How The Game Plays
Dino Hunt is a single-deck game . . . all players draw from the same deck of cards. You can get booster packs to add more cards to the deck, but this is simply to add interest and variety to the game . . . every player has the same chance of drawing the new cards, so nobody gets an unfair advantage.
The game mechanics are very simple. Each player has a dinosaur marker which moves back and forth on the five prehistoric periods of the Time Track. Dinosaur cards are placed above the Time Track in the appropriate period (shown on the card). A player can "hunt" only those creatures in his period.
Each player has an Energy Track which shows how much energy he has to work with. Time travel costs energy; so do dinosaur hunts (even unsuccessful ones). Energy is also needed to power the Gadgets found on some special cards.
There are three phases in each player-turn:
- Recharge Energy. Move your Energy Track up to 10.
- Draw one Special card for yourself, and roll the six-sided die to see how many dinosaurs are dealt from the deck to the table.
- Travel in time (if you wish) and hunt dinosaurs . . .
Dinosaur hunting uses a simple system with an interesting twist. The hunter rolls a single die, and refers to the Hunt Table . . . which is on the dinosaur card itself! Thus, each dinosaur has individualized results. Some are easier to catch, some have a good chance of getting away . . . and some are dangerous. A bad roll on a dangerous dinosaur can cost you Energy, destroy one of your Gadgets, or even end your turn!
There are 31 Special cards in the set, and 29 more in booster packs. They include Experts and Gadgets, which give the players special abilities; Extinction cards, which can force an opponent to discard the dinosaurs he was planning to hunt; Malfunctions that do interesting things to a rival's time machine or Gadgets, and many others.
You get a bonus Special card any time you capture the last dinosaur in a period, which can motivate players to go after the harder targets!
Ending the Game
The game ends when all the dinosaurs have been dealt onto the table and either captured or discarded (due to escapes or extinctions). Each player scores the point value of all his dinosaurs, plus bonuses for some Special cards. The high score wins.
Thus, you control the length of the game by the number of dinosaur cards you start with, from a 15-minute quickie to an all-day marathon.
As a bonus, the set includes "Dino War", a simple game you can play with nothing but the cards.