SOS Dino

RRP: £31.99
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RRP £31.99
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Watch out little dinos! The volcanoes are about to blow! SOS Dinos is a children’s co-operative game for 1-4 players. You have to work together to save four dinosaurs from peril. Four volcanoes on the board are about to spew dangerous lava! While kids can play this solo, it’s more fun working with your friends and family!SOS Dino is a tile placement game, with elements of point-…
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Category Tags , , , , SKU ZCS-SOS_D Availability 3+ in stock
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Awards

Fun for Kids

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Incredibly cute dinos
  • Graded scoring
  • Engaging for adults and kids

Might Not Like

  • Building the 3D structures
  • Dinos dying a fiery death!
  • Dinos getting squished by meteors!
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Description

Watch out little dinos! The volcanoes are about to blow! SOS Dinos is a children’s co-operative game for 1-4 players. You have to work together to save four dinosaurs from peril. Four volcanoes on the board are about to spew dangerous lava! While kids can play this solo, it’s more fun working with your friends and family!

SOS Dino is a tile placement game, with elements of point-to-point movement. On your turn you draw a lava tile from the bag. Its colour tells you which volcano lava flow you have to add it on to. In doing so, you’re filling up the board with scary lava! Once you’ve done that, you do the action on the tile. It’s either move one dinosaur, move two dinosaurs once, or move one dinosaur twice. There are some restrictions about moving certain dinosaurs at certain times.

Your aim is to move the four dinos away from the incoming lava. At the same time you want to rescue eggs, and get your prehistoric pals to safety. (That’s the four mountain tops in the four corners of the board!) You’ll have to weave the dinos around the obstacles (rocks and bushes). You’ll try to encourage the lava flow away from them with your tile placement. There’s also some meteor tiles in the bag. Draw one of these when a dinosaur sits on the matching meteor space? That’s curtains for that dino! Oh no!

SOS Dino is a charming game that children will love. It gained a nomination for the 2018 Kinderspiel des Jahres (Children’s Game of the Year) Award. That’s one of the highest accolades within the board game world! It’s easy to see why. It’s simple to play, and only takes 20 minutes. The volcanoes and mountains themselves are 3D cardboard objects, bringing a real sense of table presence. And as for the dinos themselves? They’re adorable chunky models. Your kids will fall in love with SOS Dinos!

Player Count: 1-4 Players
Time: 20 minutes
Age: 7+

SOS Dino! It’s the end of the world as we know it! It is for our 4 Dino buddies anyway. Volcanoes are erupting left, right and center. On top of that meteors are raining down on their heads. Loki’s game of Cretaceous catastrophe is another stunning cooperative offering for young ones, and not so young ones too!

Sending Out An S.O.S

Dino Valley is in serious peril. 4 colour coded volcanos will spew lava in the form of tiles in multiple directions. It’s ok though because the board is bounded by 4 mountains, get each of the four little dinosaur characters to these mountains and they’re safe. Easier said than done. The board is seeded with obstacles and bombarded with meteors over the course of the game too!
The game accommodates 1-4 players.

To begin all 4 dino figurines are placed around the central lake. This is regardless of player count as any player can and will move any Dino. Egg tokens are placed on all nest spaces, and 3D obstacles are placed on their relevant spots too. Difficulty can be set by using the spiky rock obstacles, thorny bushes or both. Next all the tiles go in the bag. These tiles will determine everything that happens through the game.

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

On your go you will draw a tile from the bag. First you will place the tile. Meteor tiles have a unique symbol that matches one square from the board, you place it there and it becomes another impassable obstacle. Lava tiles depict a lava flow, it may be straight, bent or fork. Lava tiles also have coloured flowers on them, this will tell you which of the 4 colour coded volcanos this tile attaches to. There is of course a luck element to drawing the tiles, in a game of this genre though that’s not the end of the world. There’s also decent scope for controlling the flow in a limited way, by choosing its orientation, to avoid sudden disasters.

After placement comes movement, now we can go about helping our prehistoric little buddies to safety. Each tile also shows paw prints. One print means move one Dino one space orthogonally. Two of different shades means move two dinos, one space each. You guessed it, two prints of the same shade means move one Dino twice. Simple, yeah right!

If a lava flow is stopped by an obstacle pressure builds up in that volcano. When the next tile of that colour is drawn the ‘cano blows sending more lava flows in fresh directions, eek! Meanwhile, if Nessie or one of her prehistoric peers is on a meteor space when it’s tile is drawn, well…let’s just say that Dino is, erm, “removed from the game”. While players have a modicum of control over the lava placement, as time goes on it gets harder to avoid disaster and find a safe route to the mountains.

It’s Got The Looks But Does It Got The Touch

Loki really excel at making unbelievably attractive games! SOS Dino has serious table presence with its 3D cardboard components and 4 ridiculously cute dinosaurs miniatures. There’s a fair amount of setup before your first game, popping  and constructing all the various pieces. That’s reduced to barely a few minutes thereafter though. It’s bright and beautiful and colourful.

It’s also a pleasantly tactile experience moving our heroes around the 3 dimensional terrain. Yes it engages it’s target audience visually and spatially with its art and production values. It also engages them emotionally with the moving story and cute characters. Rather wonderfully it manages to engage kids AND adults with its simple but exciting gameplay too. Honestly the tension arc is incredible in this game!

Co-operative gameplay is a great tool for teaching young minds. It’s also a way to encourage them to work for success without fostering a competitive atmosphere amongst friends or siblings. SOS Dino is a little simpler than Loki’s other fantastic recent co-op offering, Kraken Attack. Although the 7+ age recommendation is the same, my 5 year old daughter was quicker to understand this game and as a consequence enjoys it more. It’s also nice that SOS Dino doesn’t feature a win or lose ending. Rather you will score points based on how many dinosaurs and eggs you managed to whisk to safety.

SOS Dino! A Whole Lotta Lava

This game is a lot of fun! Both for its target audience and their parents, guardians or anyone else for that matter. Although there is character elimination in the game, no players can be eliminated. You simply control the dinosaur indicated by the tile you drew, this keeps everyone engaged until the end.

There’s a brilliant arc of tension that really ramps up at the end. Lava’s flowing everywhere and meteors are crashing down! What started out looking easy peasy becomes a mad dash to safety. Although the theme is pretty macabre if you think about it, my kids don’t tend to dwell on that too much thankfully.

To get all the dinos and eggs to the mountains is a tall order. When you do it there’s a real sense of achievement. Getting nothing to safety is almost impossible too, so having a score to beat from last time is a great idea and avoiding that win or lose paradigm is less deflating to young players. Although the luck element is present in drawing tiles, there’s plenty of scope for strategy. Planning and adapting your plans to the situation in key. This one does a great job of teaching kids to do just that.

SOS Dino is a beautiful board game where everyone works together toward the end goal. It’s thematic, exciting and brilliant fun, and who could say no to those adorable little Dino miniatures? I can see this game being popular in my house for a long time yet and rightly so. Loki games knocked it out of the park with this one.

Editors note: This post was originally published on January 20th, 2021. Updated on June 29th, 2022 to improve the information available.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Incredibly cute dinos
  • Graded scoring
  • Engaging for adults and kids

Might not like

  • Building the 3D structures
  • Dinos dying a fiery death!
  • Dinos getting squished by meteors!