When you go to an amusement park, you expect a flood of attractions. But then you come to our park and everything you get is one dinosaur and a hotdog stand. That’s not enough for you? This might be true for someone, but everyone has to start somewhere. And for me, even this small area is a dream come true. But competition is not sleeping. We already have a second animal hatching. What will it be? Come back and see!
Duel of two parks is offered by the board game Duelosaur Island, which is such a lighter version of the original game Dinosaur Island. New design for two players was created by designer Ian Moss and the game was released under Pandasaurus Games brand. It carries the 2018 year label and later that year, it has arrived to Europe on wings of Esdevium Games distribution.
Box is quite small and on its lid we see a pair of dinosaurs and with them some human scientists, exactly the combination, that every successful dino zoo needs. And do not make illusions, you eill run it yourself.
At the beginning of the game, player places a common board in the center of the table, filled with an offer of park cards (three from the shuffled deck), specialist cards, and plot twist tokens. All the coins and other tokens are placed aside, dice thrown into a sack. Then, players finally choose each their company board. They then deploy a number of indicators to DNA scale (six), threat track and security indicators, but also the common starting values of enthusiasm and visitors (both on a common plan). Both participants will choose from their starting cards one dinosaur and one attraction, that will be tucked under the board – one from the top and second from below the plan.
Rounds alternate regularly and each one starts with an income phase. Players receive coins and cards, but they can also add extra bonuses to their basic income. Park cards can be chosen from the open menu or blindly from the top of the package. Then starting player draws random five dice out of the bag, rolls them and spreads them to a common board. At the same time, each resulting symbol is inseparably linked to one plot token.
From that point on, players can decide whether to draft a die with a token and immediately take their action or prefer a card with a specialist, they can keep. In this way, players gain a supply of DNA points, finances, cards, but also new visitors for their parks. They both record it carefully on all their scales.
These new sources can instantly be used to make a new dinosaur, or instead build a new building to enrich attractions in the park. All this is done from the offer of cards, that players hold in hand. Depending on choice, he will insert the card from the bottom or top of his game board, leaving only dinosaur or attraction part of card visible. At the end of the round, there will be some die or specialist card, whose value moves threat scale position.
Dinosaurs are rebellious and players must have good security in their park. If the value of the threat exceeds player’s security level, the dinosaurs rebelled, fled, and started to eat the visitors. Affected players will lose some visitors on the scale or even receives a lawsuit (which has a minus value at the end of the game).
And with recruitment of new dinosaur, the level of enthusiasm of visitors increases, which also immediately results in an increase in the number of people, who are going to the park. This is how the two opponents alternate in turn, trying to become favorite of the visitors. The first person to reach the specified conditions (according to the required game time between 25 and 45) has a winning chance. However, everyone will add and subtract points based on his possessions and then the winner is clear.
Duelosaur Island is an interesting duelling game of revenue optimization. This time, everything turns around popular dinosaurs, but more importantly, victory is ultimately the result of scales, where players move their cubes. Income has the most important role, and if you breed butterflies, moose or dinosaurs, there is almost no difference.
On the other hand, to accuse this game of being bad just because of the topic would be rash. Unfortunately, this is not the only problem, we have. Not only is the whole game unnecessarily fast and the end is always a bit abrupt (wihtout any chance to respont), especially all the interconnected mechanisms do not fit into each other. Its simply not easy to learn it, which speaks a bit against this game and its rules.
But otherwise, there is not much you can do to compete in two. Players are moving their cubes and offerings, fighting alongside the threats of angry dinosaurs, and trying to keep bringing new species to life.
Dice have a very positive effect on the overall impression. They mean a different choice of options in every round, but that is the same for both opponents. It is not possible to talk about chance. Randomness will appear at another time, if you decide to draw a park card from the deck insted the offer. But even so, each card has two parts, so it can be used not only as a dinosaur, but also as a building. And that’s why players have a lot of tactical possibilities.
We did not express much praise about the game time, but in reality, it is adjustable. Players themselves can decide, if they want to build the dinosaur park for half an hour or an hour. Generally speaking, the game is fast and even some parts of the move are performed simultaneously. But players do not wait too long in the other.
Success has a fairly clear route, and victory is up to the player, who does better choices. But even dice do not help with the fact, that the matches are too similar.
Overall processing is nice, although the graphics of the plans are not extra enjoyable. You will be pleased with the dice, cloth bag and illustrations on the cards. Above all, however, we like two-layered game plans, that are greatly manipulated.
Duelosaur Island is a game, that gives us conflicting feelings. On the one hand, we like to collect DNA and grow dinosaurs from it, but the experience is spoiled by the sudden ending of the game and the feeling of repetitiveness. Duelosaur Island is ultimately an average game that offers solo mode and focuses on the game for two but does not make any difference.
Duelosaur Island lets players search for DNA pieces from which they can reconstruct live dinosaurs for their park. But both rivals have to deal with a lot of pitfalls. The biggest ones are in the game progress, which repeats across matches, despite the very good use of dice. The game is fast and does not look bad, but that‘s not enough for Duelosaur Island to stay at the top of the food chain.