Most Anticipated Games of 2021 Part 4

With hundreds of new board games scheduled to be released this year, it's practically impossible to identify which will be among the best. In this series, I will be briefly detailing games that I am personally looking forward to. 

These entries will be in no particular order.

The Backstory

I vividly remember the moment I first saw the trailer for Jurassic Park on my families 19-inch Toshiba television. In those twenty to thirty seconds, I knew that it was something I had to see. All of my young life had been spent reading about dinosaurs, playing with toy dinosaurs, and dreaming about one day unearthing fossils in my backyard. Heck, even my favorite Transformers were the powerful and extremely cool (if profoundly unintelligent) dinobots.

Being nine at the time, and my TV and movie viewing closely monitored and restricted, I prayed that Jurassic Park wouldn't be rated-R. When it was finally given a rating- PG-13, I begged to go see it. Even being allowed to see a movie tagged with that rating was a rare occasion. Somehow, I convinced my aunt to take me, and it is still the most awe-inspiring cinema experience I've ever had. 

I love Jurassic Park! My family overpaid to obtain a Red-Line VHS copy as soon as it was released. When the 3D version debuted in cinemas- I was there. It is still among my top ten movies of all-time. And, while not planned, my youngest daughter was born on the 25th anniversary of the film's release. Jurassic Park and I? We have a relationship.

How Does All This Relate to Board Games?

During an after-Christmas shopping trip to Target, I spied a board game for sale based on Jurassic Park. After soaking in the pictures on the box and reading what the game was about, it sounded like something "right up [my] alley." I just knew that it would be an interesting and enjoyable game. A couple of weeks later, I found it among my birthday gifts and was excited to play. Long story short: it wasn't.

There was a poll on a FaceBook group about the board game that felt the most like Jurassic Park. The most popular choice was Dinosaur Island. When I looked it up, two things struck me: 1- The price. Being new to the hobby of board games, I was still prone to sticker shock, and seeing the cost of Dinosaur Island sent enough electricity my way to power a large city for a couple of hours. And 2- The look. I didn't care for the plain look of the square tiles the game had, but even less for the brightly colored neon dinosaur figures.

Still, when I heard that the company who released Dinosaur Island was putting a sequel- Dinosaur World on Kickstarter, I had to check it out.

Cue the John Williams Score

From the first moment I saw the box art, I knew this was something I was going to enjoy. It's amazing! I found it far superior to the almost graffiti art look of the first game's box. It looks exciting. Dangerous. Pandasaurus (the production company) clearly "spared no expense" on the artwork. My eye was instantly drawn to the bellowing T-Rex and the metallic, almost X-Ray logo for the game. The colors work well together, and even the humans in the upper-corners feel as if they are moving and not stagnant. And then the crumbling architecture and the vehicles almost in shadow adorned with pterodactyl give an ominous warning of the potential dangers of genetically replicating long-extinct species, to say nothing of the awesome stegosaurus preparing for battle with the massive carnivore who steals my attention.

The whole thing feels like a movie poster for the same summer blockbuster it steals from. And I love it!

What Do They Got in There? King Kong?

In Dinosaur World, players are tasked with creating their own dinosaur theme park. All players must decide which attractions, including rides, stores, and dinosaurs they will include in their park. The most exciting ones can lead to financial and park superiority, but it can just as easily lead to ruin as we see in the Jurassic Park films.

Dinosaur World also takes many of the same mechanisms from its predecessor. At its heart, it's a worker placement game. Players take turns putting a piece on a spot and when doing so gain some resource or ability. On a player's turn, he can collect DNA that is necessary to cook up a dinosaur species he has the recipe for, build a special building, attraction, or dinosaur enclosure, and more. When a player places certain workers, the ability he gains can be enhanced, so which workers a player has is very important.

Unlike most worker placement games, the workers players have each round are unique. Each player will have nine workers, but the types of workers they will have will depend on a card drafting system. Card drafting is when a player has a hand of cards, chooses one they want, and then passes the rest to the next player to select a card. 

Some of the actions that players can choose from are on a public board. Once players have completed this phase, they can then focus on their individual boards by utilizing the DNA to create dinosaurs, gain money, increase security, and more.

Then it's time to give some tours! Players will move a jeep figure however many spaces they are able to and gain a specific level of excitement as it passes certain attractions. It is important to constantly add to your park, because if patrons of your park continue to see the same things, you will lose excitement. 

As the jeep passes dinosaur enclosures, it is possible that one of those rascals will escape and snack on your guest, so making sure you beef up your security when possible is an essential task. However, as you play, everything will feel essential. It is up to the player to decide how best to divvy out what resources he has and hope that chaos theory works out in his favor.

Dinosaurs Eat Man, Woman Inherits the Earth

After five action-packed rounds, the game is over. Whoever has the most victory points is declared the owner of the best dinosaur park and therefore the winner.

The production components for Dinosaur World have recently been shown and they are (trying not to make a bad dinosaur pun) T-Riffic (sorry, couldn't resist)! Everything is looking extremely awe-inspiring- reminiscent to that first time seeing the brachiosauruses moving in herds as the music swells to an impassioned, lyrical fortissimo. They have truly (allow me to borrow a line I've already quoted) spared no expense. Hey, if John Hammond can repeat the line gratuitously, so can I!

I'm really excited about this one. I know that these entries in my most-anticipated series are in no particular order, but if they were, you would have had to wait longer for this one. It is my number two most anticipated game of the year. And seeing as how my number one could easily be pushed back to 2022, it could be the game I can't wait to see on my table for the year.

All signs point to Pandasaurus Games having another gargantuan hit with this one. Boredom is scheduled go extinct in July- the expected delivery date for backers.


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