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Subject: An Overview of Gameplay: The Pre Season rss

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Richard Keene
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Hello, I’m Richard Keene the designer behind DinoGenics. For the last two years we have been testing, re-balancing and generally improving the play experience. Play-testing has now concluded and I’m excited to say that we will be launching the game to Kickstarter this summer!

Over the next couple weeks I plan to bring small gameplay previews both here and on our Facebook page. For now, let’s take a look at how a standard Pre-Season phase will play out.

DinoGenics Turn Overview
(Please note that for this preview, some unfinished graphic design and art elements are in use)

DinoGenics is a worker placement game where three to five players compete to create the best dinosaur park. Players take turns deploying Workers to areas of the Mainland where they will collect various resources to enhance their individual parks. At the end of six seasons, the park with the most victory points is deemed the winner and acquires enough money and prestige to buy out his or her competitors.

Each season, play proceeds in a series of rounds as each player takes turns assigning one of their three starting workers until all workers have been placed.

At the start of the game, each player receives a hand of three DNA cards and one Manipulation card. Each player also starts with an amount of money based on player order.



In this example, Andy started the game with two Raptor DNA and one Triceratops DNA. Andy has a few options for his first turn: Since Raptors only requires two DNA (designated by the “2” in the upper right corner of the card) he could place a Raptor on his first turn.

Andy first decides to look at his other options. Currently in the DNA market there is also some Triceratops DNA. Since he already has one Triceratops DNA, this would allow him to complete his set and potentially build a second dinosaur early on in the next season.



Unfortunately, the 3 Money cost is more than he is willing to spend on his first turn, so he instead decides to play safe and send his Worker to Dinogenics.

Andy discards his two Raptor DNA cards to the discard pile and may now place a Raptor Meeple into his parks starting pen. Andy's first turn is over and play will proceed to the next player.

At this point Beth and Charlie both go to Site A to collect two DNA cards each and Denise decides to work the Ferry to collect 3 Money.

Back on round two of the Pre-Season, Andy sees a potential opportunity. No one else has placed a dinosaur yet, which means that his park may end up with the highest reputation. This would in turn mean he would get additional visitors and more money.



Andy decides to send his 2nd Agent to the City Center, this allows him to perform two City Center Actions. He purchases a basic hotel for 3 Money and forfeits his 2nd action because he doesn’t have enough Money to buy anything else. Andy places his hotel onto his Park Board, increasing his parks visitor capacity to four.



Beth goes to Dinogenics and creates a Triceratops. Charlie collects two DNA from site A and Denise goes to the City Center to purchase a Watch Tower for 5 Money and three Fences for Two Money.

For Andy's final turn, he sends his last Agent to The Farm to collect three Meat so that he is able to feed his raptor, which will prevent it from rampaging during the Closing Phase.



Rounding out the the final actions of the Pre-Season, Beth goes to The Agency to collect two Manipulation cards. Charlie has unfortunately gotten a bad lot of DNA cards this game and decides to exchange three unmatched DNA at Dinogenics in order to at least put a Mutant into play. Denise on the other hand has collected exactly what she wants; for her last turn she sends her Worker to Dinogenics to put a T.Rex into play.



One drawback is that Denise’s holding pen is too small for a dinosaur as large as the T.Rex and she must immediately perform a Rampage check. A T.Rex rolls two dice on a Rampage check and Denise rolls two Slash results. Denise had planned for this eventuality and her Watch Tower absorbs one Slash result. The second result is applied to one of the fences. The T.Rex is now free to roam anywhere in her park.

At this point, each player has placed all of their workers and the game advances to the Closing Phase of the Pre-Season. During the Closing Phase, each player must feed any carnivores they own.

Andy feeds his raptor one unit of meat. Neither Beth nor Charlie had dinosaurs that require meat. Denise however has a problem. While she was able to place a T.Rex, she was not able to collect the meat to feed it; even if she had, her T.Rex is now roaming free in her park! Denise will now need to perform a Rampage check for her escaped dinosaur.

This concludes the first phase of the Pre-Season. In the next preview, I will expand upon how free-roaming dinosaur damage is calculated and go into the details of assigning visitors in the first Open Season.

I've been working on this game for a long time and the response from play testers has been great. I would love to hear feedback from the BGG community and welcome any questions you might have.
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Tim Wills
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I saw this posted on Facebook a few weeks ago. Looks like a solid game, glad to see it moving forward!thumbsup
 
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Dane Bude
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Looks great - good luck with it!
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Henk Allaert
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It looks great and I like the theme, but why not with 2 players ? This will be a deal breaker for me and I'm sure for other people also.
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Chris Grenard
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Hello Henk!

I'm Chris, I'm one of Richard's friends and playtesters. Played quite a few rounds of the game, so I think I can answer this, at least non-officially.

Currently, the game has a balance and catch up mechanic between rounds, similar in concept to Power Grid. Basically, visitors want to visit the best parks, but will also take their second pick if the "best" park has all the hotels full. It didn't work very well with two players, which again was a similarity to Power Grid. I know it's on his personal wish list though!
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Richard Keene
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roadie75 wrote:
It looks great and I like the theme, but why not with 2 players ? This will be a deal breaker for me and I'm sure for other people also.

Hi Henk,

Chris is partially correct. We have tested the two player version of the game quite extensively. It technically works but it loses a lot of the flavor and flexibility that the game systems offer and instead forces players into a pure min/maxing mode of play. For the launch of the Kickstarter it is my intention to put the best play experience forward instead of offering a mode that is less compelling.

That said, we are aware that a lot of people are drawn to two player experiences and if the demand is great enough, developing a two player variant with slightly modified rules is not off the table, it is just not the current focus.
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John Snowulf
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roadie75 wrote:
It looks great and I like the theme, but why not with 2 players ? This will be a deal breaker for me and I'm sure for other people also.


I'd like to second this. I primarily game with my wife, so if there is no 2 player mode it will make it much harder to decide to purchase this game. I hope you have time to make this a priority. Pillars of the Earth didn't come with 2 player rules, but someone in the community created an excellent 2 player variant.

tl;dr version of the variant: There is a neutral 3rd player that has dibs on several of the spaces on the board and some of the resources.

It creates scarcity and ensures that there is more player interaction/friction.
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Richard Keene
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Thanks for the input John. I currently have a few ideas to test and examples of other companies doing a two-player variant right is always helpful.
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John Snowulf
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lordnine wrote:
Thanks for the input John. I currently have a few ideas to test and examples of other companies doing a two-player variant right is always helpful.


Happy to help. I'm looking forward to learning more about DinoGenics.
 
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MaD
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lordnine wrote:
Thanks for the input John. I currently have a few ideas to test and examples of other companies doing a two-player variant right is always helpful.


You may also want to look into the Automa cards of Viticulture or the Automa dice in Cavern Tavern. Both are for solo play, but I could imagine them being helpful in getting ideas how a virtual 3rd player might act...
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Andrew Falconer
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lordnine wrote:
Thanks for the input John. I currently have a few ideas to test and examples of other companies doing a two-player variant right is always helpful.


I would also be interested in a variant for two players. (or even a massive stretch to solo...)

As for input, I can point you towards:
Energy Empire (The Manhattan Project)
Worker placement with variations to make it 1, 2 or 3-5 players.
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