Strategically Thematic: Dinosaur Island

April 18, 2018

Strategically Thematic is a segment featured on The Dice Tower's bi-weekly Throat Punch Lunch videos about games where the theme and mechanics go together really well.

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Hi! This is Ambie from Board Game Blitz, and this is Strategically Thematic, a segment where I talk about theme in different strategic games. This time, I’m talking about Dinosaur Island.

Dinosaur Island is a game where players are competing to build the best dinosaur theme park, getting different attractions and getting different dinosaurs to try to get the most visitors to your park. There’s a lot of planning you need to do to get your park to be really good, so the game is very strategic, but it’s also really thematic in how the game plays.

Firstly, in order to make dinosaurs you need to do a couple different things. You need to have DNA - there’s different types of DNA and you collect them, and you also need to research the dinosaur. So each dinosaur has different types of DNA that you need, and you need to know how to make it, and then you need to spend the DNA to make the dinosaur.

When you add a dinosaur to your park, it adds excitement to your park, which makes your visitors come, because visitors will only come to a dinosaur theme park if there are dinosaurs there. The other rides and food stands and stuff don’t mean anything to them. But the dinosaurs will also add threat to the park because they can be dangerous to the visitors. So when you build a dinosaur you have to increase the threat level of the park.

Something that you can do to mitigate this risk is by adding security to the park. So basically, if you have a good amount of security, the dinosaurs won’t be able to get out of their cages and eat visitors. But your threat level minus your security level is actually how much damage the dinosaurs will do, and when your threat level is too high, the dinosaurs will end up eating your visitors, which is bad.

Something that’s pretty thematic in the game is that you’ll get money for all of the visitors that line up and go to your park, but then if the dinosaurs eat some of the visitors, you still got the money that they paid you but you just don’t get points for them. So it’s not good for visitors to get eaten, but you still get their money.

There are lots of other things you can buy to help you, like lab upgrades that help you research better, or you can buy restaurants, or rides for your park that visitors can go on when they’re not looking at the dinosaurs because they need other things to do. So it’s a lot of fun, just building up your park to make it the best it can be, either by having a lot of dinosaurs, or some dinosaurs and some other attractions, or whatever way you want it to be.

Thanks for watching Strategically Thematic! Let me know what you think in the comments.
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