Dinosaur World and the roll-and-write "Rawr' n Write", both from Pandasaurus Games, are currently being crowdfunded on the Kickstarter platform - and again with great success. It's not a coincidence: the setting and gameplay are popular with the fans. This was already the case with Dinosaur Island, which made the leap to a localized version via the publisher Feuerland Spiele. Now two more Dino games are pushing their way onto the market, which should inspire fans of the predecessor, but also new players. We asked Pandasaurus Games what's behind the magic with the dinosaurs.
Pandasaurus Games has already generated more than half a million US dollars - and thus currently the equivalent of 450.000 euros - with the crowdfunding for Dinosaur World and Dinosaur Island: Rawr'n Write as support funds. If over 6.500 fans take part in one of the campaigns, there has to be something more to it than just the next dinosaur titles.
Dinos again? And whether!
Due to the quality of its predecessor Dinosaur Island, published in German by Feuerland Spiele - the expectations of fans are high. Nevertheless: there must be something to the dinosaur magic. We asked Pandasaurus Games what was behind the Kickstarter projects - and the two co-designers Brian Lewis and David McGregor answered.
The publisher's name suggests it, but why such a strong focus on dinosaurs again. We wanted to know what the magic behind the giant lizards was. The answers are hardly surprising, but at the same time fascinating, because there are considerations behind them that probably every "experienced board gamer" can understand looking back on childhood.
"It seems like dinosaurs will eventually captivate all young people, but some of us just don't grow out of it," says David McGregor. “Watching the movie Jurassic Park when I was young sparked my love for dinosaurs and at the same time it matched my love for theme parks. McGregor was always fascinated by dinosaurs, he says.
And Jurassic Park came out at the right time and "was such an amazing film for the time that it left a lasting impression." His design partner also gave one of the reasons for another project: "It was fun to work with Brian after his success with Dinosaur Island".
Brian Lewis also raves about Spielberg's blockbuster: "I remember seeing Jurassic Park in the cinema and I was just amazed by the CGI," explains Lewis. "The story was fun and Steven Spielberg did a great job of developing such an engaging film." There were additional influences from the video game industry: "I also loved playing Rollercoaster Tycoon on PC when I was grew up,” says Brian Lewis. "I still own it and play it on Steam. So combining those two elements was great fun.”
Dinosaur Island vs. Dinosaur World
Dinosaur Island found many fans in this country, which also means that the majority of players could already have the board game as a rule. That's why you don't have to do without Dinosaur World, at least when it comes to David McGregor. With the successor, the focus of development is already on other factors. McGregor explains, "While Dinosaur World largely shares the same theme as its predecessor, this time we've focused more on the mechanics that give players more control over the operation of their park."
For example, in the Jeeple Tour phase, fans could switch from attraction to attraction and activate them to earn points and resources. "This provides a fun little spatial puzzle that wasn't present in the original game," explains the author. However, the creators were aware of the basic problem – i.e. the similarity: “The game obviously has similarities and we often asked if people would be interested, but we had so much fun throughout the design process that we just kept going”.
McGregor explains that Dinosaur World has completely different problems for players to solve compared to Dinosaur Island. It's fun in both cases, but it's clearly different. In Dinosaur World, the focus is more on the "engine building" of the amusement park. What you build and how is reflected directly in the gameplay.
If you haven't played Dinosaur Island, you can also start directly with the "successor". You don't have to have played the predecessor, precisely because it is so mechanically different from Dinosaur World. Essentially, these are two completely independent board games.
"Dinosaur World shares some of the themes and mechanics of Dinosaur Island, but the gameplay experience is completely unique," says David McGregor. But: "Although it's different, it's really not more complex." In Dinosaur World, the focus is on creating chain reactions and placing the laying pieces. "It's more sophisticated in some ways," McGregor says. Dinosaur Island focused on the park's fun visitor management.
Fleet: The Dice Game was the inspiration for the dinosaur dice game
As part of Pandasaurus Games' ongoing crowdfunding campaign, not only Dinosaur World is available, but also Rawr'n Write, a title that picks up on the current trend in roll-and-write games. No coincidence, as David McGregor reveals. "I was inspired by Fleet: The Dice Game by Ben Pinchback and Matt Riddle."
