LOST VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS GAME REVIEW
Another blast to the past to some of your childhoods I hope?, who remembers this...
The first edition of the game came in a green box, the second edition was to have different artwork and a red box
This game was brilliant and really sucked you into that Indiana Jones kinda role, this game had everything, dinosaurs, volcanoes, swamps and explorers after treasure, also I think it being a 3D game board made it so memorable and fun to play, who else remembers the volcano lava creeping slowly down towards the game board or using the Pteranodon to swoop down and pluck another players pawn in his beak and fly off with him into the nest?
Released in 1985 by Waddingtons, this game really did have some love put into the design and creation of it, from the dinosaur miniatures, the mountains, which had cave cut outs in them where the dinosaurs had to start from, the volcano with it's lava pieces that would rain down on the board, the plastic treasure coins, the cardboard 3D temple and not forgetting the board itself, which had a reversible side that was done in black and white and made to look like a treasure map.
An explorer decides to dangerously take on a dinosaur whilst the lava flows behind him
Each player is part of a team of explorers or treasure hunters who have stumbled across long lost charts that give directions to a Lost Valley. At the top of the valley is an ancient temple, rumoured to be filled with the gold of an extinct native tribe, but the tribe were clever, the valley contains numerous pitfalls for their temple, first are the ravenous T-Rex Dinosaurs, always on the prowl for food. An unstable volcano also threatens to explode at any minute. Finally a gloomy swamp is brooding in the centre of the valley and threatens to swallow any hapless explorer that enters its edges.
Two explorers find themselves trapped in the swamp with the monster
The game play was quite simple, the first team to recover three treasures would win the game, although I think we played get as much as you can out without dying.
The turn steps were -
1. Draw a Card – Before a player could move they had to draw a card from the deck. There were many cool events and the instructions simply had to be followed. The card was then placed on the discard pile. The cards that I can remember are...
T-Rex movement cards. They allowed the active player to move 3 or more T-Rex’s up 1, 2 or 3 hexes, so you could actually move the dinosaurs towards your opponents and away from yourself when you were in danger, which was always fun.
Each lava card drawn allowed 1 more lava piece to be added to the volcano mountain. But when the lava reached the board, things got a tad hot! Every new lava card would allow the active player to add 3 lava pieces to the board. They could choose the direction it flowed, so again it allowed you to target your opponents.
The Pteranodon card was one of the most fun cards to use, why?, because you got to take it from it's nest making its wings flap and opening its mouth to grab rival explorers, they could be dropped near lava and T-Rex’s, but worst of all was picking up an explorer that had grabbed a treasure, this left the treasure open for collection by your own pawns. Not only was it great for being a pain in your rivals backsides, it was was also crucial to a player’s success as well, It allowed you to rescue explorers from dinosaur lairs, lava flows that were getting too close or from the dreaded swamp where the swamp beastie lived, It allowed an explorer to travel the length of the valley and be dropped near the temple, bonus!
There were some other cards in the deck but these evade me, I remember one with a water flask on it and I'm sure it was not a great card to pull out? And I'm sure ammo cards may have been in the deck too?
Back to the game turn steps...
2. Move an Explorer - The player could move any 1 explorer on the board. A single D6 was rolled to move an explorer without treasure. However, once an explorer had reached the Temple and gained a treasure, they could roll 2D6 to get back to the exit point and add it to their collection.
Any explorer that entered a river had to stop immediately and they could only move 1 hex when leaving a river too. There were several bridges or fordable hexes that allowed easier movement over the rivers.
The swamp could never be entered voluntarily and a space containing a T-Rex or lava could not be entered either for obvious reasons.
Explorers could be killed in the game and this happened in the following circumstances. The Swamp Monster and lava would immediately kill an explorer if they shared the same hex. T-Rex’s were another story. Being in the same hex as a T-Rex would send that explorer to a lair, If a T-Rex then entered the lair of the explorer they would then be killed. An explorer could leave a lair though on the controlling player’s next turn, so death was not always guaranteed.
These daring treasure hunters were armed and carried a trusty revolver which had a set amount of bullets, ammo tokens shaped like bullets were used to determine your shots, but more could be found in the game by drawing a card I think? From memory I think if you shot at a dinosaur it made it go back so many spaces thus giving you some breathing space and able to try and get away safely from their hungry mouths!
Another awesome game that will be fondly remembered, to my knowledge I think it had a remake back in 1991 but I haven't seen anything like this since, maybe the Jurassic Park franchise might kick something off, if they haven't already?
The bullet tokens as seen on the reverse side of the board