Sometimes you come across a Kickstarter that’s so ridiculously big that you wonder why it’s on Kickstarter at all. At the other end of the spectrum, there are campaigns that are so small they fly well under most people’s radar. If it wasn’t for a bit of good luck, Dino-Digz would probably never have crossed my feed.
Earlier this year I had the honour of being a judge for the Design and Game Awards, where I first encountered Roars and Rattles: an educational dinosaur boardgame. It may not have been the shiniest game in the pile, but it had a lot of heart and did what it set out to do. It sparked dino interest in young people. I set my assorted nibblings on it and they all loved it, minus a few demo copy glitches.
So when the opportunity to sit down with creator Meara Danielle McIntosh, I jumped at it. A Registered Technologist in Biology, Meara is one of the hard-working people behind the scenes when you see a fossil skeleton in a museum. In short, when it comes to dinosaurs, she knows what she’s doing, and puts that knowledge into her games.
For Dino-Digz she dialed back the straight trivia, and what is left will have all the answers interspersed throughout the rulebook. So while someone old enough to read is still needed, it’s not as intensive as Roars and Rattles. The other fun thing is that many of the cards that a player may draw are all based on her life and career, and the photographs on the board are displays she made in the course of her career.
The game itself is very simple and runs very much like Monopoly without the toxic levels of capitalism. Roll the dice, move your dino-skull pawn, if you land on a dinosaur you can buy the space or have to pay the owner. you may draw a card for positive or negative results, or you may draw a section of a dinosaur skeleton. There are three dinosaurs you may draw a piece of skeleton from, and the person who draws the final part of a skeleton gets to claim a dinosaur space without paying for it. When all the dinosaur spaces have been claimed the game ends.
The cards for each dinosaur has a picture on one side and facts about that specific dinosaur on the back. Combined with the trivia info in the rulebook, it makes the educational component of the game feel less “educational” and more fun.
There are two $40 (CAD) pledge levels for Dino-Digz, which basically just splits up the delivery dates. The game is produced largely by hand, so having realistic fulfillment goals is smart. $50 gets a copy of Roars and Rattles. $55 gets Dino-Digz and a set of add-ons for Roars and Rattles (this pledge is obviously designed for existing R&R owners). $75 gets Roars and Rattles Premium (with all the add-ons), and $90 gets a copy of both games.
As I mentioned, these aren’t mass produced games from a big company. These are hand made with care. There a so many places these games can go in the future, but they are still worth the money now.
You can find Dino-Digz: an educational dinosaur excavation game online at roarsandrattles.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/Roars-and-Rattles-An-educational-dinosaur-board-game-1760771334034308.