Review: Velociraptor! Cannibalism! – dinosaur mutation

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - packaging

When dinosaurs were threatened with extinction millions of years ago, there was nothing to be done. Their life went on. Maybe a bit hoping, that when they evolution takes them in the right direction, rockets appear on their backs and they shoot down approaching meteor. Or they were not thinking about anything and simply chasing other animals in an effort not to stay hungry and creating new and more ingenious ways to hunt them down.

But appetite of dinosaurs is big and their prey had slowly disappeared from the land. Its more rare to each to the fullest. Neat catch is just unattainable idea, so their pointed teeth must turn into their own ranks and become cannibals! When this happens, nothing is impossible.

And here you come. But you want to avoid cannibalism. And still, you will do anything to keep your dinosaur race alive. That is why the game bears his name. There is a group of authors of the game: JR Blackwell, , , , , and . Their idea came to the market in via Game Salute company, although there is still a tiny company Raptor Board Games in the background. One of the authors – Jennifer Rodgers – is also behind a whole graphic looks.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - game is ready

We are heartily welcomed to discover this square box, which is dominated by a pair of dinosaurs – one orange with a jetpack on his back, while the other plays for being rabbit with tentacles instead of front paws. Both their sharp teeth should not be reason, why not to look inside. They are not guarding the box so well, so you can keep all your limbs in place.

At the bottom of the box, there is a pile of components, but you will look in vain for a game board. Instead, largest component are represented by eight dinosaur boards. There’s a rock guy Iggy with green mohawk, fishlike Mortimer or serious Reginald. Each board in addition to the basic statistics of speed, attack and defense (3/3/3 for all) includes a recap of the basic rules and two places for laying cards – stomach and nest. Picture of each dinosaur is then divided into five rectangles, that border various parts of the body.

Cardboard components are this time present only as thirty dinosaur eggs. About everything else will take a card form. And there is a total of more than 170 cards in the box. These are formed by jungle cards, where dinosar can run into unexpected catch, but also in some events. Dinosaurs have no mercy, so they eats cute penguins or kittens, no matter how innocent they look. All of these creatures have in their upper left corner a specified nutrition value printed, representing number of calories for successful hunter.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - game in progress

A much bigger surprise will be, when they meet predators in the jungle. They have a claw instead of nutrition value with a numeral indicating strength of that enemy. Whether it’s a hydra, a witch, Dagon or crocodile, they all form an unpleasant obstacle, that may (in case of victory) change in the supply of food.

Second deck is slightly smaller, but more interesting for dinosaurs themselves. It contains body parts, that are prepared by evolution for dinosaurs. You simply need a bit of luck to find them. Each such element has bonuses, that improve basic trinity of statistics on its owner. Adding new parts on your dinosaur raises his intake, which is also provided in number of calories. And there are even more numbers on these cards, because even body parts can be used as food. This leaves us with only ten climate cards and we can finally explore dinosaurs and their evolution.

At the beginning of the game, each player selects one dinosaur board, with which he wants to start. All figures have same features in the beginning, thus number three in speed, power and defense. Decks of cards (meat locker = body parts and jungle) are thoroughly shuffled and placed in the center of the table. Same goes for climate cards. But on the top, there must be a Truce card with white flag on it. This ensures, that the first round is a peaceful one. Each competitor gets also a trio of eggs and one random body part, which he can equip.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - game in progress

Now the game can begin. Whole contest is divided into a finite number of rounds, in which the players take turns. At the beginning of each round, starting player turns a new climate card, which will change conditions for given round, but also marks gradually approaching end of the whole game.

When the player gets his chance to act, four activities in a predetermined order are waiting for him. First, there is issue dinosaur hunting. He will fish out as many cards from jungle deck as is current speed of his creature. But there is not only prey waiting inside, but also enemies or events. The simplest fate applies to prey, that surrenders its nutritional value (top left corner) into animal stomach. Player puts all hunted cards there for now and does not eat them!

But often, they can encounter a predator during exploration or even unexpected event, whose information must be followed. You cannot backup on any enemy attack and must try to beat it. Predator also has its strength, which player must prove to resist. In this case, attacker was beaten and can serve as food or contrary provide part of his body for development to his vanquisher. Lack of power leads to attempt on escape, which burns lot of dinosaur’s accumulated fat. And he must compensate for it during feeding phase.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - game in progress

And after the hunt, this is really right time to give yourself a proper feast. Now dinosaur must sate his hunger, which depends on all his body parts. Each card, whether the limbs, back, tail or head, has its own costs. Their sum is necessary to cover by cards caught in this round or those, that player saved from past round in his stomach. Plight occurs, when hunger is greater, than food supply in the stomach can provide. Such a creature does not hesitate and starts devouring its own body parts (according to player’s choice) until hunger is under control.

Remaining energy can dinosaurs spend on reproduction or mutation. If anyone is planning to mate, there is no need to look for a partner, player simply lays an egg in dinosaur’s nest. It will be protected until the next round, when its moved from the nest and becomes a valuable prey for others. This mutation allows you to get a new parts coming from drawing deck, all this after paying 300 calories.

At the end of their turn, players can also attack opponent’s dinosaurs, steal their eggs or body parts, if they are strong enough. With hardships and evolution, dinosaurs gradually become armored monsters, whose development ends, when climate deck runs out. At that moment game is over. All decision is on eggs players own. Who has most of them at the end of the game and therefore has the best chance to win true duel with evolution, is also declared as winner of this game.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - game in progress

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! will never cease to amaze you. It is surprising, that such a crazy idea really got all the way to publishing. Mutating the dinosaurs, who can in crisis even devour their own body sounds almost too crazy, even in our editorial room, where we have played over 1000 different board games till now. All the more surprising to us was, that the game itself is a pleasant pastime. Although it does not surpass good game grade, we are sure it will find many fans among your ranks.

