" In a game filled with cowboys why there are so many pictures of Amazon bikini babes I'll never know. "
Title: Dinosaur Planet Broncosaurus Rex Core Rules by Goodman Games
Format: D20 Alternate World
Reviewing Monkey: Our Ape Master
The Hype: People like dinosaurs. People like cowboys. And, worth noting, is that people like the d20 system. Thus, the good folks at Goodman Games figured that if you combined the three and made a Dinosaur cowboy d20 game they'd have a winner.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: I'm going to look at this two ways. On the one hand, there is definitely a story in Dino Planet. Actually, when you get right down to it, there's 30 odd pages of story that explain the alternate future of this "old west" universe, the voyage to the stars, the colonization of this planet oddity where dinosaurs exist, and the juxtaposition of old world weapons with sci-fi tech. On the other hand, you could really sum up this story with the simple statement, "Subscribing to the 'great tastes that taste great together' philosophy of game design, we took our favorite stuff and made a game out of it. Enjoy." There's no real depth, no particularly compelling revelations, and really no great innovations. Still, if you wanted to care, it's here…and I give them kudos for that. 3 out of 5
Layout and Presentation: Baring an uncanny similarity in layout to some of the old Palladium Rifts/Robotech books (which is not a bad thing) Dino Planet is a nice, easy to read book with a very pleasantly cut and dried feel. Logically laid out with the inclusion of both a nice index and table of contents, Dino doesn't try to use fancy formatting to confuse or impress you. The artwork has a comfortable inked pencil feel and there's not a lot of fluff to clutter your enjoyment. Really, the only thing that struck me as odd was the prolific use of the stereotypical scantily clad warrior chicks in the artwork. Not that I mind, per se, but in a game filled with cowboys why there are so many pictures of Amazon bikini babes I'll never know. 3 out of 5
Playability: The first couple of times
I looked at Dino Planet I was, to be perfectly honest, confused at what I was
seeing. Not that the content is hard to understand, but for the life of me I
couldn't figure out why the game existed. When you break down the base components,
you have dinosaurs (which are prolific in other monster manuals and various
beastie compendiums) and cowboys (which, while fairly unique, aren't really
preserved in any significant fashion from their historical counterparts). When
you add in the reality that the story is only so-so it left me wondering, "Why
would you need this game?"
Then, on a visit to a buddy of mine's place with this (and several other d20) book in tow, it all clicked into place. While we were entertaining ourselves with inflated stories of our virility and consuming malted beverages, his son walked in and began thumbing through the books. He picked up a volume, flipped through it, and then tossed it aside- one right after the other. Then, suddenly, he gasped and screamed, "Cool! Cowboys and dinosaurs!" and it hit me. This book is made for 10 year olds. But not in the condescending "it's a kid's game" kind of way, but in a bridging, binding, "kid's and parents both being happy" kind of way. It turns out that the semi-science fantasy aspect really appeals to the youth while the story (however limited), reasonable adaptation of the rules, and entertaining archetypes keep the game fun for adults. As a result we were able to sit down with a couple of the young one's friends and have a gaming experience that was good for child and adult alike!
And while I don't know if this was the aim of Goodman games when they designed Dino Planet, it ends up being a niche filled rather nicely. 3.75 out of 5
Desired Content: Though, as I said, most of this stuff can be found in other manuals (some of which you may already have…which is why I mention it) I don't know of anywhere else that combines it all in one volume. It's most of what kids like with enough reality to keep the parents happy (thus, potentially, also explaining the scantily clad women). 4 out of 5
|Though it probably won't appeal to the average d20 gamer, Dinosaur Planet ends up being a great supplement for the younger gamers in the crowd, and any parents who are trying to bridge that gap. Not particularly intellectual, it is a fun lighthearted romp into some great cultural classics.|
The Good: Dinosaurs and Cowboys.
The Bad: That's it. Dinosaurs and Cowboys.
The Overall Ugly: Fun if anyone you're gaming with is under 14.
What it's Worth: Market