Welcome to Dinoworld Kickstarter Review

Welcome to Dinowrorld Review

You’ll have to be resourceful, inventive and more than a little creative to succeed in Welcome to Dinoworld, standing on the shoulders of giants isn’t an option, even when that giant was your previous victory.  Far, far from it, and so much like the dinosaurs from that movie I’m going to quote the hell out of in this review, you’ll have to find a way…to make those dice work for you.

There’s no disputing that Roll & Write games are a hot mechanic currently (Welcome to…,Ganz schön clever, Railroad Ink), and there also seems to be an increasing number of dinosaur themed games appearing (Dinosaur Island, Dinosaur Tea Party, Jurassic Snack) recently too.  But I’m here to tell you that this isn’t just a case of slapping it on a lunch box and selling it.  

Welcome to Dinoworld is the charming and brain-burning puzzle that has been around in some form or another since GenCon 2014.  In 2017 it won the GenCant Roll and Write contest, earning itself artwork from the wonderful Beth Sobel.  It then went on to be picked up by Alley Cat Games where it was further developed and refined by designers James O’Connor, Nick Shaw and Dávid Turczi.  If the history and pedigree of this game isn’t enough for you (or if you want to see how many Jurassic Park references there are in this review) then please, Welcome to Dinoworld. 

Welcome to Dinowrorld Review

The premise really needs no explanation, you’re building a dinosaur theme park where you and your fellow park managers are vying for fame and visitors.  As you would expect big and bad is best, but these dinos come with the added trouble of needing more generators to power the fences and take up a lot of space in your park.  Mechanically too, the game is very simple and easy to pick up, one player rolls three dice, each player then individually “spends” those dice in their park to build paths, amenities and dinosaur enclosures. How you spend those precious, fickle dice, is completely your choice.  And, oh, what choices!

Welcome to Dinowrorld Review

Welcome to Dinoworld is a little bit like a jigsaw puzzle, except you don’t know what the finished picture looks like, and you are creating all the pieces as you go.  Each dino pen has to cover a number of squares, it can be any shape but it has to be at least X big.  All your carnivores also need electrified fencing and, depending on how big and nasty they are, you made need more power generators adjacent.  On top of this, you need to connect each paddock to a path which ideally snakes through your park effortlessly, but in reality, will probably look more like a three-year-old practising their letters.

Welcome to Dinowrorld Review

In Welcome to Dinoworld, you need a plan, but you also need to accept and be fully prepared for that plan to go to shit.  Every idea and scheme for you park will to be mentally mapped out, you’ll be counting tiles, moving your pen over the lines—not quite touching the paper—in an attempt to solidify the idea that is in your head ready for next turn or the turn after.  You’re not just building a dinosaur park, you’re building empty space, planning for a Protoceratops to drop into that perfect gap later, or for the Hatchery to fill in this space in a later turn and drive some bonus points.

However, you can’t go counting your dinosaurs before they’ve hatched, because, if there is one thing more immutable than “Life will find a way” it is that “the Dice Gods HATE you”.  It will most certainly be the case whenever your next turn hinges on a 4, 5 or 6 coming up, the fickle dice will show you anything but what you need.  This game isn’t all about chance though, as it does offer you some powerful, yet sparse ways to mitigate those dice with the free research action.  These are a small stack of cards (X, Y and Z) that can be used by any player at any point in the game to adjust the dice (but only for you).  However, these actions can only be taken a number of times, with the most powerful only being used once.

Welcome to Dinowrorld Review

A game about dinosaurs, or a movie or book for that matter, simply wouldn’t be exciting if there wasn’t the risk/absolute certainty that the dinosaurs at some point would escape.  In ‘Easy’ mode you don’t have the concern about dinosaurs escaping at all, this version of the game allows you to simply sandbox and enjoy the process of building your park and competing for visitors.  Danger Mode is, as the name implies, Dangerous.  There isn’t a huge amount you can do to lower the chance of dinosaurs damaging their pens (which they do before finally escaping) except building carefully and with a great deal of thought.  The risk of escape hinges on a dice roll after the park building (R&D) phase but not exclusively, there is just enough you can do to feel like you are in control.

This dice-rolling risk adds an escalating thrill as the dinosaurs progressively damage their pens over the course of the rounds, that you’ll see that escape coming and yet you are driven to grow and grow.  Yes, it very, very frustrating that my herd of Brachiosaurs break out of their pens on the very last turn, but it is my fault because I got greedy taking a risk building that last, small, Compsognathus which tipped me over the edge.

Welcome to Dinowrorld Review

At the end of the game, these parks tell a story, you can see how your park evolved, where the dangers and opportunities were.   Like a fable, each time you play you’ll learn a new lesson, about greed, risks, about over stretching yourself so you’ll take those lessons and you play again, and even though there a few tangible differences between games, it will feel like a whole new story.

Welcome to Dinoworld is live on Kickstarter right now and is certainly worth a look. 

This Kickstarter preview is based on a prototype version of the game provided by the publisher; the final product may look, play or smell different to that used in this preview.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment