Jurassic Parts – Excavation Excitement!

Want to be a paleontologist?

There’s something exciting about the idea of unearthing fossils and piecing them together – even though in real life it’s very slow, boring work.

What if you had to race to get the fossil pieces you wanted – or trade for them with other paleontologists’ cast offs?

That’s the premise behind Jurassic Parts, an area-control game by Kevin Lanzing and published by 25th Century Games. Up to five players split apart a large “rock” to find the best fossils.

How to Play

First, the play area! You’ll shuffle 57 hexagonal fossil tiles, flipping half of them in the process. Then lay them out randomly around a central “pile of bones” tile. Each player gets a paleontologist mat and 12 tiny chisels.

Dr. Amy Liu player mat with 12 red chisels

On your turn, you’ll “sharpen” three chisels and make them available for use. Place “sharp” chisels between tiles to create cracks in the slab.

You may save only one sharp chisel between turns. If you can’t use them all, you’ll return the rest to the “dull chisel” side of your playmat.

yellow chisels with the Jurassic Parts game
Spend an extra chisel to break through rocks.

Slab Split

A complete line of chisels creates a split in the slab. Once this happens, pause to let players take tiles from the “chipped off” section:

The player who contributed the most chisels to the split takes half the tiles, rounded up.

The player who contributed the second-most can choose half of the tiles that are left after that.

If more players contributed, keep splitting the tiles in half until there are none left or everyone has gotten their share.

Leftover tiles (if any) go to the “Field Leader”.

Field Leader

The Field Leader provides an important service: he allows players to access helpful actions. Spend amber with him to sharpen additional chisels, temporarily ignore rocks, or take a specific Fossil tile.

You may also sell him a Fossil tile (once per turn) to get an amber.

Jurassic Parts Field Leader with stack of cast off tiles and amber tokens
Trade with the Field Leader for more options.

Completing a Dinosaur

When you have all the required Fossil tiles (during your turn or as the result of a Split), it’s dino time!

Assemble the pieces and reveal your completed dinosaur fossil. You immediately receive an amber, and that fossil is locked in for the rest of the game.

Ending a Game of Jurassic Parts

Keep placing chisels, forcing splits, and collecting Fossil sets. When there are only 2 tiles left, the current player must split them and claim one. Then they may finish their turn before the game ends.

Count up the point value for each completed dinosaur you have. Calculate your plant fossils according to the chart (more plants = more points). Add one point for each amber you have, and one point for each tile in your incomplete fossils.

In case of a tie, the player with more large dinosaurs wins.

Fossils and scoring guide from Jurassic Parts game
Look at all those different dinosaur fossils!

Impressions

From the very first time I played Jurassic Parts, I could tell that this was different than the other “dino assembly” games I’ve played. (I’m a mom, I’ve played a lot of those).

I tried not to be swayed by the components, but the plastic chisels and hexagonal tiles are clever. I love that each player color comes with a paleontologist with a name and a backstory. And the “mosquito in amber” first player token is simply marvelous.

Once I started placing chisels, I was sucked in. If I could just get one more chisel over there, I’d split off a big enough chunk and get the fossils I wanted! Maybe I could add just one chisel to someone else’s line – a tiny investment for a big payoff. What’s underneath that face-down tile, anyway?

Yellow, purple, and white chisels on Jurassic Parts fossil tiles.
Yellow caused this split, so with 4 chisels, they get 2 tiles. Purple, who also contributed 4 chisels, gets the next choice (1 tile). White only contributed 3 chisels, so they get the last tile that is left.

Satisfying Splits

It’s incredibly satisfying to break off sections of tiles – especially if you know exactly what you’re getting. You can try to work alone and hoard your finds, but you’ll probably make more progress if you help other players a little bit.

For some variety, try the optional cards that add one-time powers. These can give you a little nudge to try a different strategy, but aren’t necessary to play and enjoy the game.

Jurassic Parts cards: Chonkosaurus, Best Friend, Radar Imager, Backpack, Government Grant, Microscope, Doctoral Thesis

Family Fun

Who wouldn’t like to collect dinosaur fossils? We loved finding the right pieces and then puzzling them together. It’s also incredibly satisfying to “steal” a fossil before your opponents can get to it. Since there are multiple copies of every fossil, you’d have to work hard to completely block off access, which keeps it from being too frustrating.

The game starts slowly, especially with four or five players. But as options become limited, the slab starts breaking up faster and faster. This kept our kids engaged, even when they had to wait for their turn.

The recommended age range of 13+ seems far too high. Our youngest (6) struggled a bit, but was able to play and enjoy himself. We’d recommend Jurassic Parts for ages 8 and up.

There’s a very small amount of reading, but the more important skill is planning. You need to see what dinosaur parts are available, match that with what parts you need, and figure out where to place your chisels for the best chance to make that break.

Find Jurassic Parts on Amazon, direct from 25th Century Games, or ask for it at your local game store.


The Family Gamers received a copy of Jurassic Parts from 25th Century Games for this review.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.

Jurassic Parts
  • 8.5/10
    Art - 8.5/10
  • 9/10
    Mechanics - 9/10
  • 8/10
    Family Fun - 8/10
8.5/10

Summary

Age Range: 13+ (we say 8+)

Number of Players: 2-5

Playtime: 20-45 minutes

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