Chris Stockdale
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As usual in my reviews, I won’t be significantly rehashing the rules here, as those are readily available if people are interested. Instead I will be focusing on my opinion of the game itself, and the various gameplay mechanisms of the game.

Experience with the game:
I backed the kickstarter for this game. I was debating heavily between Dinogenics and Dinosaur Island which were running around the same time, but settled on… both! So I’ll have some comparison at the end of this about the two games and which one I think is better. I’ve played it a number of times, but I don’t do much solo gaming so I’ve never tried the solo.

Rules clarity:
The rules are actually very straightforward in this game, but… the rulebook is not as clear as it could be. There are little things they could do to improve it. I found I had to reference the rulebook often during our plays of the game and some rules were difficult to find quickly and stalled the momentum of the game. An index would have been really nice. One example is when dinosaurs rampage. The rules section on that is fairly clear, but… it doesn’t actually say during each part that you take a scandal token, it mentions it at the end of the page. It makes thematic sense to take one, sure, but someone questioned it in one of our games, and it took us a long time to find it in the rulebook. In fact since the part of the rulebook in a special text box that tells you what to do when a dinosaur eats someone doesn’t actually say take a scandal token our initial ruling was to say I guess you didn’t as crazy as that sounded. Then because that made no sense we re-read most of the rulebook and found it again. It’s little things like this that are a problem with the rulebook. It needs some fine-tooth editing to make it easier to reference, and to make it more clear.

Another example is your hand limit. Turns out your DNA hand limit is 10, but this is only mentioned during the setup section. It should be somehow indicated during the section on taking DNA as an action… but it is conspicuously absent. Or on the back of the rulebook when it sways your action options it should be in parenthesis or something so you remember. It was another thing we had to reference during the game once and couldn’t find it for a very long time because who thinks to look in setup?

These are just a couple of examples, but it was a theme in the rulebook in general. Overall the rules are simple, but the rulebook could use some work. This game should be even easier to learn than it is, and certainly you shouldn’t have to just remember all of those. Thankfully the game itself (spoiler alert) is excellent, so I can overlook this problem.

Components and Art:
The game just shines here. The art take is serious when it comes to dinosaurs, and I appreciate that. The game feels like Jurassic park in it’s art style. The personal player boards are a very nice think material with recessed places for fences and buildings. The carboard chits are thick heavy quality. The coins are serviceable. The cards are very nice quality as well. Iconography is generally very clear, some of the buildings have very small writing, but once you understand the iconography it is all pretty easy to understand.

The best part of the game is the dinosaur meeples. Each dinosaur has it’s own type and they are fantastic meeples. The coloring schemes also works great because it just takes a glance around a park to see what people have in their parks and how prevalent carnivores are.

One small thing that could be improved (besides the tiny print) is that the places that are blocked during lower player counts on the main board could be more clear. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason why they couldn’t have had little icons on the main board to signify which places to cover at lower player counts (like what Kitchen Rush does would work). It’s not a major problem, but it does mean one tiny tedious step during setup that would have been very easily avoidable.

The insert is poor, and I’ll be working on a replacement for it soon.

Gameplay:
It’s worker placement, plain and simple. You have some hand management and there is a live market of DNA which adds a nice mechanic to the game. You build your own personal park by taking actions on the main board and then applying them to your own park. This means building facilities, getting goats to feed to your dinosaurs, building fences, buying DNA form the market, playing manipulation cards (think action cards), creating dinosaurs from DNA etc. Then you have a phase at the end to see if any of your dinosaurs rampage (as in eat your patrons) and then move on to the next season. The rampages are completely avoidable if you want to run a completely safe park, and are determined once triggered by dice roll.

Luck as a factor:
There are two major sources of luck in the game, both of which can be mitigated to some degree but still are ever present. The largest one is the DNA deck. You may have thoughts of building a T-Rex in your park, but if you just never get the DNA it won’t be the best option to keep piling up actions going for it. So you might end up with more raptors etc. It can be mitigated to some degree with buildings and other actions, but is present. I also have noted that it becomes less of an issue as players become more experienced with the game because experienced players seem to use the market more heavily (meaning more DNA to choose from) and they learn the power of manipulation cards, which on the first few plays were less frequently used.

