Mechanics: Resource Management, Worker Placement
Player Age: 14+
Player Count: 1 – 4 Players
Time to Play: 30 – 60 Minutes
Game Designer: Scott Almes
Game Artist: Nikoletta Vaszi
Publisher: Gamelyn Games
Year Published: 20w0
BGG Weight: 2.62
Disclaimer: A review copy for the game was provided by the publisher.
In the age when dinosaurs live among humans dino parks are a thriving business but where do the dinosaurs come from? There is a lucrative business in dinosaurs ranching where you breed and care for the dinosaurs until the highest bidder comes along to grow their park.
In this game, you are a dino rancher who must maintain your ranch. This is a worker placement game with a spatial and resource puzzle to do with maintaining your ranch. Every game has six rounds then players score. Each round consists of 6 phases, a lot of which can occur simultaneously. These phases include collecting resources, assigning ranchers, retrieve ranchers, arrange ranch, feed dinosaurs, breed dinosaurs, and finally refresh for next round.
Collecting resources has players gain resources for every spot on their ranch without a dinosaur and a resource icon.
Assigning ranchers is the worker placement portion of the game where there are locations to gain resources, gain dinosaurs, remove dinosaurs from your ranch for contracts, gain new research cards and gain barriers.
Retrieving your ranchers pulls all your ranchers from the worker spots and medical bay. As you gain dinosaurs and barriers throughout the round they will go to your holding area and arranging your ranch allows you to place the dinosaurs into your ranch. The challenge comes from keeping the dinosaurs there. They will escape if you haven’t kept them barricaded or if you have them with a different species. Every dinosaur has a feed cost associated, either plants or meat which will need to be paid during the feed phase.
Dinosaurs will then breed one baby for every pair of one type of dinosaur. Everything will then be refreshed for the next round, the round marker moves down, the research cards are cleared for three new replacements, and the contract row is filled to an equal number of players plus one. This will continue for 6 rounds then each player will total the contracts, research and dinosaurs to see who has the most points.
The alteration of the game comes in the form of research cards. There are two types of research cards: standard science cards and genetic cards. The standard science cards will have abilities that can activate during certain times and have points assigned to them for the end of the game.
The genetic cards are unique dinosaurs that will have certain feeding requirements, end-game scoring, and unique ability.
The challenge with these cards is that you still have to find space in your ranch to house them and they may even be needed to fulfill contracts.
The production is excellent in any Tiny Epic Game as they always prioritise fitting a large experience in a portable package. This game is no exception, like always they have made complete use of the space on every card but they have also gone above and beyond in the meeple department. There is an abundance of spectacular meeples in this game inclusive of the dinosaurs and barriers and they have even condensed the meeple size which I couldn’t be happier to see these tiny epic dinosaurs.
Some interaction comes from the race to the public contracts and research cards but ultimately the core interaction is the blocking of the best available worker spots. You can ultimately share locations but it will cost you as a subsquent player, to place you will have to use more workers than the player with the most workers on that spot you can use your special lead rancher (that counts as two workers). The tightness of the worker spots is modified based on the number of players, this keeps the board state consistent.
– Challenge in having enough resources to feed your dinosaurs, space to house them, and barriers to keep them apart.
– Quick playing Tiny Epic Game.
– Real accomplishment when you pull off a private contract as these can only be additions to completing communal contracts.
Tiny Epic Games always pack an exciting game into a condensed package while maintaining the punch of a larger game. Tiny Epic Dinosaurs are no exception with the great spatial puzzle of collecting dinosaurs and maintaining enough resources to stay afloat. Once the game begins you have a tight deadline of rounds to produce and then sell dinosaurs to meet the contracts and collect enough points. Throughout this time your dinosaurs prove menacing to maintain, as you have to feed them, keep them to their own species then find more space and resources for the offspring they will produce. Whenever a dinosaur escapes you will lose a barrier or another dinosaur so you want to avoid that at all costs. This is one of the Tiny Epic Games that really hit the mark for me, as it offers enough puzzle but also due to the simultaneous upkeep, it keeps the play time to a perfect point of about 30-45 minutes. If you can’t get enough of dinosaur parks as themes or are a fan of Tiny Epic Games then this one should be added to your shelf. It has received a Silver Seal of Approval.