Arnaldo Horta Jr
The past two years, I have created Geeklists on dexterity games. This is partly because they are the easiest games to play with my son, and partly because I find them intriguing.
Recently, a friend demoed Dino Dunk, a dexterity game that combines flicking, basketball and dinosaurs in to one mixture. How can this go wrong?
In Dino Dunk, You choose 5 dinosaurs out of 10 possible ones to form a basketball team. Your team must consist of 1 large dino, 3 medium minos and one small dino. There are 2 large, 6 medium and 2 small dinos, respectively to choose from. Each of the dinos has a special power: one gets a free pass action if you pass to them, one gets a "box out" ability, and there are many others. There is also a small disk that represents the ball.
On your turn, you may activate exactly two dinos. Before activaion, you have to indicate which of the four actions you will take: move (flick your dino disk), pass (flick the ball and try to hit one of your teammates), shoot (flick the ball towards the basket) or dunk (but the ball on your dino's disk and then flick your dino toward the basket). Note that the large dinos can only score by dunking and the others can only score by shooting. If the ball or your disk (in the case of a dunk) overlaps the basket space, you score.
On defense you only can move. However, if you hit the ball without hitting the player holding the ball (sometimes harder than it sounds) then you become the offensive team.
Note that there is a shot clock in the game. Once you have the ball, you have 6 turns to score (or more depending upon whether you have been fouled).
There are rules for dealing with fouling, loose balls and out of bounds plays. However, it its's core, the game is pretty simple.
The gameboard is a two-sided neoprene mat and the court on each side is a little different, changing the style of play a bit. The disks slide smoothly over this surface. The disks also come in a variety of sized depending upon the size of the dinos, and large disks are both larger and thicker. The disks come with stickers so you can tell the various dinos and cards with pictures of the dinos and their various abilities. The cards are of decent , not stellar, quality and the fact that they don't get shuffled during the game means that they should last.The game also comes with a board that keeps trach of both the score and the time on the shot clock. The board comes with slots for a small wooded disk, guaranteeing that an errant push will not get the disk to fly around in a "Terraforming Mars" fashion.
The insert is perfectly functional, with a spot for the rolled-up mat, the tokens and the cards, which would easily fit sleeved. My oonly complaint here is that there is no slot for the scoreboard. It just sits on top, so if you don't roll the mat tightly, the box top can rise up a bit. No big deal...just roll the mat up right and you are good to go.
The rules are clear for the most part. The game is slightly more complicated than it looks at first glance, and the rules about fouling and turnovers could be clearer, but all in all it works.
Note that the art is on the cartoony side, which fits the theme of the gamer. It is nice and colorful.
Dino Dunk is not the only flicking basketball game I own. I also own a copy of Pitch'n Dunk, a game that plays the basketball straighter and is interesting in its own right. In some ways, the combination of powers, rules for fouling and player sized makes Dino Dunk actually slightly deeper a flicking game (Pitch'n Dunk does have rules for traveling that Dino Dunk does not have but the rules complexity is similar.) The interaction of the powers is interesting, and there are enough different dinos to choose from so that you can configure your team to your own style. If you are playing with younger kits, there are Exhibition rules that remove the powers and simplify a few of the rules, but at it's base complexity my 9 year old had no problems. You can easily adjust the length of the game to meet any attention span.
As a fan of dexterity games, I was already predisposed to liking this game. The two different boards and the various powers add more depth to the game than I was expecting, but one good flick can make all your planning for naught. This game checks all the right boxes, and the combination od deceptive depth and colorful art and theme give this game appeal to all ages. I definitely like this game and recommend it.
Thank you for taking the time to write this review, and it's always great to meet another dexterity game enthusiast. I'm glad you enjoyed this one!