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Subject: How does this compare to dinosaur Island? rss

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Michael Brazen
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Is it more euro than D.I.? Do the dinos feel more unique in this game? My library space is limited so I probably won't get both but I'd really like to get a dino park game
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David Griffin
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Mangekyo wrote:
Is it more euro than D.I.? Do the dinos feel more unique in this game? My library space is limited so I probably won't get both but I'd really like to get a dino park game


Well I like both games, and they are on the same theme, but they share almost nothing in terms of mechanics or even look. DI (with it's Totally Liquid Expansion and don't forget Duelosaur Island too) is a Euro type game with a wild primary color scheme. It's fairly complex and gives you a 3 stage worker placement system (well 2 stage and a third stage where you're just buying stuff) where you gain resources, buy services, specialists, upgrades, and attractions, and then build and manage your park. There is not much interactivity between players except competition for worker placement positions and dino recipes and stuff to buy. But no messing with the other parks. You end up with a cool dinosaur park with dayglo dinosaur meeples and rides and restaurants and try to manage an ever increasing number of visitors to gain the most VPs.

Dinogenics is also a Euro (of comparable complexity) where you build and manage a Dinosaur Park. The worker placement is more traditional and the color scheme is also more traditional. There is more interaction between players with manipulation cards than hurt an opponent, but you're still mostly building your own park. You have money and DNA and manipulation cards and each turn you build fences, build dinos, get DNA cards, try to acquire more visitors or money, or even sell DNA to the market. There are lots of worker placement positions and lots of paths to victory. There are also breaking news cards (essentially events) which throw the players for a loop now and then, though some are good.

The original solo mode for DI was a beat your own score mechanism with specific solo objectives. In the Totally Liquid expansion they have added an Automa, but it's not quite there yet and doesn't even come in the expansion (you have to download it). It's playable but it doesn't feel finished. DinoGenics has a decent solo mode (not an automa) where there are 10 solo missions. The bad is that the missions aren't exactly the basic game. The good is that each mission is kind of a chess problem with dinosaurs. They're all fun to play.

I like them both a lot.
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Reddish22
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In a word - favorably.

Specifically you asked are the Dinos more unique - the answer is yes! Every single dinosaur in this game brings something unique to the table and I really, really enjoy that about Dinogenics.

I would say they're of comparable Euro-ishness. One thing I hate about Dinosaur Island (seriously, I hate the game and think it's a huge miscalculation and mistake - read the biggest review on its game page and you can see why) is that all the dinosaurs are the same and thus the game felt honestly a little boring. You could have swapped the dinosaurs in DI for anything from a game mechanic standpoint. There is nothing that actually makes them feel like dinosaurs aside from art. This is definitely not true in DinoGenics. Each of the carnivores is dangerous and so they will take some to most of your actions just on upkeep but the rewards are great.

One other thing I think is so weird about Dinosaur Island (which I explain more in my review) is that it's the worst type of complexity. There are 4-6 "phases" in a turn where you're learning another set of rules. Keep in mind here I'm not really saying the game is all that complex, I'm just saying that ultimately the decisions you make don't even make the medium level complexity worth it. Whether it's the dinosaurs or the other tiles you place in the game, there are no combo bonuses or real paths to pursue. This made every decision feel to me like it was more or less meaningless and the game just felt so bleh.

I backed both games on Kickstarter. I wanted to like both. Dinosaur Island wasn't the worst game I played in 2018, but it was absolutely my most disappointing game. After my third play, Dinogenics is far more what I was looking for.
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Ryan Fiedler
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I do feel like the dinosaurs are more unique than in DI.

This game really reminded me of Viticulture. If you like that game I think you would like DinoGenics. You have to use cards to create dinosaurs and then use workers to maintain and upgrade your park.
 
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Glenn Chambers

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carbon_dragon wrote:
I like them both a lot.

I mostly agree with David, except for a few points. Disclaimer: I own Dinogenics and have read the rules, but haven't played it yet.

Setting aside the graphics-art tie-in and the fact that Dino inspired Duel and they had overlapping design/development staff, the two games are nearly as different from each other as DI and DG, in my opinion. There are significant similarities, of course, but also significant differences.

I also mildly disagree with the description of the mechanics of DI.

Phase 1 is worker-placement with your three scientists, phase 2 is a marketplace without replacement during the round, and phase 4 is a resource allocation exercise.

Despite the fact that they're called workers, phase 3 isn't really worker placement as I've seen the term used; it's actually what BGG calls an action-point allocation phase, like you see in games like Flash Point: Fire Rescue. The difference between phase 1 and phase 3 is that my scientist taking an action can prevent yours from doing the same action, while what my workers do can't affect what yours can do.

