One quick note, the photos in this review are of my Kickstarter version of Dinosaur World. This just means that my dinosaur meeples are screen printed and the coins are metal.
Life Uh… Finds A Way
Dinosaur World may sound very similar to its predecessor Dinosaur Island, but the gameplay is a whole new experience. Each round, players send workers to buy attractions and dinosaur paddocks. However, this time from the central island boards which hold all the tiles. This opens the game up, and players are now presented with a veritable smorgasbord of options. Players can choose to gain tiles from these during the first stage of the round, or Public Action Phase. This is how players fill their parks up with the whacky and wonderful sites on offer, such as the Triceratops Ring Toss.
At the end of each round, a set number of tiles are discarded and new ones are brought in, filtering down into the spaces available. In two-player games this can feel a little slow, especially at the start when people might not be buying many attractions. This is an easy fix, however, and you can simply discard more tiles than stated in the rules.
Get In Loser, We’re Going On A Jeeple Tour
Another big change comes towards the end of each round when players go on a Jeeple Tour. This new stage has players ferrying visitors around their private park. Stopping at attractions and gaining the Excitement printed on the ones they visit. However, players can only visit so many attractions per tour. Throughout the game, players have the option to move up the track on their Jeeple Tour, which works in much the same way as upgrading Security. This also unlocks end-of-round bonuses so can be a real help in a pinch.
The Jeeple Tour stage injects a dose of reality into the game and also presents a charming logistical puzzle. As you start each tour from the Welcome Centre tile, players must consider where they place attractions to keep them accessible. As new tiles have to be connected on at least one side, there is a huge amount of freedom in how you build your park. At the end of round three, the Welcome Centre tile will move three spaces away and become the Park Entrance. This means you have to think carefully about where to put your attractions so that you can still get to them later in the game.
Bored To Extinction
To give Dinosaur World an even greater sense of reality, the game now features a new Boredom mechanic. As players visit attractions on their Jeeple Tour, each site gains one Boredom. This reduces the amount of Excitement on offer for each site, and goes up after you visit any attraction or dinosaur paddock. The more often people visit an attraction, the less exciting they’re going to find it. What’s more realistic than that? There is a space for these incredibly fiddly tokens on every tile so don’t worry about forgetting. This mechanic keeps the game feeling fresh. It encourages players to keep building their parks and not just rely on a handful of attractions.
The aesthetics of Dinosaur World and the quality of the components are both incredible. The artwork, from Kwanchai Moriya, Joe Shawcross, and Andrew Thompson, is stunning. Every tile pops, and the game brings your table to life (especially as it will take up pretty much all of it).
The box deserves to be a centrepiece as is, and the island boards are incredibly vibrant. There is an exquisite amount of detail on each of the attraction tiles, and it makes building your park that much more enjoyable. Before, dinosaur paddocks were a little lifeless. The use of colour now makes recreating dinosaurs that much more exciting. I would frame each and every one if I could just to have them on display. This high quality is carried through to the other components too. There are now three unique dinosaur meeples (dineeples?) for each of the three types instead of just the one from Dinosaur Island. Overall, the production quality of Dinosaur World feels worlds apart from Dinosaur Island and every aspect of this game is a delight to use.
The End Of The Road
Dinosaur World has set an incredibly high standard for all games, not just the dinosaur-themed ones. It brings in fun new mechanics of Boredom and the Jeeple Tour. Both of which inject a sense of reality to the game as well as pose fun logistical challenges for players. The game is simply beautiful and every single element in it is delightful. Dinosaur World has taken all the fun aspects from Dinosaur Island and dialled them up to 1000, while also throwing in a heap of fun additions. Overall, this game is incredibly well designed, and I will be getting it to the table as often as I can in future.