23 February 2017
Worker placement title sees players collecting DNA to resurrect prehistoric species
If there’s one idea that never fails to quicken pulses and get blood flowing faster, it’s the suggestion that dinosaurs could be brought back to life, Jurassic Park-style, using DNA preserved in amber. (Just try and forget about what happens afterwards, huh? We’re sure it’ll go right this time.)
The latest tabletop venture to take a stab at the concept is Dinosaur Island, a non-too-subtle play on the idea of exhibiting resurrected the prehistoric creatures in a theme park co-designed by Dead of Winter creator Jon Gilmour and Titans of Industry author Brian Lewis.
Set to be published by Machi Koro label Pandasaurus Games (we’re pretty sure a Pandasaurus is not a real dinosaur, but what do we know?), Dinosaur Island acts as somewhat of a utopian prequel to Jurassic Park’s tale as players place workers and roll pools of dice to gather preserved DNA and combine the strands to bring species back to life.
What’s particularly nice is the alternative neon-soaked late ‘80s/early ’90s artwork that artists Kwanchai Moriya (Kodama) and Peter Wocken (Dead of Winter) have contributed to the project, which helps to separate the game from being a simple Jurassic Park knock-off and embraces the high-concept science-fiction theme.
Bringing the animals back isn’t enough, either – players will also have to run their theme park, reviving the dinosaurs currently in vogue with visitors, upgrading their laboratory and ensuring that velociraptors and other potentially deadly lizards stay safely enclosed. (And, yes, they can escape and start chowing down on the visiting public.)
One of the title’s touted features is an adjustable game length, taking from around an hour up to two-and-a-half hours to complete with any number of players. The designers also make a big deal of the so-called ‘plot twist’ mechanic, two cards randomly drawn at the beginning of the game that twist the rules to make each match unique.
If that wasn’t tempting enough, there’s also custom dinosaur meeples in the box.
The standard game is $60 (£48) (plus $25/£20 shipping to the UK) on Kickstarter, with a release planned for this August. The crowdfunding campaign has already raised more than $75,000 (£60,000), smashing its initial $15,000 (£12,000) target, and will run until March 25th.