Reddish22 wrote:
Dinosaur Island wasn't the worst game I played in 2018, but it was absolutely my most disappointing game.

I disagree with the conclusion, but I can't dispute the argument. I just place different weights on certain facts about the game.

In Reddish22's example, each dinosaur requires different inputs, but the results are the same for each of the three types. That kind of thing is typical of Euros and I'm used to it, so it doesn't bother me. It obviously matters a lot to Reddish22, and to quite a lot of other people.

I see them as very different games, so I have room for both in my collection, assuming that DG holds up to its promise. Your mileage may vary.
 
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David Griffin
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reddish22 wrote:
In a word - favorably.

Specifically you asked are the Dinos more unique - the answer is yes! Every single dinosaur in this game brings something unique to the table and I really, really enjoy that about Dinogenics.

I would say they're of comparable Euro-ishness. One thing I hate about Dinosaur Island (seriously, I hate the game and think it's a huge miscalculation and mistake - read the biggest review on its game page and you can see why) is that all the dinosaurs are the same and thus the game felt honestly a little boring. You could have swapped the dinosaurs in DI for anything from a game mechanic standpoint. There is nothing that actually makes them feel like dinosaurs aside from art. This is definitely not true in DinoGenics. Each of the carnivores is dangerous and so they will take some to most of your actions just on upkeep but the rewards are great.

One other thing I think is so weird about Dinosaur Island (which I explain more in my review) is that it's the worst type of complexity. There are 4-6 "phases" in a turn where you're learning another set of rules. Keep in mind here I'm not really saying the game is all that complex, I'm just saying that ultimately the decisions you make don't even make the medium level complexity worth it. Whether it's the dinosaurs or the other tiles you place in the game, there are no combo bonuses or real paths to pursue. This made every decision feel to me like it was more or less meaningless and the game just felt so bleh.

I backed both games on Kickstarter. I wanted to like both. Dinosaur Island wasn't the worst game I played in 2018, but it was absolutely my most disappointing game. After my third play, Dinogenics is far more what I was looking for.


I don’t see the dinosaurs in DI as the same. For one thing, there’s a big difference between the carnivores and the herbivores. The carnivores are generally more exciting and more dangerous (the small ones). The big ones are REALLY more dangerous and more exciting. I see this as substantially different in effect. Yes the dinogenics dinos have more “behavior” since there is potential for destroying fences and enclosures. In DI the security is abstracted, but the consequences for failure is death every time instead of facility damage.

I’m not sure why you think the complexity in DI is bad. The boards lead you through the three primary stages of the game. Each has their own board which has clearly marked choices on what you can do. The first allows you to draft DNA dice OR buy dino recipes OR use a scientist as a worker OR increase your cold storage limits. The second offers services, basic upgrades, advanced upgrades, attractions, or specialists based on cost. The market is nicely designed, allowing a player to wait to get cheaper prices, if he is willing to risk losing it to the other players. The third stage seems like a worker placement to me. Yes the opponent can’t place there, but many WP games don’t block spaces either (many block SOME and not others). You have workers and you place them on worker placement spaces. Mostly this is the stage where you are building the dinos, upgrading security or paddock size or other things which go directly to the management of your park. The last stage is the upkeep phase where you find out what happens and compete for visitors.

Duelosaur Island is a streamlined version of DI which I like quite a lot. There are fewer rules but the spirit of the game is similar. Totally Liquid adds blueprints (a park design you get points for using), executives and facilities (cool add ons to your park and an extra Scientist/worker with a special ability), aquatic dinosaurs (some of which are admittedly wacky), and other stuff (haven’t done it all yet). Really my only complaint about either game (DI or DuelI) is the rough nature of the automa, but they DO have an Automa, one for each game, though you have to download one).

The biggest difference is that in DI you are building your own park at the same time as the other players and competing for resources. In Dinogenics you’re competing in the same political environment which can make a much bigger difference in who will HAVE what he needs to build that park. You can strangle the other players more in DG than DI (including but not limited to the manipulation cards, but primarily the competition for reputation).

All three are excellent games. Both are very well thought out and engrossing to play.
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Reddish22
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carbon_dragon wrote:

I don’t see the dinosaurs in DI as the same. For one thing, there’s a big difference between the carnivores and the herbivores. The carnivores are generally more exciting and more dangerous (the small ones). The big ones are REALLY more dangerous and more exciting. I see this as substantially different in effect. Yes the dinogenics dinos have more “behavior” since there is potential for destroying fences and enclosures. In DI the security is abstracted, but the consequences for failure is death every time instead of facility damage.


