Welcome to DinoWorld is 1-99 player roll and write game all about creating a dinosaur park. It's from publisher Alley Cat Games (Dice Hospital, Pocket Pharma, Lab Wars and Cauldron Master). Players use dice to build special buildings, power generators and dinosaur pens, draw paths to connect to the park’s entrance and attempt to stop dinosaurs attempting to escape.
Although the gameplay is straightforward the decisions are not. There are three phases to a round; R&D, Claim Visitors and Update Round Tracker.
At the start of the R&D phase one of the players will roll three dice. All players then use these dice to perform various actions. Each die can only be used once and each action can only be performed once. The dice can be combined if a player chooses. The actions available in the R&D phase are:
- Build a Dino Pen.
- Build a Path.
- Build a Special Building.
- Use a Research Ability (this is a free action).
The pip value of the die will determine which Dinosaur Pen can be drawn. A Dinosaur Pen must be connected to an existing path already drawn. Dinosaur Pens are also required to be adjacent to a power generator. If when drawing a new Pen it is not connected to a generator then 1 must be drawn. Depending on the Dinosaur Pen drawn they may require to be connected to multiple generators.
The shape of the path will be determined by the pip value of the die. A player can draw multiple paths as a single action as long as the total value of the paths does not exceed the pip value of the die.
Special buildings can be built depending on the die value selected. A 1,2,3 will be a special building for visitors and a 4,5,6 will be for the dinosaurs. These special buildings will have certain restrictions on where they can be placed on how they score.
As a free action (i.e. does not require a die) a player can select a Research Ability which allows the player to adjust a die results by one. The die is not actually changed as other players are also using it. But it allows a building, path or Dino Pen to be built that would not normally be allowed based on the die roll.
After all players have taken their actions a player can now claim a visitor card assuming they have met the requirements detailed on the card. These visitor cards give victory points at the end of the game.
Update Round Tracker
After all players have claimed any visitor card they can then the round tracker is updated. After eight rounds the game ends and the player with the most victory points wins. Victory points are awarded for Dino Pens, Special Buildings, Visitor Cards, Unused Power Generators.
Welcome to DinoWorld comes with two modes of play; Light Mode (as discussed above) and Danger Mode. Danger Mode plays out similar to Light Mode but with an added action. Players can add Security to their Dino Park depending on their die roll. There is also an extra phase called "Power Outage" where the Power Generators may malfunction based on a Threat Level.
The Threat Level is calculated by rolling a single die with each player then adds this to the difference between their Threat Track and their Security Track. Depending on this value will determine which Dino Pens will be damaged. If a Dino Pen gets completely destroyed then the Dino escapes. If a Dino does escape its Pen it deals one extra damage to an adjacent touching Pens and destroys any adjacent special buildings.
Roaring Thoughts on Welcome to DinoWorld
Welcome to DinoWorld is a fantastic roll and write game with some meaningful choices. I have played the print and play version multiple times and really enjoyed it. The rules are easy to grasp and understand, however the choices feel meaningful and varied. There is a good selection of special buildings and visitor cards available in the print and play, and hopefully there will be more in the final game.
The gameplay is smooth and flows well. Turns are pretty quick and the game offers a fascinating spatial puzzle of where to build your Dino Pens, where to position the power generators for maximum efficiency and when and where to place special buildings. The visitor cards also add to the gameplay and the choices you make.
All in all Welcome to DinoWorld is a fantastic game and I am eagerly awaiting its release on Kickstarter. For me this is an instant back. I enjoy roll and write games but this one just adds something extra to the genre. The addition of the danger mode is nice to see as it increase the complexity of the game slightly and offers more flexibility with who the game can be played with.
I got the pleasure of meeting Caezar from Alley Cat Games in person to play Welcome to DinoWorld. It was nice to see his passion for his games and the gaming industry. Be sure to check out Kickstarter for the launch of Welcome To DinoWorld.