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Subject: Dinosaur Island - They've spared (almost) no expense rss

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Russell McKinney
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THEME

Dinosaurs, the 90’s, more dinosaurs, theme parks, and also dinosaurs? Sign me up. This game is dripping with good theming inside and out, and I am on board with everything they are offering. They even get bonus points for some of the puns in the game. Clever Grill? Jurassic Whirled? Be still my heart.

10/10

BOX/STORAGE

The box for this game, to me, is gorgeous. The color palette, the symmetrical design, the wonderful art, all of it lends itself to being very pleasurable to look at. Not only that, but dinosaurs! Tons of them! Teeth, claws, horns, wings, spines, and tails of all shapes and sizes. What’s not to love about that? At the very least, sitting on a shelf in a game store, this box will catch pretty much anyone’s attention, and being the sucker for sexy boxes that I am, I think that’s pretty awesome.

Unfortunately, Pandasaurus let the awesomeness end with the exterior of the box. Now, I can’t speak for the regular edition of the game, but for the deluxe edition, there is a major flaw with the design; the components don’t fit. When the game arrived, the top of the box was already partially raised in the shrink wrap, because there was so much stuff crammed into it. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the stuff crammed into it, but if you are going to go through the trouble of making the box different by saying “Deluxe Edition” across the top, shouldn’t you also make the box big enough to hold the components you are including? I suppose you could take all of the extra stuff out, like the pogs and cardboard money, but I feel like that shouldn’t be required.

It’s not all bad though. If you don’t mind tossing the box insert, everything will fit inside quite nicely, but it’s definitely something that wasn’t thought through very well. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to throw away any part of a game, including the box and inserts. I don’t really know why I feel that way, but the fact that you pretty much have to trash the insert with this game is a real bummer.

7/10

COMPONENTS

Game Boards - The quality of all of the boards in the game is wonderful. Very sturdy, very colorful, and the double layer on the player boards to keep the cubes in place is something I always love seeing. Also, putting the phases at the top of each board is very handy, so kudos to Pandasaurus for that (I’m not sure why the cleanup phase is printed on the market phase board, though). The only real “gripe” I have (if you can even call it that) is stuff that doesn’t affect the game at all, like the fact that the area to put the lab tile stack on has the image oriented incorrectly, but it’s not really anything important. 9/10

Cards/Tiles - No complaints here. The cards are colorful, easy to read, don’t stick together, and get the job done perfectly. 10/10

Chits - Apart from the regular edition money, there aren’t a huge amount of chits in the game, and what chits there are work perfectly fine. 10/10

Money - Can I give the money in the deluxe edition a 12/10? Good lord, this is some of the sexiest board game money I have ever seen. The detail, the color, the weight. It’s all so wonderful. Some people might have an issue with the enamel chipping off, because it definitely does that, but I think it adds another layer of charm to the coins, like they’ve been in circulation for a while. 10/10

Workers/Dinos/Cubes - As they are, all of these components are wonderful. Pandsaurus even went above and beyond making different types of dinosaur meeples, which is pretty fantastic. That being said, I would have much preferred the meeples be wooden. I don’t know why, but I feel like the plastic ones have a cheap vibe to them, especially since they all have that weird dimple on them. The cubes I am okay with being plastic, but I just wish I had some rad wooden dinos to stomp around the table with. 9/10

Side note on this section: This game is desperately in need of player aids. You can get them here, of course, but for someone that might not know that, there will be a lot of passing around of the instructions and double checking everything that is being done for the first few rounds. It’s nice to have all of the phases on the boards, but for the more fiddly stuff you do, a little reference sheet would be nice.

RULEBOOK

I greatly appreciate the number of visual examples the rulebook gives for explaining each little rule segment. I’m very much a visual learner, and seeing exactly what is being referred to when they are referencing something in the game is great, especially since I tend to read the rules way before actually getting the game out to play it. It’s nice to look at a rule, then immediately be able to attach it to something visual.

As far as explanations go, I think the rules were done very well. Everything was pretty straight forward and clear, without a lot of re-reading to try to understand something. Everything was nicely laid out, with nothing feeling redundant or under explained.

The big glaring issue with the rulebook, unfortunately, is the number of errors in it. I’m okay with a few little typos here and there, and I expect that with most games, but there are way too many, and some of them are pretty big. That isn’t to say that someone can’t figure everything out with deduction, but these should have been caught way before the game went to print.

Another small issue I have, and this is just a me thing, I think, is the font choice for the book. I know why it was used, but I found it kind of ugly and out of place, as well as being a little difficult to read for me. If they were going more for an “employee manual” sort of thing, I could see that font choice making more sense, but as it is I don’t care for it. I’m not knocking any points off for the font, but it was something that I wanted to bring up.

