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August 14, 2017 / Jett

The Great Dinosaur Rush Review

Paleontologists in the late 1800s made great strides in learning about many of the different dinosaurs that existed in the past. However, their methods for accumulating fossils weren’t always ethical in nature. The Great Dinosaur Rush is a 2-5 player game about that experience, as you’ll dig up bones and discover dinosaurs, even if that means you need to do shady things in order to get the most credit.

The goal of the game is to score the most points, making you the most renown paleontologist. At the start of the game, every player will have a Paleontologist role card, two Dinosaur cards, and a set of coloured bones. The Paleontologist role card will grant each player one unique ability. The Dinosaur cards feature instructions on how to build specific Dinosaurs that will give you bonus points upon completion. Finally, your starter set of yellow, red, and green bones will be used later on to create dinosaurs.

The game is broken up into three rounds and a number of phases. In the field phase, players will pick up all of the bones on your current space. Then, you will move in a straight line to a new space. Following that, you can adjust any of the publicity tracks by one space, changing how certain aspects of your dinosaurs will be scored. Finally, you’ll get one more action, which can be of the regular or Notorious variety.

Regular actions include adjusting the publicity track again, donating some of your spare bones for points, or conducting research, which gives you one more Dinosaur card. As for Notorious actions, they’re a little more shady in nature, forcing you to take a Notoriety tile in the process. Each Notoriety tile features a value between one and three, which will be added to your score at the end of the game. Unless, of course, if you have the most Notoriety. If you have the most Notoriety, you will lose the number of points equal to your Notoriety score. You want to be kind of bad, but not overdo it.

Being a jerk does have its perks. You can sabotage an adjacent dig site by placing a Notoriety tile on it, forcing any players that move into or over that space to take it. You can use dynamite to blow up your dig site and take three random bones from the bag instead of the bones in your current location. You can also steal one bone from an adjacent site.

After the field phases are done, it’s time to build. Placing your screen up, you will use the bones you’ve collected to form a dinosaur. There are some general requirements you have to meet in order to make a dinosaur, as you need a minimum number of pieces in specific colours to form elements such as the head, ribs, tail, and limbs among others. It’s also in your best interest to try and match the build orders on your Dinosaur cards for bonus points.

Finally, players will exhibit their dinosaurs. They are judged in five different categories, all of which require you to have the most bones in that section. You’ll earn points based on where you rank among the group as well as if you were able to complete any of the Dinosaur cards in your hand. You’ll go through this cycle three times, with the player with the most points winning the game.

The concept of being a Paleontologist really comes to life here. It’s cool to have the ability to collect bones and arrange them to form a ridiculous dinosaur. There’s certainly room for creativity, but trying to play within the bounds of getting max points is where things get interesting.

For one, you want to build a Dinosaur that will score well relative to aspects of Dinosaurs that have a lot of publicity. For example, if tall dinosaurs are in style, you’ll want to make one with a long neck and a long limbs to capitalize. You’ll also want to build them in a way to match your Dinosaur cards to get those bonus points.

The trickiest part of all is that you have to try and do this while using all of your bones. At the end of our first game, I screwed myself over by having too many bones on hand, making it impossible for me to complete one of my Dinosaur cards.

The Great Dinosaur Rush is a cool strategy game that will really get you thinking strategically and creatively. It’s a lot of fun not only to maximize your scoring opportunities, but for everyone to build and show off their dinosaur designs. What species will you dig up when you play this one?

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