Header AD

Dodos Riding Dinos - A Racy Review

Quick Look: Dodos Riding Dinos

Designer: Rubén Hernández Santillán
Artist: Ivan Escalante with minis by Heriberto Valle
Publishers: Detestable Games and Draco Studios
Year Published: 2020
No. of Players: 1-6
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 20 min.

From the publisher:

The ancient dodos predicted it. A huge meteorite is approaching our island! There is only one thing left to do... RUN!

The fastest dino will be saved from extinction! Each round, players secretly plan their movement. Play with skill and a little bit of insanity. Do you have the best aim to hit your rivals with a meteorite?

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of Dodos Riding Dinos. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change - in particular, I did not have the minis to preview. Dodos Riding Dinos is live on Kickstarter in May 2020.

My stegosaurus and I received a prototype copy of the game for the purposes of this review, but if you think my opinions have been slayed, maybe you are the dodo!

Review: Dodos Riding Dinos

Overview and Theme:

The over-the-top theme is right there in the title: Dodos Riding Dinos! Extinct birds and reptiles teaming up together to be the fastest pair on the island...

Colorful cartoons and madcap minis bring the ancient race to life, so strap in and hold on: this is going to be a wild ride!

Components and Setup:
The most exciting component in Dodos Riding Dinos wasn't available for my prototype copy, so I grabbed a picture from the Kickstarter page to share with you. Check out these adorably awkward, hilariously happy dodo-and-dino minis crafted by Heriberto Valle! I can't wait to get my hands on them.

In addition, there's a double-sided game board (the placid island or the dangerous volcano), a pile of movement cards, a pair of dice, and wooden tokens (egg, banana, meteorite, and dodo/dino stand-ins).

Each player picks the Dodo/Dino combo they want (will you take the nimble Godefroit & Valery or the aggressive Osborn & Reynaldo?) and picks up the matching Racer Card and Mini (or wooden meeple if prefer). The flip side of the Racer Cards includes stats to use each racer as a Challenger Racer (AI) in one- or two-player games.

Everyone starts with a hand of six Movement Cards and then there's a countdown: 3-2-1-Go! to grab the first player card from the middle of the board, with the fastest fingers securing the first place at the starting line. Ready? Let's race!

Game Play and Mechanics:
The goal in Dodos Riding Dinos is exactly what you'd expect: be the first to make it around the racetrack and across the finish line!

You'll use Movement Cards from your hand to move you forward and also take actions to impede your opponents. Each Movement Card has a base movement number and then a special effect, so you'll want to study your hand of cards carefully to decide which card to play when.

Dodos Riding Dinos uses the simultaneous action selection mechanic, which means that at the beginning of each round there is a Scheming Phase where each player secretly chooses the Movement Card they want to use for this round and puts it on the table, face down. Once everyone has chosen, all the cards are revealed.

There are three basic types of Movement Cards - Normal Cards (blue), Aggressive Cards (red), and Fast Cards (green).

If more than one person plays an Aggressive Card (or more than two players in a full six-player game), the aggressive actions are canceled and you only are able to take your base movement! Your plan has been foiled as you and your opponent become so enraged that you are unable to follow through with your nefarious scheme... which is too bad for you, because the effects on the Aggressive Cards are the most powerful in the game.

Starting with the player who snagged the First Player card, you'll take your basic movement and then play out the effect of your card. Sometimes this is good for you (draw any card from the discard pile, roll 1 die and advance that amount, all players pass their hand of cards to the right) and sometimes it is bad for your opponents!

The dexterity component of Dodos Riding Dinos comes through in some of the action cards that allow you to hurl an egg (flicking), a bunch of bananas (keep your elbow on the table), or even a meteorite (from a hand one foot above the table) towards your opponents. Be careful, because if you miss and hit yourself, you'll have to take that damage instead! I really enjoyed adding the dexterity pieces to the race and they're a big draw for other gamers checking you out from across the room.

I particularly enjoyed the health/damage mechanic in Dodos Riding Dinos: your health is tracked by your hand of cards, so when you take damage, you have to discard cards from your hand. You only draw one new card each round (and only if you're not the dodo/dino pair in the lead), so eventually you may run out of cards. If you end a round with no cards in hand, you'll have to back your mini up three spaces in order to draw a fresh hand of five new cards! I found it a clever way of dealing damage and giving yourself an edge.

Dodos Riding Dinos is part of a larger universe called Creature Kingdoms, which includes a previous title (War for Chicken Island) and an as-yet-unannounced planned sequel. Eventually, the minis and pieces from all three games, as well as the board from Dodos Riding Dinos, can be used together in one mega Creature Kingdoms game. I love seeing creators putting ideas together in new ways and engaged in world-building, even for something as goofy as a dinosaur racing game.

The Good:
Between the adorable minis and the wooden bits flying across the table, Dodos Riding Dinos has a wonderfully entertaining table presence. The theme and the cartoon style artwork are amusing, and everything put together makes for a game that makes you smile.

I particularly enjoyed the damage component (when you take damage, you lose cards from your hand), the dexterity component (flick an egg! toss the bananas!), and the simultaneous selection mechanic (you scheme first and can only react later).

I appreciate the scaling for multiple players and the ability to use any racing pair as a Challenger to play solo or to ramp up a two-player game into a meatier experience.

As a gameschooling mom, I enjoyed the planning aspects of Dodos Riding Dinos as well as the fine motor work (it's not easy to aim that egg!) as well as the rabbit trails of natural history and fantasy (were dodos really alive in the time of the dinosaurs? wouldn't that have been fun?) that it leads us down.
The Bad:
I really enjoyed playing a prototype copy of Dodos Riding Dinos, and I think the only negative thing I would say is that I wished I had the minis, now! They are so cute and I look forward to seeing them in the final version.

Players Who Like:
Dodos Riding Dinos is a great fit for gamers and families who enjoy racing games like Pitch Car, Dead Sprint, or - an even better comparison - Robo Rally, and who like a healthy dose of dexterity from Terror in Meeple City mixed with a little direct conflict from King of Tokyo along with plenty of humor.
Final Thoughts:
Dodos Riding Dinos is as adorably funny as the title and the artwork would lead you to believe, and it is a solidly enjoyable family or light-weight racing game that includes a little hidden strategy, a little wrist-flicking dexterity, and a lot of laughs. I am looking forward to seeing the final version of the game and wish the creators all the best on their Kickstarter!

Check out Dodos Riding Dinos on:


About the Author:

My name is Alexa: I'm a life-long game player and homeschooling mom to two awesome kids. I've loved board games since my early days playing Scrabble and Gin Rummy with my grandmother, and life only got more interesting when I married a Battletech enthusiast and fellow game lover. We've played games with our kids since they were small, and I helped start a thriving homeschool co-op where we have weekly sessions of board games with kids.  In a family with kids raised on Catan and Pandemic, life is sure to be fun! You may run into me on Twitter, BoardGameGeek, and other social media as MamaGames. Be sure to say hi!
Dodos Riding Dinos - A Racy Review Dodos Riding Dinos - A Racy Review Reviewed by MamaGames - Alexa C. on May 11, 2020 Rating: 5

No comments