— Instructions

The board game Jumanji is a supernatural game with a mind of its own (some surviving players even claim that it is cursed) that doesn't rest until those who start playing it, gain the will to finish. There are many copies of this game all over the real world, but none have the same magical power to send players into its African jungle-like alternate reality or to send the dangers of said reality into the real world like the original. Jumanji gets antsy when it is left unfinished, and on occasion it sends its outerspace-themed "sibling", Zathura, to keep its abandoners busy and unable to escape unless the space adventure is finished, Jumanji has the tendency to mess with said players itself with its savage-jungle nature. 


Jumanji Book Game

Judy and Peter play the game.

In the original picture book, the Jumanji game is as simple as any other board game, being a folded board within a rectangular box. The game board is designed for two players that use simple playing pieces and dice, to move their token along an elongated squared path that starts in the deepest jungle and leads to the final space; Jumanji itself, a city of golden buildings and towers. Each square has a unique written message that will manifest into the real world when a token lands on it. Only when the winner lands their token on the golden city and calls out the name of Jumanji will the consequences vanish and everything become undone.

In the book's sequel, Zathura, Danny wanted to play Jumanji with his brother after he found it, but Walter was uninterested as he saw the game's jungle adventure theme as childish. Danny then discovered a second board game within Jumanji's box, an outer space / sci-fi orientated futuristic game.

Jumanji 2 - Board Game 2

The game's board.

The most widely known version of Jumanji is the 1995 film's depiction. Jumanji is a stylized rectangular folded box, carved out of wood. The attraction of the game is down to the elaborate painting on the front, which is reminiscent of circus posters.


The game's title is held together by a long spear to coincide with portraits in each corner of Van Pelt, a Monkey, a Rhinoceros and an Elephant against a deep jungle, vast lake and volcanic activity, all symbolize the exciting consequences in store; all of which are held together by a bronze zig-zag pattern akin to the book's golden city.

The film's novelization has a different painting layout, which adds Lions and exotic birds to the menagerie as well.


Inside the folded box rests the game board. Wooden play cards on each side contain written rules for playing the game; Ignoring the rules can lead to disastrous consequences for the player. Flip-lid cupboards store the game dice and playing pieces when not in use. The game board is decorated with carved fallen leaves, in amongst the four individual trails of squared pathways for each player that all lead to the crystal ball in the center, which is also covered by a bronze zig-zag pattern also (alluding to the book's golden city).



Jumanji dislikes being left alone and unplayed, therefore will emit an enchanting but primal and primitive war-like drumbeat to attract the attention of any nearby children and entice them into playing the game. Adults seem to be oblivious to the drumming: evidently when Alan searched for the drumbeat source in 1969 while the construction workers headed for the snack van unaware of the drums, while in 1995, Nora Shepherd tried to catch her niece and nephew's attention when they were clearly entranced by the drumming coming from the attic.

However, the brothers Caleb & Benjamin were both frightened of the drum sounds due to their previous Jumanji gaming experience, making Benjamin believe the game was actually after him when he fell into the pit with the game.

Auto control

Up to four players can participate in a round of Jumanji gameplay, where turns are determined by whoever starts rolling the dice when they take out game playing pieces which are automatically telekinetically controlled to move along the paths on their own. The tokens automatically move along the pathways by themselves and cannot be removed by human hands when set on the board. Once a specific player rolls on their turn, they must continue to play or the game will come to a halt and reject rolls from anyone else. The four game tokens or pieces are idol like figurines of an Ivory Rhinoceros, Metallic Elephant, Obsidian Crocodile or Jade Monkey.

  • The Elephant token later acts as a clue in the video game version of Jumanji.


Jumanji Riddle

The game's riddle.

A prominent feature in all its appearances, once the player's piece lands on a square, Jumanji's crystal ball will provide a rhyming riddle message to inform players what will begin to manifest into reality, whatever the text reads, placing randomized consequences into the real world to challenge players. The animals, humans, the danger, and other characters that live in Jumanji can't normally be killed and they can only be stopped by finishing the game, hence why the instructions advise players to not being unless they intend to finish by reaching the game's crystal ball center, calling out the name of Jumanji and therefore undo all the consequences and alternative timelines of the game.

Another aspect of the board game is a randomized consequence of actually transporting the player in question into the crystal ball, which is the gateway into the deepest, darkest jungle dimension of Jumanji itself. They will be unable to leave until their riddle message has been resolved.

