Brief Review: Tiny Epic Dinosaurs
#Tiny Epic Dinosaurs arrived this weekend and so of course I had to try it out and talk Becky into playing one game. I played a game as if I was two players (the Rahdo approach) and ran a solo game and then talked Becky into a game.
I've played #Tiny Epic Galaxies and comparing the two games I like this one better as it feels a little deeper. I backed the deluxe version and have the research lab that adds to the speed at which you can obtain dinosaurs. This is largely a worker placement game with some area management aspects trying to keep your park arranged and dinosaurs fed so as to prevent escaping and losing a fence.
The meeples are amazing and very detailed for how tiny they are! All the purple ones are unique dinosaurs and each one is its own meeple. The art is vibrant and bright and setup is very easy. You couldn't play this in a car on a trip but with the box being so small it packs nicely.
So how does it compare to #Dinosaur Island? It is not as complex as #Dinosaur Island and lacks the same depth. Same would go for #DinoGenics (a game I hope to obtain one day). There are quite a few options available on the action mats from obtaining resources to capturing dinosaurs. I like that they include what is essentially a grande worker ( #Viticulture) that makes taking an action a little easier if a worker is already on that space.
The solo version was nice and I found it reasonably challenging in my one playthrough (I think I lost by 3-4 points but it was close). The key to winning is chasing the contracts and with limited space to work with in your ranch fulfilling 3-5 contracts (including one private contract) seems like the norm for a game. One thing I didn't like was having to fill a public and private contract at the same time. This felt unweildy at times. I will try a house rule next time where you have to fulfill a public contract but once one of these is fulfilled you can fill a private contract on another turn without having to do both at the same time.
The research cards providing unique dinosaurs and "game-breakers" is nice and quite helpful when used well. They seem to operate a little like the GEAR in #PARKS that require a little getting used to to maximize well. The game is fairly short and took Becky and I about 30-45 minutes and that being somewhat of a learning experience. There are enough choices to make that even a 60 minute game seems reasonable if you're thinking through al your options.
All in all not a bad game that seems like it can use a few tweaks. I think a couple action spaces might benefit if they were enlarged for more than 1 worker to be placed without penalty. I'll have to play again to think through which spaces might increase the competative dynamic without breaking the game.