McGregor personally considers this roll-and-write to be the best on the market. "What inspired me was that fishing boats are activated every other season". McGregor finds it particularly successful that it uses the basic mechanics of other roll-and-write games, but also engine building. They wanted to use the good template: "I thought we could take a well-rounded game concept and embed it in a theme park". Born was Dinosaur Island: Rawr-and-Write.
Brian Lewis adds that the dice, which were important in the basic game Dinosaur Island, could be decoupled and a new game could therefore be built. With Dave and Marissa [Ed .: He means the author Marissa Misura] they talked about roll-and-write games, collected ideas and at the end presented the result.
Pandasaurus: "Some games are very suitable for Kickstarter"
Now Pandasaurus Games has decided to finance the two new dinosaur games via crowdfunding via Kickstarter and not, for example, like Gods love dinosaurs to put directly on the market. Again: It is not a coincidence. There are considerations behind this.
"Certain games are very well suited to Kickstarter because we can explore so many creative possibilities that wouldn't be possible without the additional funding boost," said publisher Pandasaurus Games. "If you look at Dinosaur World as an example, it would be very difficult to release a game directly to retail."
One of the understandable main reasons: The "wow factor", for example through the illustrations or unique meeples, would not work in a direct retail release. In addition, you probably have to set a much higher price for such quality. This shows that the increase in initial circulation made possible via Kickstarter is also beneficial for fans. "By working with backers of the Kickstarter project, we can develop products that reach their full potential while still being accessible to a broad pool of players," Pandasaurus Games said. Even setting up the campaign was anything but easy in Corona times. Getting the marketing machine rolling was one of the biggest problems: “Our priority was to send prototypes to our previewers to create video content for the campaign. However, that proved difficult in and of itself with some groups not being able to play with higher player counts this year, not to mention the postal delays we're seeing here."
Alternatively, one initially looked for virtual alternatives, such as with the digital play sessions, but there were technical difficulties to be overcome – and extended playing times. Nothing works at Kickstarter without good staff: "We have an excellent project manager on our team who works closely with our production facility". For supporters, the outlook for the future, especially with regard to production, is currently positive: "Although we have to take longer transit times into account, we should not experience any major delays due to the pandemic," confirms the publisher.
Nevertheless, Corona was noticeable in many places, even during the development of the two games. "The design process slowed down, but we were still able to meet in rounds with a limited number of players." Some test games were carried out virtually, McGregor also explains. All in all, at this point in time, the development of both games was already in a late stage.
The necessary playtesting was nevertheless noticeably impaired by the pandemic situation. Author David McGregror confirms how important physical game meetings are for the development of board games: "Many developers did not start work at the moment due to limited access to game groups, and those who worked used the Tabletop Simulator." The simulator is great, do it but testing games more difficult. “Dinosaur World can easily be completed in 90 minutes, but the playtests were almost twice as long. The Rawr'n Write is about a 45-minute game, but it took almost two hours,” says the author.
Those online seasons weren't ideal, but after a few games everyone got a lot faster. "I love talking to people about design and getting real feedback, and it was a lot harder over the internet" We had some amazing playtests of the Rawr'n Write at Gencon 2019 and I'd like to have a similar experience with Dinosaur World tests done.”
Contact with fans and players is essential, and Brian Lewis is particularly pleased that Dinosaur Island has been so well received in this country. “Thank you so much for everyone's support of Dinosaur Island and our new games. We have really passionate fans and I'm grateful that we have them!" His appeal for the post-corona period: "If you see me at a convention, come and say hello!"
The Dinosaur World and Dinosaur Island campaign: Rawr'n Write runs via Kickstarter until October 17th. Fans still have plenty of time to support the roll-and-write with a dinosaur theme, the successor to the Dino Park building game or even the bundle of both titles. You have to pay 26 or 60 or 82 euros for it. A small extension is available for around $ 15. The stretch goals are already activated except for one, the last one falls when a financing amount of 545.000 US dollars is reached. The waiting times for the games are comparatively short: the two titles should be sent out as early as July 2021.
Last updated on 8.02.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API