Dinosaur Island: Rawr 'N Write (A Review)
As a young boy I was fascinated with dinosaurs. I'd always want for my mother to read me books about these "thunder lizards." Play time regularly included tyrannosaurs and triceratops, perhaps even a brachiosaurus being ridden by a ninja turtle into a fierce battle against Krang. My favorite transformers were the mighty dinobots lead by the powerful, yet painfully dull, Grimlock. I distinctly remember the first time I saw a trailer for Jurassic Park. It shows practically nothing (like a good teaser should), but what was there intrigued my eight-year old brain. I begged my parents to take me when it came out to cinemas, and I prayed that "This film is not yet rated," would result in a rating that settled somewhere underneath the forbidden "R." Seeing Jurassic Park as a ten-year old is still my favorite movie memory.
All of this to say that dinosaurs were a major interest of mine when I was a child. As the years passed, my obsession with dinosaurs waned. However, the fire remains- proving to be an inextinguishable flame. While it may appear meager, it still maintains the warmth of nostalgia.
When I entered the board gaming hobby, the Jurassic Park: Danger game called to me. After two plays, it had run out of interesting things to say and was gone. Still, I wanted a high-quality board game all about building and staying alive inside a dinosaur park. Last year I saw that Pandasaurus Games had a sequel to their hit Dinosaur Island on Kickstarter, and I was intrigued. Dinosaur World, as the sequel was called, seemed to be everything I wanted in a Jurassic Park-like simulation game: dinos, exciting jeep rides, and the constant fear of a serious lapse in security. Sign me up!
Oh, and there was also a roll-and-write version of the aforementioned Dinosaur Island with the subtitle "Rawr 'N Write." I wasn't really interested in it. The experience I was looking for was wrapped up in an assortment of plastic dinosaurs and an ever-expanding park that sprawled out greedily on my table, not in drawing shapes on paper pretending there were dinosaurs housed there. That would be the equivalent of reading a brochure about a zoo, but the only pictures were the enclosures and none of the beasts they contained.
However, near the end of the campaign, I decided to add it to my pledge. My family enjoys similar, but lighter games. Perhaps this "Rawr 'N Write" would be a solid "next-step" game for my loved ones. It has proven to be much more than that.
How It's Played:
- The ability to create (up to) four dinosaurs
- Gain either two coins or two security
- Collect two basic DNA or one advanced type
- Duplicate the resource(s) shown on a placed die
- Build three roads or an attraction of the player's choice.
- Gain the advantage of all attractions in your park (either rolling a die to take the resource, gaining excitement, or spending a coin)
- Use the bonus of any specialist that has been purchased. These can include gaining a security, adding three roads to your park, making up to two dinosaurs, and many more.
- Give a tour of your park. The players will begin at the headquarters and mark off any building that they pass through, preferably ending at one of the exits. Each new building you pass through gains one excitement.
- Gain the resources circled on your excitement track. These can be used immediately in the case of coins and security. It is also a helpful way to add a little extra DNA for the next season.
- Check your threat. If there are any threats that haven't been circled by security, that little innocent dot now represents a death in your park. Mark it in the appropriate place. Sometimes a death will require a player to suffer a disaster. A player gets to decide which tragedy befalls him/her, but none of them are good. Perhaps roads are destroyed, breaking a path to a valuable exit. Or a dinosaur pen collapses on the animals contained inside. Maybe a specialist you have hired was one of the casualties. Avoid these at all costs!
They look even better in person.