25th Century Games sent us a copy of their game Jurassic Parts to review. This game is set for reprint to two retail locations and local game stores. The game has the immediate appeal of dinosaurs and as an archeologist it is your job to discover as many complete dinosaurs as you can! It is a thrilling adventure and follows through with the hype that the premise and artwork promise.
The game is packaged in a neat tidy box with brilliant artwork reminiscent of watercolor and archeology. You are trying to find the most complete specimens out of the many in a large slab full of fossils and rocks. The board is a large set of hexagonal tiles that are all touching each other and contain hidden (or not hidden) fossils from different dinosaurs.
Set up is simple, each player gets a player mat that has a unique character on it and while all characters play exactly the same, the variety of artwork is always appreciated. After giving each player a character mat, you select a set of chisels represented by different colors. The small tokens will serve to cut the slab into sections for you to harvest the fossils hidden within.
To set up the board, the hexagonal tiles are split into two halves, one half face up(with fossils visible) and one half face down (showing only dirt, hiding the fossil underneath). These two stacks as shuffled as they are and are placed to surround a “pile of bones” piece. The set up does not have to be perfect, in fact it adds to the variety if the shape is a little wonky or if there are slightly more face up tiles than face down (or vice-versa). Lastly you set up the amber tokens and field leader. There is the option of playing with “resource cards.” These cards grant you special abilities that can be used once per game or that can be used throughout the game as a permanent upgrade.
Gameplay sounds difficult but is surprisingly simple once you understand how the game works. On your turn you sharpen 3 chisels, these sharpened chisels are essentially what you can play. You can save up to 1 per turn but the rest must be played, meaning at most you can only ever have 4 (unless you have a resource card that says otherwise). These chisels are placed at the intersections of two tiles and serve as you cutting the slab into pieces.
Whenever enough chisels are placed in such a way that they are lined up to meet the edges, the smaller piece breaks off and players can have their selection of pieces. First pick goes to the player with the most chisels on the cut, second pick goes to the player with the second most chisels and so on. The first player picks half of the pieces rounded up and a maximum of 6 pieces. The next player picks half of whatever is left, then the next player picks half and so on. Your goal is to complete as many dinosaurs as you can with larger dinosaurs being worth more but harder to accomplish. Anything that is left over is given to the field leader.
The field leader serves as a sort of market for upgrades or other tiles. Anything that was not selected by players is given to the field leader. Whenever a fossil is completed or you get a pterodactyl (which is completed with 1 piece), you get an amber piece which is the games currency. You can purchase something from the leader, something from the field, or upgrade your moves. You can buy as many things as you can afford but the price is cumulative. This means that on the same turn, the first purchase costs 1 amber, the second purchase 2 amber, third purchase 3, and so on. It is a wise move to use your amber if you are trying to complete a specific dinosaur.
The game ends when there are only two tiles left, in which the current player selects one and gives the other to the field leader. Points are scored based on what fossils you completed, how many plants you have and how much amber you did not spend. The game is quick and easy to learn but tough to master.
Language Barrier Playability: Easy. The gameplay is based solely off of symbols and requires only explaining the rules. If you choose to play with resource cards you simply have to translate them which can deter strategy if translated after the game starts.
Replayability: Good. The game offers a variety of options with the modular board tiles and the resource cards. It is a game that can be played a couple of times in a row.
Artwork: Charming. The artwork is elegant and reminiscent of Indiana Jones. The color scheme gives off ancient Egypt vibes and helps immerse you in the theme. The first player token is easily one of the best we’ve seen!
Quality: Great! The tiles are easy to pick up, hardy and the multiple game pieces are very well made and give the game a little eye candy.
Strategy: Moderate. The strategy here is a little bit of luck but you can try to steal some of your opponents work, buy things from the field leader and try to hoard certain dinosaurs. A little variety in strategy but the element of luck hinders that a little.
Instruction Manual: Great. Everything is well written and answers questions as you read along. The artwork is sprinkled throughout making it a fun read as well.
Organization: Good. Everything fits easily into the box but the pieces are not in compartments or separated by barriers of any kind.