Ok, so I have to start with a disclaimer and say that I am a massive dinosaur nerd, so a game that allows me to create my own park a-la Jurassic Park is definitely going to get my interest. That’s what we have with the new Roll and Write installment from Alley Cat games – Welcome to Dino World – so when I was given the opportunity to review it, I naturally jumped on it like a Raptor on a T-rex.
Roll and Writes are the games of the moment, from things like Ganz Schon Clever (which is one of my favourite mobile apps) through to Welcome To.. they have been on the top of many reviewer’s lists for the last year or so now. So it is predictable that Welcome to Dino World has already hit its funding goal at the time of writing this article. But does it meet the hype, or is it just riding on the coat tails of other great roll and writes?
I have played a few games of this and can highly recommend as a fun short game. One of the great things about Welcome to Dino World is that there are 2 levels of difficulty – a light mode and a danger mode. At this time I have only played in light mode, which is a fun experience in itself, where danger mode adds in the added difficulty and strategy of maintaining security around the pens.
The aim of the game is to have the highest points at the end of the game – 8 rounds in the ‘Light’ mode. A single player rolls the dice for the table and players must make a decision, within their grid paper, what they would like to do. This can involve building pens for dinosaurs, building paths in the theme park, or adding special buildings. Each of these tasks uses up pips on the die, and once used the round moves on. Players must remember to add power for the majority of their dinosaur pens which makes sure that they remain contained. Even in the Light version this adds an extra level of complexity as power stations can be shared across pens which means that the space can be maximised if you have thought ahead.
After the Action phase, players can choose to take cards that signify achievements that they have met which allow them to gain further victory points at the end of the game. Play continues until the rounds end, at which times points are tallied which include your pens, remaining power supply, special buildings and achievements.
If you are at all on the fence about this one, another great thing is that Alley Cat games are offering the Print and Play files for this game for free at the moment, so you can give it a go before committing to pledging for the game.
The game plays super quickly and there is very little down time, so it is constant thinking at all times. This may prove to be painful for some people with analysis paralysis and may make them feel that they have ‘underdone’ their theme park. I would recommend a time limit on phases for these people, but that is something that I would recommend regardless for playing with someone that is AP prone.
I have to admit that Welcome to Dino World really blew me away with it’s theming and game play and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get into roll and writes, or anyone wanting to add to their collection. This is a game that I can easily see sitting in the Top 5 roll and writes of all time for a very long time. You can currently pick it up for a little under $40 (plus postage) on Kickstarter and for the amount of fun and utility (Light and Danger modes plus solo) that you will get from this game, it is well worth the price.
To me, this is what board gaming is all about. I mean I love the games with massive boards and thousands of plastic miniatures, but the ability to get such great enjoyment out of a few dice and some coloured card is really where the hobby shines. It’s not really about what is in front of you, but what the game elicits in you that really makes the fun.