Dodos Riding Dinos is a very light hearted enjoyable game to pull out. In the game you are given a team of racers comprised of a Dodo and a Dino buddy. The duo will compete against other teams to be the first to cross the finish line in a scramble against the other opponents. Throughout the course of the game you will push, slide, dive, trip up and sabotage the other players in myriad of comical ways. The game combines card play, strategically choosing when to play certain types of cards, with party style activities involving throwing a myriad of pieces at your opponent’s minis or meeples on the table (dependant on the version you get). If you want to trip up your opponents with a banana, toss the piece at the board. If you want to drop a meteorite to send the other players back, have at it. Dodo’s Riding Dinos is a family friendly, party style six player race that’s bound to entertain and give a number of laughs and memorable moments. Most importantly, it’s the only racing game to date I have played where literally anyone can win, even if you are trailing in last place, which I will elaborate on shortly.
Components & Storage
The quality of this game is very good. The boards have fantastic art that it vivid and really pops on the table, both boards in the kickstarter version are also double sided, I think only one is included in the retail version. The cards are great quality with some excellent art that is comically funny and suits the playful fun theme. There is two chunky dice which look great and stand out and a variety of meeple pieces which represent the various teams. There is a dodo first player token and lastly the various pieces you will be throwing at the opposition including a Log, Feather, Egg, Meteorite and Banana.
However, if you pick up the Kickstarter version of the game you will get a phenomenal set of hilarious miniatures representing the teams included in the game based on the card art. These are all very nicely detailed minis. They paint up exceptionally well as you may see in my pictures included. It must be stated though, I feel they don’t need to be painted they look fantastic as they come out of the box so don't feel this is a requirement. Each miniature is made in its own unique colour plastic which makes it incredibly easy to identify on the board.
All of this culminates in an exceptionally well produced product from both the art and quality side. On the storage front the components all fit into the box without issue and remain within the compartments when the lid is closed and the box transported around. I can only attest to the Kickstarter version for storage but I have had no issues. It packs up and away quickly and efficiently.
The core game play is straight forward to follow, you will have a hand of cards to play which also represents your life. Each turn you must play one card to move your dodo/dino team around. However various effects can cause you to discard them faster, such as the text effects or from taking damage from other players. When your hand reaches 0 cards you will have to move back three squares before you draw a new full hand. This creates a kind of strategic tension where you want to avoid running out of cards as it sets you back.
As for the cards there are three types; Green, can be played anytime as interrupts. Blue are standard cards that allow you to move at a reasonable pace with a variety of varying effects. Red cards are most powerful versions that can be played, they do a myriad of things however you will only execute
the ability of the card if you are the only person to play a red card that turn. So being strategic in your timing is key, alongside a fair bit of luck that is. Whether or not you were the only person to play a red card you will still move the number of spaces it says so you aren't completely out of a turn if you play a red card at the same time as another player. The only other distinct rule is each team comes with a single unique power. These powers all act very differently making use of yours can really make a difference to the game.
That’s the game in a nutshell, you play cards in an effort to be the first to cross the finish. Each round will progress till a turn ends where any number of players have crossed the finish and the person in the lead at the end of that round is the ultimate winner.
So firstly I say this all the time for Dodos Riding Dinos, this is genuinely the first ever racing board game that I have played where you have no idea who will win. Typically in other racing style games eventually someone pulls ahead and the winner becomes quite obvious before the games climax. In Dodos Riding Dinos anyone can claim victory even if they are trailing in last place. They can pull out a card that can allow for a devious twist of events that sees them jump right to front, dashing across the finish stealing the win. This exact scenario happened in one of our sessions. Now this unpredictability might not be to everyone’s taste, but I really like this aspect of the game. No one ever feels truly out of the game being able to manipulate it to claim victory in the variety of ways Dodos Riding Dinos offers.
Dexterity is an important part of this game too. A vast majority of the cards allow you to interact with the game by throwing, tossing or flicking objects onto the board in an effort to hit the other players pieces. It helps to be reasonably good at aiming but adds to the hilarity when you are not up to par and the piece flies across the room or simply drops from your hand to the table. It's an aspect that anyone of any age can enjoy, simple but hugely fun.
The art, miniatures and boards are absolutely fantastic quality throughout. This is a game where they made sure the production, design and theme were executed well. If you get the kickstarter version of the game it has two double sided boards. One side is just for a standard game the other three sides offer their own unique rules and mechanisms changing up the game in a variety of ways. Each side has both an inner course suitable for shorter sessions and an outside course ideal for those longer games. The visuals of these boards is fantastic they look absolutely lovely and stand out on the table. The space theme with the shiny finish is particularly impressive.
Although the game states it's from 1-6 players we have played with more so I don't know why you can't exceed the player count quoted. Which makes this a perfect party game. The rules are simple enough that I can also see many kids easily getting to grips with how it plays.
Lastly the best highlight for me is its accessibility. It's easy to learn, to teach, to play, to lay out and fit in a session. It does everything I wanted the game to achieve. From its early kickstarter conception to hitting my table it did not disappoint in any way. The game was received so well the company ran a second kickstarter for the game which I backed. It will add more Dino/Dodo teams and rules. With a third and final release planned for the future. This is a game with future support and longevity.
Dodos Riding Dinos gave me the experience I wanted and expected from its early conception on kickstarter. It's a humorous theme, simple game offering a huge amount of enjoyment. Its theme works exceptionally well allowing it to reach a wider audience. Who doesn't love dinosaurs after all, throw in some cute dodo's it's a match made in heaven. The simplicity really speaks for this game not everything has to be super complicated sometimes you just want a game to hit the table quick and have a blast. This game does just that for me and my group. I can't wait to see what's in the future for the second and third expansion. Definitely a game I highly recommend.