Consequence Riddle Image
Bat At night they fly, you better run /
These winged things are not much fun.

Sarah is attacked by swarming Bats.

Jumanji Imprisonment In the jungle, you must wait /
Until the dice read five or eight.
Jumani Wait 5-8
Mosquito A tiny bite can make you itch /
Make you sneeze, make you twitch.
Monkeys This will not be an easy mission / Monkeys slow the expedition.
Jumanji-1995 Monkeys
Lion His fangs are sharp, he likes your taste / Your party better move poste haste.
Vegetation (including Purple FlowersPods) They grow much faster than bamboo / Take care or they'll come after you.
Jumanji Harvest Time
Van Pelt A hunter from the darkest wild /
Makes you feel just like a child.
Stampede (Rhinos, Elephants, Zebras & Pelicans) Don't be fooled, it isn't thunder /
Staying put would be a blunder.
Rampage through town
Transformation Penalty A law of Jumanji having been broken / You will slip back even more than your token.
Jumanji Peter Monkey
Monsoon & Crocodiles Every month at the quarter moon / There'll be a monsoon in your lagoon.
Jumanji Crocodile Alan
Quicksand Beware of the ground on which you stand / The floor is quicker than the sand.
Quicksand Jumanji
Undo Quicksand There is a lesson you will learn / Sometimes you must go back a turn.
Jumanji Spider Attack
Spiders Need a hand? Why, you just wait /
We'll help you out... we each have eight.
Jumanji Spider
Earthquake You're almost there with much at stake / Now the ground begins to quake.

The only thing that that the Jumanji game hates more then being left unplayed (to the point its drum-like "heart" is heard) is cheaters, so whenever someone plays dishonestly by changing the dice, or tampering with one of its inter-reality puzzles and minigames, that very player has to face magical punishment by getting turned into an animal, namely their game piece, (Monkey, Rhinoceros, Elephant and Crocodile).

Time control

Parrish Mansion Staircase

The 1969 Staircase.

Jungle Mansion

The 1995 Staircase.

Jumanji can create and manipulate timelines whenever a round of gameplay has begun. The effects can be devastating and can leave a lasting impact, hence why the instructions advise players to not begin unless they intend to finish.

Jumanji appears to save the memories of all that happens within it, evidenced by Alex Vreeke's finding and staying in a shelter built by Alan Parrish, despite Alan reversing back to his time in 1969 by finishing his game in the alternative 1995. Alex Vreeke suggests that Alan Parrish is not the only player to have gotten stuck in Jumanji over time, while the animated series further expands on this by Alan having several toys in his cave that do not belong to him but other Jumanji players that did not survive at all or even left their world behind and became Manjis or Jamazons.

In the picture book, after Judy lands on the Jumanji city and calls out the name, the consequences and elements that were transported into reality had sudden disappeared, and everything that suffered damaging had been undone.

In the original movie, all of the characters appear to believe that all of the dangers that have been released will simply be sucked back into the game when it's over and it will remain 1995. The reason time reverses to 1969 is because while the majority of the game was played in 1995, it actually began in 1969 and the consequences that had to be reversed included Alan being trapped for twenty-six years and the bats that Sarah released.

In the video game version, Jumanji retained the time altering powers of the board game. However, the video game's effect was different than the board game's. While the board game reversed time for Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle to when they started playing in 1969 and relegated everything that happened to an alternate timeline that only they could remember, this was not so for the video game. Instead, the video game restored players to their original time periods but didn't completely rewrite history or the players memories as seen with the teenagers inability to recall Alex Vreeke's house being anything but the dilapidated ruin that they knew.


Many previous players tried to get rid of it, usually by burying it, burning it, and/or floating it down a river to sink at sea, but due to its magic, there are rumors that the original version of the game still survives somewhere, waiting to be played yet again so it could use its dangerous, yet character-building power on those who need/want to "leave their world behind" the most.


Jumanji Book Game

Judy and Peter play the game.

Judy and Peter Shepherd discovered the Jumanji game in the local park with a notice in childish writing warning finders to read instructions before playing. They read the rules about rolling the dice in turns to move their tokens towards the center and call out the name of Jumanji; which is a city of golden buildings and towers. As they started to play, each square their tokens landed on trigger the appearances of various jungle animals and environmental hazards until Judy finally reached the golden city and called its name, undoing the effects made from the game's enchantments. The kids returned the game back to the public park, only for it to be discovered by Danny and Walker Budwing which lead into the events of Jumanji's sci-fi cousin; Zathura.


