Recently Played: Raptor

  • Players: 2
  • Play time: 30 mins
  • Publisher: Matagot

I can’t remember when it happened, but quite a while ago I saw a board game called Raptor on Amazon and due to my life long obsession with dinosaurs and absolute refusal to grow up, I added it to my boardgame wishlist. Roll on Christmas 2017 and what did I get from my sister in a Mexican restaurant on Boxing day? How did you guess?! Yes it was Raptor. ¬°Arrrrriba!

The premises of the game is that a team of scientists have found a female velociraptor and her babies on isolated pacific island and inevitability those scientists want to capture those babies. For science of course, although we’ve all wondered how delicious a previously thought extinct species would taste, right? That’s a kind of science…

Anyway, each player takes a side – scientists or raptors – and the aim of the game is for the scientist to eliminate the mama ratpor or capture enough baby raptors before mama ratpor kills all of the scientists or the babies escape the board. Safari, so good.

The gameplay itself is fairly straight forward. The raptor player places their pieces on the board, the scientist places theirs and play continues using a simple card mechanic. Each player takes 3 cards from their deck and places one card face down. The cards have a value from 1-9, and on the reveal the player with the highest card gets a number of action points based on higher value – lower value, so 9 beats 5 and gives the player 4 action points. Action points are used to move around the board, capture babies, shoot mama raptor, kill scientists etc.

But every card also has an effect on it and the player with lowest card gets to use their effect before the other player takes their actions. The hunters can whizz off to safety in a jeep or set fire to the jungle to create a barrier between them and mama raptor, whereas mama raptor can call her babies to run to her or disappear completely off the board and reappear wherever she wants once the hunters have finished their actions, setting up the perfect ambush. Clever girl!

During your first few play-throughs you will probably be playing for the higher card just to be able to move your characters around and kill or capture, but after a few more games the strategy becomes apparent. Sometimes you will want to play the lower card to get those special effects and create a fire or a sneak attack, but of course you don’t want to play too low a card because you might end up giving the other player too many actions and they could finish you off and win the game!

This simple mechanic makes the game quick and easy to learn but also keeps a layer of strategy that adds depth and longevity to it. It’s a great two player game and due to the short play time, you’ll find yourself having just one more go again and again. I got a few games over the Christmas break, but Raptor was one we kept coming back to and I would definitely recommend it. Especially if dinosaurs are your thing.

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