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Subject: How Many Games Feature Continental Drift? rss

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Tim Rogers
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I picked this game up at a board game auction, and the major selling points at the time were: "it's got an orange box", and "this game features continental drift". Fortunately, it has a few more aspects than those to recommend it, and I thought a quick review was in order.

Each player is represented by a herd of dinosaurs (pretty cool!), and is responsible for the spreading of that herd across the vast continents that are soon to form from the initial game board, initially composed of hexagonal tiles which are all touching (see below).
(Everyone starts with a few dinosaurs on the board)

For the rest of the game, each turn you must play a card which forces you to move a land tile, with the rule that the tile you move must end up further from the South Pole (the center tile) than where it started (sort of an inverse Carcassonne mechanic here). Any dinos which lived on that tile, are left behind as "swimmers", as any table without a tile on it is considered water. But worry not dinosaur rights activists, these guys are quite rescuable on later turns, and typically very little dino death occurs.
(poor white has quite a few dinos that need saving)

The rest of your turn is spent moving dinosaurs, reproducing them, and saving them from watery death using an action point system (similar to Tikal if you're familiar with that game).

If by moving your tile you form a new continent, and then proceed to add your recently taken tile to that continent, it scores, based on majority. It should be noted that unless you have dinosaurs on a land mass, you are no longer able to drift tiles away from that continent, making it important in many cases to make sure you spread your dinosaurs out as to have many options during the drift phase. After several turns, many new continents will inevitably form, and the effects of continental drift will be felt by all.


Often continents will reconnect and then disconnect again, resulting in continents scoring more than once. This can be an important strategy in the midgame. But the midgame can't last forever, and eventually the meteorite card comes out that signals the end of the game (sorry dinosaur rights activists... I guess dino death does occur). The majority of your points usually usually come from the end of the game when all of the continents undergo the final scoring, where again, majority is used to calculate who gets the points, but this time your points are proportional to the size of the continent. As in most games, the most number of points wins.

Although the mechanics used in the game are nothing particularly creative, it's the combination of them all that makes a game that's fun and interesting to play. The correct decision is never entirely clear, and every rule seems to try and capture the theme of the game which is always nice to see.

A few additional points you might be interested in:
I think this game plays well with any number of players (2-5).
The time the game takes to play doesn't scale up with the number of players as the meteorite comes at about the same point in the game regardless.
Dinosaurs and continental drift are two things never to be missed out on.
The terrain tiles are a little dull with little variation.
It's clear that some versions of this game have better components than others (different types of dinosaurs, cubes... look at the image database for details)

A quick summary:
Fun/Theme:
Mechanics:
Components:
Weight:

And for those who just want some rating on an arbitrary scale: 7/10
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Daniel Danzer
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Stuttgart
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Dinosaur Chess



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Tim Rogers
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I have to say, that game looks pretty fantastic .
 
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Riva
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    Conquest of Pangea as well.

    The package says the game is for ages 12 and up. Now that you've played, where would you put the low end for age, both for when an adult is in the mix, and when kids are on their own?

             Sag.
 
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Jim Cote
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Die Magier von Pangea
 
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Tim Rogers
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Sag,

Having very little experience playing board games with kids, I don't know if I'm the best qualified to make that assessment. However, I do work with children sometimes, and they seem pretty bright, so I would probably put the lower limit on this game to 10 if an adult was around to help explain a few things. And I think 12 is about right if it's just a group of kids on their own.

In other news, there are way more games featuring continental drift than I thought! This almost feels like a Geeklist... that being said, I've started one!

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/26488
 
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John Farrell
Australia
Rozelle
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Averagely Inadequate
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Buster Keaton from 'Go West'
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Urland
 
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Chris Shaffer
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I have a 9 year old who regularly plays games pegged 2 years above her age. While she might be able to get the mechanics, I don't think she could handle the strategy. She'd make legal plays but lose badly.
 
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