Before I begin, I was provided a review copy of this game in exchange for an honest review. This is not a paid review. If you would like to watch a video of this review you can check that out below, and get your own copy here.
I think many of us at some point thought dinosaurs were just the coolest. However, for most of us as we got older we developed other interests, or learned what paleontology actually entailed we decided to be something else when we grew up.
But man, dinosaur bones sure are cool, even if bringing them back to life through ancient DNA in fossilized mosquitos is a bad idea. Luckily for us though, Jurassic Parts puts you in the role of a paleontologist, at what is, perhaps, the biggest dino find this side of a Jeff Goldblum movie collection. Bafflingly the site leader has decided that the best way to collect these incredibly valuable fossils is to turn it into a competition to see who can get the most complete dinosaurs out of the ground.
Like most 25th Century Games this is a quick, and family friendly game. On your turn you will place out your sharpened chisels onto the slab, slowly separating chunks away. Eventually the chisels of all the players will break a chunk away, and then the collection begins. Whoever contributed the most chisels gets to claim half of everything, then whomever is next gets to take half of the remainder, then whomever is next half of the remainder, and so on. Any left overs go to the site leader, who gets to profit while doing literally nothing. It’s a good gig.
In addition to breaking chunks of rock away you will be selling fossils to the site leader in exchange for amber…which you can then use to buy more things from the site leader, things that will allow you to break things away from the slab easier, or grab a fossil out from under the dusty, grabbing hands of your opponents.
Once there is only a single tile left on the board, the game ends and you add up your points. Most points wins.
So what do I think?
This is a lovely looking game on the table…unless you have a thing against orange. Additionally, the cast of characters is delightfully diverse, and well illustrated, and all the components are delightfully chunky.
I also am a very big fan of the ease of play in this game. It simply is not hard to learn, and not hard to play, making it a game that can absolutely be enjoyed by a family, or by harder core gamers, who are looking for something quick and light.
The core mechanics of the game are a fascinating mix of set collection, and area control…which are two mechanics that I certainly would not have guessed would really work together. In particular I enjoy the debate about how many chisels you should commit to a break, sometimes it can be a serious waste of your effort to try to get first pick at the tiles, but it can be really hard to just let it go, and let someone else claim the majority.
This game takes longer than you would think to set up. You have to flip half the tiles face down, shuffle them all together, and lay them all out. Now this does not sound like a lot, but there are a LOT of tiles…perhaps one for each bone in a human body…probably not that many. Then along with that, if you put them too close together they can be difficult to break off of the slab itself. This makes the game a little more fiddly than you might expect.
Additionally, because anyone can just toss a single chisel into the mix at the last minute and claim a large portion of the tiles, that might lead to frustration with some players. It is not inherently unbalanced or anything like that, I just know that I played with some players that found it INTENSELY annoying every time they were about to break off a huge chunk, and I would toss a single chisel in, and get 1/4 of the tiles.
Bringing it all together
Jurassic Parts is a quick to learn, and quick to play family friendly area control, and set collection game. The cast of characters, art, and components are all well done, if a bit orange; the area control is a delightful mix of planning and opportunism that will work for many a different group of gamers. The game takes a bit longer to set up than you would expect, and the tiles can get too close together making it hard to separate them without making a mess.
I wish your prose was as fragmented as your dinosaur skeletons
* Quick and easy to learn
* Area control and set collection meshes well
* A little fiddly to set up, and maintain on the table
* Good artwork and components
* Some players might get irritated by other players jumping in on their collecting of tiles at the last minute