Part 1 of 2 in our special article series looking at dinosaur-themed games.
Looking for some games for the dinosaur lovers in your life? Look no further, we pulled together different dino-themed games, for a range of ages. While it’s not an all-encompassing list, it’s a good place to start. While we haven’t played all these dinosaur games, we tried to choose some of the more popular ones, currently in print or coming soon.
Dino Dig: Risky Sites
Designer(s): Amelie Le-Roche
Publisher: Zerua Games
Player Count: 2-5
Dino Dig: Risky Sites is a push your luck, set collection game that really is for families. Players play paleontologists that are digging up bones, trying to make full sets of dinosaur skeletons, but you have to watch out for scorpions. This is one that we have got to preview (you can find the preview review here) and is a favorite game of my 10-year-old. Currently, in production, Dino Dig: Risky Sites should be available around Christmas 2019.
Dinos Featured in the Game: Brachiosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Troodon, Tylosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor
Dino Dude Ranch
Designer(s): Dan Letzring
Publisher: Letiman Games
Player Count: 2-5
I really love Dino Dude Ranch, it may not be the most in-depth play experience, but it is great family style fun. Every time it hits the table I have a fun time. In the game, players are trying to collect dinosaurs (and not tar pits) from the Jurassic Hunting Grounds, and add them to their ranch board. It’s a silly theme and is light, but we still have a blast with this one and recommend it as a 2 and 3-player family game.
There are expansions out for the game, the first is a mini-expansion that adds velociraptors (which in being transparent I should note they are purple after the logo of The Inquisitive Meeple). There is also a bigger expansion called Dino Dude Ranch: Hatchlings designed by Dan Letzring and Dan Grek which adds things like baby dinos as well a new dinosaur, the Oviraptor.
Dinos Featured in the Base Game: Apatosaurus, Plesiosaurus, Pterodactyl, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus,
Dinos Featured in Expansions: Velociraptor and Oviraptor
Dinos Not Assembled
Designer(s): Alice Davis
Publisher: Thing 12 Games
Player Count: 2-4
In Dinos Not Assembled, players are playing as paleontologists that are trying to put together a dino exhibit for a museum. To do so, players will need to go to the shared dig site and dig up some dino bones. Keep in mind though players can steal a bone from another player, but a security guard shows up to protect them from getting stolen from again…until someone else is stolen from and the security guard goes off to protect that player. When a player has the 3 bones necessary to build the dinosaur, they take a dinosaur meeple and place it at their museum exhibit on the game board. The first player to place 3 dinosaur meeples in their exhibit wins the contract and the game. Did we mention this game comes with different shaped dinosaur meeples (2 meeples per dinosaur type in the game)?
Dinos Not Assembled recently had a successful Kickstarter and should be available for purchase Spring 2020.
Dinosaurs Featured in the Game: Archaeopteryx, Brachiosaurus, Dilophosaurus, Ichthyosaurus, Lystrosaurus, Pterosaur, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor
Designer(s): Jonathan Gilmour and Brian Lewis
Publisher: Pandasaurus Games
Player Count: 1-4
Dinosaur Island is a 90-120 minute game that is really a love letter to Jurassic Park. What do I mean? Well, just listen to part of the BGG description of the game: “In Dinosaur Island, players will have to collect DNA, research the DNA sequences of extinct dinosaur species, and then combine the ancient DNA in the correct sequence to bring these prehistoric creatures back to life. Dino cooking! All players will compete to build the most thrilling park each season, and then work to attract (and keep alive!) the most visitors each season that the park opens.”
Dinosaur Island has found quite a bit of success with adult gaming groups and has even spawned an expansion Dinosaur Island: Totally Liquid as well as 2-player spin-off, Duelosaur Island (though the latter was designed by a different designer, Ian Moss).
