Welcome aboard the world-famous Jungle Cruise!
Grab a seat on your riverboat of choice and get ready to sail through hippo-infested waters, feel the spray of majestic waterfalls, and explore the mysteries of the jungle — all while playing the Disney Jungle Cruise Adventure Game from Ravensburger.
From the corny dad jokes to the dangers lurking around every river bend, this game for 2-4 players holds surprisingly true to the popular Disney theme park attraction.
Each player is the skipper of their own boat, embarking on a jungle cruise with 12 eccentric explorers on board. As they navigate their boats through the unknown, they’ll pick up — and lose — cargo and passengers, take their chances in dangerous scenarios, and look for clues that can score them more points in the end. The goal is to fill your boat with the most passengers and cargo, but be strategic about it because certain passengers and groupings of cargo will earn you extra points.
The instructions may seem daunting at first glance, but it’s pretty easy to follow along with the booklet as you play. To summarize, on each turn, you roll the die to see how many spaces you move, in addition to taking navigation cards from a deck. Each navigation card features a jungle encounter with a danger rating on it and a key showing which section of your boat may get damaged. The higher the danger rating, the more likely you are to drop your cargo or lose your passengers in the jungle. You get to pick and choose which navigation cards to play and which to discard based on the number you rolled.
For example, butterflies have a lower danger rating than a hippo pod, so it seems that you’d be better off discarding the hippo card. However, there is a lot of strategy that comes into play, because the butterfly card may damage the port side of your boat while the hippo pod card damages the stern. If you don’t have any passengers or cargo on the stern of your boat, you should play the card with the higher danger rating (the hippo pod) because the damage won’t have any effect on you. Not all of the jungle encounters are bad either — some might let you rescue a lost passenger, which can earn you more points in the long run.
The game is recommended for kids ages 8 and up, but I think the strategy part of it may be too hard for them to wrap their heads around. There are also plenty of other curveballs in the game, such as hidden clues that tell you which passengers are worth extra points, and skipper specialty cards that grant each player their own special “power.” For example, one player might get an extra point for each piece of cargo they deliver at the end, while another player might get extra lost and found tokens throughout the game. These curveballs increase the play value of the game because they add different elements of surprise each time you play.
When I played with two players, it took an hour to complete the game, and when I played with three players, it took two hours. I think that’s a fair amount of time when you’re quarantining or bored at home, but some players also thought that it was too long, so I guess it’s all relative. It’s also worth noting that we were snorting laughing the whole time and that my mom’s official review is: “This game is a riot.”
You don’t have to be familiar with the theme park attraction to enjoy this game, but there are plenty of fun Easter eggs that Disney fans will recognize, including scenarios from the ride (the backside of the waterfall) and even some of the exact same skipper jokes (there is a joke on each card because the Jungle Cruise skippers are known for their corny jokes).
I’ll leave you with this handy piece of advice: Never play poker in the jungle — there are too many cheetahs.