Dinosaur Island is a hot new game from designers Jon Gilmour (Dead of Winter, Wasteland Express Delivery Service) and Brian Lewis (Titans of Industry) from Pandasaurus Games (Machi Koro, Yedo, Wasteland Express Delivery Service) with amazing, technicolor, ridiculously 90s artwork from Kwanchai Moriya and Peter Wocken.
1-4 Players; 60-150 minutes (scalable length regardless of player count), ages 10+
In Dinosaur Island, players will have to collect DNA, research the DNA sequences of extinct dinosaur species and then combine the ancient DNA in the correct sequence to bring these prehistoric creatures back to life. Dino cooking! All players will compete to build the most thrilling park each season, and then work to attract (and keep alive!) the most guests each season that the park opens.
Do you go big and create a pack of Velociraptors? They’ll definitely excite potential guests… but you better make a large enough enclosure for them. And maybe hire some (read: a lot of) security. Or they WILL break out and start eating your guests—and we all know how that ends. You could play it safe and grow a bunch of herbivores… but then you aren’t going to have the most exciting park in the world (sad face). So maybe buy a roller coaster or two to try and attract guests to your park the good old fashioned way?
When we first played Dinosaur Island we knew we had something extremely special on our hands. We had an accessible worker placement game that mixed some of our favorite gameplay elements rolled up in a theme that is ridiculously fun and perfectly integrated with mechanics. I love games that have simple mechanics that lead to incredibly tense decisions. Like a dice pool as a resource (DNA), set-collection, turn-efficiency, a clever auction mechanic, and extremely tense decisions about where to spend your time and energy? Yes, please! You can also focus on upgrading your laboratory to make dinosaur creation more efficient. But if you do, it means you’re spending less time on opening new rides. And the constant pressure to keep your guests safe while still turning a profit every season creates interesting decision making on players. It’s a nail biter, for sure.