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  • Writer's picturecraig duncton

Raptor Island by Hayball Games

‘Raptor Island is a fast paced 2-5 player action card game. Players work against each other to gather dinosaur DNA, avoid being eaten by the hungry locals and escape on the last remaining helicopter’

Plunged into the midst of a uncharted island, you assume the role of intrepid palaeontologist searching for dinosaur DNA. The search is hard, and there are many obstacles in the way. Just when you think you have found some Dino DNA, you are forced to relinquish it due to a rival palaeontologist sabotaging your efforts. Even when you are able to keep hold of it, you are forced to find fuel for your only way off the island, the last remaining helicopter. Vying for space on the last ride off this remote island, you battle your fellow palaeontologists to the wire. One of you will make it off the jeopardous island, the other will be left to survive in the vast wilderness with the prehistoric terrors!

Whats in the box

4 Raptor cards

19 item cards

(containing safehouse key, fuel, flares, smoke grenades, Dino DNA, raptor eggs and tranquilliser guns)

29 event cards

(containing Escape the island, dinosaur encounters, expedition obstacles, sabotage cards)

Ultimately, you are collecting Dino DNA, finding fuel for your helicopter and ultimately find an escape the island card to ensure your safety. However, I only wish that it was this simple. Each palaeontologist/explorer is given a starting hand of 3 cards and then subsequently pick up more cards from a communal deck. These cards will either serve to help you reach your aims or sabotage the chance of someone else leaving the island alive. There are limited cards of each type and so it is a battle to find the correct items whilst retaining those you need to keep hold of.

Raptor cards have a unique property - if you have one in your play space at the end of your turn that was there at the start, you are eaten and have to shuffle your hand back into the deck! Bad news if you were storing fuel and Dino DNA!

Overall thoughts

This game combines a story element with game play perfectly. Effortlessly simple to pick up and play but so enjoyable! You can really imagine that you are a palaeontologist and the cards you draw add to the thread of the story you are able to tell each time you play. One game might involve your rivals continually sabotaging your efforts, the next fuel is at a premium and hard to find, then you might play a game where someone hoards all the Dino DNA only to be thwarted at the last moment or the Raptors are determined to take you down. This element of the game is what keeps you coming back for more and draws your appeal in a saturated market. The game plays as well as a two player game as it does in a small group. Dinosaur lovers - this is one for you and anyone who loves to tell stories through their game play this is a must have in your collection.

N.B. We were kindly gifted a prototype version of this game to review and as I am sure you can see from the pictures above, some of the visuals are missing. We have loved keeping up with developments at Raptor HQ and enjoy seeing how the concept art and visuals are developing over time.

Below is the new art for the cover raptor which I am sure you can see is now brighter and more visually stunning.

Concept art for the Triceratops card.

Concept art of the Dilophosaurus card.

Above are some of the concept art for the other dinosaurs that you meet in your exploration on Raptor Island. We are extremely excited to see where these head next and how the visuals end up when the game is published. A lot of thought and hard work are going into making sure these visuals are just right and add to the overall aesthetics of the game.

Follow Raptor island on kickstarter to keep up to date and get notified when it launches on the 1st September 2021

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