Scalability:
I haven’t played solo, but the game scales by decreasing the number of action spaces on the main board at lower player counts. It works well, but there are some things nice about higher player counts. The market is more fluid and since there are a finite number of each dinosaur available to create there can be a slight more of a race sometimes to grab a certain type if more than one player is going for them (like triceratops since there is a bonus for having pairs). But overall I would play at all player counts, although I haven’t played solo.

Musings:
For me, this game just works. I am a huge fan of Jurassic Park. I love the idea of a board game where you build an amusement park in general, but especially one where you build a dinosaur park. What a great idea. And this game totally captures that feeling. It isn’t terribly heavy, and it doesn’t really add any groundbreaking mechanisms to the genre of worked placement, but for me it doesn’t have to and just about everything it does it does well. I love that I can build a completely safe park if I want, or I can build a dangerous park. It’s up to me. I love that if I go big with the T-Rex I can be burned by rampages if I don’t prioritize feeding. I like that if I want to not worry about feeding there are plenty of herbivores to create. I like that I can go a completely unique route and build mutants. Overall it just works. Every dinosaur feels different from each other. Every dinosaur unique. You actually care about which dinosaur you are putting in your park because it matters. I flat out have had fun playing this game. It brings out the inner child in me while still mixing it with great solid proven game mechanics.

Comparison to Dinosaur Island:
This is the inevitable comparison right? I own both of them, and to be clear I like both of them. My review for Dinosaur Island is here if you care to read it, but to put it bluntly- I like Dinogenics more.

Perhaps the most important thing to know about the comparison between the two games is that while they both share a theme and came out at the same time and have similar ideas throughout the entire game, they are mechanically very different. Dinosaur Island is far more flashy on the table. I prefer the artwork of dinogenics but that is a matter up for debate. The dinosaurs in dinogencis actually feel different from each other, in Dinosaur Island I have the extra dinosaur meeples of tons of different shapes and honestly it is too much work to dig through for the right one because they make zero difference in the actual game. They might as well be pink cubes. Or anything really. That is not the case for dinogenics.

Dinosaur Island in my opinion has a greater potential for long-term variety, but it does this at the expense of streamlining. There are just all these little things you are moving and doing in dinosaur island that don’t really add much more fun or interest to the game. All of these phases with all of these moving parts that just feels more complicated than it needs to be. But it isn’t a complicated game. Dinogenics doesn’t have that problem. It follows the streamlined proven path that Uwe has blazed, and doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel, and in doing so, in my opinion, makes for a far more enjoyable experience.

I’ll continue owning both and playing both, but I play Dinogenics to get a feeling of building a dinosaur park. I play dinosaur island to play a game of management of different resources while moving around meeples that happen to be cute dinosaurs, but in reality could be anything.

Final Thoughts:
I’m a fan of dinogenics. It really captures the feel of a dinosaur park, plays relatively quick, and is easy to learn and pick up. Sure the rulebook needs some editing but overall I can easily say for anyone looking to create the feeling of managing a park, this is the game to add to your collection.

Score:
8.2/10

If you enjoyed my review, see my other reviews here.
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Ryan Gutowski
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I struggled to enjoy Dinosaur Island the first time I played it and you said it perfectly in this review. It feels like you're just moving things around and it feels more complicated than it actually is. I didn't enjoy Dinosaur Island and this is spot on how I felt when I finished the game.

I'm really looking forward to checking out DinoGenics now. Thanks!
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David Griffin
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In both games the dinosaurs have stats. In Dinogenics they have VP, Reputation, and pen size. In Dinosaur Island they have Excitement, Threat, and DNA cost. In a sense the Dinogenics Dinos also have DNA cost, it's just not with the stats. Dinogenics dinos have 1 special characteristic each. Sometimes it's an advantage (can be penned with other dinos). Sometimes it's a flaw (uses 2 rampage dice when rampaging). Sometimes it's a characteristic (can't be penned or needs a Biodome). It's not like there is a detailed personality rundown on each dino. It's great but I just don't see it as being that different between games.

