There is a new envelope to open each game with new rules, characters, buildings etc. (trying to avoid spoilers) and without that development, you would not be playing a legacy game. I appreciate with other legacy games you don't get a new rule book each time, but its not much to take in. Not that much changes in truth. Some rule books have no new rules in. Just set up instructions, which is generally the same each time. And the objectives for that adventure. It's a bit more like My City, where you also get a new rule book each game and it just adds a few tweaks each time. But knowing the base game, adding a few new rules (when it does have them) really is not that difficult. And this is more about introducing new things each game so you don't have them all thrown at you in game one. I would therefore disagree on the rules part.

But sure, set up is around 20-40 minutes each game, depending on which envelope you are opening. There is a lot to put out. And some episodes have more new things than others. However, I had the luxury of leaving the game out on my gaming table for a month whilst I played this, so it wasn't too bad for me, and I found the discovery of new things each game to be exciting and a huge part of the experience. I did not see it as a chore. As I left it out, set up was more than 10-20 minutes for me. And that was time I enjoyed.

The game is on the rails. It felt procedural. You couldn't make plans for your turns as you just follow the games. The game plays you.

This is the big one. And I suppose it's subjective to each person. All I can say is that from my experience, and from my son with whom I played the game, we felt VERY different. The game is on rails in the way any legacy game is. You will always open envelope one then two, then three etc. You will always have the same objectives to complete when you play episodes nine etc. So, perhaps they mean more in the game itself. You feel you just need to complete missions as prescribed by the game. Yes, yes you do. They are your objectives. But it's up to you how you do this. What order you do this in is your decision. And there is a lot of variety with how your board will look at any point based on actions you made previously which could affect how it plays out. And then of course there is the small matter of the dinosaurs roaming around the park. Which is random and different each round. As such, I just do not get this. Did they want an open-world game where you could just walk around and do what you want? I think this criticism is more about expectation vs reality than analysis.


The game follows the movies. So, yes, it is on rails if you consider it is going to re-enact the main moments from the films. if it didn't, people would wonder why they bothered paying the big bucks to use the franchise and then not follow the story. As such, I am fine with this. If it is on rails, it is for a reason. To tell the story.

OK, Spoilers over.

Each mission plays over five rounds, and each round the first thing you do is reveal that rounds event card. That event will typically throw up a new problem, challenge or objective. Each round you don't complete this objective you will suffer a consequence. Suffer five or more consequences and you will lose the game. Technically this is procedural. But it is also a structure. Most games have a structure.

Personally, I enjoyed the process of working my way through each objective. It made the game feel constantly tense and on a knife edge. I was always close to losing when I won. I was also never far from victory when I lost. The balance was perfect and this was created by the park constantly needing my attention. It was never calm, not for a single turn. OK, maybe one or two in the prologue! But generally, I never had the chance to walk around and admire my handy work. Something was always going wrong, or needed my attention. You know. Like the movies!! I am left unsure knowing exactly what they were expecting?

And saying you couldn't make plans. Well yes, you cannot do that, as you don't always know what will come up. But you can hazard a guess that leaving a carnivore in sight of a defenceless park visitor may not be a good idea. Perhaps you need to herd them out the way, move the followers, or build some fences. All of this can be planned an executed. But the reason why they are saying this I think was because each round a new objective would come up meaning you have to adapt to whatever was thrown at you, rather than plan from turn one how you will get to where you need to be by turn five. You cannot do that here as you don't know what will go wrong until it happens. This is a great part of the evolving story. I suppose if you want this gone you could just reveal the five objectives at the start, but where is the fun in that? If you had the choice, which would you pick?

And yet the game didn't change enough each round.

Two thoughts here. One. What game does change that much each game? Genuine question. Even legacy games where new things come in, it's still the same game with the same core mechanics and theme.

Two. But it does change! Oh my how it changes. And in so many very cool ways too! It makes me think they didn't play it all, but they claim they did, so I will leave that alone. But MINOR SPOILER ALERT episode six alone argues this point with one little sticker alone. It changes so much in game six! SO SO MUCH!

So, on this one issue they had, I just flat disagree. The game evolves and adapts in a huge way.

Boring mini games.

Ok, this may be where they are coming from when they make the above point about the game not changing enough. The mini games are not the most exciting, but they are just one part of each game. They don't really change in the game. But it's just one mechanic of the round. And I am unsure how much it could change? One mini game is about restoring power to the park. The park always needs power. It often turns off. Why would getting the power back on change significantly each time? I suppose it may be more fun if it was a different process each time, but thematically, why would that be the case? The power has to go out more than once and the way to get it back on should be relatively the same. It's just a mechanic of the game. It's a process you go through. As such, this just seems like another off criticism to me. Based on them clearly having a bad experience with this game. I found the mini games tense, and challenging. Trying to achieve them each mission within the time frame was always hard to do. And achieving success with them felt great. Yes, there were the same each time, but they were far from boring for me.

Hard to understand mini games.

Now this I just don't understand. They are very simple. I won't explain them here as it will be too much of a spoiler. But they are incredibly easy to learn and do. Tricky to achieve with the limited