Dinosaur World by Pandasaurus Games
Players: 2 to 4
Playtime: 60 to 120 minutes
Perfect for: Gaming groups who appreciate complex city/world building mechanics (and dino-enthusiasts in general).
Dinosaur World is a game of constructing and operating a park filled with thrills! Players spare no expense as they (literally) bring to life dangerous attractions to make their resort the ultimate zoological tourist destination. This means building not only the dinosaurs, but also rides, amenities, and appropriate safety precautions. The individual who can create the most exciting theme park—while keeping “incidents” to a minimum—will be victorious.
To begin Dinosaur World, two to four players collect their gameboard and starting park tiles. Then, a whole host of various expansion tiles get organized which players can procure to expand their resort. These get purchased and placed throughout the game. Finally, players then grab their starting resources and get to work.
On a turn, a player first recruits a set of workers. These multicolored meeples allow the park manager to take actions such as upgrading facilities, growing dinosaurs, or general expansion. Next, players take public actions—purchasing resources and/or buying new park tiles. After that comes private actions. This is where the park manager conducts internal operations such as building new dinosaurs, increasing safety protocols, etc. Finally, each round concludes with players taking visitors on a jeep tour of the park. Here, the “jeeples” move through the hexagonal tiles as far as it can, gaining the benefits of each place visited. Along the way various actions net victory points, and the player with the most after several rounds wins.
What works in Dinosaur World is the depth and complexity of the park-building mechanic coupled with a fantastic theme. As managers, individuals are responsible for balancing everything from income to boredom and all elements in between. This gives Dinosaur World a clever mix of strategic resource allocation and engine development. Ultimately, players have an impressive amount of control over a multitude of variables which keeps gameplay highly engaging. For example, managers must figure out the optimal amount of dinosaurs to create. These yield both victory points and earnings, but one must be wary that more ferocious animals could mean more in-park “accidents” with tourists. Naturally, these are frowned upon.
Players looking for a gaming experience that has a) fewer development options, or b) more direct conflict may not enjoy Dinosaur World as much as others. First, the sheer number of resources and variables associated with park creation is incredibly expansive. This could overwhelm some players as they attempt to keep track of multiple paths to victory (and demise). In terms of gameplay, the majority of the activity is solo-based—players manipulating their own park. So, while there is some vying for resources, most of the action happens independent of the competition.
Dinosaur World is great game for people and groups who revel in crafting the most intricate details to create efficiencies. And Dinosaur World leans so heavy into the park theme, it’ll be easy for fans of the city-building genre to become very engrossed. Highly recommended.
Recommended if you like: Dinosaur Island, Civilization, Le Havre