Dinomals (Dinomals, 2017)

Date played: March 15, 2020

Basic details: 2-6 players; 5-20 minutes

Gist of the game: This is a pretty simple game. Your goal is to construct a “dinomal,” which is an animal-dinosaur mash-up. In order to win, you need the dinomal card, as well as the corresponding animal and dinosaur cards, plus a “smush” DNA card to make the whole thing work biologically. Each player begins the game with a 5-card hand. At the start of each turn, the player draws a card and then proceeds to play as many action cards as they wish. Hand size is unlimited.

Color commentary: This was one of the first Kickstarters I supported, primarily because of the artwork. It’s a game designed by a dad and his two kids, presumably for the kids’ enjoyment and entertainment. There’s essentially no strategy, except maybe to maximize your hand size, as it increases your chances of getting all the pieces of the dinomal you need, though there are cards that end your turn immediately or, more catastrophically, make you start your hand over. I drew such a card when I had two or three complete dinomal sets and was merely awaiting a smush card. Because there’s no real strategy, it’s a fluffy game that can be played even if it would be harder to muster the cognitive load to play a more complicated game. It also takes up little room. The pictures above were taken on our bed, as our table is currently covered in textbooks I’m perusing for next semester and a slew of games that can be played solo, as I will have more time at home during spring break and once my classes go online in a couple weeks. As I self-isolate (ish…M will have to come and go from his job), I will surround myself with games to keep myself entertained in between recording lectures.

M’s thoughts: There is virtually no strategy to this game and yet I love it, and not just for the fun artwork. The game can be played in small doses repeatedly and it has never failed to entertain me. (The one piece of strategy that does exist is to save worthless cards, such as one that calls for reshuffling the deck, to used when you get a card that allows to force a trade with another player. Petra only seems to catch on this intermittently.)

2 thoughts on “Dinomals (Dinomals, 2017)

  1. I recall being beaten very soundly at this when I played against you two, which leads me to think there’s a little strategy. The art is super cute though!


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