Ryan previews Jurassic Parts from 25th Century Games.
I recently (p)reviewed my first 25th Century Games’ game, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, and we really enjoyed playing that one from its theme to its gameplay to its level of interaction between players. Now we’re looking at another 25th Century Games game, Jurassic Parts (by Flash Point Fire Rescue’s Kevin Lanzing). Has 25th Century hit it out of the park again? Let’s find out.
I am not sure I can explain the rules any faster or more simple than the Kickstarter page. So here is how 25th Century Games did it:
That is pretty much it for the rules, super simple to understand. There are some special ability (one-time use) cards that can be added to the game if you are looking for some more complexity. The rules say you can give 1 or 2 special ability cards to each player, however, when we play we give everyone 2 cards and they choose 1 (placing the other card back in the box facedown). The special abilities range from saving more extra chisels between a round to an amber reduction for one purchase at the field managers’ camp store. The special ability cards add a small level of complexity to the game. So it’s a nice touch going the extra mile and adding this option in.
Before we dive into any possible negatives and the positives of the game, I do want to say this game really isn’t for little ones. So unlike Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, our Kindergartener doesn’t play with us as an opponent. However, she can play along as the Field Leader – handing out amber and selling any extra fossils she picked up along the way (any extra fossils after they have been doled out go to the field leader’s store). The box puts the age range at 10+ – that’s probably about right, possibly could go to 8+. Even though the rules to the game are simple, it feels deeper than it is. We will discuss what I mean by that more below.
Let’s dig out those positives and negatives…
Only one true negative comes to mind, the first being that one the tiles TY and TR are listed for Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus Rex, it is easy to get those confused as you quickly grab your portion of tiles and then get them in front of you and say – “I grabbed the wrong tiles!” In fact, this happened to me during my first couple of games. Hopefully, this will be addressed as they give the art a final once over before printing. Another “fix” for this would be to switch the Triceratops with the promo Stegosaurus. A small annoyance comes to mind as well – I feel like the sharpen chisels should be on the right side of the card, as I am right-handed, I feel like the pieces I am using should be there on the right. That is a more personal issue, but still a little annoying.
As for positives, in this game, there is quite a bit. First off, the player character art by Andrew Bosley (artist for other games like Everdell, Ducks in Tow, The River, and Tapestry) really stands out – not just since its well-drawn, but 25th Century Games went out of their way to represent a diverse group of scientists with multiple ages, body types, and ethnicities, something you, unfortunately, don’t see a lot of in games. This really should become the standard by now in board games, sadly it’s not, and it stands out as a great breakthrough in Jurassic Parts.
As to the gameplay itself, there is something special with this game, the idea of using majority control and mixing it with a shrinking board is brilliant. Even more brilliant is how the broken off slab is divided up, with each person getting half of whatever is left. These mechanics make Jurassic Part stand out. Though I am not a paleontologist, the game draws you in and makes you feel almost like one as you are trying to break off pieces of the slab to uncover buried and partially buried dinosaur fossils. The rules, though super simple, leave some great moments of play, making the game deeper than what it may appear from a reading of the rules. For example, don’t know what to do with a couple of sharp chisels you have to spend? You can save only one, but you can place another in an area you know is about to get cut up (perhaps you already have majority and don’t want to put more chisels on it), and you will get it back if it wasn’t used in said cut-up of slab as a sharpen chisel. So on your next turn, you will start with 5 chisels and if you pay an amber to the field leader you now have 7 chisels to play this turn. This allows some great combo play.
Another positive is Jurassic Parts doesn’t overstay its welcome. In fact, it’s the opposite, the more we play it, the more we wish the game was longer because we are still having fun and want to keep cutting up more slabs of fossils. That isn’t typical for most games (the idea that you want it to last longer) so that right there is perhaps the highest praise I can give the game. Of course, with the promo dinosaurs currently on the Kickstarter, you can always add those in and play a longer game (which I look forward to doing).
Jurassic Parts is really a great game, even better than I imagined. There is something so satisfying about the gameplay, carving up the slab and seeing it literally shrink before your eyes and then piecing together the fossils you’ve collected to become a complete a dinosaur. It is extremely easy to teach and play. We are talking Ticket to Ride easy, maybe even easier than that, making it a good gateway game. Jurassic Parts is well worth adding to your collection and may become the standard that other family weight dinosaur games are judged by in the future, it’s that good.
As we close, I want to say as a side note that with 25th Century Games lineup this year of Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, its co-publishing of Kohaku and now Jurassic Parts – it looks like 25th Century Games is having an AMAZING 2020 lineup.
Jurassic Parts‘ Kickstarter ends very soon (less than a week) – to pledge or just learn more you can find the Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chadelkins/jurassic-parts
Note: 25th Century Games sent me a preview copy (and I will get a reviewer comp final copy) of Jurassic Parts for an honest opinion.