Jumanji Board Game Rules and How to Play It Properly?

There are not many board games for those with the heart of an adventurer. We rarely see a tabletop game try to transport us to the Amazon rainforest, or the frozen tundra facing countless adversaries and obstacles. That is why the explorer inside us often gets board when playing a board game with friends or family.

If you have ever seen the old Jumanji movie from 1995 by Robin Williams, I am sure you were gripped with all the adventures that the characters went through. The thrill of the run, the suspense of whether they will make it when they were trying to survive against all the creatures of Jumanji was enough to drive anyone off the edge of the seat.

Well, what if I tell you, you can play the game yourself? Yes, Jumanji is apparently a board game that you can buy from the store and play with your friends to experience the thrill of the jungle first-hand. If you loved the movie, you are sure to enjoy the game even more.

So, without further ado, follow along with us as we take a look at the Jumanji board game rules and teach you how you can play it properly.

History of Jumanji Board Game

In the movies, we see Jumanji as a supernatural board game. It has the power to bring the people who play it into the jungle and keep them there until they succeed in solving the clues. In the meantime, they have to tackle and run from different creatures of the jungle and the infamous hunter, Van Pelt.

The movie was, in fact, based on a children’s book of the same name written by “Chris Van Allsburg”. Zathura, another movie that features a similar story of trapped in a board game but in a space sci-fi environment, is often considered as a spiritual successor of the original Jumanji movie.

Following the huge commercial success of the Jumanji movie, an American company called Milton Bradley Company released a board game titled, Jumanji: The Game in the same year as the movie.

However, in the year 2017, thanks to the return of the franchise on the big screen, we see an updated version of the same game by Cardinal Games.

It features a revamped artwork on the board along with changed lines on the danger cards. Apart from these few changes, the rules of the game are pretty much left untouched. You can also find some callbacks to the movie on the board that brings back wonderful memories.

The most memorable theme of the movie that you find on the board undoubtedly is, “Adventurers Beware: Do Not Begin Unless You Intend to Finish!” You can see how the game caters to those who loved the setting of the original movie, and it leans heavily on the nostalgia factor.

Setting Up the Jumanji Board Game

The first step to playing Jumanji is to set up the board. When you open up the package, you get the board itself, a few pawns and rhino figures, a timer, two different types of dies, four for rescue, and two numbered dies, thirty danger cards, and a decoder plate to read the cards.

  • You need at least two players to play the game, but it is more fun with four players. Have each of them sit on the four sides of the board and give them their pawns that will designate the player. Each corner of the board has a start point for four players with a color corresponding to their pawn, where they will place it.
  • The decoder plate that you got with the board goes in the center of the board. It will help you read the instructions in the danger cards. You need to peel off the plastic from the back of the plate to reveal the adhesive and then attach it to the center of the board.
  • You will notice a corner of the board that has a picture of a rhino. That is the rhino home base where you will put the rhino figurine.
  • Next, distribute the rescue dice among the players. For a first timer, you might need to prepare the dies first. You will get a sticker that has a few axe, rope, saber, racquet, open door, raft, and hourglass labels. Attach each part of the die with a sticker in any order you like.
  • With the die ready, you get to move to the danger cards. Shuffle the cards and place them facing downwards so that you cannot see the pictures. These cards dictate your tasks or the dangers you will face in the jungle. There is a draw area marked on the board where you will place the cards.
  • On the corner of each danger cards, you will notice a symbol that corresponds to a label on the rescue die. When a player is stuck, the others need to roll the dice and match the symbol to rescue him.
  • You also get an hourglass with your package that serves as the timer. Keep it at one side for now, since you do not need it yet. But it will essentially show you how much time you have to rescue another player.
  • One side of the board will show a grid marked as “Doomsday.” You do not need to do anything with this section for the time being. However, it is an integral part of the game that we will get into in the later section of the article.

Once you are done with setting up the board, we can move on to the rules of the Jumanji board game.

How to Play Jumanji Board Game

The rules of Jumanji might be simple, but a lot of different factors come into play in terms of how you can move your unit.

  • All the players will select their pawn and place it in their corresponding colored starting points.
  • Decide who goes first. Usually, the person suggesting playing the game goes first. After his role, the turn moves around the board in a clockwise motion.
  • You roll the numbered die and move your pawn based on the number you get from it. Depending on where you roll, you will have to perform an action.
  • There are many different spots on the board where you can land and many different tasks that you have to do based on your position. These are called spaces in the game, and we will discuss them in detail in a later part of the article.
  • If the path of a player is blocked, whether for a rhino or by rolling a number over the finish line, they would stay stuck in that space.
  • At any point, no two players can occupy the same space on the board. If you roll the dice and fall on the spot of another player, you have to move to the next free space and follow the rules of that space.
  • For every failed rescue, you place the danger card in the doomsday pile. You start at the bottom left side, and make your way to the top, then right, and finally down. Think of an upside U and you will get the picture.
  • The goal is to get at least one player to the center of the board before the doomsday section fills up. When that happens, the game ends. However, if you fail to reach the center, and the doomsday bar fills, everybody loses, and you start again. That is why it is a good idea to rescue everyone when you get a chance.
  • Additionally, rescuing a player means you get to move the number of spaces shown in the danger card without any consequences. It gets you a bit closer to the finish line and winning the game.

The Spaces on the Board of Jumanji

In the Jumanji board game, you have four different types of spaces. They are jungle spaces, blank spaces, wait for 5 or 8, and rhino spaces. Each of these spaces requires you to do a specific task or offer an obstacle that you need to overcome in order to advance.

In the following section, we will take a look at the different spaces of the game to give you a clearer picture of the tasks you might face.

Blank Spaces:

You will face the dangers of the jungle when you land on a blank space. Take the first danger card from the pile and place it in the decoder to reveal the secret message. The card will also have a symbol on the left corner and a number on the right corner.

When you land on this spot, you have to turn over the hourglass. Other players have 8 seconds to rescue you by matching the symbol on the card with their rescue die. All the players need to match it for you to be rescued.

If they succeed, you discard the danger card, and the other players move according to the number shown on the card. If they fail, you place the danger card in the doomsday grid and move back the number shown in the card.

Wait for 5 or 8:

You are trapped in the quicksand, and others need to save you. They can do that by either rolling a five or an eight. The person on your left gets the first chance to free you. If he succeeds, you are safe, and your pawn can stay in place. You continue on with the game as if nothing happened.

However, if he fails to roll five or eight, you have to move back one space. The turn goes to the next player on the left, and it is his chance to save you. If he fails too, you need to move another space and pass the turn to the next player. It keeps going until a player manages to roll the correct number and free you.

Rhino Spaces:

You will notice some spaces on the board has a picture of a rhino in the center. If you land on one of these spots, you have the choice to place the rhino figure on the spot next to the pawn of another player. You will essentially be blocking his movement.

The blocked player needs to roll an even number on his turn if he wants to move his pawn. Additionally, any other player can free him by landing on the rhino spot and relocating the rhino in another position.

If the blocked player rolls an odd number, he needs to stay in his space and follow the instruction of that space. That means, if he is blocked on a blank space, he needs to draw a danger card and follow the rules of the game as usual.

In case the danger card causes him to move backward on the board, the rhino will also follow him. As a result, he will remain blocked until he rolls an even number, or someone else frees him.

Jungle Spaces:

If a player lands in this place, all players are trapped. It might be the most treacherous part of the jungle. To get through it, all players must save each other. Failure to do so will keep adding danger cards to the doomsday pile. If the pile fills up, the jungle overruns you, and the game is over.

All the steps of the blank space also apply for the jungle space. When you land here, place a danger card in the decoder and read the text. Then turn over the timer, and all the players must match the symbol on the card. If all of you succeed, then you are space and can proceed to move their pawns according to the number.

However, if you fail to do so within the timer, you need to place the danger card in the doomsday pile and pick out another one. Repeat the step until all of the players match the symbol successfully.

This space is extremely risky to overcome since you quickly keep adding cards to the doomsday pile. If the pile is filled, the game is lost. Make sure you roll as fast as you can to prevent the cards from adding up.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Jumanji a popular game?

Jumanji was always an underrated board game. But it had a niche group of loyal followers who loved it. The recent movies did help bring out a lot of new players in the game. So, considering the current scenario, it could be said that Jumanji is a popular game or at least rising in popularity.

How to make Jumanji more challenging?

Jumanji, in itself, is quite a challenging board game. However, if you want more difficulty, you could start the game with a few cards already added to the danger pile. It would surely make for an exciting run to the finish line, knowing your window of error is low.

How much does the game rely on luck?

Unfortunately, a lot. One of the biggest drawbacks or complaints of the game is how much it relies on pure luck rather than any strategy. You would think a game involving adventure would require teamwork and strategizing to succeed. However, with Jumanji, although you need a little teamwork, luck is more important.

Is Jumanji easy to learn?

Yes, Jumanji, being a family-friendly game, is quite easy to learn. If you want to introduce someone to the game, essentially, you only need to teach him what happens in each of the spaces. The rest he can learn as he plays, making it very user-friendly.

How do you win in a game of Jumanji?

You win the game of Jumanji when one of the players reaches the center of the board successfully. However, for the sake of adding more challenges, you could make it so that only one player can win while the others fail. It would add a sense of competition to the mix.

Does Van Pelt show up in the Jumanji board game?

Yes. The nostalgic lovers of the movie will be happy to know that Van Pelt, also known as the hunter, does play a role in the board game, albeit a small one. He is a danger card in the game with the symbol of a saber. The number of spaces in his card is five, which is the maximum for all the danger cards.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt a nostalgic factor when it comes to a game based on a beloved childhood movie. Despite its many flaws, it is a wonderful game to play with friends on a free lazy afternoon. And thanks to the new movies coming out, surely you will see more and more new players joining in.

We hope you had a wonderful time with our complete Jumanji board game instructions. You should now have a complete idea of what you will be facing when you dive into the jungles of Jumanji.

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