Every dinosaur in a class is literally exactly the same, effects wise. Moreover, there's no "big difference" between carnivores and herbivores. You don't have to feed them, they literally just cost a tiny bit more and give you a few more points and cost 1 or 2 extra security to manage.

I mean I guess you can say you find that exciting and I'm not going to argue that point, but that's literally all it is. The stats are barely different between the classes and there is no post-acquisition difference between dinos in the same class.

carbon_dragon wrote:
I’m not sure why you think the complexity in DI is bad.


If you read my review, you can get more of a feel for it. It's because there are lots of phases and decision points, but a very shallow actual decision space. To me, that's the worst type of complexity. If you look at my review, you'll see defenders of the game, including the designers, say that it was never really meant for hard-core euro gamers but more as an intro game with families. Fair enough, but family games and lighter euros often don't have a turn structure with 5-6 different phases.


carbon_dragon wrote:
All three are excellent games. Both are very well thought out and engrossing to play.


Can't say anything about Duelosaur, never played it - nor can I comment about the Dinosaur Island expansion except to say the primary sin I cannot forgive Dinosaur Island for is making a game with exceptional theme and awesome art so bland and utterly forgettable. No expansion was going to fix that because the fundamental game design was no for me (and I'd argue not well thought out but that's a matter of opinion).

I only posted back to add some dimension to what I said. I don't want to go ten rounds with you on Dinosaur Island because I've already posted my thoughts on it repeatedly. If you like it, cool, but if you just want to post back to convince me it's good - my mind isn't changing (and I played it probably 15-20 times before I sold it on).
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John
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Count me as another gamer who backed both Kickstarter campaigns, and was more excited for Dinosaur Island. Like Reddish22, I found Dinosaur Island a massive disappointment and sold it shortly after receiving it. Haven't opened my copy of DinoGenics yet; hoping it'll pan out...
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David Griffin
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In Dinosaur Island, Excitement is EVERYTHING. It controls your victory point award and your money, and DI has MORE turns to get them in. Yet those big exciting dinos require a lot of DNA to build and a lot of security upgrades, and usually it requires you to prioritize security and paddock building heavily so as not to lose VPs by eaten visitors. This is subtle, but extremely important. By contrast Herbivores are much easier. Security is low, excitement can be moderate (though VP at the end is much less than the big carnivores so you have to get your VP earlier so that the carnivore player cannot catch up). But you can build more herbivores with less money and DNA and skimp on security. So you have the potential of pulling ahead ... maybe. And the player playing herbivores can also spend more on attractions which can be critical to getting even more visitors in your park. They may not have individual abilities, but they play very differently.

It may be that they dinos don’t have special abilities as they do in Dinogenics (which I like), but that doesn’t mean they are the same. If you think that is true, by all means try playing DI and building nothing but big carnivores. You’ll find out it’s a lot trickier than it might seem. And even Dinogenics dinos are limited in their individuality. The herbivores don’t have to eat goats while the carnivores do. And the special abilities aren’t that gigantic an experiential difference. It has an effect — it may dictate where you put a new dino, or how you pen them in, but not a radical difference.
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John
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Sure, I understand the there are different strategies for different dinos. I'm someone who's willing to slog through hours and hours to get to know a game and the interesting decision points it offers. Our group is also not afraid of complexity--we'll crunch numbers and plan out routes and multiple steps. But Dinosaur Island just fell flat for us. The steps felt more tedious than fun (and we don't find counting out payouts in Indonesia tedious, or counting up 18xx routes). For every itch Dinosaur Island tries to scratch, I can think of a game I'd rather play instead.

That's just my take, of course. If you like or love the game, fantastic, you've found a game you love! I couldn't get rid of it fast enough, myself.
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Patrick G.
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Dinogenics is a tighter feeling game that takes a more serious approach to the theme. It feels more polished. And the company obviously cares a lot more about their customers. It's just better.
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David Griffin
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For me, I try the best I can to back the right projects on Kickstarter (the ones that I will enjoy) and sometimes I hit big and sometimes not so much. I feel like both Dinosaur Island/Totally Liquid and DinoGenics were big hits for me. I just love the theme and both implementations are very fun to play.
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Jason Newell
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The reason I went for Dinogenics over Dinosaur Island was purely cosmetic. I chose the more subdued realistic look over the exciting flourescence. Aesthetics counts for a lot.
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