Danger Park Preview

Have you ever played the game Roller Coaster Tycoon? I’ve been a casual fan for several years, and my favorite part has always been being able to create rides that are insanely dangerous. You know, ones where all the passengers get sick, dizzy, or, you know, explode. 

So when I heard about the concept behind Danger Park, I was quickly interested. A theme park full of death traps that are bound to take out riders and get shut down? Yes, please!

Come for the Thrills!

In Danger Park from Story Machine Games, players are working to do what every theme park owner wants to do: make tons of money! On a turn, players will select a ride from three available options and add it to the theme park. 

While that might seem easy with tons of rides to attract customers, there’s one big problem: your theme park is in rough shape, and soon enough the whole thing is going to shut down. It might have something to do with the terrible quality of the rides – you’ll find attractions like the Junkyard Go-Karts, the Dead-End Hedge Maze, and the Hurly Bird.

Each ride will attract new customers, but it will also come with its own hazards. Some rides might suffer from mechanical or electrical issues, while others are infested with pests. And, of course, some just make people vomit. Tokens are used to signify how many different hazards a ride has, and each ride may be dealing with multiple issues at any one time.

To make matters worse, each additional attraction comes with an ‘improvement’. While the name suggests that things are going to get better, they generally get much worse. Improvements can do all kinds of things to your rides, like add more hazards to your attractions or cause riders to become sick. 

Jump In Line

While all of these different elements may suggest that your theme park will be a disaster, have no fear. It seems that you’re all in on this theme park closing, so you’ll be using rides and improvements to shut down the rides of other players. Whenever this happens, patrons will leave through the designated exits on the ride tile. If you manage to thoughtfully place your rides and shut down your opponent’s features at just the right time, you can ensure that your rides are full of visitors.

But don’t think that having a long line is enough to make the big bucks. You remember all of those hazards? Well, the more you’ve collected, the harder it is to make money. After placing your ride and triggering the effects of your ‘improvement’, players will visit each of the rides that they have placed and determine if the patrons have had a successful visit.

This visit is simulated by rolling an 8-sided die. If you roll a number higher than the number of hazard tokens, it’s a success and you get paid. If not, you’ve failed and your customers will leave through the exits to find something better to do. The more hazardous a ride, the more likely it is that the customers will leave you in the dust.

Play continues until nine ‘incidents’ have occurred. These include rides being shut down for having too many hazards or guests…. *gulp*… dying. At that point, players count up their money, and whoever has had the most lucrative theme park experience wins!

The Main Attraction

As I said earlier, I was quickly drawn in by the theme of the game, and the execution on that theme did not disappoint. I love the names of all the rides, and the artwork does a great job of subtly hinting at the dangers of each attraction. 

I’m also a big fan of the ‘sick’ meeples. At different points in the game, your guests may become ill. Whenever this happens, your little black customer meeples are replaced with green sick meeples. While it’s just a small little mechanic, and I would’ve liked for it to be a bigger factor in the games we played, I find it quite funny.

Even though the theme is a little wacky, I found a decent amount of strategy in this game. You have to be thoughtful as you consider which ride you want to add to the park, as each one has a special little power that triggers under different circumstances. You’ll also need to pay attention to where you put the ride in order to take full advantage of the exits on the tiles. These arrows direct the flow of patrons as they move in the game. You’ll want to make sure that there are several paths that lead to your rides while also avoiding your opponents’ rides.

Fun For the Whole Family?

Danger Park has a fun, playful theme, but I think it’s a game that would be most enjoyed by an older crowd. Some of the strategizing can get a little heavy, and some parents might not like the fact that riders are ‘dying’ in the game. Plus the game time was around an hour when we played, so you could lose the attention of younger gamers before you reach the finish line.

But for those who are teenagers or older, I believe some fun can be found in this game. I enjoyed seeing my plan come together in the later rounds as I set up each of my rides to funnel as many people my way as possible. It was also frustrating when other players shut me down, but in a good way – that frustration that comes from solid competition.

Danger Park is not a perfect game, but some of the issues I brought up – like running out of hazards and a few rules clarity issues – are already being addressed. I’m hoping for some continued rules testing that leads to more improvements, especially with some of the mechanics like sick and group patrons.

All in all, if you’re a Roller Coaster Tycoon fan like me, or maybe if you just like a somewhat silly game with some good mechanics, this is a title worth checking out. 

There’s still time to back Danger Park on Kickstarter! Check it out before the campaign wraps up on February 28th!

We were provided with a prototype copy of Danger Park during their Kickstarter campaign. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game. Previews are a glimpse into an upcoming game with the pros and cons that we experienced prior to production of the game.