Dinosimple Tea Party
The motto for Restoration Games is solid. “Every game deserves another turn.” See what they did there? Another turn. Yeah. Both hopeful and a pun at the same time. Good stuff.
Dinosaur Tea Party is a remake of Whosit?, minus 1976’s uncomfortable stereotyping of its dinner guests. Apparently. I didn’t investigate the matter. All I know is that this game does plenty of stereotyping of its own — a real triceratops would deeply resent being portrayed in that trilby, and T-rex culture actually demands that any work of art portray them chowing down on raw meat. But the real question is, did this particular game deserve its second turn?
It’s hard to get much simpler than Dinosaur Tea Party. Each of the game’s dinosaurs — there are twenty — has its own set of attributes. Which room they’re occupying, whether they’re wearing a hat, baring their teeth, wearing glasses, and so forth. Everyone is holding onto a card that reveals their identity, and it’s your job to ask questions with the goal of figuring out who they are, ideally while adopting a stuffy accent. “Tally ho! Crumpets and knackered hams! I’ve caught the collywobbles, have you got a pet that I might snuzzle for a spot?”
They say yes or no. If they say yes, you get another guess. No means your turn is done. Cobble together enough information and you can take a stab at their name. Guess enough names and you win.
Or at least that’s nearly it. There are a few wrinkles, like the need to be careful with your questions lest you accidentally make somebody’s identity obvious before you can utter it aloud. Most interesting are the three dinos who don’t answer honestly. One always lies, one always responds with a negative, and the last one switches between yes and no. These are a welcome reprieve from the game’s simple — even simplistic — take on deduction. I wish there had been more of them.
Frankly, the entire concept could had been taken a little further. More liars, sure, but also more uncertainty in the visuals. As it stands, each dino’s attributes are repeated at the bottom of their picture as a line of symbols. This robs the game of any possibility of error. You’ll never miss somebody’s glasses because they were dangling from a string around their neck, or misinterpret a pile of jelly for a beverage, or squint to see if their teeth are showing. In fact, the symbols are so clear that there’s hardly any reason to look at the pictures at all.
Then again, Dinosaur Tea Party’s appeal is reserved mostly for youngsters or those who find themselves intimidated by more complex experiences. Not every game needs to be for me.
That’s pretty much all there is to say about it. Dinosaur Tea Party is a light-as-it-gets deduction game with snappy visuals that can pretty much be ignored, and such a tiny handful of wrinkles that I wanted to beg for more. Every game deserves another turn? Perhaps. But not necessarily a third turn.
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