Dinosaur World Brings the Joy and Danger of Dinosaur Parks to Your Tabletop

dinosaur world
(Photo: Pandasaurus Games)

Tabletop fans have embraced Dinosaur World, a new installment in the ever-growing Dinosaur Island franchise of games. Last week, Pandasaurus Games launched the Kickstarter for Dinosaur World, a sequel to the smash board game hit Dinosaur Island. Similar to the first Dinosaur Island game, Dinosaur World players use workers and resources to gradually build a dinosaur park filled with a mix of friendly and deadly dinosaurs. However, the new Dinosaur World treats park-building as a bit of a puzzle, with a phase where players activate their park by driving through it in a jeep, trying to minimize casualties and maximize profits (and resource collection) over the course fo the game. After just two weeks, the Kickstarter has already raised over $500,000, guaranteeing that this dino-builder will be one of 2021's most anticipated games.

We spoke to Dinosaur World designer Brian Lewis about the success of the Dinosaur Island franchise, which has now expanded to three games and reinvigorated the dinosaur genre of board games. Lewis didn't expect the first Dinosaur Island game to be a hit, noting that their initial pitch to a major publisher was rejected. "They turned it down because they said they didn’t think there was a market for a dinosaur game," Lewis told ComicBook.com via email. "There had never been a very successful one (at that time) and that they weren’t sure how to market it." However, Pandasaurus picked it up on the spot when Lewis and co-designer Jon Gilmour pitched the game to them, and the rest was history.

Dinosaur World can be looked at as a sequel to Dinosaur Island, although it was originally conceived as an expansion to the original game. "It’s funny, when we started designing this, it was supposed to be an expansion for Dinosaur Island," Lewis said. "But the more we tried things, the more we felt boxed in by the constraints of Dinosaur Island. Dinosaur Island had already had a full blown expansion, so I wasn’t sure there was much left to say. Once we dropped the idea of it being an expansion, it was a very freeing experience. We were able to make changes to mechanics and design without those constraints." In addition to the use of a jeep to activate the park, the dinosaurs themselves got a bit of an overhaul, with each dinosaur having individual threat, excitement, and victory points.

Although Dinosaur World wasn't intended to "improve" on the original game, Lewis noted that they took the time to look at some of the more common complaints from the original game and decide whether to address them in Dinosaur World. "Sometimes the answer was yes, sometimes no," Lewis said. "Everyone has an opinion as to how the game should play; it’s up to the designers to create a game they think people will want to play (and still be true to their original design.) Many things were cut and changed because on paper it looked fun, but in reality it wasn’t."

Although Dinosaur World can be looked at as a sequel, new players can jump into it without any knowledge of the franchise. Lewis noted that certain mechanics will be familiar to Dinosaur Island fans - such as building dinosaurs and gathering DNA, but other parts of the game will be a totally new experience for all players. " I think people will be surprised at how something can feel so familiar yet different," Lewis said when discussing the differences between Dinosaur Island and Dinosaur World.

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As for future plans for the franchise, Lewis notes that he's always open to continue expanding on what exists, but it's ultimately dependent on the success of the Kickstarter campaign and the sales on Dinosaur World. With a Kickstarter that is already 2000% over its initial funding goal, it looks Dinosaur Island fans will get to experience more dinosaur-building misadventures with Dinosaur World for years to come.

You can check out the Kickstarter here.