Pros: Easy directions, colorful, and fun
Cons: Why can't these games be for more than 4 players?
My son had some money burning in his pockets and he was just determined to get it all spent. It was a week past his birthday and our trip to the store had been canceled a few times, as my oldest son was sick.
So finally, on a trip to Ames, my son spotted Monopoly Junior, the Dig 'n Dinos version. He had wanted Monopoly for a long time now but I felt it was just too complicated for him. My husband and I own the original version and playing was very long and drawn out. Monopoly Jr. is for children 5-8, and with Zack just turning seven, we decided this was the perfect game. The added benefit was that Zachary loves dinosaurs. We picked it up along with a few more toys and I could finally go home.
Once we were home, my son immediately took this game out and opened it up. He just couldn't wait to play his special Monopoly game. I want to say right now, that I love this game and that is a plus right there.
But, from my last review, you know I don't like lots of pieces, Well...this has enough, but they are "fun" pieces.
The equipment included:
One red die
The game board: It opens into a rectangle and just seems the perfect size for my boys. Not too overbearing in size but enough room for you and your children to all play comfortably.
Deck of 24 Chance cards: These are very simple cards. They are a basic white with instructions. They are all color coded for those children that have a hard time reading or ones just learning to read. Not only are they color-coded but also they have pictures that your child can match to what they are supposed to do or where they are supposed to go. I love this feature.
There are four different types of chance cards.
The most popular is the "Free Fossil" card. This comes in different colors (color-coded) and it means you can take a fossil of your color you're playing with and place it on one of the spaces with the code your chance card gives you. You can also possibly take a fossil away from another player, that is if two fossils are already there, but are of different colors, you can choose one and take it over. If both spaces are occupied by the same color, you can not do anything other than choose another chance card.
The other types of chance cards are the "Go to" ones or the "Take a Ride" spaces. You just go to the spaces indicated and follow the directions once there.
This game comes with four Paleontologists--big word for even me--imagine for a five-year-old. In other words, the little guy you move around the board. He comes in four different colors--red, green, yellow, and blue. He is made of a sturdy plastic on a little base. He stands up well and is easy for small fingers to grab him.
Also included are 48 fossil pieces--12 of each color to match your Paleontologists. These are similar to the hotel and house pieces of the original Monopoly. They are plastic pieces with the imprint of a dinosaur footprint. Very cute and colorful.
There are 16 Bio cards. Each card matches a space on the game board for a specific dinosaur. Each card gives the name of the dinosaur, and a picture of it. On the back of the card, you get statistics on that specific dinosaur. Say we use the Pachycephalosaur for an example:)
Next to the name you would find a phrase in parenthesis, for this one, we find (Thick-headed Lizard)
For Type: Herbivore, Suborder: Pachycephalosaur, Habitat: Forest Open Woodland, Time Period: Late Cretaceous, Fossils Found: North America (Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota)
We also get a little summary of what this dinosaur was.
"A beaked dinosaur that was up to 27 feet long, it is well known for its thick, domed, bony head.
You then find out how the name is pronounced: Pack-ee-seff-uh-lo-saw-rus.
Setup for this game went rather quick. I read the instructions to my son and he just followed my instructions. Of course, you have to pick your choice Paleontologist to move around the board. My kids all did this as I continued to read the instructions.
They then picked out their fossils to match their little guy. Each player takes 10. The amount taken differs in a 2-player game. You then shuffle your chance cards and put them in the middle of the game board where it says Chance. You then pick your banker. Zachary chose Steven and then I read in what amounts he was supposed to dole out.
This is one of the areas I love most about this game. The money is simple. The denominations are 1,2, 3, 4, and 5-dollar bills. This makes it so simple for a small child who is just learning his numbers and is learning how to make change. It is so much easier for a 5-year-old to make change from a $5 dollar bill than a $500 dollar bill.
Once the money is given, you then roll the die to see who goes first. It is so simple to setup; we were playing in no time.
And then you get to play
You roll the die and you're off. You follow the instructions on the board, which all are very simple. When you land on a dinosaur, you immediately buy it up and pay the banker. You then put your color fossil on that dinosaur and get your card to match. When you land on a dinosaur with a fossil, you then need to pay the amount underneath that specific dinosaur to the person who owns it. Of course, if both dinosaurs in that group are owned, you have to pay double. Oh boy, Money, Money, Money!
Other spaces on the game board are also very simple and self-explanatory. A dinosaur period space means you roll again. Landing on New tools or Vehicle repairs means you need to pay $2 to the space called Dig'n Dino on the game board. Oh boy, when your kids land on this space, they think it is the best. They get to take everything. They are now rich:)
You have the Tar pits; this is like going to jail. You can either visit or be sent here. If you are sent there, you then pay $3 to the wonderful Dig'n Dino space and then on your next turn, you play as normal.
You get to pass "go" and each time; you get your $2 from the bank. If you don't remember, you then lose out.
The game ends when one player actually runs out of money and can't play anymore. The play stops and the remaining players count their money. To win this game, you have to be the player with the most money. The kids then count and see who won.
We have found a winner.
My kids love this game. From the first time they played until the most recent. They play it all the time and it is one they all agree on. They love that it is based on dinosaurs, and my youngest is thrilled that he is playing Monopoly. The money is fun for them to exchange and count. I have to say though, the colorful fossil pieces make this fun, and they really enjoy the chance cards when they can take away someone else's fossil.
I enjoy this game, as it isn't too silly. It is actually fun to be able to play with my sons, and not have to worry that this game is going to take forever. It doesn't. It goes rather quickly and leaves you time for another game, either of the same one or another of your choice.
I also find this game somewhat educational. With the money, being so simple, it is teaching my youngest how to count out change, and is showing him values of items. Also, the dinosaur bio cards with all their information teaches my boys without them even realizing it. They are already curious and these cards help them with this.
My only pet peeve with this game and many others? What if you have more than four children? What if you want to play as parents with your children? There are only four different colors. Why not six? Perhaps, too many players would confuse children this age, but I find this happens in other games for older children as well.
One last tidbit. If your child is prone to losing the instructions? This game doesn't include a pamphlet. The instructions are right on the cardboard insert that holds the board up away from the pieces. No instructions to lose, just a lot of little "fossils". Sigh.
I am sure my sons will lose the pieces before the fun of this game could ever become extinct.