In 1993 when Jurassic Park debuted, the world was enthralled. It wasn’t the first time that dinosaurs had graced the silver screen, but it was a technical marvel for its time. If you have the time, I’d highly suggest watching the Jurassic Park episode of The Movies That Made Us on Netflix, it’s a great show. But we aren’t just here to talk about dinosaur movies. So bring on the dinosaur board games!
And you know what? There are actually quite a few great options for you to get your dinosaur fix in. From euro games to park builders to even skirmish games, get ready for some Triassic terror.
10. Gods Love Dinosaurs
In this tile-laying game, players are gods creating their own ecosystems and biomes. Each turn, you’ll draft a tile to add to your ecosystem, which gives your little world new animals. Not only are you building out chains of animals, but every now and then, dinosaurs will move around your area eating the animals, allowing them to lay eggs. Which is how you score points! Gods Love Dinosaurs is a fun and goofy game that should appeal to players who love tile playing and drafting games.
2-5 Players • Ages 8+ • 30-45 minutes • $30
9. Dinosaur Island (review)
Published by Pandasaurus Games, Dinosaur Island has players building their own dinosaur theme park. The design team decided to channel their inner 80s vibe as Dinosaur Island has a lot of bright neon colors and gratuitous use of the color pink. But at its heart, it’s a dice rolling and set collection game. Each round you’ll be drafting dice that have DNA on them and using those to make dinosaurs for your park. It’s a fun theme park building game, but I wasn’t a very big fan of the hooligan mechanic, so it only comes in at number 9 on the list.
1-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 90-120 minutes • $40
Raptor is a card driven board game for two players. During the game, one player takes on the role of a mama raptor trying to protect her babies while the other player controls a team of scientists trying to capture the raptors. Designed by a team-up of Bruno Cathala (5 Tribes) and Bruno Faidutti (Citadels), the Raptor features tactical play all while trying to outthink your opponent. Each round, both players choose a card to play, but only the player with the lowest number on their card gets to use the action. The other player gets movement/attack points equal to the difference in the value of the two cards. It’s a really clever system that makes for some fun back and forth gameplay.
2 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes • $33
7. Dominant Species (review)
This award-winning board game puts players in charge of their own species during a pre-ice age time. The game starts with all species in a natural harmony, but that doesn’t last long. Dominant Species features a heavy dose of area control as players try to make sure their species are in charge of as many locations as possible. While Dominant Species is a great game, it’s a bit too heavy of a euro game for my tastes, which is why it’s not higher up on the list.
2-6 Players • Ages 14+ • 120-240 minutes • $60
6. Evolution: Climate (review)
Evolution was an already great game that was only improved by the Climate stand-alone expansion. In this card game, players are creating their own prehistoric species, trying to adapt them to survive in a harsh world. You’ll have to balance your creature’s abilities against the ever-present threat of starvation, carnivores, or climate effects. The goal is to create vibrant species that can handle foraging for enough food, or preparing on weaker species.
2-6 Players • Ages 10+ • 60 minutes • $60
5. Dinosaur World (review)
The follow up to Dinosaur Island is the aptly named Dinosaur World. This theme park game builds on its predecessor by dumping the hooligan mechanic and letting players build out their park to put on Jeeple tours. Not only will you be creating dinosaurs (using dice like the original game), but you’ll also be constructing buildings and attractions in your park with hex tiles. This not only gets you special abilities but allows you to plan routes for your tours. Just be careful though because visitors will be less interested in your attractions the more they see them.
2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 60-120 minutes • $50
4. Unmatched: Jurassic Park – InGen vs Raptors
This is a licensed skirmish game that uses the Unmatched card system. One side controls a pack of 3 raptors, while the other side takes charge of Robert Muldoon and his security team. Each player gets their own unique deck built around their specific faction. The Raptors are swift, have pack tactics, and brutal attacks. But the Ingen team has their own bag of tricks, including range attacks and traps! Plus, once you get a few Unmatched games, you can even mix and match them. Get ready to have Bruce Lee fighting a pack of raptors!
2 Players • Ages 10+ • 20-40 minutes • $45
This underrated drafting game will have you trying to earn the most victory points over the course of two rounds. Draftosaurus uses the “pick and pass” style of card drafting, yet instead of drafting cards, you are choosing dinosaur meeples. The gameplay is very simple, yet trying to choose not only which dino to draft, but what pen to put it in creates some fun decisions to make. And the game is only improved with the two expansions: Aerial Show and Marina that add flying and aquatic dinosaurs (respectively).
2-5 Players • Ages 6+ • 15 minutes • $20
2. Dinosaur Island: Rawr ‘n Write (review)
What’s this? A roll and write board game at number 2 on the list? That’s right, I was really surprised at how good Dinosaur Island Raur n Write is. In fact, it might be my favorite roll and write game yet. What I love about it is that it distills the gameplay from Dinosaur World down to its essence and lets you get the feel of that game in a 30-minute package. Much like the game it’s based on, you’ll be drafting a dice for DNA and resources, and using them to create Dinos, build out your park, and put on tours. It may seem like there is a lot going on with this one, but the game has a really good flow and is a ton of fun to play.
1-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 30-45 minutes • $25
I was a fan of Dinogenics from my first play and it still remains my favorite dinosaur-themed board game. In this worker placement euro game, you are creating your own dinosaur park, with one side for visitors and the other for dinosaurs. Dinos are made by creating sets of DNA cards, and each dino has its own special ability. Players will need to manage various resources like money for building out their facility, or goats to feed their carnivores. But they also need to be careful, because if a dinosaur’s needs aren’t met, they can go on a rampage in your park, breaking fences and eating your park guests! If you are looking for a game that lets you build your own dinosaur park, look no further than Dinogenics!
1-5, 10, 90-120
1-5 Players • Ages 10+ • 90-120 minutes • $75