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A game that basically lets you customize dinosaurs? Of course we had to have it!

Dinosaur boards bought from the game’s web site

The game seems simple enough. You get a species and add trait cards (up to 3) to help your species survive. You can get more species, and various trait cards can help your species protect each other. You need to feed your species, and the more food you get, the more points you get at the end of the game.

Despite this, we’re still working on our game play. Certain cards (like Cooperation) are completely useless without other trait cards (like Long Neck). Also, there are only so many other traits that work with a Carnivore trait because Carnivores can never eat plant food. You really have to understand what each individual trait does and how that trait interacts with other traits. It can get pretty complicated.

You also have to think strategically when it comes to food. If you’re the first player, you’re pretty much guaranteed that your species will get fed. If you’re the last player, you may see a species or two go extinct, unless you have Carnivores (in which case you better make sure they’re beefy otherwise they won’t be able to attack). Sometimes it can be beneficial to have a species of your own that your Carnivore(s) can eat from just in case.

Mid-game I had 8 species

Some of our favorite cards/combos:

  • Fat Tissue
  • Long Neck and Cooperation
  • Long Neck and Foraging
  • Intelligence.

The species boards can either be played horizontally or vertically. The vertical orientation does save on space, but you still need quite a bit of room to play this game. I practically took over one end of the table with my species.

The amount of time this game takes can vary wildly. If only 3 people are playing, it will take much longer than if 6 people are playing because the game ends when the deck runs out. The more people you have, the faster you’ll get through that deck. Game play also depends on how aggressive the players are. We typically don’t play a lot of Carnivores, so our major concern is usually the Watering Hole running out of food. If a lot of people have Carnivores, it’s a very different game.

Even though we still make plenty of mistakes when playing, this game is pretty high on our list of favorites.

Near the end I’d lost a few species

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