Being able to play as the famous shark from the movies was always going to be fun, stalking swimmers and toying with the Brody, Hooper and Quint makes for some quality entertainment.
Designer: Prospero Hall
Game Type: Area Majority / Influence
Game Type: Team-Based Game
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 12+
Expected Playtime: 60 Minutes
Number of Players: 2-4 Players
Theme and What is it?
Based on the classic novel turned movie of the 70’s, Jaws has now been brought to the board game world where you have the chance to play as either the titular shark its self or the three main characters try to kill it.
Will Brody, Hooper and Quint be able to end the sharks frenzied killing spree or will they end up in the belly of this killing machine.
Jaws is split in two phases; the first phase is set around amity island. The three main characters are split into specific rolls. Brody spends his time moving resources around the island on foot including barrels while also watching the beaches for sightings of the shark. Hooper is based in his boat and spends his time trying to rescue swimmers while using his technology to try and spot the shark via radar. Quint is also based on his boat and using the barrels to try either catch the shark or track it via sonar.
In the mean time the shark stalks the swimmers at the beach and must try and eat as many innocent holiday makers as possible before being caught or escaping. The shark moves via secret movement and can only be seen using one of the various abilities of the main characters. If Quint manages to attach a certain number of barrels to the shark before the shark is full then the round ends and moves on to the second phase. If the shark gets full before being found the round also ends but the shark is better equipped in the next round.
During the second phase the three main characters are trapped on the Quint’s ship and the shark is now trying to eat them! Once again, the shark chooses its actions in secret and the characters have to try and predict the shark’s actions and do what they can to stop it with the equipment they have.
The game ends if the three characters are killed, the shark is killed of the ship is completely sunk.
I have been a massive fan of the Jaws films since I was a kid. From the characters to the soundtrack I thought it was a fantastic ride from beginning to end. I had very high hopes this game could capture even a portion of the suspense and horror of the original film. I have to be honest, I was not disappointed.
Game Build Quality
The quality of Jaws is surprisingly high, I only say surprisingly because a lot of movie spin off games often have subpar components. Jaws is the exception to this. The card stock is great, and the components all fit very well with the theme. Love the little shark meeple.
In my personal opinion I think they nailed the art direction with this game adaptation. The drawings of the shark to the layout and design of amity island and Quint’s boat are all excellent. They managed to keep the 70s feel with little touches like the swimmer’s tokens are all wearing very dated costumes and all of the weapons and tools all have a very distinctly 70s feel to them.
Some of the art could be considered a little bit simple or repetitive at first glance but once I’d played the game, I could understand why the choices were made.
I had an absolutely blast playing as both the shark and the characters. Both rolls felt very different and made for a very different play experience. I could help but see comparisons to games like Last Friday, and Spector Ops to name a few but it was different enough to stand on its own two feet.
Age Range & Weight
12+ is probably about right, not that there are any horror aspects specifically focused on in Jaws but it is based on a horror about a killer shark and you do have to eat people to win… just something to consider before pulling it out onto the Christmas table with the kids.
60 Minutes is about right depending on the amount of people playing and how much time is spend doing the math to try and figure out where the shark is at any given time. Some turns took way longer than they should have just due to players fumbling over what actions to take based on where the shark might be.
Jaws is a fantastic hidden movement game which plays very differently depending on who you play as. Even the character rolls in the first half feel just different enough to make me want to play as all of them to experience the different play styles. Being able to play as the famous shark from the movies was always going to be fun, stalking swimmers and toying with the Brody, Hooper and Quint makes for some quality entertainment.
Based on the price point for Jaws this is a no brainer for me, If you enjoy a hidden movement game and fancy reliving some of the thrills of the classic film then give this a go.
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