Most board games we have, we play with the two of us. Most times we only play with two people, we face the problem that the board games are designed to play with more then two. Because of that, with a lot of board games the gameplay is better with more people. But Dinoblivion is designed especially for two people only, so we were happy to try it out! The game is designed by a couple who faced the same problem and they wanted to make a difference in the couple board game world. They have chosen for a Dinosaur theme for the game and a fun cartoonish style for the art. When we saw they had also designed the play board in such a way that it holds everything, we were already excited.
How to Play.
The set up is really easy as the player boards and game board tells you where to place everything. Place the game board in the middle and shuffle all the action and clan cards (except the sun and moon clan cards). Place the deck facedown in the middle of the game board. Then randomly draw three level one dinosaurs and place them facedown on one of the upper spaces on the game board and reveal the top card. Repeat this for level two dinosaurs. Also place the egg tokens facedown on the table. Each player takes a player board and takes a set of clan cards with the sun or moon on it, shuffle it and place it facedown on your player board. Also take six Dino tokens, three food tokens and six buddy tokens. Place two food and two buddy tokens in your reserve (the brown space above the card space). Then it’s time to determine the first player which is already a mini game. Take your buddy tokens and try to throw them standing up on the table. The player with the most buddy’s standing up, will be the first player. Then as the last step, reveal two chief cards. The first player can choose a chief card first, then reveal another one so the second player also has two options. Place the chief card in your deck and shuffle it. Then draw four cards.
On your turn, you can perform actions with the cards in your hand. If you can or want to perform actions, discard you cards on the discard space on the player board and take four new cards. You always have to discard all of your cards, but at the top of your player board, there is a special place to save one card for a later turn. When you have no more cards, the dinosaurs will become enraged and the ‘RAGE’ sign on your player board will be visible. All the animals from the jungle will flee because of the enraged dinosaurs, meaning that you need to flip the cards in the middle (the jungle) according to the level of the dinosaur above it. If a level one dinosaur is on the left upper space on the main board for example, you have to flip one card from the middle to the left space. After the rage, shuffle your discard pile to form a new deck and take up to four cards. You can always buy face up action or clan cards from the main board. To do this, pay the required food or buddy pawns shown on the card in the left upper corner. This doesn’t count as an action.
Grey cards are clan cards and brown cards are action cards. There are five clan cards actions you can perform. You can hunt. To do this, reveal new cards from the jungle to one side according to the strength of the card. The rulebook shows a detailed anatomy of the cards an icons with clear pictures. For every jungle card you reveal that has a food icon in the right upper corner, take a food token. You can also gain a buddy pawn by combining two buddy halves, into a whole buddy. For every full buddy, take one pawn. Each clan card also has a power in the bottom you can use, like gaining food or dinosaur tokens. The rulebook also explains each icon on the cards. You can also play an action (brown) card. The action cards always need to be played together with a clan card, since you need an actual person to perform the action. Action cards can give you resources or even more strength to fight a dinosaur for example. Lastly, you can try to fight a faceup dinosaur. To do this, you need to gather cards strength points equal or greater then the dinosaurs strength. When you defeat a dinosaur, take the card as a trophy and claim your rewards as shown on the card, like eggs or even cards from the jungle for example. For some dinosaurs you defeat, you can gain a wound and will have to discard a card. This is also shown in the left corner on the card.
When revealing new cards from the jungle, you might come across special totems. These are brown action cards with a totem symbol on them. Once you have activated these with a clan card once, they will remain face up beside your player board and give you it’s card bonus one time each turn, like resources or strength for example. The game ends when either one of the dinosaur decks or the jungle deck is depleted. Each player will then take one last turn before the victory points are counted. Each totem you have collected is worth one point, each defeated dinosaur also provides you one point. The eggs you collected may now be revealed, they will give you one or two points each. Lastly, try to make as many buddy pairs with all of your cards. For each complete buddy symbol made with your cards, you score two points. The player with the most victory points, wins the game.
Playthrough of the game.
We really liked the idea of the middle deck being a jungle. Every card we revealed from there was a new surprise with different art. We quickly realized that the most points were to be gained from creating buddy pairs with cards, which resulted in a fight over the best cards to buy at each turn. I had gained a strong totem which gave me food on each turn, but Tomasz wasn’t that lucky yet. That meant I had every chance to buy good cards in front of his nose on my turn. But he countered well since he had collected many cards that could make pairs which provided him with buddy tokens. At the end of the game, he had bought way more clan cards then me. I had more eggs, defeated dinosaurs and totems, but Tomasz strategy worked out well for him and he beat me with all his buddy’s. He was very happy.
Although we had a fun with the game, we do question some chosen rules. We didn’t like it very much that a lot of dinosaur cards, also have a punishment on it. You sometimes have to destroy (remove from the game) a card from your hand the moment you defeat a dinosaur. Many dinosaurs have a lot of strength and you have to use good cards in order to defeat them. That also means you might lose one of your best cards. Also, the dinosaurs only give you one victory point at the end of the game no matter how strong they are, so we didn’t really see the point in defeating dinosaurs. We thought this was a little disappointing since the game should evolve around the dinosaurs because of the theme. We wished that the stronger the dinosaur was, the more points they would give you in the end so you really have to go for it. That being said, a big plus about Dinoblivion is that the main board and player board are very well designed. The whole game fits on these boards. Everything has it’s own space and the board shows you where the components go. Once you know how to play, the game is also very easy and the gameplay is smooth. We also really like the art on the cards.
Dinoblivion is a strategic, deck building, dinosaur themed game where you have to collect the most victory points in order to win. You can explore the jungle deck in order to gain resources or gain stronger cards for your deck. With every new card revealed, a new piece of art shows it’s face. We like the fun cartoonish style of the cards and we also like the design of the main and player board since they have a place for all the components of the game. We did think that defeating dinosaurs should give you more points or should come with less punishment, as they can make you destroy powerful cards from your deck but give you only one point at the end of the game. The gameplay is very smooth once you know how to play and you can really see it’s designed for two players. Overall Dinoblivion is a good game.