Toy Fair 2019 came and went like a colorful, engaging parade and my fellow Megan and I found ourselves most fascinated by Launch Pad exhibitors, up and coming inventors with interesting new toy and game concepts. One of our favorite experiences was our discussion with Brett Fodor, co-creator of Dino Duel, a card game about creative cartoon dinosaurs at war to determine who wins leaves with the most fossils of fallen foes. (Alright axing the alliteration… WAIT-)
The new Kickstarter sweetheart is the brainchild of Brett Fodor and Stephen Caution. As Brett tells it, the idea came before a Tuesday night bowling league where card games were played up until the pair decided to create their own. And truthfully, I adore this creation. Artist Keenan Hopson’s artwork has a great simplistic style that lends itself to so many adorable, energetic, clever, and/or impressively expressive dinosaurs and action cards.
Now when I look at an independently created card or board game, I look at mechanics and how well they function. I’ve done artwork for a couple of projects and found it difficult to understand how the game would be played, much less what the cards did. Dino Duel, on the other hand, is very easy to pick up in a good 5 minutes…
Engaging, bright, and minimal visuals make things all the better for both children and adults alike, so I’d say the game is good for a wide audience. Additionally, with all the unusual designs and functions of dinosaurs, I didn’t feel the game was especially repetitive, which is super important for a “play until the deck runs out” card game.
Dino Duel is considerably polished and streamline, particularly according to Brett’s account. “The game has been in development for about 2 years and has gone through about fifteen different gameplay changes and over 100 play testers.” My partner and visual coordinator Megan Chevatewa and I found the game especially charming and immediately engaging. Of course it helps to have a sense of humor when it comes to puns and love for adorable, goofy dinosaurs, but regardless this really is a game for the masses. I can think of several families, friends, and even media titans who would enjoy Dino Duel. It’s the sort of thing I could see in the living room with a couple kids and a babysitter or on the Game Grumps 10 Minute Power Hour…
You can visit the official Dino Duel Kickstarter page to view the various reward tiers for donating to the campaign. Donate as much as $20 for an early bird box of the base game (49 cards) and four sets of three colored dice. That’s 21 different dinosaurs, two of each, plus 7 “Extinction” cards, the essentially “self-destruct” mechanics that shake up gameplay entirely. Reaching $35 will include expansion packs for the game, specifically 21 additional cards. The list goes on, but I will highlight the $100 tier in which they offer a custom dinosaur card, much like the images below.
I’m not often interested in card games, to be entirely honest. Having worked in a comic shop focused on Magic The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, I may or may not dislike card games out of spite, apart from Cards Against Humanity. And yet, the creativity and relative ease of this game may change that; and more than that, it makes me smile, not taking itself too seriously, but dripping with care, deserving to sit beside games like the aforementioned CAD, Apples to Apples, and many more household names.
Dino Duel’s Kickstarter has 34 days to go at the time of writing and has reached almost a quarter of their goal just hours after launch.
Freelance cartoonist, illustrator, & writer
School of Visual Arts Alumna