Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: Velociraptor! Cannibalism! from Game Salute

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! is a game of survival and mutation that allows you to eat your friends! A game typically lasts 45-60 mins, and is for 3-6 players ages 8 and up. 

I was first introduced to Velociraptor! Cannibalism! by my friend Zak, who backed it on Kickstarter. We gathered at a game night and he busted this out. The base raptors are all pretty ludicrous. A Pegged-Legged pirate Raptor, a punk rock Raptor, and RAPTO-TRON 2000 among others. But as game play goes on things get right out of hand, or should I say, claw? Tentacle? Wing? All of these things are possible, and more!

Each player picks a Raptor. Each raptor has the same base stats, and turn overview. You will  notice Card-Sized outlines over your raptor of choice. These are the upgradable attributes of your starting raptor.

On your turn, you will draw cards from the jungle deck up to your Speed stat (indicated by the blue leg). There are three types of cards in the Jungle Deck. Prey, Predators, and Events. Once you have resolved the Events,contend with the predators. After that you may move onto the next phase.

You eat fluffy critters, you monster.
Consume your prey. In this step you will take all the adorable, helpless critters you hunted down. Count up all the calories they provide, then use those calories topay for the upkeep of your body parts. If you can’t cover your upkeep because you don’t have enough calories, you may either cannibalize your body, or one of your precious eggs. 

Now is the time for action. Any remaining Calories form the previous phase can be spent on mutations (which you draw from the Meat Locker), or reproducing. Why do you want to reproduce? Well, come the final climate change, the raptor with the most eggs win. Any eggs reproduced this turn are placed in the nursery until the start of your next turn. 

After you have spent your calories, you can be bold and attack another raptor, with the goal of taking one of their body parts. Alternatively, you may instead choose to take one of their eggs that are outside the nursery. 

If you still have unspent cards with calories on them in the form of prey. you can store up to four of them, along with unused body parts, in your stomach. These will be used on your following turn.

Imagine a Raptor with these mutations. Good luck sleeping!
At the beginning of each round, the first player will turn over a new climate card. Climate cards effect everyone at the table, and most of them make it harder to maximize your calories.

The game ends in one of two ways. The first, and most common, is the aforementioned Climate deck running out. The second is if the last player of the round purchases the last egg. As I mentioned previously, the winner is the raptor with the most eggs. If you count up all your eggs and you have a tie,the player with the highest calorie total wins.

Velociraptor! Cannibalism! features some really great art. It’s packed with hilarious moments that include storing penguins in your stomach to later turn into snow crab legs for your Raptor. All of this comes in a really professional package. The whole game is top quality. The rule book has a lot of reference images to help you easily grasp the concepts covered in the game. For the Cthulhu fanatics out there, look for the Mythos Expansion, the copy I bought from Fun Again Games came with it and adds all manner of Lovecraftian tid-bits.

Some of my favorite moments of this game came from the player interaction. Maybe I'm mean spirited. Watching another player gloat over their sweet tiger head mutation. Well that is just too much for me. I feel compelled to take them down a notch. By notch I mean exactly one tiger head. 

Another key feature of Velociraptor! Cannibalism! comes in the form of Flavor Text. There is some really great flavor text on the cards. The Cow head mutation is named Dr. Moo. Yes. He is wearing the scarf. Then there are the Otters. Flavor text reads "They hold hands!". You convert these into calories. Which to me is delightful. Lest we forget the tail. The Prehensile tail contains no flavor text. It wields a dagger. Naturally.

Matthew Ryan Robinson is an indie game designer and runs Broken Prism Games. In his spare time he also posts on three other blogs www.brokenprismgames.com, www.solventcage.wordpress.com and www.360to180.com. You can probably meet him at Dallas Gaming Marathon on Thursdays or Open Stage on Mondays {Youtube Search: Open Stage Penguin}.