Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar Review - A Delight for Longtime Fans

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar is now live on Kickstarter, and offers players a chance to craft their own one-of-a-kind island adventure throughout 12 compelling chapters, all while bringing beloved moments and characters from the movies to life on your tabletop. Funko Games' first-ever Legacy title gives weight and importance to every action you take along the way and thus encourages cooperative play while further immersing you into the world you have a hand in creating. The Legacy of Isla Nublar calls on players to find creative solutions to keep the dinosaur inhabitants alive and well while also accomplishing goals each round to successfully move further in the campaign, and it maneuvers that balance brilliantly. Top-notch presentation and a charming aesthetic complete the stellar package, and it results in an experience that no fan of the franchise will want to miss.

The Legacy of Isla Nublar makes an immediate impression thanks to its vintage aesthetic, and you can clearly see the pulp comic inspirations in its art style and characters. The board itself is vibrant and colorful and carries enough space to easily start placing locations, barriers, roads, and more as you start to move through turns.

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(Photo: ComicBook)

The presentation moves up a notch once you witness the stunning dinosaur miniatures, which are larger than most typical miniatures and showcase dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, Velociraptor, and the Brachiosaurus. The detailing in the sculpts are impressive enough, but the miniatures go above and beyond by bringing iconic moments from the movies to life, like the Raptors giving chase and opening the door or the T-Rex breaking through the electrified fence. These four are just the tip of the iceberg of course, as you can discover up to 8 additional dinosaurs, including the deadly Wu Creations, and each dinosaur brings in additional complexities to consider from turn to turn.

Part of the fun is figuring out how to accomplish your given task, which can be things like solving puzzles in the Visitors Center, surveying specific areas, and protecting and herding dinosaurs across the board, while also protecting yourself from the more carnivorous dinosaurs and protecting them from taking out each other. You have a number of tools at your disposal (including weapons, helpful items, and the ability to herd dinosaurs) and 9 actions to utilize each round, including an extra action that can be used by anyone in the group. In our game that extra action was given the name Dwight, and frankly, he was a godsend time and time again, but don't tell him that because it will all go to his head.

Elements like Dwight, your character's individual skills, and a useful but at times scarce collection of items necessitate communication amongst the players to complete goals, as not completing them in the given time frame can result in injuries to your characters or consequences against the group, and after a specific number of consequences, you can lose the game. You can quickly find yourself out of enough turns or actions to complete a goal even if you are relatively on point, so if say you have someone feeling as if they were robbed of a vehicle in the first turn and thus look to get another car at all costs instead of...oh I don't know, putting the mission first, you can find yourself in danger of failing the mission.

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(Photo: ComicBook)

Okay, it's probably pretty apparent, but that person was me. Here's the thing, I got the car...I just cost us the mission as a result. You know though, still don't regret it. That said, an overeager car hunt isn't the only way things can get derailed, as the dinosaurs will also have their own actions to take after each round, and if not planned for they can cause havoc to any well-laid plans. Again, this encourages you to explore sectors and uncover what their moves will be in advance, and a great team can mitigate some of those potential pitfalls during their turns. There's also a wildcard though in the form of Ambushes, which take place if a Carnivore isn't near any character or other dinosaur. That's when you roll the Amber 20 sided die to figure out what sector they're moving to, and you'll need to make sure to set aside some actions to search for useful items in the probable case that happens.

Jurassic World then shakes up the gameplay with mini-game style sequences that have you solving puzzles to complete objectives, which are fun on their own but still tie into your roster of characters and the story thanks to your individual character abilities and the fact that dinosaurs can make their way into buildings, causing mayhem and creating danger wherever they go.

The Legacy Component is realized in several interesting ways, as each chapter is hidden in an envelope and more often than not introduces new mechanics and ways to further develop your experience. Everything is hidden too, so you'll get a chart keeping track of your successes and failures, and you'll get some sort of reveal regardless of which side you fall on that chart from mission to mission. Then each character also has two hidden abilities that you'll be called upon during the game to reveal and use, but you might only get one throughout the entire game, so there's an element of mystery and tension as you hope your choice is one that benefits not only you but the entire team.

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(Photo: ComicBook)

Fans of the Jurassic World franchise will find homages to the franchise they love all throughout Isla Nublar, but the game introduces new characters and original story content into the mix as well, giving even the most devoted Jurassic World fan something new to get invested in.

There really isn't a whole lot to nitpick in Legacy of Isla Nublar, especially for fans of the franchise. There is a slight learning curve, but after a few turns, you'll have a solid grasp of how a turn works. You'll start placing stickers of locations, barricades, and roads as you make your way through the campaign, but after seeing the impressive dinosaur miniatures, it would have been amazing to see the locations represented in miniature form as opposed to just a sticker. Again, a nitpick, as the locations have their own tiles that you move through and utilize, but it still would have been another feather in the cap. Also, please get someone good at placing stickers and not...you know, me.

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar lives up to its promise and delivers a one-of-a-kind cooperative experience that I can't wait to get back on the table, and offers a bevy of Jurassic World fan service that will delight longtime fans. Top-notch presentation and compelling turn-by-turn gameplay keep you immersed in your dinosaur herding adventure, and it's one perfect for both experienced board game players and those who simply love the franchise. Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar might be Funko Games' first Legacy Game, but they managed to hit it out of the park with one swing.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Jurassic World: The Legacy of Isla Nublar is live on Kickstarter, and you can check out the full campaign right here.

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Review copy provided by Funko Games/Prospero Hall