When somebody says the term "board game," your brain immediately conjures up a mental image of the square Monopoly board. The fact that that reaction is so instinctual is a testament to the enduring legacy of this 112-year-old game.
Monopoly may be old, but it's aged well. Part of that is due to its universal appeal, but just as important are the variations: the localized editions, the special/deluxe editions, the "Here & Now" editions, and of course, the licensed franchise editions. Freshen things up and it feels new again.
Jurassic World is the biggest movie of the year (so far), so it's only fitting that the crowd-pleasing blockbuster gets its very own Monopoly game, right?
Monopoly: Jurassic World Edition is the same board game you know and love, with dino-friendly aesthetic updates. The design takes all of its cues from Jurassic World, transforming the rental properties into dinosaurs, their attractions, and their paddocks. The four train spaces become modes of transportation across Isla Nublar, such as Monorail and Gyrosphere.
The center of the board is adorned with the raptor team from the film, as lead by Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Fans will remember them as Charlie, Delta, Echo and Blue. They're depicted in a lush, green jungle, with the game and movie logos. The Chance and Community Chest card spaces are right where they should be, only those cards have been renamed after "Jurassic World" and "Creation Lab." Each one features clever new instructions based on the film.
Properties are grouped together by their familiar colors, but each color group is themed around one specific dinosaur. You typically will find one space for the dinosaur, one for its enclosure, and one for its related park attraction. For example, the three red properties are based around the Apatosaurus, so there's one spot for the dinosaur; one for the "Cretaceous Cruise," the attraction where park guests get up close to the huge herbivores; and one for the Nublar River, where the Apatosauruses live and the Cruise is located.
The only parts of the board that remain unchanged are the four corner spaces — "Go," "In Jail," "Free Parking," and "Go To Jail."
Likewise, gameplay is completely unaltered from the classic Monopoly you've always played. You still collect $200 for passing Go (instead of the Here & Now Edition's $2 million), Boardwalk (now named after Indominus Rex) is still the most expensive property on the board, at the same price of $400, and so on.
I played a full game with my son, which took several hours, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. While there was nothing radically different about the game's mechanics to set it apart from other Monopoly editions, we're both dinosaur fans, so it was especially fun competing for the coveted dino properties.
The biggest disappointment is that although the houses and hotels are renamed "Fences" and "Enclosures," the plastic pieces are still just houses and hotels. Every other element of the game got a makeover, including the money and title deeds, but the houses and hotels included are the standard variety you remember from the original game. Having something that resembled actual fences and enclosures would have given more excitement to buying and placing them on the board.
The metal tokens are probably the best feature. Collectors love the specialized tokens included in alternate editions of Monopoly because each model is a work of art, designed and sculpted by hand. The six tokens included in Monopoly: Jurassic World continue that tradition (though we were a little surprised there was no Indominus Rex piece). There are six in this game: Mr. DNA, the iconic Jurassic Park/World gate, a helicopter, a T-Rex skeleton head, a tour jeep, and a bust of John Hammond.
The dice are another nice touch, as they're made to resemble hardened amber. There's even a mosquito on one side -- it replaces the single-dotted side for rolling a one. Initially it was a little disappointing that there was no mosquito frozen inside the amber dice, as seen in the movies. But that's just being picky.
Construction on all of the materials feels good and sturdy; you never get the sense that anything is going to break or tear easily. The tokens have an appropriate heft to them (my son commented on how heavy the plastic baggy was that held all six pieces), and the title deeds and cards are printed on a strong card stock. The box includes a molded-plastic base that gives every item its own place to live, and doubles as a deed and money divider for use during gameplay.
Monopoly: Jurassic World Edition leaves no detail unturned, creating a wonderfully fun addition to the Monopoly family. For fans of the movie and/or dinosaur geeks, it's a must-have.