One last thing I wanted to bring up was the need for sort of card reference section. There are a few cards and tiles that could use a bit more in-depth explanations, so having a section for that would be nice.

6/10

SETUP

Apart from the need to have a large table to spread things out on while you are setting them up, I don’t have any real complaints here. I am actually kind of shocked that setup is as easy as it is, considering all that has to be done. After a couple of times, it all sort of clicks and can be done in a couple of minutes, so yay for that.

10/10

GAMEPLAY

I have to admit, our first playthrough of the game was done incorrectly. We somehow, even though I read it multiple times, completely missed the rule about taking money for all of the patrons you draw from the bag. The game ended up being very difficult, because none of us had any money. That being said, even with that mistake, the game was still massively fun. Once we caught that error and played the game correctly the next time, it was even more so.

Despite the fact that there are a lot of things going on in the game, everything flows really naturally. After a few rounds, everyone seems to get into the rhythm of everything, and it all sort of falls into place and makes sense. In reference to my earlier statement about needing player aids, they would only realistically be needed when just starting out, and only to remind you about the more intricate steps you need to take on turns. But they are still very much needed.

Having the choice of short, medium, and long games is also incredibly nice. While I admit I haven’t played the medium or short games (mostly because I want to spend as much time building my park up as I can), from what I hear they are pretty accurate in comparison to the long game. I’ll try them out sometime, but for now I am going to be happily chugging along with the long game.

Another plus for the gameplay is the lack of downtime. It’s possible to have a turn or two where a tough choice causes a bit of a pause, but for the most part everything seems to move along quickly. I think that is in part due to the lack of any sort of any real I’m-going-to-screw-you-over mechanics. You can have things you were planning on doing taken before you, but it’s easy to find a backup plan. There’s plenty of options for everyone, so you don’t spend a lot of time trying to wriggle out of a bad situation.

One thing that this game does incredibly well is tie everything together nicely. To me, it doesn’t seem like any action is self-contained, if that makes sense. Nothing feels disconnected. If you do X, then Y needs to be changed, but that is going to massively affect Z, and so on.

Looking back to the theme of the game, it does a great job of pulling you into it. The theme works perfectly for what is happening, and I really get into the whole thing. It doesn’t feel like it was a random theme slapped onto some interesting mechanics, but rather a theme built into the way the game is played. It’s pretty awesome.

10/10

FINAL THOUGHTS

I really, really like this game. I’m excited to play it some more, and I want to introduce more of my friends to it. It’s so nicely paced that I never feel like there’s a dull moment with it, and that is a big plus in my book. Sure, I had a couple of nit-picky gripes, and I'm sure that there are some bigger flaws I am overlooking, but the game is tons of fun, and overall, it's a big winner for me.

OVERALL RATING: 9 Raptor Nuggets out of 10
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Dustin Schwartz
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Glad to hear you're enjoying the game! For my group, we've found that the MEDIUM length is where it's at, though I definitely want to try a LONG game or two at some point.

Definitely want to know if you have found errors in the rulebook. I was the editor for the game, and so far the only error I'm aware of is in Example E (wrong market costs shown). Any errors we will certainly fix for future printings.
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Russell McKinney
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FreedomGunfire wrote:
Glad to hear you're enjoying the game! For my group, we've found that the MEDIUM length is where it's at, though I definitely want to try a LONG game or two at some point.

Definitely want to know if you have found errors in the rulebook. I was the editor for the game, and so far the only error I'm aware of is in Example E (wrong market costs shown). Any errors we will certainly fix for future printings.


Without actually going back and re-reading the instructions, the ones I remember off the top of my head are:

-The color issue with the hooligan meeples. If I recall, the rules have them as two shades of yellow, rather than purple and yellow.

-The VIP meeples not being listed in the components.

-The Plot Twist that has you add more hooligans lacks an explanation of how to do so when you (technically) only have 10 of them.

-In the initial setup, the example layout has attractions and lab tiles switched from where they are explained as being (attractions are listed as being immediately right of the board, but they are shown immediately right of the lab tiles).

-The issue you mentioned with example E.

I believe there were a few more that I had found, but I'd have to go back and read it again to try to find them. Bear in mind, these aren't things that leave me completely clueless. I can suss everything out just fine, especially with the community here, but I just felt like there were more issues than there should be. Everyone that I have played the game with so far feels pretty much the same.

Now, it is possible that I'm being overly critical and nit-picky, and I probably am, but if I am, it's probably because everything else in the game is so wonderfully done. It's easier to put a lot of fault on something if it is the only real issue I can find, when normally I wouldn't really notice it too much... If that makes sense.
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fullbloodlion wrote:
The color issue with the hooligan meeples. If I recall, the rules have them as two shades of yellow, rather than purple and yellow.

