Kickstarter Quick Picks: ‘Dinosaur 1944’

Dinosaur 1944! Image by Petersen Games.

Summer, 1944. Kyoryu Jima, South Pacific. Unusual activity is reported, and a scout troop from the American task force is ordered ashore. They discover monsters from the past, created by mad scientists! It’s kill or be killed…be a hero, or be lizard chow.

What are Kickstarter Quick Picks?

Kickstarter Quick Picks are short looks at projects currently on Kickstarter that are of interest to me, and by extension, many of our GeekDad readers. A Quick Pick is not an endorsement of the Kickstarter campaign, nor have I (as yet) received any product copies to review. If you like what you see here, go check out the campaign and decide for yourself if you’d like to back it, or wait until GeekDad has had a chance to go hands-on. As always, caveat emptor- let the buyer beware.

New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.

What Is Dinosaur 1944?

Dinosaur 1944 is a cooperative strategy game for 1-4 players that plays in about 90 minutes and is for ages 14+. It’s being published by Petersen Games, and designed by Sandy Petersen. It is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and a regular “Raptor” pledge will get you the game and all stretch goals for $79. There is also a very deluxe “Chicxulub Meteor” pledge available that offers everything in the Raptor pledge, plus a few other unique offerings, notably tours of the Smithsonian Museum and the Maryland Tank Museum with Sandy Petersen acting as docent over Memorial Day Weekend 2021. That will set you back a cool $999.

Core box components. Image by Petersen Games.

In Dinosaur 1944, players will take on the roles of WWII US Marines fighting off swarms of prehistoric monsters in the jungles of the Pacific.  From the Kickstarter page:

It is in part a battle game, as you maneuver around the map and fight the enemy. It is in part tower defense, as you place ambushes to help take out or slow down the incoming fiends. Each hero has unique strengths and weaknesses – your victory depends both in mastering your own hero and cooperating with your friends.

As the game progresses, you face more numerous foes and dinosaur bosses enter the field. Eventually you face the final boss – defeating her wins the game. Beware: if the dinosaurs devastate your base camp, you’ll be stranded on Kyuryushima, prey to the horrors therein.

The game will include a number of high-quality plastic miniatures, ranging from the 32mm-scale human Marines up to an enormous 122mm Brontosaur.

Miniature size comparisons. Image by Petersen Games.

Here’s a closer look at a couple of the miniatures:

Instructor Webb. Image by Petersen Games.
What’s a dinosaur game without a T-Rex? Image by Petersen Games.

There will be several unlocks over the course of the campaign. A few that have been teased by the designer include vehicles that will act as bosses in combat, team gameplay, and a tie-in with the Yithians and the greater Lovecraftian Mythos.

Why Check Out Dinosaur 1944

For those of you unfamiliar with the name Sandy Petersen, he’s been designing tabletop and video games for the better part of 40 years. Most notably, he’s the original creator of the long-running role-playing game Call of Cthulhu, and also reinvigorated his board game designing career when he launched the wildly successful Cthulhu Wars on Kickstarter in 2015. Since Cthulhu Wars, his company has published several games, including 8-Bit Attack which I reviewed last fall. I was one of the original backers of Cthulhu Wars, and am hotly anticipating Sandy’s 4x space game Hyperspace which is due to ship later this year. So, he’s got just a little bit of experience designing games.

As Sandy himself describes in a series of short videos about Dinosaur 1944, part of his lifelong love of both military history and paleontology springs from his childhood days of having little green army men and little plastic dinosaurs fight each other. It’s no surprise that he’s finally gotten around to making a grown-up game that captures the epic battles of his youth. And it’s also no surprise that he’ll be tying this game in with the Cthulhu Mythos; the works of H.P. Lovecraft have informed his game design over the last four decades.

If the idea of fighting dinosaurs that have been brought back from the past by mad scientists to destroy humanity sounds like a good time to you, you should definitely take a look at Dinosaur 1944. And if you’re a fan of Sandy Peteresen’s games, you should also check out the campaign. The game looks to be a fun mix of combat and strategy, and I’m eager to see what surprises are revealed throughout the campaign.

If you’re interested in finding more about Dinosaur 1944, you can head over to the Kickstarter campaign page. The campaign is scheduled to run through June 29th.

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