Help Indy and Friends Defeat Belloq in ‘Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure’ From Funko Games

Entertainment Games

This has been a summer of Indiana Jones board games thanks to Funko Games, one of my favorite board game makers. Indiana Jones is a franchise I grew up on in a deeply nostalgic way, so seeing Funko Games give their quality tribute treatment to Indy and his adventures had been great especially as all of the games in their line have really been designed for both the older fans and their kids to join. When Funko Games let us see their game line-up for this summer, I knew we had to play all things Indy, and they were kind enough to send me review copies of Something Wild! Indiana JonesIndiana Jones: Throw Me the Idol!, Indiana Jones: Crypticand Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure (the game I’m covering in this article).

What Is Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure?

Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure is a cooperative board game where players take on the roles of Indiana Jones and his friends (Marcus Brody, Marion Ravenwood, and Sallah El-Kahir) from Raiders of the Lost Ark to try to defeat several Raiders villains including the infamous Rene Belloq. No previous knowledge of the franchise is required to play. The game is designed for 2-4 players ages 8+ and takes about 45 minutes to play. It has an MSRP of $29.99.

Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure Components

Components for ‘Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure.’ Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure contains the following:

  • 4 Character Mats and Figures
  • 3 Villain Mats and Movers with Bases
  • Health Tracking Cube
  • 7 Double-Sided Adventure Tiles
  • Round Tracker Tile
  • Play Tile
  • 92 Cards
  • Ark Mover with Base
  • Torch Die
  • 2 Threat Dice
  • 12 Gems
  • 6 Power Tokens
  • Sand Timer
  • Instruction Booklet

There’s a reason that when we are looking for new games, Funko Games is one of the brands we often reach for first. Their components are solid quality for their price range and often do a great job of reflecting the fandoms they come from. The Cards are of typical thickness, but the artwork is stunning and makes me feel like I’m looking at one of the movie posters because it sets off the nostalgia so quickly. I love when details like that in a board game can do that. The Tiles are all thick sturdy cardboard as are the non Character Movers. The Tokens are similarly heavy cardboard and easy to identify.

The Character Movers are plastic and color-coded, like gaming minis, although some mini painters might be tempted to go in and give them a more screen-accurate treatment. (It’s me, I’m one of those painters, or I would be if my pile of shame was under better control.) The gems use size to differentiate the type and are a pretty translucent plastic with the Health Tracker made in a similar way. The markings for the custom Dice are clear and easy to read and the dice types are easy to tell apart. The Sand Timer pops together pretty easily and looks pretty awesome when you set it out on the board, I’m not going to lie. The design of it also gives a clear Raiders of the Lost Ark vibe too. 

The Instruction Booklet is neatly organized and does a great job using pictures and diagrams to help understand the setup and play. There’s even a QR code for those who do better with video instructions.

How to Play Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure


A 4-player game ready to go. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The game setup is pretty decent for a family game. It’s not so long that kids get too impatient waiting, but might be longer than a group of typical eight-year-olds on their own would have patience for. The game setup uses the following steps:

  1. Assemble the Sand Timer according to the diagram and place it on one side of the play area. The Sand Timer will act as an anchor for the rest of the setup so make sure you have some space. 
  2. Place the U-shape Round Tracker Tile around the Sand Timer. The Ark Mover is put into a Base and set on the 1 Space.
  3. Take the Upgrade Cards with the black and gold bars and shuffle them. They go in a face-down deck to the left of the Sand Timer.
  4. Take the 6 Power Tokens and sort them by type into three face-up stacks to the right of the Sand Timer.
  5. Take the 5 Round 1 Adventure Tiles (noted in bottom left corners) and randomly place them in a row in front of the Round Tracker. Set the two other Tiles aside for now.
  6. Place the Play Tile in front of the Adventure Tile row. Shuffle the remaining Action Cards into a face-down deck and place it to the left of the Play Tile.
  7. Each Player chooses a Character Mat and matching Mover and draws a starting hand of 4 Action Cards (Marion gets 6 cards). Discard any Snake Cards to the right of the Play Tile but do not replace them.
  8. Choose a Player to be the Excavation Leader. They take the Round 1 Villain Mat (Colonel Dietrich) and place the Health Tracking Cube on the highest number. Set the other Villain Mats aside for now.
  9. Insert the Villain Movers into Bases and place Colonel Dietrich’s Mover on the leftmost Adventure tile in the row. Set the other two Movers aside for now.
  10. Place the Gems and Dice nearby. 

