The Technicolor Makings of Dinosaur Island

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Dinosaur Island is officially much more affordable. And there’s a reason for it. After mass success literally all around the world, we decided it was time to make our beloved title reflective of the fan group who adores it. In a world where thousands of games launch every month, we needed DI to continue to rise to the top. To do this, families and casual gamers needed to have access to the game. And now it’s official. The title that had the board game world talking about rabid, escaping dinosaurs, slap bracelets and ‘90s Lisa Frank prints is officially well within reach. Say hello to Dinosaur Island’s new SRP. $59.95 just has a better ring to it. But let’s start at the beginning…

Dinosaur Island was initially a game that we didn’t see coming. We saw it coming in the sense that we had a game that we felt had a certain awesome zeitgeist to it that had potential. And we knew we had a game that would be ridiculously fun to make. But we certainly had no idea of the freight train it would become. There are a lot of elements that aligned to make this game a phenomenon. But we can only say that in retrospect.

What we had before us three years ago was a prototype of a really good game by two talented designers, Jon Gilmour and Brian Lewis. But it was not something that we knew was a slam dunk. There were things about it that we thought could help. Namely, that, at that moment and as far as we were aware, there had not been a major big box dinosaur game. We could also not think of any major releases relating to a certain major motion picture that came out in the ‘90s. We knew the game was going to be compared to Jurassic Park, so we wanted to skew away from looking like a JP knock-off. We did this by leaning into the idea of this game being a tongue-in-cheek ode to the original. Like something that may have shown up in a discount bin outside of a Blockbuster. It needed to really own that. Be in on the joke. And that was the synthesis of Dinosaur Island. A hyper nostalgic lean in

Dinosaur Island is a world that is sillier than it is serious. A world of puns and bright neon colors. Hot pink became the official color of this kingdom. We went ALL in on making something over the top and ridiculously fun. And we had a blast with art direction with the game and had a ton of just phenomenally talented individuals helping to make the vision a reality. Kwanchai Moriya and Peter Wocken took the plan and ran with it. The aforementioned Lisa Frank was just one of the many elements of ‘90s inspo we brought to the world. Now pink dinosaurs are just par for the course. An official change in our collective gaming history books. But before it was a hit, there was a good deal of push back. 

It’s true, the immediate response to our little, technicolor dino game was mixed. The colors were bold and, at the time, this was a very odd color palate. Pandasaurus perhaps seemed a bit bonkers, but we loved the potential this game had to stand out from a crowd. And standout it did. There are various reasons for this, but I believe one of the major points that led to its gradual exaltation was that it felt very inclusive. It was fun, it was bright. It didn’t take itself too seriously. I often hear that Dinosaur Island was a first or next step game for fans. This is pretty bonkers when you consider that the game is not gateway. It’s certainly next step. But Dinosaur Island is not intimidating. It hides its math well and sinks you deep into the immersive world of its setting. Also, literally everyone loves dinosaurs. And when dinos pair with puns, apparently nothing can stop that train! In short, Dinosaur Island became an escape where people could act like themselves, laugh uncontrollably with friends and sink deep into a strategy game.

DI had already sold 30,000 units by the time we started hearing from waves of interested foreign partners. The same hesitations about color palate that we encountered in the US before its success were an even greater impediment in the foreign market. There was definitely a sense that a game like this would not be a success. Certainly not in a world of muted browns and yellows. But its initial success was enough to get enthusiastic bites from Spain and France. Germany followed suit this Essen, to great acclaim and are now on their second print run. You can also purchase the “Clever Grill” in Korea, Japan and China.

But even with all of its success, when we took sales for our company inhouse on January 1st, we started discussing our Jurassic-sized IP and what the future looks like. The thing we felt more than anything is that the game could benefit greatly from a price change. We had a number of constraints at the outset leading to its $80 SRP. There was a ton of plastic bits and the game has boards the size of the park’s inhabitants. It was important to us that the game had big, bold pieces that were evocative of its theme. Component pricing and sales percentages had us stuck like a fly in amber. So, Dinosaur Island was where it was.

Until now… We have secured pricing that will allow us to drop the price of this classic to a point where accessibility is within far better reach. We are beyond excited to see what this will do to open the doors of new Dino Island fanatics everywhere. We are also quite proud to say that nothing else will change with this price drop. All the same quality components, all the same giant boards. Everything that made Dinosaur Island a smash is available to stores and to fans at a price that will make them smile.

We know there are great things ahead in the world of the go-to game for all things dinosaur. Some of it we cannot mention here, just yet, but the new $60 DI is officially here and cause for a celebratory raptor dance!

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  • Well done. Some companies would think this is a time to recoup more profit. Congratulations on seeing the long term benefits of reducing the price point and making it possible for more folks to enjoy it!

    Blane Mather on

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