Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gene splicing dinosaurs all by yourself

GenCan't Roll and Write Library - Jurassico

Since there are over forty games in the library, I have realized that I probably won't get through them all. So I've decided that I should make sure that I get in the finalists and the winner. I'm not going to save the best for last.

In Jurassico, you are commercial geneticists who are working on bringing the dinosaurs back. Amusingly, the winner of the contest, Welcome to Dino World, is about running a dinosaur amusement park. So I can see playing the two games back to back :D

Jurassico is designed as a solitaire game with a built in, robot opponent. I can see playing it multi-player but you will always need the robot to really keep the pressure on.

You are working on bringing back five different dinosaurs species. You do this by filling in the numbers on five color-coded columns. Each round, you roll five dice (red, yellow, green, white and blue) and make pairs with one die left over. 

You can cross off the sum of a pair from the column that matches one of the colors of the dice in the pair. The white and the blue are the bottom six numbers of 2d6, the green and yellow are the top and red is the even numbers. You also get some genetic meddling that lets you alter each color in some way twice in the game.

The fifth die? That goes to your competition, Embryonic, who are trying to make the same dinosaurs. You just check off a box in their unnumbered columns. They have fewer boxes than you in each column AND you check them off at the start of the game. The number depends on how difficult you want the game to be.

Whoever finishes a dinosaur species first gets two billion bucks. If the other side later completes that dinosaur, they get one billion. If you get to six billion first, you win. If Embryonic does, you lose.

Out of all the games I've played so far in the library, Jurassico may be the mechanically simplest. However, it's a very tight, tense game within that simplicity. The die rolls give you some legitimate choices, particularly with the genetic meddling thrown in.

However, what is absolutely key to the game is your competition, the robot company Embryonic. Even at easy level, it keeps the pressure on you and it is genuinely difficult to beat. The robot player just takes the game to the next level.

Even if I were to play Jurassico multi-player, I would keep Embryonic in the game. I would just have each player check off different boxes in Embryonic.

I'm not normally a solitaire player (although the GenCan't Library is definitely testing that :D) and when I do play a solitaire game, I want a fairly short one. I just use them for mental breathers, as oppose to an evening's activities. From that standpoint, Jurassico is a great game for me and I know I'll be pulling it out regularly.

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