Dinos Featured in the Base Game: Albertadromeus, Allosaurus, Ankylosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Brontosaurus, Ceratosaurus, Compsognathus, Giganotosaurus, Gallimimus, Hadrosaurus, Pachycephalosaurus, Plateosaurus. Pteranodon, Saurophaganax, Spinosaurus Stegosaurus, Triceratops, Utahraptor, Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus Rex
Designer(s): Ryan Cowler
Publisher: Green Couch Games
Player Count: 2
This short (15 mins) 2-player only card game, packs some punch – as prehistoric beasts are battling it out. Players (who have their own deck – though each has the card in their deck) will simultaneously reveal cards they chose to put face down to see who has the most fierce dinos. However, watch out some dinos have to follow rules as to which dinos they can “pack” with, while others may have a way to affect your opponents. There is one last twist to the gameplay, the only time you can draw your hand back up is when you lose.
The gameplay is most similar to the classic card game War, but with more of a modern gaming feel to it In a past review, we gave JurassAttack! a “dino-sized thumbs up.” Oh, we can’t forget to mention, the cards aren’t your standard playing card size, instead, they are dino-sized. It is also published by Green Couch Games, which is known for their family card games in the board game hobby.
Back in 2015 (on our old site), I interviewed Ryan Cowler, about the story behind this game, if you like to learn more, you can find that article here: https://theinquisitivemeeple.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/ryan-cowler-goes-prehistoric/
Dinos Featured in the Game: Compsognathus, Dilophosaurus, Pteranodon, Sarcosuchus, Spinosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor
Designer(s): Florian Fay
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Player Count: 2-6 (solo rules available for download)
Meszooic is a real-time drafting card game, where players are trying to build the best dino park out of their cards. To do this, they will drafting cards, by taking a couple and then passing their hand, until they have 11 cards. Players then make a 4×3 grid by ( shuffling up and) placing their drafted cards on the table face up, leaving the bottom right corner open. They then all at the same time, try to make the best park out of there cards. The twist here is they have to slide the cards, with one hand, much like those old sliding puzzles. Keep in mind you are racing to do this with just 45 seconds on the sand timer.
Players are scored for monorails connected, and dinosaur enclosures completed, etc. There are also some advance cards that can be added to the mix, once you get the game down. Z-Man Games website does offer variant 2-player, as well as solo rules.
Dinos Featured in the Game: Various dinos are style-ized. T-Rex is there for sure though.
Designer(s): Neil J. Opitz
Publisher: Gamewright Games
Player Count: 2-4
Super Tooth is one of the few children (as opposed to family) games on our list. Players are taking turns flipping over cards and trying to capture sets of herbivore dinosaurs. However, if a carnivore is present, you have to get rid of that by feeding them their favorite herbivore dinosaur or chasing them away with a triceratops, before you are allowed to capture any more dinos. Once you have a set of dinos, you can trade it in for a super tooth (the bigger the set the bigger the payout). First to get X number (depending on player count) of super teeth wins the game. However, to make things a little harder there are also event cards that will come up, that players will also have to resolve like asteroids which makes the active player discard faceup cards back to the game box.
Dinos Featured in the Game: Allosaurus, Anatotitan, Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Deinonychus, Dimetrodon, Giganotosaurus, Hypsilophodon, Iguanodon, Parasaurolophus, Plateosaurus, Protoceratops, Quetzalcoatlus, Sarcosuchus, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor
Welcome to Dino World
Designer(s): James O’Connor, Nick Shaw, and Dávid Turczi
Publisher: Alley Cat Games
Player Count: 1-75
Welcome to DinoWorld, won the 2017 GenCan’t Roll and Write Contest, it was later picked up by Alley Cat Games and further developed into the game it is now. In it, players are building their own dino parks, by rolling dice and drawing dino enclosures and pathways for your visitors to walk on to their piece of paper. However, make sure you manage your park correctly or your dinosaurs may break out.
Welcome to DinoWorld, comes with various modes like Light and Danger Modes, as well as special cards that can be used if you are playing with 9 people or less. You may be thinking, this game plays up to 9 people? Well, in fact, it plays with as many people as you want, as long as you have enough paper sheets to give to each player.
Dinos Featured in the Game: Brachiosaurus, Compsognathus, Protoceratops, Stegosaurs, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Velociraptor
If you enjoyed this and like to read more – here is the link to part 2: https://www.inquisitivemeeple.com/games-for-dinophiles-part-2/
We hope you found something of interest and if have played any of these games and enjoyed them, tell us in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and stay inquisitive!
(Cover image Leaping Laelaps by Charles R. Knight, 1897)