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Duelosaur Island Dinosaurs: Dissecting DNA

Back in 2017, a fairly well known game gained fame on Kickstarter. Dinosaur Island was launched. Set in a world where you are in charge of creating a Jurassic Park style theme park, with real live dinosaurs, Dinosaur Island was an immediate hit, raising over 3000% of what it needed to make the game into a reality. Pandasaurus Games have since made Dinosaur Island available at stores all around the world.  

Then, in 2018, Pandasaurus Games released a smaller game set in the same world. This one was strictly for two players, playing as either Moriya Labs or Moss Industries, looking to create one of the two best parks known to man.

It is an awesome game, and one we wrote a review on back in early 2019.

Now, succeeding in Duelosaur Island isn’t easy. You need to balance entertainment, dinosaurs, income, and security to make your park a better place. Ultimately though, you need visitors, and you get visitors mainly through making your park super awesome and exciting with dinosaurs.

So, with that in mind, and in the great over analysis way we have looked at these kinds of things before, in this article we are going to break down the dinosaurs in Duelosaur Island.

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Dr Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park

Analysing the Dinosaurs in Duelosaur Island

Now, before we begin there are a few base stats to talk about. Each dinosaur in Duelosaur Island fills the top half of one of 50 cards, with the bottom half being either a ride, food outlet, or souvenir stall. You can only build one half of each card. In this article we are not going to look at the rides or whatnot. Instead, we are going to be focusing on the core dinosaurs.

Next, each dinosaur has six statistics we will be looking at in this article:

  1. Cost in Basic DNA – In Duelosaur Island there are two types of DNA, and three variations on those two types. The two types are Basic and Advanced DNA. When mixing DNA two Basic makes an Advanced, and one Advanced makes two basic. You get the idea. Most dinosaurs require a mix of the two.

    There are then three variations of each type of DNA. These are strictly variations on colour and shape.

    In this article we are going to count both the type of DNA and the variation. Basic DNA comes in three forms – blue, pink, and purple.
  2. Cost in Advanced DNA – I bet you saw this one coming. See above for the description. Advanced DNA comes in three variations – green, pink (again), and yellow.
  3. Threat – This is how much the threat level is raised in your park by having this dinosaur.
  4. Excitement Level – This is how exciting your dinosaur is and how much they raise the excitement track. Excitement determines the number of visitors you get to your park at the end of each round.
  5. Visitors – Visitors are added onto your score at the end of the game for super scoring-ness.
  6. Dinosaur Type – Finally, the last thing is the dinosaur type. There are three types of dinosaur – Small Carnivore, Large Carnivore, and Herbivore. These matter for certain in game specialists you can hire, like the Mad Scientist, Lab Designer, and the Jack of all Trades.

    There is one other type – Starter. Starters are the cards you start the game with, and that is the only time you can pick them up. Each player starts with 3. To build a starter dinosaur, you only need to have two basic DNA of any type. You start with a single basic dinosaur in play, and use one of the other cards for a building. This means you can only build one other basic dinosaur (if you want) during the course of the game.

And those are the six basic things – resulting in around 12 columns in Excel.

Dinosaur Types in Duelosaur Island

First things first, we need to break down the types of dinosaur in Duelosaur Island. Now, there are actually a whole host of exciting dinosaurs in the game. If you want a full list of what the dinosaurs are then there are 26 different dinosaurs in Duelosaur Island – most of which are doubled up bar (I believe) two of the starters cards. The full list is:

  • Albertadromeus
  • Allosaurus
  • Ankylosaurus
  • Brachiosaurus
  • Brontosaurus
  • Ceratosaurus
  • Compsognathus
  • Dilophosaurus
  • Dimetrodon
  • Gallimimus
  • Giganotosaurus
  • Hadrosaurus
  • Litahraptor
  • Mega Rex
  • Megalosaurus
  • Mussaurus
  • Pachycephalosaurus
  • Parasaurolophus
  • Plateosaurus
  • Pteranodon
  • Saurophaganax
  • Spinosaurus
  • Stegosaurus
  • Triceratops
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Velociraptor

Yes, it’s a long list, and each dinosaur species has unique artwork that really helps make the game pop.

What are the different dinosaur types in Duelosaur Island

Now the list is out of the way, let’s talk about the types of dinosaur there are in Duelosaur Island. As explored above, there are four basic types in the game – Herbivore, Large Carnivore, Small Carnivore, and the Starter dinosaurs.

