“We’re gonna need a bigger board”

Ravensburger’s 2019 boardgame version of Steven Speilberg’s 1975 cinematic blockbuster adaptation of Peter Benchley’s novel about a killer shark (oops sorry – spoiler alert) is as an asymmetrical co-operative board game – with one player assuming the role of the titular shark (toothy J-unit), and the rest (up to 3 more) playing as Quint, Hooper and Chief Brody.

Mirroring the film’s structure, the game is played in two acts – act 1 plays as a short hidden movement game à la Scotland Yard with the shark player attempting to move undetected around the waters of Amity Island picking off foolhardy swimmers, with the aim being to feast on 9 swimmers to maximise the number of ability and manoeuvre cards they get to use in the second act of the game.

Meanwhile, the shark hunting crew must minimise the snacking, locate the shark and attempt to secure two barrels  as per the film (sorry another spoiler).

This fun first half of the game is essentially a race – if two barrels can be attached before 9 swimmers are eaten then the shark player’s range of abilities is somewhat reduced in the second act.

When either of the Act 1 conditions are met – 9 swimmers eaten or 2 barrels attached then the board is flipped over for Act 2.

Act 2 attempts to replicate the climatic final scenes of the film (sorry more spoilers) as the crew of the Orca (Quint, Hooper and Chief Brody again) battle to kill J-unit before the boat is destroyed. 

The game components and design are of a very high quality – depicting recognisable characters, locations and quotes from the film. All will appeal to fans of the film.
The box also features a chunky shark meeple (a sheeple? or maybe sharple?).

I wonder if Ravensburger’s love for the franchise will stretch to making a Jaws: The Revenge boardgame sequel?

Why Buy it?

Thematically faithful implementation of the cinematic classic: two distinct halves to the game which play very differently and as per the films keep the tension mounting.  A superb gift for fans of the film.

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