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Scott Almes (designer of Tiny Epic Kingdoms) is back! Play as a paleontologist digging bones and building dinos for the finest museums!
Scott Almes (designer of Tiny Epic Kingdoms) is back! You can still pre-order The Great Dinosaur Rush using the button below!
Scott Almes (designer of Tiny Epic Kingdoms) is back! You can still pre-order The Great Dinosaur Rush using the button below!
827 backers pledged $37,063 to help bring this project to life.

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The Great Dinosaur Rush Board Game

$37,063

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The Great Dinosaur Rush is another wonderful entry in designer Scott Almes' game catalog. This time, players take the roles of paleontologists in the late 1800's, competing to find the most lucrative dig sites, find the best bones and build the most unique dinosaurs for the world's most prestigious museums. 

Those were cutthroat times and these otherwise reasonable scientists did whatever it took to stand out from their peers. Sabotage and other notorious acts were not uncommon.

Players are paleontologists collecting bones and building dinosaurs for the most prestigious museums. Each turn, in addition to collecting bones, players will select various actions to perform. Some actions will gain players notoriety - secret tokens ranging in value from 1-3. Notoriety is revealed and added to players' scores at the end of the game. But the player with the most notoriety is called out and their notoriety is subtracted from their score!

Building dinosaurs using the discovered bones gives players a chance to unleash their creative side. The size and shape of your creations are limited only by your imagination!

Note: While the art for these components is largely complete, the layout and graphic design is not.

Game Board 

The game board consists of the dig site hexes where bones are placed at the start of each round.The green and orange hex rows on the top and bottom are for 4- and 5-player games respectively. During the Field Phase, players move their paleontologists around the board collecting bones from the various sites (hexes). 

The top of the board contains tables to track rounds and the values for different museum categories (size, ferocity, uniqueness, etc.).

A scoring track outlines the board.

Bones

Bones are wooden 'sticks' in five colors that are placed in a drawstring bag. At the beginning of each round, bones are drawn from the bag and placed on the board hexes. Each color represents a different type of bone as shown in the following diagram (from the player screen). 

There are 210 total 'bones' in the game.

Player Screens

Players build their dinosaur masterpieces behind their screens - safe from the prying eyes of their paleontologist opponents.

The inside of the screen gives tips on the different bone types/colors and which bones are used for the various museum categories.

There are five screens in the game - one for each player.

Notoriety Tokens

Some actions players take (dynamiting dig sites, stealing bones, etc.) gain them notoriety tokens. These tokens have values of 1 through 3 and are kept secret until the end of the game.

Player Tokens

Each player has a wooden meeple to represent their paleontologist on the board and a wooden cube of the same color to track their score. See the stretch goal before to upgrade these components.

Miscellaneous Tracking Cubes

Cubes are used to track museum categories and the current game round. There is also a stretch goal to upgrade these cubes into dino meeples.

Dinosaur Bonus Scoring Cards

Players can build their dinosaurs however they choose, but can score bonus points by matching the build on the selected bonus cards.

The Great Dinosaur Rush is played over three rounds. Each round consists of two phases - digging and building.

Dig Phase

During the dig phase, players move their paleontologists over the board collecting bones, publicizing by adjusting museum categories and taking actions - sometimes notorious ones!

Actions include

  • Publicize - Move a museum category up or down (same as standard publicize action)
  • Donate - Discarde 1-3 bones back to the bag and lose a notoriety token of that value
  • Publish - Draw a bonus dinosaur card (but be careful - unfulfilled cards at the end of the game are negative points!)

Notorious actions gain players notoriety tokens and include 

  • Sabotage - Take two notoriety tokens and place one under an adjacent dig site (space). If another player lands in that space, or passes over it, they take that token. Keep the other token for yourself.
  • Dynamite - Add three bones from the bag to your pile. Return any bones in your dig site to the bag and take a notoriety token.
  • Steal - Take a bone from an adjacent dig site and place it in your pile. Take a notoriety token.

Build Phase

During the build phase, players secretly build a dinosaur behind their screens using the bones they collected during the dig phase and on previous rounds. After all players have finished, the dinosaurs are revealed and scored based on different categories such as ferocity, size, length and uniqueness.

Players score based on where the museum category is.

In the above example (again, not final art) the Length category (tail + spine) is worth 7 points for the player with the most bones, 4 to the player with the second most and 2 for the player with 3rd most. Ties are friendly (because nothing else in the game is friendly).

Full rules for The Great Dinosaur Rush and more details on the game can be found at apegames.com/rush.

Here are some of our favorite dinosaur pics from Gen Con and playtests:

Okay, that last one isn't a strictly legit dino per the new game rules, but it's still pretty cool looking and shows how creative players can get!

Check out the APE Games blog for lots more dinosaur pictures.