Alan Parrish finds Jumanji in 1969.

In 1869, two brothers, Benjamin and Caleb, had found the game. The two of them then buried the game near a road marker outside of Brantford, New Hampshire where they prayed to god to have mercy on any soul if it were discovered, hoping that no-one would ever find it.

In 1969, the game was then found by Alan Parrish near the same marker by his father, Sam Parrish's shoe factory. Alan then took it home. Alan and his friend Sarah Whittle then inadvertently played it until Alan was taken to Jumanji's inner dimension.

In 1995, Judy and Peter Shepherd then found the game and played it. After releasing a lion, they also released Alan after 26 years of being a resident within Jumanji. Once Sarah rejoined the players and the game was won by Alan, the alternative timeline was undone and returned Alan and Sarah back to 1969. They proceeded to tie bricks round the game and dumped it in a river to be rid of it forever; however history only preceded to repeat itself when the Jumanji game was washed up on a beach in France, playing it's drums to attract the attention of two passing girls; Emilie Reynaud and Isabel Villeneuve.

~ Instructions

Judy and Peter play the game.

An abridged edition of Jumanji appears as the main focal of the Jumanji animated series. The game plays somewhat like it does in the book and 1995 film, but when the dice are rolled it now gives the roller a randomized riddle message on the crystal ball which acts as a clue to help the player complete their turn, which takes however many people are within it's perimeter into the Jumanji's deepest darkest dimension and will only set them free if they solve their clue. Any player that is caught cheating will be punished by the game by transforming them into animals or a state of being. The game will also take players into the dimension under the right or wrong circumstances, even without any dice. Unlike the 1995 film, time is not reverted when long trapped players finally complete a turn, but it can erase memories from victims or leave some instances unchanged such as lost equipment or damaged belongings.

When Judy and Peter Shepherd moved into the abandoned Parrish Mansion in Brantford with their Aunt Nora, they discovered Jumanji and started playing instantly, unaware that they would be taken into the inner dimension within the board game with a clue written in the crystal ball as their only hope of escaping. On their first adventure, they became fast friends with Alan Parrish; a former resident of Brantford that became trapped inside Jumanji for over 23 years due to not reading the instructions or even seeing his clue. Judy and Peter promised to keep playing the game to help Alan get closer to finding his lost clue and finally escape too, having multiple adventures and learning important life lessons along the way. Ultimately, Alan is able to return to the real world for good after his lost clue is discovered and solved.

Jumanji 2017 Board Game

The game found in 1996.

Despite being thrown into a river by Alan Parrish and Sarah Whittle in 1969 and being washed up on a beach in France and found by two girls, the Jumanji game somehow found it's way back to Brantford;

  • In 1996, Alex Vreeke received the board game from his father who found it on a beach. However, Alex was not interested and decided not to play it at all, then starting to play modern video games instead. Jumanji noticed this and the game transformed its game board into a video game cartridge to adapt to modern times and tastes, sounding its drums to persuade Alex to put the game pack into his video game console. Alex started to play until he got sucked into the game world and changed into his avatar Seaplane McDonough. Seaplane found and stayed in a shelter built by Alan Parrish, 26 years ago and struggled to defeat the game on his own, but failed. To Alex, only a few months passed in Jumanji.
  • In 2017, the video game version of Jumanji was discovered by Spencer Gilpin, Anthony Johnson, Bethany Walker and Martha Kaply who entered the game world. There, the teenagers encountered Alex and worked together to win the game.
  • After the game was won, everyone was returned to their original time periods. Returned to the moment he left in 1996, Alex built a life and a family over the next twenty years, altering history somewhat.
  • Once the four players from 2017 returned to the real world, they destroyed the Jumanji video game console with a Rhino brand bowling bowl to prevent anyone from becoming trapped within the dimension of Jumanji again.


  • According to Jumanji author Chris Van Allsburg and film star Robin Williams; The name "Jumanji" is the zulu word for "many effects" which explains its unpredictable nature and magic.
      • The word Jumanji is not from the Zulu language.
  • Conceptual art for the 1995 film’s logo reveals that a fifth token in the shape of a Lion idol was planned for the game, but ended up being unused in favour of a 1-4 player game. Jumanji eventually ended up having up to five possible avatars when it transformed into a video game, albeit only four players could play.
    • More concept art has a Tiger being included in the Jumanji zoology as one was part of the board game’s diorama painting design ideas, but Tigers ended up not appearing in the film yet were prominent in the animated series.