Game Length: 45-60 minutes
While the upcoming Jungle Cruise feature film has been delayed due to the pandemic, Ravensburger has produced a kid-friendly board game inspired by the endearingly cheesy Disneyland attraction. The Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game features easy gameplay and low interactivity, making it a great family game.
Welcome to the Jungle
In the Jungle Cruise Adventure Game, each player captains their own riverboat down a perilous river filled with hazards. Players start with a unique skipper specialty and 12 passenger tokens they can place on their personal, oversize boat.
Throughout the game, players roll a dice to move along the river path on the game board, drawing cards as they encounter various jungle events. These hazards and scenes are lifted directly from the park attraction, with monkeys ransacking a campsite, a rhino chasing an explorer up a pole, and the passengers witnessing the mystical backside of a waterfall.
You don’t need to have been on the actual ride to appreciate the context, but the extremely corny jokes on the cards capture the tone of the original ride perfectly.
Each navigation card has a danger rating from one to three, and a section of the boat that’s being targeted. Players roll dice to see how many (if any) of their passengers or cargo they lose, while getting a chance to pick up additional passengers or cargo along the way. At the end of the game, players score points based on cargo sets and passenger families that remain on the boat.
Backside of Water
Gameplay mostly boils down to rolling dice to move your boat, and rolling dice to try and avoid losing passengers. Thankfully there is some light strategy in how each player organizes their boat, and which card hazards they choose to encounter.
At the beginning of each turn, players can freely organize the passengers and cargo on their boat. The middle area is generally safe from danger, and a great place to hold full cargo sets or more valuable passengers. I found it worked well to leave one end of the boat completely empty, thereby avoiding any hazards that targeted that side of the boat.
There’s also an interesting scoring system when it comes to the passengers. Each passenger belongs to four different families, though some passengers can belong to two families due to marriage. Each game, one of the families is secretly chosen as the winners of the cruise line, and worth more points at the end.
Throughout the river journey, players can choose to take longer paths to gradually reveal which families aren’t the bonus winners, making it fun to pay attention to the players’ who learn that information, and which passengers they value.
The only form of real player interaction comes from racing down the river. The first player to reach the end of the river collects bonus points, and so on until all players reach the end (or the bonus point tokens are depleted). Otherwise players don’t directly interact with each other at all during the game, though you can end up with another boat’s passengers by finding any who were previously lost in the jungle.
Despite the theme of a dangerous jungle cruise, this is a very kid-friendly experience – just like the park ride. Passengers become lost in the jungle, and can be rescued again by anyone. The level of strategy is very light, and gameplay mostly comes down to rolling dice, making it easy for kids.
Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game sits comfortably between a mind-numbing younger kids’ game and a full-on beginner strategy game. The components are extremely high quality, with colorful boat markers, fun character art for the passengers, and punny jokes on all the cards. There are far more engaging games for adults, but for families with kids ready to graduate to something a bit meatier, it’s time for a riverboat adventure.
Find Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game at Amazon and other retailers.