3 Dinosaur Themed Board Games
I LOVE dinosaurs. They are just awesome. I don’t think there are enough dinosaur themed things in the world. Even in the world of board games, there are way more games about zombies, farming, trading in the Mediterranean and trains than games about dinosaurs. To highlight some of the few Dinosaur themed games we have, here are 3 of them (in no particular order!).
In Raptor, one player takes on the role of a doting mother protecting her 5 baby velociraptor and the other player takes on the role of evil scientists trying to capture her babies. The game is played on a randomly arranged board to provide a slightly different terrain each game, and uses cards for all your actions.
Each player has a different goal, the scientists are trying to sedate and capture the cute little baby dinosaurs, or completely tranquilise the mummy dinosaur and the raptor is trying to either get 3 of her babies off the board to safety, or eat all the scientists on the board.
It’s really tense and every time I’ve played it, it’s always been incredibly close at the end. The cards are clever and allow for strategic and sneaky play; my favourite card allows you remove the fully grown raptor of the board and then place her anywhere… preferably behind a scientist ready to eat them on your next turn. You can almost hear the scientists mutter “Clever Girl”.
2. Dinosaur Island
In case you didn’t get that Jurassic Park reference, go and watch it again (I’m going to assume you have at least watched it once!) and then come back so you are excited to play Dinosaur Island. This really is a beast of a game and allows you to run your very own Dinosaur theme park, complete with T-Rex’s, food stands and rude guests.
It’s not for the faint hearted, it’s quite complex unless you are already used to gaming; it has lots of components and things going on during the game, from dice rolling, to worker placement, to buying attractions for you park and arranging visitors. It’s also pretty long. If that hasn’t put you off, prepare to delve into collecting DNA, making sure your visitors are happy and ensuring security is good enough so that no one gets eaten by the aforementioned T-Rex.
With an interesting/divisive art direction, it’s a joy to play as you balance budgets and desperately trying to get the Brachiosaurus before the other players to make your park the most exciting, point earning park possible.
3. Evolution: Climate
Evolution isn’t strictly a dinosaur game, but it has a huge dinosaur meeple as the first player marker, and features evolution and getting eaten so it’s close enough!
Grow fur to combat the cold, grow horns to deter predators, grow a long neck to reach food others can’t or become a carnivore and eat everyone else… tough decisions that you’ll be making in Evolution: Climate. This is one of my favourite games due to the beautiful art, the thematic gameplay and again, the dinosaur meeple.
Each player controls various species, using cards to evolve them to survive the environment and each other, with the player who manages to eat the most food winning. It’s pretty simple and fast paced once you have played a few rounds, but definitely hard to master as there are many combinations of traits that can occur throughout the game.
For a simpler introduction, there is Evolution: The Beginning, which doesn’t have climate effects and a simpler rule set suitable for younger children and people new to games. Both games simulate evolution surprisingly well and can be quite brutal – Mother Nature doesn’t care if your creature goes extinct!
I enjoy all of these games, not just because of the dinosaurs, but because they are good fun games in their own right. Pop in and we can show you how to play them!
Raptor for if you want a tense back and forth fight, Dinosaur Island if you think you could do a better job than John Hammond and Evolution to learn about evolution while you have fun eating each other.
Hopefully the huge success of Dinosaur Island will create a cascade of dino games than may overtake the horde of zombie, and farming, games already out there.