After their unboxing of the beautiful to look at Jaws the game, by Ravensburger, The Daily Jaws team of Ross and Dean got down to some actual game play to see if the adventures on Amity made the successful transition from book to big screen and now board game.
If you aren’t used to strategy games - and this The Daily Jaws duo weren’t - then it takes a bit of time to read through the instructions and figure out what you need to do.
It’s a real joy to set up, reading through the beautiful instructions and popping out all of the game pieces and flicking through the cards that form part of the game, which are littered with a pleasing treasure trove of rewards and references for every Jaws fan to discover.
But, once you do got on with the actual game play it’s great to report that it’s fun playing as Hooper, Brody, Quint or the shark. And it’s hard to not get a kick out of playing in such iconic locations.
With such attention to detail lavished on the rest of the game it is perhaps a shame the iconic threesome are just chunky stick men and don’t resemble their screen icons. Having said that it doesn’t really diminish the game play or anything.
The first half of the game you get to play on Amity Island and - if you are one of the human characters - you have to work together as a team to stop the shark from munching on swimmers - some of which are familiar faces like Bad Hat Harry, Alex Kintner, Estuary Victim and even good ‘ol Pippet.
Obviously if you are playing as the shark then your sole role is to devour as many swimmers as possible. It’s a shame there is no role for Mayor Vaughn as an active player, but then it doesn’t purport to match every beat of the game. There are potentially three rounds of this first section of the game and it’s amazing how much tension can be wrung out of an unseen player picking off swimmers. One game Dean managed to up the body count by taking out nine swimmers.
The second part of the game takes place all at sea, on board the Orca. Here the shark attacks the boat until either is destroyed - which could mean the ending of Jaws as it is on film, or the shark being victorious. It’s nice to have these alternate Amity realities.
If the game is a success I wonder if there will be a Jaws 2 expansion pack? Obviously they’d need to add Cable Junction to the map.
Jaws the game is now available from Target in the US, where it is available exclusively until September. You can find it here: bit.ly/JawsTarget
September is also when Jaws the game swims into stores in the UK, and can currently be pre-ordered via Amazon, here: http://bit.ly/AmazonJaws
Verdict: Jaws the game can of course never fully replicate the thrills of the Steven Spielberg classic but it is a fun and (mostly) faithful way of reliving the shark terror of Amity Island. It’s cleverly thought out and is sumptuous in design and attention to detail. It deserves a space on the shelf of any Jaws fan - let’s just say it is a game you can really get your teeth into - and it is also nice to see a film tie-in so reasonably priced.
Thanks again to Ravensburger for sending us an advanced copy and to Last Exit to Nowhere for the Jaws t-shirts to play it in.