Tabletop Tuesday – Jaws Board Game

Every time I buy a new game (or look at the list of games I’ve backed on Kickstarter over the past year), all I can think is:

Which is fitting since today I’m going to post about the JAWS board game by Ravensburger games!

I LOVE JAWS, the movie. It is one of my favorite movies, I can quote it probably the whole way through. It is perfect, don’t bother @ me ever about it because you will never convince me otherwise, a masterpiece of a film. When I saw there was a board game, I was hesitant because we all know games that tie into movies or tv shows can be really bad (look, I may be new to the hobby, but that’s pretty consistent across all kinds of games). But the reviews I saw were actually all really positive…also there was a shark meeple. So, I needed to get it eventually, but not right away.

And then Target had it on sale for $8.50. THE GAME RETAILS FOR LIKE $40! I got it for less than $10. You cannot fault me for buying another game at that bargain price!

ANYWAY – the game is for 2-4 players, but it was just my partner and I so he was the shark and I was Brody, Hooper and Quint.

There are two “acts” to the game – in part 1, the shark circles Amity Island, snacking on swimmers and avoiding the humans. Brody runs around the island, closing beaches and getting supplies. Hooper is on his science boat, using his fish finder to look for the shark and bringing barrels to Quint, who is out in the deeper water with the Orca, trying to shoot the shark with barrels or at least setting up motion detectors. The player who is the shark essentially tries to sneak around, they have a pad to track their movement (and to keep them honest) and a few special power cards they can activate to swim faster, eat more people, or sneak past a motion detector. The more people the shark eats before the guys can find him, the more bonuses they will have in round 2!

In Act 2, based on how many swimmers were dinner, the shark gets extra powers and the men get supplies. Brody, Hooper, and Quint all have starting objects, but they also get to draw some bonus ones. Now they are on the Orca, out in the ocean, hunting the shark…and being hunted by him.

This side of the board is the ship, and there are tiles that represent the damage taken by the shark, who can eventually destroy pieces of the ship. If the shark manages to destroy the entire boat, that player wins the game. But if the crew can fight back and kill the shark, they win the game.

The round plays out a little like Battleship – the Shark gets three cards to pick from that say where he can pop out of the water. The other three players can move around the ship and then bet on where they think the shark will show – if they were right, they get to attack the shark. If they were wrong, well, they miss out, staring off the wrong side of the ship. Then the shark gets a turn, attacking the ship and maybe the men if he can knock them in the water.

It all seemed so simple but it was actually pretty tense once the shark started to rip pieces of the boat off! I was not very good at anticipating where my partner was going to have the shark surface, and many times two of the crew would be on the wrong side of the boat, unable to reach the shark with the weapon they had in hand.

I would be really curious to play this with a set of 4 people and each of the guys being controlled by a player versus me making all the decisions. Perhaps they would be better at guessing the sharks next move.

Yes, like a big nerd, I put the soundtrack on while we played – it added a nice bit of background music and John Williams’ classic theme made it feel more intense at times. Some of the cards have quotes from the movie on them, so make sure you’ve practiced your Quint voice so you can amuse/annoy your friends by reading each one aloud.

I really enjoyed this game, it is considered a “light weight” title that is very easy to pick up and start playing, the rules are straight-forward and there aren’t too many pieces to keep track up. I’m looking forward to playing again! Maybe next time, I’ll be the shark!

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