They are both wildly different games based on identical themes. Both are quite good games and worth having. I like that Dinogenics actually has a corporation in there that is actually altruistic and trying to do good as opposed to the typical corporation in games these days which is just a bit less responsible than Umbrella corporation.zombie
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Chris Stockdale
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carbon_dragon wrote:
In both games the dinosaurs have stats. In Dinogenics they have VP, Reputation, and pen size. In Dinosaur Island they have Excitement, Threat, and DNA cost. In a sense the Dinogenics Dinos also have DNA cost, it's just not with the stats. Dinogenics dinos have 1 special characteristic each. Sometimes it's an advantage (can be penned with other dinos). Sometimes it's a flaw (uses 2 rampage dice when rampaging). Sometimes it's a characteristic (can't be penned or needs a Biodome). It's not like there is a detailed personality rundown on each dino. It's great but I just don't see it as being that different between games.

They are both wildly different games based on identical themes. Both are quite good games and worth having. I like that Dinogenics actually has a corporation in there that is actually altruistic and trying to do good as opposed to the typical corporation in games these days which is just a bit less responsible than Umbrella corporation.zombie

It's interesting because on the surface I agree with you. But when playing... the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Island just feel like yet another item to throw in your park to have people look at. It's hard to say why they feel so less like dinosaurs in DI to me, but they do.

But that isn't the biggest difference to me. The biggest difference is the mish-mashing of mechanisms in DI just doesn't do it for me as well. I'll play it, but it's a lot of fiddly for little gain.
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David Griffin
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Both games mimic the unfeeling arrogance Claire demonstrated in the initial scenes of Jurassic World. They ARE just exhibits. The dinos showed them the errors of their ways.
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Chris Stockdale
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carbon_dragon wrote:
Both games mimic the unfeeling arrogance Claire demonstrated in the initial scenes of Jurassic World. They ARE just exhibits. The dinos showed them the errors of their ways.
Good point.
Reminds me I need to go watch the original again soon. Such a good movie.
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Désirée Greverud
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chrisoc13 wrote:
carbon_dragon wrote:
In both games the dinosaurs have stats. In Dinogenics they have VP, Reputation, and pen size. In Dinosaur Island they have Excitement, Threat, and DNA cost. In a sense the Dinogenics Dinos also have DNA cost, it's just not with the stats. Dinogenics dinos have 1 special characteristic each. Sometimes it's an advantage (can be penned with other dinos). Sometimes it's a flaw (uses 2 rampage dice when rampaging). Sometimes it's a characteristic (can't be penned or needs a Biodome). It's not like there is a detailed personality rundown on each dino. It's great but I just don't see it as being that different between games.

They are both wildly different games based on identical themes. Both are quite good games and worth having. I like that Dinogenics actually has a corporation in there that is actually altruistic and trying to do good as opposed to the typical corporation in games these days which is just a bit less responsible than Umbrella corporation.zombie

It's interesting because on the surface I agree with you. But when playing... the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Island just feel like yet another item to throw in your park to have people look at. It's hard to say why they feel so less like dinosaurs in DI to me, but they do.

But that isn't the biggest difference to me. The biggest difference is the mish-mashing of mechanisms in DI just doesn't do it for me as well. I'll play it, but it's a lot of fiddly for little gain.
for me, it was the fact that dino rampages in DI just don't really mean that much and are entirely deterministic. I really like the mechanics of the game up to that point, but then the actual park part just falls flat.

