Overall Rating: 8/10
GLAM Age Range: 6-12
Number of Players: 2-4
Playing Time: 20-30 min
Available At: Amazon.com
Quick Take: A game of mostly pure luck, but it's cute and fun to play. It's a perfectly timed game because the nostalgia quotient is high for parents who grew up on the original movie and there is a new monstrosity of a movie out starring The Rock that apparently is bringing the younger generation into the Jumanji fold. (I'm told The Rock movie is actually quite fun but it eliminated the board game part of the movie so I refuse to like it on principle.) This game is rated for ages 8+ but I think 6-10 are the ideal ages to play this game. This game can take longer than 20 minutes to play, especially if you're playing with small children. But if you play with people who roll fast and are working in a more cooperative fashion (our favorite way to play this game) then you can finish a game within 20 minutes. Please note that we have pictured the fancy, wooden box version of the game, the only version currently available on Amazon is the more economical version of the game.
How to Play: Whoever gets to the center of the board first is the winner. On each turn you roll a die and draw a "danger" card which gets placed in the decoder. It has a fun little rhyme about lions eating you or bats chasing you but the main purpose is to see the icon on the top of the card which your fellow players must roll within the time set by the sand timer. If they fail to do so, you have to move back the number of spaces stated on the card and your card is added to the doomsday collection. If you add too many cards to the doomsday collection, game over, no one wins. There are a few other special features like a rhino token that can block a player's path and a roll a 5 or 8 space that requires your fellow players to roll a 5 or an 8 to set you free and every time they roll a number that is neither a 5 or 8 you move back one space. There are also Jungle spaces that affect everyone and you must draw a "danger" card and defeat it as a group in order to be able to leave the Jungle. You draw danger cards until you defeat one and all failed attempts must be added to the doomsday collection. Whoever gets there first shouts "Jumanji!" and the game is over.
Variations: Younger kids are SUPER excited about this game and will absolutely want to play the game of secret messages and exciting dice rolling if given the opportunity. We would just reset the timer a couple times when our 3 and 5 year olds were rolling their dice so our 6 year old wouldn't have to yell at them for ruining the game with their slow dice skills. We also really like playing it as a cooperative game because that seems to go much better with the incentives set up by the game. You're constantly working as a team to defeat danger cards so it's weird to have only one winner. It also means that it's far more likely that someone will tank the game on purpose if it means someone else will win and they will lose, it's just way too easy to do. I feel like it's more true to the original movie to be happy that anyone in your group has gotten to the finish and defeated the game of Jumanji, there lies the victory.