Have you played The Great Dinosaur Rush at one of our convention events and have some pictures of your own? Submit them at info@apegames.com and we'll feature them in future updates!

Father Geek

The Great Dinosaur Rush is a great family game. So, Father Geek was one of the first reviewers that came to mind. To our great pleasure, they gave the game their Father Geek Seal of Approval!

"If you enjoy games where creativity and critical thinking are blended together, where an opponent is but one more aspect of the game to manipulate, and dinosaurs, then do sit down and play The Great Dinosaur Rush."

Father Geek reviewers secretly building their dinosaurs

You can see more at the Father Geek site.

The Cardboard Republic

"We were particularly impressed with the uniqueness of the blended mechanics, we moved forward and have given it our game preview endorsement, the Seal of the Republic." - Ryan LaFlamme

We're thrilled and proud that Cardboard Republic enjoyed the game to the extent that they gave it their Seal of the Republic.

"Make no bones about it: The Great Dinosaur Rush is a splendid example of game design that is familiar enough to be easily learned while still finding ways to tread into new territory."

Read all about it on the Cardboard Republic site.

Board Gamers Anonymous

Board Gamers Anonymous featured The Great Dinosaur Rush on their podcast, episode 93!

Rollin' Dice

It was really fun talking to these guys at Essen Spiele about The Great Dinosaur Rush and other new APE Games. You can see the YouTube interview here.

$20,000 - Paleontologist Cards - UNLOCKED!

Like several previous APE Games (Anathema, 1955, Rolling Freight), The Great Dinosaur Rush is loosely based on actual historical events. The Paleontologist cards bring to life the personalities of the time. Each card provides a special bonus for the owning player as well as historical text describing the influence the character had on the Bone Wars. 

There are fifteen different 3"x5" paleontology cards. Each contains a special ability that the player gets for that game, a portrait and historical information for the character.

$24,000 - Pith Helmet Meeples -UNLOCKED!

We'll upgrade the standard player meeples to have pit helmets! 

Not Available in retail games! These meeples won't be available in the retail version of the game, but Dino Rush backers will get them at no extra charge! (APE Games will sell these at conventions and from its website.)

175 or More SPIRITS Backers - UNLOCKED! 

If we reach at least 175 backers at the $34 SPIRITS BACKER level plus $75 ARCHAEOLOGIAN + SPIRITS levels, all Dino Rush backers (pledging $34 or more) will receive two special new promo cards created by APE developers Jonathan Madison and Shawn Macleod. For free! 

 Not final promo card art.

$28,000 - Dinosaur Markers - UNLOCKED!

The black cubes in the game will be upgraded to wooden dinosaur-shaped markers!

Not Available in retail games! These meeples won't be available in the retail version of the game, but Dino Rush backers will get them at no extra charge! (APE Games will sell these at conventions and from its website.)

$32,000 - Larger Game Board - UNLOCKED!

We got a lot of input from folks who've played the game that while the current game board is perfectly functional, it would great if it could be larger to showcase the great art by Mr. Cuddington. The board art IS really nice, so we're making the board larger with this stretch goal!

750 Backers - All Linen Components - UNLOCKED!

If we get 750 total backers or more, we'll upgrade the board, cards and box to have a linen finish!

$36,000 - Notoriety Token Bag (locked)

We currently play that all of the notoriety tokens are dumped on the table and turned upside down as part of game setup. This causes additional clutter on the table, and it adds a bit of setup time.

This stretch adds a second drawstring bag into the game for the notoriety tokens. Now you can keep the tokens in the bag between games, and draw one secretly without looking when performing notorious actions, cutting out both clutter and setup time!

$44,000 - Second Game Map - (locked)

Wouldn't it be great if you could flip the game board over and have and have a different game experience? We've been testing an alternate game board layout, and the artist Mr. Cuddington is set to do the art at the start of December!

Future Stretch Goals

We have a few more ideas and will unveil info on these as the goals get closer. I think you'll like them!

Dinosaur Bone Upgrade?

We talked about making the dinosaur bones more bone-shaped but discarded the idea for a few reasons. First, there's a lot of game art that uses the current bone shape (wood sticks). To redo all of that would set back the schedule. Also, what shape IS a dinosaur bone? All different shapes and sizes, of course. The game needs for all of the bones to be the same size/shape so that they cannot be distinguished by touch while they're in the bag. Third, the bones fit together nicely as they are, for instance putting two bones side-by-side to create double-wide bones.

Did you miss the Spirits of the Rice Paddy Kickstarter? Now you can get both games as part of The Great Dinosaur Rush Kickstarter and save 15%!

Spirits of the Rice Paddy will ship to you in early 2016 (January) and will include the solo game components from the Spirits Kickstarter project. Shipping is free in the U.S.!

For more information about Spirits of the Rice Paddy, see apegames.com.

Hello everybody! My name is Scott Almes, your friendly neighborhood designer of APE Games' upcoming title, The Great Dinosaur Rush.  