Types of Dinosaur in Duelosaur Island

Now, much to my surprise, Herbivores are the most common dinosaur in the game. This is worth keeping in mind if you manage to get the dinosaur specific specialists early on in the game; however, there are more Carnivores in the long run. This means that Carnivores are far more frequent, and will come out of the deck more often.

There are six starter dinosaurs, as explored above. Two of these have to get used up before the game begins, and (like Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom) they tend to offer cheap but short lived excitement.

Now, between those types, Excitement and Visitors are all fairly regulated. Although patterns can be seen clearly on the cards, I did input these into the Excel spreadsheet, so can confirm this:

Average Excitement and Visitors

As it can be seen, the Starter dinosaurs are just kind of rubbish, but the rest of the dinosaurs have a regulated number of Excitement and Visitors by the type of dinosaur they are. To give an example, all Herbivores give two Visitors and one Excitement level. The same pattern can be seen with Threat, where there is a uniform Threat across different dinosaur types.

This showcases the uniformity of the different levels of dinosaurs. All Starter dinosaurs behave the same. All small carnivores behave the same, and so on. With that in mind then, let’s break down the DNA needed throughout the course of the game.

Dinosaurs and DNA

Throughout the course of Duelosaur Island, there are six types of DNA. Those six types fit into two categories – Basic and Advanced, with each type having three DNA strands under it. Throughout the course of the next series of graphs we are going to take a look at the different ways we can look at DNA in Duelosaur Island to see what it has to tell us. Let’s look at the breakdown of the DNA in Duelosaur Island.

The first thing we can look at to get further underneath the surface of the DNA within Duelosaur is the breakdown of dinosaurs. What the graph above shows is a breakdown of the number of dinosaurs (out of the 50 cards in the game – although, granted, a lot are duplicates) that use each type of DNA. Now, this is interesting in its own right, as there is one pair of dinosaurs more who use Advanced Yellow DNA as opposed to the Advanced Green or Advanced Pink strands. That being said, DNA can be duplicated on a card, and thus we can get an even fuller picture by looking at the total number of each DNA type that appears across the various different dinosaur cards.

So, what can be said about the above? Well, first off it is easy to see what we explored earlier in regards to the Starter dinosaurs. They can use any type of basic DNA, and across the basic dinosaurs there are 12 “any” DNA icons.

You know, before looking at the data, you could be mistaken for thinking that there is a pecking order with the dinosaurs in regards to the DNA they have to have available based on their type. In some ways that is true, as the number of Advanced DNA present across the cards does increase from Herbivore to Small Carnivore to Large Carnivore. That being said, the same can’t be said for Basic DNA. Instead, basic DNA ramps by being most affluent a need amongst the Small Carnivores.

The same can be seen when we look at the DNA across the different threat levels. Of course, it is practically the same graph, but kind of an interesting point to reiterate. 

Yes, but what does all this Dino DNA dissection mean?

Okay, so now we come to the main point of this article. What does analysing the DNA and dinosaur types mean? Well, to be honest, it all depends on the kind of game you want to play.

Like with all games, there are so many ways to strategise and win Duelosaur Island. You can try and focus on specific types of dinosaurs, or certain sizes, or maybe you just want lots of the giant beasts. Who knows? You may even decide to ignore dinosaurs and focus mainly on buildings (as a fair warning – I tried that once, and it is not an easy game). The die roll and the cards come out. A lot can change in a short period of time.

When put like that, analysing Duelosaur Island dinosaurs may have nothing of value – apart from this. if you know what you want to do, then you should definitely do that. If you find yourself in the position, however, where you want to sit back and let the game unfold a bit – or you find yourself wanting to build resources, then maybe take this analysis into consideration. If you find yourself open to what you pick up then maybe consider Advanced Yellow DNA as an option. if you only have basic DNA options available, then maybe choose Basic Blue or Basic Purple over Pink. You may find yourself better off in the long run.

So, there we have it – a bit of an analysis of the Duelosaur Island dinosaurs. Before signing off, I really do have to recommend Duelosaur Island as a game. If you enjoy two player strategy games, with elements of luck and strategy, then it is a good option. 

Alternatively, if you have played Duelosaur Island then what are your thoughts? Do you enjoy it? What strategies do you like to employ? Let me know in the comments below. 

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