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Subject: After 3 playthroughs with one of the designers rss

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Drew Johnson
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I've played this game 3 times with one of the designers on Tabletopia. So not quite a full review since I didn't have the game and pieces in front of me, but enough of one to get a good feel for the game.

I have to say, this game is really great and I'm looking forward to finally playing it in person. The plot twists at the start of the game really make each game different. They definitely throw out some strategies right away and causes you to adapt to each individual game. Combine that with the different starting cards available, and each engine feels different as the foundation for it changes every time.

This feels really well balanced and I think it's going to be great for gamers of all types, except those who prefer heavy games, and perhaps the most hardcore of Euro gamers. It's a medium weight game to me. There's also some dice rolls involved, they are rolled at the start of each round and you can obtain DNA from them using 1 (or all) of your 3 scientists in the first phase. However, if you can't get the DNA you want or there's just unlucky dice, you get the chance to buy DNA in the 2nd phase.

When you grab customers out of the bag, there's a chance you will grab hooligans which don't count for any victory points, no money, and they don't get eaten. That might sound frustrating, but it's actually not that bad and there's plenty of strategies you can use to avoid them being a detriment to your park. The ratio is pretty slim so it never feels bad when you draw.

I think this is a great next-step type engine building game. There's a lot of moving pieces, but since everything is divided into phases it helps you maintain your focus at one spot at a time. More experienced players will be able to think about phase 3 and 4 during phase 1, but if you don't it's not a huge disadvantage.

I think the dino meeples are a really fun add to the game, and the different types in the deluxe kickstarter is pretty neat. It's not exactly immersion-shattering that there aren't enough dino meeple types to represent dino recipes (that would be 17 meeple types, I'd rather not have to dig through that). Plus once you are in the later rounds and the engine really gets rolling, the last thing on your mind is what type of dino meeple to put in your pen.

It's only been 3 full playthroughs but each one has been completely different and I've left each game very satisfied. If you have any questions I'll be happy to address them here. I'm not an official game reviewer, just a regular guy who is backing this game.
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Wade Alexander
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Just backed this myself after a few weeks watching it rise. I'm really happy to hear the people playing it on Tabletopia with Brian(?) are enjoying it. I see the number one complaints from people being meeples not representing every species (I'm fine with it, dinosaur meeples are good enough for me just to HAVE there) and the POGS stretch goal (which I love regardless of no relation to game).

How quick would you say you were able to pick up the game? Just so I know how hard it would be to teach others about the game since I'm the rulebook guy.

Again, super excited for this game, it speaks to me on every level of want.
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Eduardo Guimarães
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I'm on the fence if i should back it. The game is essencially a multiplayer solitaire pure worker placement game, and i already have more than enought of them (and thinking in selling The Pursuit of Happiness because it's just another of thousands WP that doesn't really adds nothing new). Thanks for the writing, it helps me organize my ideas.

Just a question, if i may, what do you think this game have that makes it unique, that adds something innovative to the family of WP games?
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Drew Johnson
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Quote:
How quick would you say you were able to pick up the game? Just so I know how hard it would be to teach others about the game since I'm the rulebook guy.


I think I picked this up in about 2 full rounds. There's a lot of things that are pretty intuitive, such as how the shop works. It's all really nicely labeled out. The engine aspect itself is really intuitive as well, which I think is the most important.

The rules on tabletopia aren't complete either (not even close by the looks of it) so with Brian explaining it to me I picked it up really quickly.
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Drew Johnson
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Quote:
Just a question, if i may, what do you think this game have that makes it unique, that adds something innovative to the family of WP games?


There are a couple of things to me that make it unique, however I don't have very much experience with many other worker placement games so I might not be the best to answer, but I will give it a go:

1. Dinosaurs! It's an awesome and really fun theme that seems really underutilized in an era of horror and farmers. The color scheme is just so amazing too, I mean no other game goes with green and pink!

2. What makes this unique in terms of mechanics is the medium weight feel to it where there is a specific phase for everyone to focus on one spot, then another phase to focus on your own board. Not sure if that is truly unique, but it feels good to have some player interaction at the start and then you are on your own for a bit at the end.

Edit: 3. I'm going to add on to my original answer: I think the plot twist cards are another mechanic that makes this unique. You introduce two rule breaking elements that cause you to play a different playstyle every time you play. This prevents you from having the optimal first 5 moves or so, if that makes sense. It helps it make this game unsolvable.
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DrProfHazzmatt
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Riding the Kickstarter hype train since 2015.
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Since you're responding at the moment, someone else had suggested merging the 3 boards in the middle of the table into one larger board that is perhaps themed a little bit. Do you feel this would be an improvement for the game that might help additionally with the layout? I have to agree with the person who made the suggestion that having 3 separate boards in the middle of the table is going to make things seem cluttered.
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Drew Johnson
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Quote:
Since you're responding at the moment, someone else had suggested merging the 3 boards in the middle of the table into one larger board that is perhaps themed a little bit. Do you feel this would be an improvement for the game that might help additionally with the layout? I have to agree with the person who made the suggestion that having 3 separate boards in the middle of the table is going to make things seem cluttered.


Well my experience has 100% been in tabletopia, so I'm not sure about the full scale of things. Judging by the videos, it's really not that bad at all. Having them modular at least makes it so you can lay it out to your choosing based on table size and the number of people playing. The excitement/victory point board can be off to the side since it's essentially a scoreboard, while the other two boards and cards can be in the middle. I'm not sure that one larger board would help with the layout or clutter, but it might be personal preference.
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Henk Allaert
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So I guess it were all 2 player games ? Did you play with 3 end game cards ? And how much time was needed for 1 play (on average) ?

I'm also a bit worried that there is no real thightening down for 2 players. There are less dice at the start, but that's it I think.
 
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Heath Washburn
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I played on TT with Drew and Brian (developer). Once you get in a rhythm of the phases, it's a fairly tight mechanic. Parallel play during phases 3 and 4 can really keeps things moving!

I imagine 2 players will be less cutthroat (as far as fighting for resources), but fewer dice makes a noticeable difference. I'm also planning to eliminate the $4 market row as a 2-player house rule. With 4 players, I can imagine that people will really fight over dino recipes in phase 1. I'm excited by the variability of this game.

I'm a little skeptical of the time added by additional game objective cards. They say up to 2.5 hours, but I doubt that because most of the objectives will be accomplished around the same time frame (90-ish minutes).
 
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Brian Lewis
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Certain tiles and cards will be removed in a 2 and 3 player game.
 
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Muel Wisden
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Ruth123 wrote:
Is it worth $90+ though?


I have been lucky enough to have a couple of Play throughs too and I would say the game experience is definitely worth the $60 that they are asking for the retail standard game. The $80 pledge is for the deluxe so you are paying for the extras e.g. bonus content, metal coins and meeple variety (which in my opinion are easily going to be worth the extra).

So in answer to your question yes it's worth the price bracket they are asking (in my opinion).
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John Gentry
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If a game is good enough, it will come back in print. -Vasels Law
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cant wait to play this game. I feel like I should dress up like an 80s commercial.
 
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