Game attracts a lot of players with possibility to improve their dinosaurs and exchange their limbs for something new. This is actually a central concept of the game, but at first glance, you do not see any other things relating thereto. With each new body parts, apetite of your creature is growing as well and it is not easy to keep an eye on everything. Just as in nature, you can not be sure about sufficiency of your supply each round. Sometimes you run into a strong opponent and running costs a lot of energy, before you get a chance to feed on prey.

Each part and although it costs you calories, it brings evolutionary advantage for your dinosaur. It can not only improve speed, attack or defense, but also provide some additional bonuses, such as increased population, ability to defend your own eggs or better and faster escape from predators. The game also is influenced by climate cards. It is good to know, what’s in store for you in here in advance, because some can for example under certain conditions take away your eggs. It gives a proper dose of luck, which is not suitable for everyone. But there is nothing easier, than to remove their actions from the game and only use them for counting rounds.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - player boards

The game revolves around a simple concept, that works nicely. However, it pretty much relies on luck of card draw. While the exploration is willed property, which increases tention, mutation is something else. Players sometimes get part of the body, allowing them to nothing but devour it as food. To reduce influence of chance, we propose rules, where you can choose out of three available cards. This option seemed very useful to us and makes the game much more tactical. Many people will condemn this game because of the randomness, although we do not think it deserves it. Yes, there is luck in the jungle, but isn’t it there in the real life too? Exploration is risky, you can bet.

At first glance, it does not seem so, but the game is quite focused on the mutual attacks between the dinosaurs. Although the attack can be done only on one occasion during each round, players will use it often, because enemy eggs (and body parts) are an easy source of food. And you get closer to victory, while holding rivals back.

Fun stems also from the improvement of animals and efforts to care for them. So the game has a very good atmosphere. To add another level of tension, you can spice fights between players by adding dice, which then gives you chance to defeat even weaker individuals. Its helping to bring some uncertainty to otherwise decided duels. Game works nicely with three opponents, although you should not expect so many skirmishes then. It is even possible to have fun with dinosaurs in two, but then the game is lacking a substantial part of interaction between players, because there is only two against each other.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - cards

A bonus of Velociraptor! Cannibalism! could be speed of the game in a smaller number of opponents,, with three going around 45 minutes. Player turns do not last for very long and number of rounds is clearly limited. The game may end up even earlier, if the opponent empties the common stock of eggs. Unfortunately, you could easily get bored during the game boring, if you play it with more opponents. During other turns, you have simply nothing to do – no planning. So you can have fun only by watching opponent’s monsters. In addition, game with six players (max) can significantly exceed an hour.

There is really enough cards in the deck, which ensures versatility for many games. Most of us hated fact, that while some dinosaur species have the whole body among body parts (from head to tail), other animals have only some specific parts. You simply are not able to do whole wolf of your dinosaur, because he will always be missing something. Its variability is enough, but we would like the game even better, when this was done properly with all animal mutations.

Besides the previously mentioned components, you will also find a small expansion in the box, that will delight fans of H. P. Lovecraft. Does the world of dinosaurs fit in there? We’re not about to argue with you. Convince yourself, that the tentacles on new cards definitely enhance the experience even further. Overall, the game is full of wonderful humor, that will amuse you not only for the first match.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! - cards

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! is a game, that will please lovers of unpretentious fun, who do not mind strong luck playing part in the match. As an ideal representative of this group, Munchkin can be mentioned. If you like this wandering around the corridors, then you will enjoy it most certainly with dinosaurs. Their crazy running around the jungle, evolution and eating each other is just fun from the moment you start playing. Just be careful, when it comes to number of players involved. Velociraptor! Cannibalism! certainly deserves to have its fans, because it is inherently funny game.

DesignerJ. R. Blackwell, Major Johnson, Bri Lance, Jennifer Rodgers, Daniel Solis, Jesse Whitworth, Andrew Wilson (I)
ArtistJennifer Rodgers
PublisherGame Salute
Year Published2013
# of Players3 - 6
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players
(5 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages8 and up
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(1 voters)
CategoryAnimals, Card Game, Fighting, Humor, Prehistoric, Print & Play
MechanicDeck, Bag, and Pool Building, Set Collection
FamilyAnimals: Dinosaurs, Crowdfunding: Kickstarter
Primary NameVelociraptor! Cannibalism!

Infos courtesy of More Infos.

Review: Velociraptor! Cannibalism! – dinosaur mutation
Final word
Velociraptor! Cannibalism! is through a large number of negatives and also some negative reactions from the audience quite nice and funny game. It is obvious, that it will not attack any awards, but there is a particularly as good entertainment in this box. Game should not be taken seriously, so do not make a mistake and attempt it. With the right attitude and expectations, you can really entertain yourself during playing. Every turn, players embark on hunting, drawing from jungle deck, which may include a prey or a horrible enemy. Players can really be tripped up by bad luck and they will simply have no chance to dig them out of this during whole game. But even so the game can still entertain. Thanks to excellent theme, its great match as family entertainment. And despite the fact, that you do not have as many options to affect the whole game and its not good with all the numbers. Best option is the possibility of attacking the opponent. Improving animal is important, but you have to watch your calories, to be able to feed your living dinosaur. Velociraptor! Cannibalism! then finally contains not only hunger for purring kittens, but also for entertainment. And your stomach looking for fun will not be left empty!
Reader Rating0 Votes
beautiful graphics
favorable game time with smaller number of players
expansion and variants
sufficient variability
improvement of animals and need to feed them
you must devour your own body parts
decided fights among players
luck may decide everything
there is nothing to do during opponent’s turns
not enough options to plan
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