I’m continuing my alphabetical look at favorite games in my collection. Let’s see what great G games there are!
The Great Dinosaur Rush
In The Great Dinosaur Rush, players take on the role of paleontologists during the late 19th century digging up bones and publishing papers to become the foremost expert on dinosaurs … by any means necessary. The game plays out over several phases each round. The dig phases have players collecting new bones, publishing to make different dinosaur traits more or less popular, and doing notorious actions like sabotaging other dig sites. Then the build phase has players using all of their bones to build a dinosaur. Finally the exhibition phase sees everyone’s dinosaurs being pitted against each other based on the published criteria, all in the pursuit of points.
The Great Dinosaur Rush always brings silly fun to our table. The dig part of each round makes for some interesting decisions as you move your paleontologies around the map trying to get just the right bones. But the best part is when everyone reveals their creation after the build phase. The different characteristics that are favorable each round can drive players in weird directions, like super-long back legs with tiny necks and tails. Another great touch in the game is that the players each play a different paleontologist, and the available scientists are all real people from the Bone Wars.
In Gingerbread House, players are witches who attract and trap fairy tale characters in their dungeon. Players do this by building up a house with domino-style tiles to gain cookies that the fairy tale characters can’t resist. Each turn, the player will add a new tile to their 3×3 square house, which will allow them to take cookies or do other things to help out (like getting stairs to fill holes in their house or swapping cookies for different colors). They’ll use the cookies to trap characters in their dungeon.
I love how much there is packed into this small-seeming game. There’s a lot to think about as you place your tiles. Building upward requires you to straddle two different tiles. If you can cover two of the same symbol, you get to activate it three times, so you are often trying to work out how to make that happen. But then sometimes the characters don’t want the cookies you are collecting, so you need to keep an eye on that, too. This is just a fun puzzly game with a cute theme.
The Grand Carnival
In The Grand Carnival, players are building out their carnivals and luring visitors to see their amazing attractions. The game has a two-layer tile-laying puzzle where players must first build out foundation tiles with green paths and small squares where attractions can be built. Then they can use actions to build out the attractions. At the same time, they need visitors to move through the carnival to drop tickets on the attractions, or they won’t count for game-end scoring.
Of course, the first thing that drew me to The Grand Carnival was the theme — it goes right along with my obsession with theme-park themed games. But it’s not just the theme that I like. I love the dual-puzzle of building out your carnival so that the visitors can move along the paths, but also making sure you’ve left the correct layout of spaces for the attractions. I like the tension of trying to build out just right space for an attraction and hoping that someone doesn’t snatch it up before you get it. And on top of the theme and game play, the art is amazing.
What are your favorite games that start with the letter “G”? Or is there one from my list that you love or are hoping to try? Let me know in the comments!