The rampages in DG have some weight & meaning. and even though they are avoidable by building a safe park, when they do happen, they are random and have consequences. That's the way a dino rampage should be.
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Roman Konupcik
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DragonsDream wrote:
chrisoc13 wrote:
carbon_dragon wrote:
In both games the dinosaurs have stats. In Dinogenics they have VP, Reputation, and pen size. In Dinosaur Island they have Excitement, Threat, and DNA cost. In a sense the Dinogenics Dinos also have DNA cost, it's just not with the stats. Dinogenics dinos have 1 special characteristic each. Sometimes it's an advantage (can be penned with other dinos). Sometimes it's a flaw (uses 2 rampage dice when rampaging). Sometimes it's a characteristic (can't be penned or needs a Biodome). It's not like there is a detailed personality rundown on each dino. It's great but I just don't see it as being that different between games.

They are both wildly different games based on identical themes. Both are quite good games and worth having. I like that Dinogenics actually has a corporation in there that is actually altruistic and trying to do good as opposed to the typical corporation in games these days which is just a bit less responsible than Umbrella corporation.zombie

It's interesting because on the surface I agree with you. But when playing... the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Island just feel like yet another item to throw in your park to have people look at. It's hard to say why they feel so less like dinosaurs in DI to me, but they do.

But that isn't the biggest difference to me. The biggest difference is the mish-mashing of mechanisms in DI just doesn't do it for me as well. I'll play it, but it's a lot of fiddly for little gain.
for me, it was the fact that dino rampages in DI just don't really mean that much and are entirely deterministic. I really like the mechanics of the game up to that point, but then the actual park part just falls flat.

The rampages in DG have some weight & meaning. and even though they are avoidable by building a safe park, when they do happen, they are random and have consequences. That's the way a dino rampage should be.

Exactly. Last rampage cost me win shake
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Angelo_Vestieri wrote:
DragonsDream wrote:
chrisoc13 wrote:
carbon_dragon wrote:
In both games the dinosaurs have stats. In Dinogenics they have VP, Reputation, and pen size. In Dinosaur Island they have Excitement, Threat, and DNA cost. In a sense the Dinogenics Dinos also have DNA cost, it's just not with the stats. Dinogenics dinos have 1 special characteristic each. Sometimes it's an advantage (can be penned with other dinos). Sometimes it's a flaw (uses 2 rampage dice when rampaging). Sometimes it's a characteristic (can't be penned or needs a Biodome). It's not like there is a detailed personality rundown on each dino. It's great but I just don't see it as being that different between games.

They are both wildly different games based on identical themes. Both are quite good games and worth having. I like that Dinogenics actually has a corporation in there that is actually altruistic and trying to do good as opposed to the typical corporation in games these days which is just a bit less responsible than Umbrella corporation.zombie

It's interesting because on the surface I agree with you. But when playing... the dinosaurs in Dinosaur Island just feel like yet another item to throw in your park to have people look at. It's hard to say why they feel so less like dinosaurs in DI to me, but they do.

But that isn't the biggest difference to me. The biggest difference is the mish-mashing of mechanisms in DI just doesn't do it for me as well. I'll play it, but it's a lot of fiddly for little gain.
for me, it was the fact that dino rampages in DI just don't really mean that much and are entirely deterministic. I really like the mechanics of the game up to that point, but then the actual park part just falls flat.

The rampages in DG have some weight & meaning. and even though they are avoidable by building a safe park, when they do happen, they are random and have consequences. That's the way a dino rampage should be.

Exactly. Last rampage cost me win shake

One of my favorite rampage moments was when I was developing some of the single player scenarios. In order to get a really good score, I just needed to not roll two Skulls. So, of course, I rolled two skulls. Everything promptly went to hell, and I lost about 30 points in a single turn.
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Stephen Kuch
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Thanks for the review Chris!

Based on your thoughts, I'd really like to try this game out. I own DI and enjoy it a whole lot, but I don't really care for the artistic style and graphic design.

However, I can't seem to find it available anywhere. I never even heard about it when it was on KS, so I never had a chance to back it. I see that the game on KS was $50 + $12 for shipping, but I see the scalper prices on Ebay for $120+.

So my question is - where can I find this? DI is easily available from various places, but Dinogenics seems lost. If you are recommending to buy Dinogenics instead of DI, I'd appreciate some advice on how to actually do that.

If it IS unavailable except for the scalper prices, do you think that Dinogenics at $120+ is still a better value vs a $60 Dinosaur Island?
 
