This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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# of players: 2-4
Time: 30-60 Minutes
Game Type: Explore and Capture
Gamer Type: Casual-Moderate
I think that at some time or another, everyone has dreamed about seeing a dinosaur. Whether you were imagining driving through Jurassic Park, filming them on a dinosaur safari – or even hunting those dangerous dinos that were putting people’s lives at risk – everyone has thought about dinosaurs. Cretaceous has captured the feeling of looking for dinosaurs and taking them to a place where people can see them. So strap on your dino hunting gear as we explore this innovative hex based board game.
Cretaceous comes out of the gate swinging, swinging quite hard with an exceptional 8 out of 10 in the art category. The game builds off of an 8-bit feel that really reminds a lot of people of classic PC and Mac dino safari games. The tile, card, and dinosaur art all add to the feel of the game, making this a solid category for this freshman offering.
The story is fun. You are a member of a team hired by a group of investors who want to bring dinosaurs back to the future for a variety of reasons. Each group has a type of dino that they are looking for (which results in you getting a bonus). The story enhances the gameplay without interfering with the gameplay, which is a feat few companies have mastered. This snags Cretaceous a score of 7 out for 10 for the story.
The mechanics for Cretaceous are simple enough that anyone can pick them up, but complex enough to make it interesting. Through the process of exploring hex tiles, players work their way around the ancient world looking for dinosaurs. Battles are done by color based dice and this adds to the complexity of capturing dinosaurs. I will be honest, lady luck smiled upon me in the playtest game; I did quite well at capturing the dinosaurs, but also saw how Fortuna can be a little bit grouchy.
The randomness of the game makes it balanced for multiple skill levels. War gamers may get a little whiny because of the role fate plays in the game; however, the randomness is needed. This earns the game a mechanics score of 7.5 out of 10.
With the exception of Rush, all the key strategy elements are present in the game. You can go offensive, you can use your cards to be a defensive powerhouse and you have ample ability to build engines early in the game. This leads to a lot of options when you are choosing how to play the game. There is even the option to scavenge the discoveries of other players. This is a solid offering in a tri-randomizer game, which earns the game a 7.5 in strategy.
Novelty and Final Score
Tile floppers have a tendency to run on forever, especially when there are interrupt action cards. Cretaceous seems to have eliminated that problem with their unique scoring mechanics. Let’s face it, the fact that the game is about dinosaurs too doesn’t hurt. This earns the game a 6.5 for novelty.
Overall, Cretaceous is looking at an overall score of 36.5 out of 50. This is a very solid game and one that you should consider looking at on kick starter. It is a great quick game you can play with your friends and even friends who are new to gaming. This game is definitely one that should find its way onto your shelf.
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.