Dinosaur Tea Party: Delightful Dino Deduction
You’ve been invited to Dinoton Abbey for high tea; one of the most exclusive invites in all of Britain. Adorned in your finest attire, you stroll into the party and survey the room. Everyone is catching up on all the latest gossip and worldly affairs, while sipping tea and eating glorious cakes.
Suddenly panic strikes you, you forgot everyone’s name! Is that Yorick sipping tea, or was it Winston? Wait, no it must be Nigel? Didn’t you just see him at the football match last month cheering in the crowds?
Dinosaur Tea Party is a game for 3-5 guests, ages 7 and up. The object of the game is to collect three sugar cubes by guessing the names of three guests at the party. Rob Daviau, JR Honeycutt and Justin D. Jacobson are the design team behind Dinosaur Tea Party; Restoration Games publishes it.
Randomly place the dinosaur tiles face up on the table in a 5×4 grid. Give each player a set of trait tokens and place the sugar cubes off to the side. Shuffle the dinosaur cards and reveal three. Then for each, place a random quirk onto the dinosaur’s tile. Reshuffle the dinosaur cards and deal one secretly to each player; this will be their starting identity.
On a player’s turn they may either Inquire about a guest or try to Guess Their Name. When Inquiring, the player will ask another guest something like “pardon me, but are you enjoying cake today?” The chosen guest will answer Yes or No: “Oh, not today sweetie.” Then, place the matching trait tile in front of them with the Yes or No side up. If the guest answered yes, the inquiring player may take another turn asking more questions, otherwise play passes on.
If you believe you have deduced the identity of a fellow dinosaur you may Guess Their Name. “Harriot, didn’t we see each other at Wimbledon last summer?” If you guessed right, take a sugar cube and flip over the matching dinosaur tile. The guest whose identity was guessed draws a new dinosaur card as their new identity. Play continues on until one guest has collected three sugar cubes and wins the game.
Dinosaurs with quirks will always answer the way their quirk says when someone inquires about a trait. The quirks included in the game are: “Always Says No,” “Always Lies” and “Switches Answers.”
If playing with more refined dinos who want a challenging game you can try the variant with a simple rule change: when a player answers “No” to an Inquiry, do not put down a token; only place a token when “Yes” is answered.
I was a child of the 80’s and played all the mass market “guess the identity” games growing up. None of them were that great, so I never bothered to pick up one for my kids. Dinosaur Tea Party changed all that. It takes family friendly deduction games whole new level with its whimsical artwork and charming gameplay.
Kids will be instantly captivated by dinosaurs in posh attire. My son’s favorite is a bulky, bowtie-wearing T-Rex named Yorick.
Dinosaur Tea Party is simple and quick to teach. With a few games under my daughter’s belt, she was able teach her grandparents how to play (they loved it too). The inclusion of the trait tokens and matching iconography on dinosaur tiles was a smart design choice as it aids younger players as they try to piece together who’s who.
“There hasn’t been a game where someone didn’t raise a pinky and speak with an accent.”
Guest quirks make for an amusing twist and increase the game’s complexity. We’ve had games where dinos were outed quickly due to quirks like “Always Lies” or “Always Says No”. We’ve also exercised our frontal lobes with the “Switches Answers” quirk. Hopefully someday we’ll see an expansion pack with new quirks in addition to having additional party guests.
As much as I enjoy playing the game, what I really find fascinating is watching my kids process information at hand to narrow down a guess. It’s a very rewarding experience watching your kids think through how to narrow down each player’s identity.
Aside from sheer fun and theme, the family experience is what truly makes Dinosaur Tea Party shine. First, dinosaurs at a party couldn’t get any more thematic. The character artwork is unreal; they look so alive. Second, players will instantly transport themselves to high tea and begin roleplaying with cheeky British accents. There hasn’t been a game where someone didn’t raise a pinky and speak with an accent.
We have a decent amount of friendly games in our library, but nothing that creates an immersive experience quiet like this. Getting in character is half the fun.
The age range is nearly spot on. However, if you choose to play with children under seven, I highly recommend two tweaks: reducing the number of dinosaur tiles, and leaving out the quirks. 6-8 tiles worked well in games with my five-year-old. When we play as a family we usually have him play on a team to help make guesses and flip over tokens. He loves the game so much we couldn’t possibly leave him out.
Dinosaur Tea Party is the quintessential family deduction game, there is no need to own any other. It’s destined to be a new classic and should be in every family gamer’s home. It would also make the perfect gift for any occasion. Pick up a copy before you become extinct. Pip pip, cheerio!
- Superb theme with stellar artwork
- Easy to learn/teach
- Quirks add a fun twist
- Extremely family friendly for all-ages
- Role-play naturally kicks in, you’ll discover accents you never knew you had
The Family Gamers received a complimentary copy of Dinosaur Tea Party that was used for this review.
Dinosaur Tea Party
Number of Players: 3-5
Age Range: 7+ (can be played by younger children with some help)
Playtime: 20-30 minutes