You are now ready to play!


The game is divided into three Rounds of play with each Round Containing an Exploration Phase and a Timed Phase. If Players defeat a Villain in the Exploration Phase, they will skip a Timed Phase. Make certain to read up on all the rules ahead of time because you won’t be able to stop once the Timed Phase begins.


The goal of Indians Jones: Sands of Adventure is to work together at fighting different Indy villains through several rounds so that you can eventually defeat Belloq, the final villain. Doing a good job fighting the lower Villains will set Players up to more easily defeat Belloq. As a cooperative game, players win or lose together.

Exploration Phase

The Phase starts with the Exploration Leader and the play moves clockwise through the Players. Each Player does the following on their turn:

  1. Move to another Adventure Tile: The Tile doesn’t have to be next to the current one, but it must be different. Only Indy can move onto a Tile that the Villain Mover is on.
  2. Do the Adventure Tile: Follow the directions of the Adventure Tile. If it says “may,” then you can choose whether or not to do it.

    Marion gets to draw an Upgrade Card. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.
  3. Roll the Threat Dice: Each Adventure Tile notes a number of Threat Dice (Sallah only rolls one Die). The roll may cause you to add Gems to the Sand Timer or Activate the Villain.

    Indy rolled two Small Gems on the Threat Dice. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Threat Dice

If the Sand Timer activates, ignore any unplayed Threat Dice and move immediately to the Timed Phase. Threat Dice have three options based on pictures:

  • Add a Small Gem
  • Add a Large Gem
  • Activate the Villain. This moves the Villain to the Adventure Tile to the right, if he is at the rightmost move him back to the leftmost one. Each Player that is on the Tile the Villain moves to suffers the penalty written on the Villain’s Mat.

    Indy and Marcus will suffer a penalty as the Villain is Moved onto their space. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.


There are 4 types of Cards in the game:

  • Basic Cards have one of 4 Colors (Blue, Green, Red, or Yellow) and one of 4 Objects (Book, Emblem, Hat, and Shovel). When you play a Card the Color or Object must match the Card that was played before it.
  • Upgrade Cards are the same as Basic Cards but have an additional Color or Object so matching them is easier.
  • Snake Cards are discarded but not replaced in the Exploration Phase. In the Timed Phase, a Player must stop and roll the Torch Die until a Torch appears to get rid of the Snake and continue (or use an Ignore a Snake Token).

    A Snake Card is defeated. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.
  • Attack Cards let you Damage the Villain. When you play an Attack Card, the Villain’s Health is lowered by one by using the Health Tracker of the Villain Mat. Like with Basic Cards, a Color or Object on the Card must match the Card played before it is used.

    An Attack Card featuring Marion. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Playing Cards: Cards are Played onto the Play Tile but you can only play a Card in the Exploration Phase if an Adventure Tile says you can. The Card to be played must match the Color or Object on the last Card Played. Attack Cards always damage the Villain no matter the Phase.

Matching Card Colors. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Drawing Cards: Cards are drawn from the top of the Deck and added to your hand unless it’s a Snake Card, which is discarded in the Exploration Phase but must be defeated in the Timed Phase. Do not replace discarded Snake Cards with new Cards.

Burying Cards: When instructed to Bury a Card, it goes face down at the bottom of the Action Deck (even if it came from the Upgrade Deck).

Defeating Villains

Attack Cards are used to lower a Villain’s Health in each Phase. Track this with the Villain Mat and Health Tracker. If the Villain is defeated before the end of the Timed Phase, players win the round. If Belloq is defeated, they win the game. If Players do not defeat the Villain before the end of the Timed Phase, there is a Gem penalty indicated on the Villain Mat showing how many Gems the Sand Timer starts with the next Round.