Yes, I forgot about that one. The change to the hooligan meeple color was made too late in production for the rulebook to be changed also, but we'll update it for future printings.

fullbloodlion wrote:
The VIP meeples not being listed in the components.

This was intentional. There is no DELUXE-only rulebook; since all original DELUXE owners got theirs from Kickstarter, they can find the rules for the DELUXE-only content on that platform. That way, the folks who purchase the game at retail aren't confused by finding reference to content they don't have in their copies. (That is a common complaint for KS games that go on to find success at retail.)

fullbloodlion wrote:
The Plot Twist that has you add more hooligans lacks an explanation of how to do so when you (technically) only have 10 of them.

The only copies with this plot twist card are DELUXE copies, which do have the 8 extra meeples required. However, due to the factory packout mixup, you have to swap the colors of hooligans and VIPs to play with this plot twist.

fullbloodlion wrote:
In the initial setup, the example layout has attractions and lab tiles switched from where they are explained as being (attractions are listed as being immediately right of the board, but they are shown immediately right of the lab tiles).

Good eye! Minor, but I'll see if we can't get that fixed — as well as the lab upgrade outline graphic on the Market Board having the angle-cut on the wrong corner.
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If you do rearrange the position of the Market items, I highly recommend putting the attractions directly adjacent to the Market board. Since attractions are the only items that require adding their cost to the row cost, it helps players to have both costs right next to each other.

Of course, that means the Market board should be updated to switch the position of the attraction and lab upgrade stacks. That way you can refill the Market tableau left to right by going top down through the supply stacks. To use Excel as a reference, stack 1 goes in column A, stack 2 in column B, and stack 3 in column C. Nice and tidy.
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Russell McKinney
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Just to preface this, none of these issues are huge, game-altering problems. They are just things I noticed going through the rules, that I felt like should have been caught. I'm not trying to throw you under the bus or anything!

FreedomGunfire wrote:
fullbloodlion wrote:
The color issue with the hooligan meeples. If I recall, the rules have them as two shades of yellow, rather than purple and yellow.

Yes, I forgot about that one. The change to the hooligan meeple color was made too late in production for the rulebook to be changed also, but we'll update it for future printings.


Understandable!

FreedomGunfire wrote:
fullbloodlion wrote:
The VIP meeples not being listed in the components.

This was intentional. There is no DELUXE-only rulebook; since all original DELUXE owners got theirs from Kickstarter, they can find the rules for the DELUXE-only content on that platform. That way, the folks who purchase the game at retail aren't confused by finding reference to content they don't have in their copies. (That is a common complaint for KS games that go on to find success at retail.)


I guess that is my complaint. There should be a deluxe-only rulebook, at least in my opinion. What if someone sells their copy later down the line? Or someone bought it to give as a gift to someone. I don't like dealing in 'what ifs', but I think, for the sake of covering all bases, two different rule books should have been printed.

That being said, I am pretty ignorant to how making a board game works, so it might not have been feasible, and if that is the case just disregard everything I'm saying. However, if it was just a matter of saying "print x number of these specific rulebooks, and everything else gets printed like this," then I feel like it would have been beneficial to do that.

FreedomGunfire wrote:
fullbloodlion wrote:
The Plot Twist that has you add more hooligans lacks an explanation of how to do so when you (technically) only have 10 of them.

The only copies with this plot twist card are DELUXE copies, which do have the 8 extra meeples required. However, due to the factory packout mixup, you have to swap the colors of hooligans and VIPs to play with this plot twist.


Right. We figured that out afterward, but it was just a point to touch on as an example of things in the rules not being clear.

FreedomGunfire wrote:
fullbloodlion wrote:
In the initial setup, the example layout has attractions and lab tiles switched from where they are explained as being (attractions are listed as being immediately right of the board, but they are shown immediately right of the lab tiles).

Good eye! Minor, but I'll see if we can't get that fixed — as well as the lab upgrade outline graphic on the Market Board having the angle-cut on the wrong corner.


Oh yeah, both of those things are minor. It's just another thing that I noticed going through the rules, and figured you'd like to know!
 
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I received recently my extreme edition from the 2nd KS and the rulebook still mentions the gold and yellow meeple at the explanation of 4. PARK PHASE 2nd paragraph Attrack Visitors: it says ...draw patrons (gold),......draw hooligans (yellow)
The rulebook illustrations are yellow and pink which is ok, but the plot twist of 0,5,5 hooligans still has yellow meeples. The additional plot twist for x-treme edition the one that adds hooligans the meeple color its ok but the one for the VIPs has a lighter pink that almost matches the card's background you should have used the same purple color from the Purple DNA die card.

And after mentioning all of those things, I want to say that I'm enjoying the game of course, and I haven't opened yet the totally liquid expansion.

Cheers
 
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