Extinction is coming, and herds of herbivores and carnivores need food sources to survive. In Chomp from Allplay, players use strategic card drafting and tile placement to position their dinosaurs to avoid tar pits, create nests with eggs, and ensure all herbivores and carnivores are fed. Chomp supports 1-4 players and takes about 20 minutes to play.
Set up is simple and only takes a couple of minutes. First, one player chooses nine random cards from the deck for each player and returns the remaining cards to the box. This player shuffles the cards goal side-up and distributes one to each player. Then, they lay out a row of three goal cards and a row of three dinosaur cards in the center of the table. Finally, they place the pile of eggs and extinct dinosaur tokens nearby.
How to Play
Beginning with the start player and proceeding clockwise, each player will choose one card from either the goal row or dinosaur row and then replace it. This continues until all cards have been chosen.
Take a goal card: The player takes a goal card and keeps it near them until scoring at the end of the game. The player replaces the goal card with the top card from the deck.
Take a dinosaur card: Following placement rules, the player adds the dinosaur card to their personal play area. This player then replaces it by flipping the goal card above it into the dinosaur row and replacing the goal card with the top card from the deck.
Cards may be placed overlapping or adjacent to cards already placed in your land area, maintaining a quarter-card grid pattern. Large dinosaurs cannot be “cut in half” with card placement.
Nests: Adding a card that contains a nest triggers the placement of an egg token in an existing nest in the play area. If that nest is covered later the egg is removed.
Herds: Dinosaurs are considered part of a herd when they are adjacent to other dinosaurs of the same type and size. They must match exactly. They will survive or die together.
Moun[tain Ranges: Mountain ranges on cards separate sections. This can help or hurt game play and scoring.
Any dinosaur herds adjacent to a tar pit go extinct, and are marked with tokens.
Carnivores eat meat or smaller herds of herbivores of the same dinosaur size or smaller. Carnivores that don’t eat go extinct, and are marked with tokens.
Herbivores eat adjacent plants. Herbivores that don’t eat go extinct and are similarly marked with tokens.
After players have selected and/or placed all cards and dinosaurs go extinct or are fed, scoring occurs.
Living dinosaurs score based on size: one point for each small dinosaur, two points for each medium dinosaur, and three points for each large dinosaur. Egg tokens score two points. Goal cards score based on their goal condition. The highest score wins.
Playing Chomp solo is similar to multiplayer, using card placement to earn as high a score as possible.
In solo play, the game ends once you have a total of twelve cards in your play space (dinosaur and scoring cards.) I don’t often play games solo, but when I do, I prefer small games like this. I really liked Chomp solo, and actually preferred it to our multiplayer games. You lose some of the tension of other players taking the cards you want, but choosing a scoring card triggers the removal of the dinosaur card beneath it from the game.
I enjoyed quietly playing this one at the dining room table with a cup of coffee – it is perfect for that.
Over the past couple years, Allplay has become a publisher we have kept our eye on. With their small box games, many of which are family-friendly, we have discovered some gems we adore. (Mountain Goats and Dandelions, in particular.) With a dinosaur theme and some enticing box cover art, we couldn’t wait to play Chomp.
With simple rules and quick set up, Chomp is easy to dive into. The complexity lies in the decisions of card drafting and placement while considering end game scoring. Balancing dinosaurs and scoring cards makes for a surprisingly thinky game, but final scoring can feel a bit tedious, and we often missed little things. In some games I played better avoiding scoring cards, simply focusing on my herds.
Bottom line: The set up feels like Point Salad; the play feels like Sprawlopolis. If you are a fan of Sprawlopolis, in particular, Chomp would be a fun one to play next. It’s perfect for fans of thinky card/tile placement games who want to try something with a shorter play time. There are many scoring cards, which offers a lot of replayability. This game works wonderfully as a solo puzzle game.
The component quality is solid, with nice cards and thick tokens. We like that Allplay includes a dry erase score card and marker with their games.
Younger players could easily handle Chomp, since turns are simple. But playing it well? This requires critical thinking skills more prevalent in older children, teens, and adults. The slower pace and thinky nature of the game also works better for these groups.
We’ll be skipping this one with our 8-year-old, but it’s a great date night or weeknight game with its 20 minute play time, and solo is also fantastic. If you think you might want some quiet time with a small box game, or bringing some dinosaurs along on a date sounds like fun, get Chomp directly from AllPlay, on Amazon, or from your friendly local game store!
Allplay provided The Family Gamers with a promotional copy of Chomp for this review.
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Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 1-4
Playtime: 20 minutes