English language edition
List Price: $11.95
Your Price: $9.50
(Worth 950 Funagain Points!)
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Players are the researchers working feverishly to collect as many dinosaur eggs as possible to protect them from the meteors that are crashing into earth. On each turn, the players choose to play high cards to collect eggs or low cards to be able to direct future collecting efforts. The turns end with meteor strikes that destroy the very resources (cards) the players need to collect eggs. As some eggs are more valuable than others, the winner will be the player who collects the most points in dinosaur eggs in the 12 rounds of the game.
I have to agree with Stuart Dagger's review in Counter about this game. T-Rex has some novel mechanics, and the card play is interesting enough, but nothing special. The graphics are rather garish, with very busy backgrounds that detract from the functionality of the cards. A more muted design would have helped.
Secondly, there is absolutely NO relationship between the card mechanics and the theme. Reiner Knizia's Vampire has been accused of this, but T-Rex seems to be a worse offender. I think a closer relation of mechanics and theme could have put the game over the top, but alas...
T-Rex is fun. The variable length of a round and the unusual trump mechanics make for a game with a certain amount of skill involved, but there just doesn't seem to be enough here to make it a first pick.
The school authorities in Kansas may have decided that they never existed but for most of us, dinosaurs and the mystery surrounding their extinction are matters of fascination. This game seeks to exploit that by taking for its theme the idea that the players are trying to collect dinosaur eggs. If nothing else, it makes for some quite attractive graphics.
The eggs come in five colours and are put up for competition two at a time. Each player has an initially identical set of cards which they will use to compete for the eggs. The problems for each of them are that not all of their cards will be available at any one time and that as the game progresses their stock will be subject to a steady attrition. The result is a game about hand management and the husbanding of resources.
The set of cards that each player begins with consists of fifteen cards numbered 1 to 15 and a couple of specials. The numbered cards also each have a colour and a symbol. The symbol will be either a meteor shower or a picture of between one and three cards. At the start of the game each player shuffles their cards, places them in a face down stack and draws the top seven to form their initial hand.
The other part of the initial preparation will be to decide the colour precedence for the first round. This will help determine which cards are superior to which and is a neat device to ensure that the value of cards is constantly changing. One of the five colours will be designated as the top colour, a second will be the bottom and the other three will be tied in the middle.
The oldest player begins by laying a card on the table and the others then follow in sequence. This play of cards will go round the table at least once but just how far it goes beyond that will vary. This is where the symbols on the cards played come into effect. If you play a card with a card symbol, you pick up that many extra cards from your face down stack. This is the only way you can replenish your hand. As soon as someone plays a card with a meteor symbol, the countdown starts for the end of the round. The end will come when the play gets back to the player who played the meteor card -- unless someone else plays a `higher' meteor card in the interim. If that happens this new meteor player takes over the valuable `last person to play' spot.
When the round has ended, each player will have in front of them the stack of cards that they have played. Only the top card is of any importance. The highest card played will get the choice of the two eggs on offer and the second highest will take the other one. When determining which card is the highest, the rule is that the top colour beats all others and the bottom colour loses to all others. Within a colour band the number on the card decides. When two or more identical cards are involved, the last one played has precedence.
Once the eggs have been handed out, each player must discard the top card from either their face down or face up stacks. When that has been done, the player who played the lowest card in the round may change one of the trump colours. Two more eggs are then turned up and the process restarts.
After twelve rounds the game ends and your score is the sum of the squares of the number of eggs you hold in each colour. So 3 green, 1 red and 1 brown would give you a score of 9 + 1 + 1 = 11.
My verdict? Much the same as on An den Ufern des Nils, the other game from this pair in my collection. It is well constructed, it has some novel mechanisms, it is quite interesting and there is a reasonable level of skill involved. On the other side of the balance, it doesn't make me say ``Wow!''. I am happy with the purchase and shall get my money's worth, but the game is not one that is destined for my `played at least 10 times' list. 5 maybe, but not 10.