The Great Dinosaur Rush is a very personal game for me, as when I was a kid I had a strong desire to be a paleontologist. Although I later decided on engineering (and game design!) I never stopped being fascinated with dinosaurs. However, as I grew older, I started to learn not only about the dinosaurs themselves, but also the people who discovered them. It didn't take me long to discover one of the most fascinating periods in scientific history: The Great Dinosaur Rush.

The Great Dinosaur Rush, also known as the Bone Wars, was a period in the late 1800's of intense fossil hunting. Two men led the charge: Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope. Both men started off as friends, both being driven by a desire to become the best and most well known paleontologist. But, after knowing each other for a short time, that same drive that founded their friendship would turn them against each other. The vast bone pits across the U.S. simply weren't big enough for the two of them.

What resulted was one of the most infamous scientific feuds in history. These gentlemen scholars would slander each other in the press, sabotage bone bits to prevent the other man from digging there, bribe fossil hunters to divert bones to their attention, hire spies to keep track of their rival, and another other dastardly deeds to stay ahead. Even their respective employees would get into fights. There was an incident in Montana where their fossil hunting teams threw rocks at each other to keep the others away. Their rivalry was nasty until the very end. Edward Drinker Cope donated his body to science and asked that his brain cavity be measured and compared against Marsh's to prove that he was smarter. (This was, of course, at a time when brain size was thought to relate to intelligence) The feud would bring shame on the profession for a long time.

Now, that's the theme I drew on for the game, but the gameplay isn't quite that nasty. It's just the background, and the play is perfectly suitable for families. In the game, players dig for dinosaur bones and assemble skeletons to show off at the museum. There's a simple market mechanism that's used to determine what the museum is looking for, and a streamlined set of instructions for how players can build a dinosaur. The dinosaur building is one of the most unique elements of the game. Besides a few rules, players are free to build their dinosaurs in any way they want. The museum defines different ways to score, but there's a lot of room for freedom in the game.

However, a game with this theme must relate to the intense rivalry of the times, and that is fulfilled by the "notoriety" mechanic. When you are digging for bones, you can take powerful actions like digging with Dynamite or Slandering, but you must take a notoriety token when you do so. The notoriety has a random value on it, and the player with the most notoriety at the end of the game will lose points due to their infamy.

I'm very proud of this game. It offers some unique gameplay experiences, as well as offers a glimpse into a time in history that is not well known. I hope you enjoy the game.

Happy Digging,
Scott

About the Artists

Also known for creating the art of Steampunk Rally, which was an instant hit on Kickstarter in Fall 2014, duo illustrators David Forest and Lina Cossette know a thing or two about making pretty games. You'll usually find them nested in their little countryside studio, seamlessly combining their talent under the name Mr. Cuddington. 

While APE can produce small games, like this year's Arcadia, without outside funds, we rely heavily on Kickstarter to produce bigger games like The Great Dinosaur Rush. Simply put, without you, Dino Rush won't get made.

Kickstarter is also a bellwether for games. Is The Great Dinosaur Rush as awesome as we think it is? You tell us with your pledge - or not!

Shipping is always tricky with Kickstarter projects. The price almost always goes up before the project ships, making it really hard to predict what to charge.

That said, we're keeping shipping FREE in the U.S. even though the trend seems to be to start charging a nominal amount as part of the project. 

We lost considerable money on international shipping for our last Kickstarter, Spirits of the Rice Paddy, and cannot afford for that to happen again. We love our international backers and are keeping shipping as inexpensive as we can.  We will use a fulfillment company with warehouses in various global geographies.

Also, take heart that our games always find their way into distribution worldwide. So, if you find you cannot back us, you can get the game in your friendly local game store when it comes out.

Risks and challenges

APE Games has successfully run and delivered all of our Kickstarter projects. We have a dedicated staff that works year-round packing and shipping orders. We use fulfillment companies for shipping when we have a large number of orders to ship in a short period of time.

One concern is that shipping prices increase dramatically before we're able to get this game to backers. That would be unfortunately, but APE has cash reserves available for such situations.

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    SPIRIT BACKERS - Did you back our Spirits of the Rice Paddy game Kickstarter (or Backerkit) at the $40 level or higher? Back The Great Dinosaur Rush at a 15% discount! Shipping is STILL FREE in the U.S.!!

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    ARCHAEOLOGIAN + SPIRITS - Get one copy of The Great Dinosaur Rush with all stretch goals PLUS Spirits of the Rice Paddy with exclusive solo game components. Spirits ships early 2016. Shipping is STILL FREE in the U.S.!!

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    RETAILERS ONLY - This level is only for established *game* stores. Get one case (6 copies) of The Great Dinosaur Rush along with all stretch goals. Actual shipping costs to your store will be charged after the project completes.

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