Originally, Pirates vs. Dinosaurs was created by my son, a five-year old who wanted to design and produce games like his dad. He had some dinosaur toys and some Fisher-Price pirates, lined them up, and rules and everything. And it dawned on me--no one's made a game of pirates fighting dinosaurs! I tried, but couldn't get the feel right. I turned to Frank Branham, a game designer, but he didn't have luck.
Along came Origins 2010 and Richard Launius. Richard wondered about doing a game for Jolly Roger, and said if I could give him a unique theme, he'd see what he could do. I told him the idea and the story of my son, and within three months, the first prototype was in my hand. At that point, I knew this was going to work out.
When you're playing, the first thing you do is outfit your captain and crew. There are cards for that--this is what a player mat looks like with the cards on it (the pirate is only a silhouette because of one of the donor levels):
Pirates vs. Dinosaurs is a game for up to five players. You play pirate captains looking for buried treasure, but you only have a couple clues--so that means you have to go find the landmarks mentioned on your scrap of treasure ma in order to dig for the gold. The catch is--this island is the land that time forgot, inhabited by cannibals and...dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasties. In the game, these are Encounter cards that you play on other pirates--that's right...you don't randomly run into T-Rex. Your friend's going to sic him on you!
When that happens, you roll the dice and see if you drive the dino off or if he ate some of your crew. It's tiresome to have to go back to the ship for more men, but sometimes, that's the breaks.
The T-Rex card up above rolls six dice, so he can eat up to six crewmen. In defense, you roll dice depending on whether you are armed with pikes, pistols, or even a cannon. You need to roll more hits on the dino than he does to you to avoid losing cre--crew are really important because you have to have someone alive to carry the treasure...fewer crew means fewer goodies at the end of the game!
This is the map. You can see the areas to search--the swamp, beach, fields, mountains, and forest. In the bottom left, that's where lost crewmen go. The bottom right is where you go to bring more crewmnen along from your ships. The top right--that's the treasure site where you dig, and the upper left shows the problems of digging up the wrong things. Each curse unleashed moves the island one step closer to sinking and ending the game.
You're looking to match the fragments of the treasure map that you own with landmarks on the island. Those tokens look like:
On the board, the markers you're searching look like:
Once you match the landmarks, you head for the treasure site. There, you draw a treasure once per turn--you can do this as often as you want, but the catch is that hidden in the treasures are ghosts who will drive off your crew (and you need them to haul treasure) and the cause the island to sink. It is volcanic after all. How long do you push your luck? That's up to you.
The game plays in an hour and it works great with kids, not just adults. I've been asked for a comparison, and what comes to mind is Richard's classic design, Arkham Horror. The difference is that Pirates vs. Dinosaurs is a faster game, more accessible to casual gamers, and a game meant to be played sometimes with kids (because it's great to hear the laughter when your child's dinosaur eats half your pirate crew...or the chomp, chomp, chomp) sounds they make.
It is best with 4-5 because of the interaction, weakest with 2.
PLEDGE LEVEL SHOWCASE # 1: Make a Dino!
$350 or more. “You receive a “Limited Edition” copy of the game and get to work with Jolly Roger and Richard Launius on the design of an Encounter card and its effects featuring your favourite dinosaur or prehistoric creature.” So what's this Pledge Level all about?
This is a super fun one. In the game, there are a lot of cards in the deck that are Dinosaur Attack cards. You play them so that the dinosaurs trample or eat opposing crews. The many different dinosaurs in the game have various Strength levels, appear in different Zones of the game board, and some of them have special powers too.
There ARE duplicate dinosaurs in the deck, and a lot of cool dinosaurs out that we didn't include in the game. So, we thought we'd give you guys the chance to create your own Dinosaur Attack card starring your favourite dinosaur! Here's a list of the dinosaurs that already have Dinosaur Attack cards in the game:
If you pledge at this level:
- You get to decide which dinosaur (or other prehistoric creature) you want on your card. This choice will be first-come-first-served and we can’t do duplicates—if someone else picked Ankylosaurus before you got to it, you’ll have to pick something else—so pledge today!*
- You get to work with game designer Richard Launius to figure out the Strength Level, the Zones it appears in on the game board, and any special powers your dinosaur will have.*
- You get to work with artist Josh Cappel to create an illustration concept for the card, which he’ll render to match the other art in the game.*
- The card will bear a “Card Concept by Your Name” tag at the bottom so that your friends will believe you.
Just remember, we have to reserve the final say-so to make sure the game stays balanced and all that other stuff. Only six of these can go in the game!!
(Want to know about the pledge level with relics? Check out the updates!)
If the game funds, KICKSTARTER SUPPORTERS ONLY, will receive a set of bonus cards. Included in those cards are the following...yup, ninjas and a primate destined to head to New York someday...
AND--if the project funds, all supporters will receive a PvD t-shirt (though they can't be larger than Adult XL)
Stretch Goal #1: $25,000. If we reach 25k, we'll add the components necessary for a sixth player. It'll delay release by a little bit because it will require editing of the rules, the map, etc--but nothing horrible. I promise!
Stretch Goal #2: $30,000. Richard agreed that if we reached this plateau, he'll add something new to the game--pirate ships. The pirate ships would be selected before the game, each with a unique ability for a pirate captain to use during his island adventure.
Risks and challenges
The issue is simply waiting for the custom art based on donors and then clearing customs/actual production issues. The groundwork of the game is complete--everything's done otherwise.
Just as big a challenge is making sure the game reaches its funding goal. The price was set with the cost of the game in mind. If the goal's reached, everything's taken care of--there's no need to worry. We'll keep putting updates and status reports until the game reaches our warehouse!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)