This preview is also in audio form on Week 32 of the WDYPTW Podcast at the 3:49 mark.
If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, you know that our family has been playing a new two player game from Green Couch Games. A couple weeks ago Jason Kotarski contacted us and asked if we wanted to preview a little two player dinosaur fighting game that was going on Kickstarter on July 10th. If you remember, we enjoyed previewing and ultimately backing Best Treehouse Ever, their previous offering, so I jumped at the chance to preview and let you all know how we felt about their newest game to come to Kickstarter, JurassAttack!.
It arrived in the mail this week on Monday. I sat down and read the rules over lunch and I was kind of curious as to how it would work. The instructions read like it was just a variation of War with variable card powers. So I was wondering if this one would be as fun as I was hoping. In JurassAttack each player has a deck of 27 cards, each card is either one of 7 different dinosaurs or Eggs. Each different dinosaur species card has a special power that they can use, it has their Ferocity in the upper left hand corner and their value in victory points at the end of the game in the bottom right. Eggs are strictly victory points that you or your opponent can win. Each player starts with a hand of 5 cards and on your turn, you pick a dinosaur or a pack of dinosaurs from your hand and place them face down in front of you.
A pack of dinosaurs can consist of the same species of dinosaurs or dinosaurs and eggs. There are also specific rules on some cards that allow for dinosaurs to be packed. After you have placed your cards face down in front of you, your opponent places their choice in front of them and then, if you are like us, on the count of three you both reveal your dinosaurs and your dinosaurs “fight”. When you reveal your dinosaurs you are comparing the ferocity level of your chosen Dinosaurs and the highest total wins. Whomever wins takes their opponents dinosaurs and place them in a victory point pile and then they take the dinosaurs that they played and place them in a discard pile. Any eggs that were played also go into the victory pile. After that, the loser of that round draws their hand back up to five, the winner does not, in fact if the winner has no cards in their hand they only draw one card to play next hand. The next round starts with the winner of the previous round being the first to lay their cards down so their opponent can see how many they have played. That’s it, the game ends when one player has no more cards to play from their hand and has no cards left in their draw pile. Each player then counts the victory points in their victory point pile and the highest total wins the game.
The Card Backs
JursassAttack! looks to be the first published game from Ryan Cowler and I believe he has a nice, light, fun game on his resume with this one. The cards, even in pre-production format, are fantastic. I love the art and design on them, and I also love that they are tarot sized, it is about dinosaur fighting after all, so the cards should be bigger than normal, right? The play is quick, which is kind of important in this as it isn’t meant to be a big full game, it’s a fun directly confrontational filler that plays in about 10-15 minutes or so and there are some good opportunities for bluffing your opponent. There are some choices to be made, do I run out of cards here by playing a big pack, or do I hold back and keep a couple just in case. The fight over eggs kind of seems to take a back seat to the dinosaur fighting sometimes, but we’ve had more than a couple matchups that came down to that one point difference so the Eggs did make a difference. The variety of the dinosaurs is pretty nice and the powers that each have can be useful and fun if played at the right time to get the best advantage. I’ve had a good time playing with my 11 year old who has really shown a liking to it, but she lives for games with direct confrontation and our 5 year old has had fun with it as well even though she can’t read everything on the cards. We kind of taught her beforehand who can pack with whom and what each dinosaur can do and she has had a lot of fun with it, even got the two girls playing together without my wife or I encouraging it, so it’s a winner based on that alone. JurassAttack! will be hitting Kickstarter on July 10th and just know that even though we’ll happily be playing our demo copy for quite a while, we will be backing this one to get a production copy as well, can’t wait to see what Green Couch Games does with the production on this one.