Fossilis Preview

If you didn’t dream about digging in the dirt and finding dinosaur bones as a kid, your childhood was stolen from you. Kids Table Board Gaming is making our childhood dreams a (partial) reality with their new game Fossilis. This game is currently on Kickstarter and might just be the dinosaur game you’ve been waiting for. In this preview, Ryan and Bob are going to give you a rundown of the game and why you should check it out.

Ryan: There are lots of games that have you recreating dinosaurs and possibly bringing terrible consequences to our planet. Fossilis goes back to the beginning and allows you to dig into the dirt to recreate some amazing creatures that have ever roamed the Earth.

The centerpiece for this game is the incredible board that sits in the center of the table. Large chunky tiles sit on top of the base to create the dig site. Player use paleontologist meeples to dig out sand, clay and stone in order to reach those precious bones. The components in this game are very tactile and perfect for kids and adults.

More than a Bare-bones Game

Bob: I really enjoy how much theme is packed into Fossilis. The digging and moving of sand, stone and clay, the scientific relevance of the set collection on the dinosaur cards, the interesting facts included on the cards, and the plaster needed to extract highly detailed bones from the dig site.

Each bone has a plaster requirement, however the plaster is also working as the game timer as there is a set amount per player in the plaster pool. So the faster you use action points on your turn to take plaster, the faster the game will go. The player who takes the last plaster from the pool will fire off an event from an event deck. There will be three events and four plaster pools that will need to be emptied to end the game.

Ryan: These plastic dino bones are going to be the basis for the different dinosaurs you’ll construct. I love the variety of dinos in the game. Each one has attributes that score additional points when you collect similar types of dinosaurs. Players who pay attention to this can receive a big boost in end game scoring.

Tools can help you extract dino parts and give you the resources you need to compete. While I wasn’t in on using tools very often, I did purchase supplies pretty often. These give you victory points, extra dino bones and more plaster.

Bob: I also enjoyed being able to dig and push fellow paleontologists off the dig site, it adds a bit of a take that element but not enough for someone to feel as though they are being ganged up on. It’s the perfect amount of player interaction and helps with strategy if executed correctly.

Digging the tiles and pushing them off the dig site allows the player to collect these chunky pieces and put them in their own tableau. These tiles have symbols on them, amber, eggs and dino footprints, which you can use to buy things on your turn from the supply and tool decks. These two decks will offer you an advantage in the game such as extra bones, end game victory points and much needed plaster.

Do We Dig It?

Ryan: I think what surprised me about Fossilis is the decisions that had to be made from turn to turn. Plaster feels just rare enough to provide tension in the game. The right combination of skills can make turns more effective, but you’re also building these at the cost of straight end game victory points.

I really liked how fresh Fossilis felt. While it includes mechanics we have all seen in other games, that dig site game board is something special. This is a game that has enough meat on it’s bones (pun intended) to appease gamers and younger audiences alike.

Bob: As Ryan said above, Fossilis included some very familiar mechanics which added a nice level of comfort-ability while approaching the game. It takes those familiar mechanics and adds some really cool theme and twists. I can say that the dig site and the use of tiles is one of the most uniquely designed elements I’ve ever seen in a board game.

I found this game a little more decision heavy then I initially anticipated, the rules are very simple and easily explained but the strategy can be deep. Let there be no bones about it, Fossilis is an excellent dinosaur family game!

You can dig into Fossilis through November 7, 2019 through the Kickstarter campaign.

Kids Table Board Gaming provided us with a prototype copy of Fossilis during their Kickstarter campaign. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game. Previews are a glimpse into an upcoming game with the pros and cons that we experienced prior to production of the game.