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Richard Keene
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You should not give into scalper prices.

We will be selling our remaining stock starting later this month. You can sign up to be notified about availability here: https://mailchi.mp/ninthhaven/retail

The price is going to be in the range of $65-$70.
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Stephen Kuch
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Excellent, thank you Richard!

Will the dinomeeps bonus set also be available for purchase?
 
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Artrean wrote:
Excellent, thank you Richard!

Will the dinomeeps bonus set also be available for purchase?

Keep in mind, the extra green DinoMeeple from the Kickstarter have no use in the main game. they are simply extra meeples for any rules you may make up for them. The DinoMeeples that come with the game are limited in quantity so you can't even just add the extra green DinoMeeples to the stock, unless you change the rules.
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Ghorro wrote:
Artrean wrote:
Excellent, thank you Richard!

Will the dinomeeps bonus set also be available for purchase?

Keep in mind, the extra green DinoMeeple from the Kickstarter have no use in the main game. they are simply extra meeples for any rules you may make up for them. The DinoMeeples that come with the game are limited in quantity so you can't even just add the extra green DinoMeeples to the stock, unless you change the rules.

Good to know Paul, thanks. I didn't realize that in my brief look over of the Kickstarter page. Forgot to visit the FAQ page.

That being the case, I'll probably not order them if available.
 
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Artrean wrote:
Ghorro wrote:
Artrean wrote:
Excellent, thank you Richard!

Will the dinomeeps bonus set also be available for purchase?

Keep in mind, the extra green DinoMeeple from the Kickstarter have no use in the main game. they are simply extra meeples for any rules you may make up for them. The DinoMeeples that come with the game are limited in quantity so you can't even just add the extra green DinoMeeples to the stock, unless you change the rules.

Good to know Paul, thanks. I didn't realize that in my brief look over of the Kickstarter page. Forgot to visit the FAQ page.

That being the case, I'll probably not order them if available.
I regret not ordering them.

I want to replace the animeeples in all my games with dinosaurs!! Agricola with raptors just sounds amazing.
 
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brett jones
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hi, will I be able to get this in the UK? i am torn between DI and this - but looking at it this is the superior game!
thanks
 
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Thanks for composing these insightful reviews. In the end I couldn’t decide whether to back either. Since friends were going for both it wasn’t a worry.

My first experience has been for Dinogenics. I was disappointed by it. The game play was so dull. Didn’t find it immersive at all. The hotelier decisions arbitrary. Some aspects seemed daft. e.g. Play a card which turns a Brontasaurus into half a dozen small mutant dinosaurs. The colour palette is drab, complete opposite to Dino Island! I liked the wooden meeples and goats. The way tiles stacks layer up is cute. Not much else. The rampage guidelines seem convoluted, lacking intuitive direction and it’s likely a player falls foul of a bad roll without being presented with a genuine path to mitigate such outcomes.

The reviewers opinions hang heavily on dinosaurs having special abilities, when they are featureless vanilla beasts in Dinosaur Island. Collecting sets of matching cards lacks any strategic challenge so that part will always be less satisfying than the dice interpretation and scientist placement selections of phase one in Dino Island.

Whether either game succeeds in fulfilling the look or feel of developing your own Jurassic Park remains questionable. That’s more the general consensus judging by board gamers comments that are trending.

Dinogenics reminds me more of a bad farming experience. I’m not a massive Agricola fan yet would prefer to play that. I’d be more keen to play friends copies of Dinosaur Island because despite the garrish colour scheme it does pose meaningful decisions and some decent longevity and variability.

There is more chance of me rewatching the Jurassic Park sequel movies than replaying Dinogenics. Board game fanatics must own a pile of more engaging Euro-style strategy titles.

Alternatively if anyone fancies exhibiting dinosaurs which are long dead, then I’ll bring my copy of “Lagerstätten” published by Analog Lunchbox, the worker placement game of palaeontology, along to some upcoming conventions in the UK. It is more fun I think, despite there being a threat rating of zero!
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