One Small Gem penalty for not defeating the Villain. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Timed Phase

When the Sand Timer flips, the Timed Phase officially begins, and it ends when the Sand Timer runs out. The current Player may choose to finish their actions, but Threat Dice that have not been dealt with can be ignored once the Sand Timer flips. Continue the Player Turn order but on your turn, you now do as follows:

  1. Play any number of Cards. You can also choose not to play any.
  2. Draw an Action Card. You can’t play any Cards once you Draw an Action Card, but a Snake must be dealt with before Play can move on.

Power Tokens

Power Tokens are only used during the Timed Phase. You keep the same Power Tokens for the game but when played, flip it over and it cannot be used again in the same Round. Players cannot give each other Power Tokens. There are three Token types:

  • Ignore a Snake: Can be used when any Player draws a Snake Card to immediately discard it without rolling the Torch Die.
  • Interrupt: On another Player’s turn, use this to play a Card from your hand, the Player then continues their turn.
  • Play Any Card: This lets you ignore match requirements when playing an Action Card.
A played Token. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

Round End

Rounds 1 and 2 end when the Sand Timer runs out, there are no more Action Cards to draw, or the Villain is defeated. It is possible to skip a Timed Round if you defeat the Villain in an Exploration Phase. For the first two Rounds, you will set up the next Round by doing the following:

  1. Set the Round by moving the Ark Mover to the next space.
  2. Reset the Action Deck by collecting everyone’s hands, the Action Deck, the cards on the Play Tile, and the discarded Snakes, Now shuffle them together into a new face-down Action Deck.
  3. Reset Players by taking back Character Movers and drawing new hands. (Discard Snake Cards but don’t replace them.)
  4. Reset the Sand Timer, and remove all Gems. If the Villain wasn’t defeated, place the appropriate number and size of Gems in the Sand Timer.

    A penalty Gem is placed. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.
  5. Take the Adventure Tile for the new Round, and swap it with one of the Adventure Tiles out in play.
  6. Choose a new Excavation Leader (or keep the same one), and trade out the Villains with the Health Tracker going on the highest number and the Villain Mover on the leftmost space.

Game End

Belloq is defeated for a Player Victory. Photo by Elizabeth MacAndrew.

The game ends when the third round ends. If Belloq is defeated the players win, if not, the players lose.

Why You Should Play Indiana Jones: Sands of Adventure

This game was fast, fun, and an amazing tribute to Indy’s adventures in Raiders of the Lost Ark without counting on anyone needing to know the movie inside and out to enjoy it. (Although fans will absolutely love all of the little details and tributes.) 

As a cooperative game, everyone really needs to be ready to focus because when the Timed Phase starts, things get really intense and success depends on paying attention and rapid communication with each other. Some younger kids might get overwhelmed by the speed required in those situations. At first glance, I thought the game might have a lot of complexity, but it was quickly obvious to me that the game wasn’t too complicated, which is why an eight-year-old could play. Would I turn the game over to eight-year-olds to play on their own? Probably not unless they’re all hardcore board gamers. While an eight-year-old can play, there is still some decent strategy involved that should appeal to experienced gamers by using Character abilities to the team’s advantage and trying to see how many times to can bonk the Villain for damage during the Exploration Phase. Since there is a penalty when the first two Villains are not defeated, the next Villain can be harder to stop. We slipped up a bit in the 1st Round but made up for it in the 2nd and ultimately defeated Belloq in the nick of time. I love that the game isn’t simply slapping a licensed skin on an existing game, but it’s actually a unique game that’s a clear labor of love for the franchise.

The pieces are all well made and really do reflect things fans remember from the movies. Funko Games are definitely designed for lots of play, which is good because I see us getting to play this game again or pulling it out to play with friends.

With an MSRP of $29.99, this is a game easy to justify picking up or gifting to an Indiana Jones-loving friend. Now if we can only get a cool board game based off of The Last Crusade. The game is available now via Target and can be found here.

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