Apex is a theropod (two-legged, meat-eating dinosaur) deck-building game where you play as one of five apex theropods (Acrocanthosaurus, T.rex, Spinosaurus, Giganotosaurus, and Utah Raptor). The game supports 1-5 players which means it is designed to play by yourself or with up to four friends. The game will feature over 300 cards and a game mat to keep things organized and flowing easy.The art looks lovely and the theme is a welcome break from the many Dungeons & Dragons clones populating the market when it comes to these types of games. The creator also claims the mechanics for the game are finished - the only thing left to work on is the art. This is the first Kickstarter project I have backed, although only at a level to get me the basic game. Higher pledge levels can earn you additional swag, such as a game guide and poster. You have until April 2 to determine whether you want to back the project. Click here for the Kickstarter page.
In the game you fight for territory, expand your species, and evolve your dinosaur all while competing against other player controlled Apex predators for the same thing. As you progress through the game, many different environmental effects happen to territories such as tropical storms, super volcano eruptions, and botulism. The game has a built-in timer mechanic (doomsday) that makes games usually last around 30-45 minutes but it can be adjusted to make games longer or shorter.
The game is won by dominating 3 territories or having the most territory dominated at the end of the game. The game will feature over 30 dinosaurs and 8 territories with each territory having it's territorial boss that you must defeat to dominate the territory. These bosses consists of dinosaurs such as Carcharodontosaurus and Mapusaurus.
Friday, March 7, 2014
deck-building card game currently on Kickstarter that may appeal to dinosaur fans. Titled "APEX: Theropod Deck-Builder Game," it is the brainchild of artist and game designer Herschel Hoffmeyer. Here is the description on the official website:
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
A new species of dinosaur has been named after Dinotopia creator James Gurney. As Gurney explains on his blog:
Today a new dinosaur is being introduced to the world, and I'm thrilled and honored that that the paleontologists decided to name it after me. It's called Torvosaurus gurneyi.
The dinosaur, which was discovered in Portugal, is one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs from the Jurassic and the largest land-predator discovered in Europe.
Lead author Christophe Hendrickx of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa and Museu of Lourinhã says, “With a skull of 115 cm, Torvosaurus gurneyi was...an active predator that hunted other large dinosaurs, as evidenced by blade shape teeth up to 10 cm."
Mr. Hendrickx says he chose the name because of a childhood fascination with the book that I wrote and illustrated called Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time.Congratulations to Gurney! And this might be a good time to add that the 20th anniversary edition of the third book in the Dinotopia series, First Flight, comes out April 23. (Full disclosure: Gurney sent me an autographed copy of his fourth Dinotopia book, Journey to Chandara, back in 2007.)
You can read more about the discovery over at NBC News.
Monday, March 3, 2014
As for comments, I decided to turn off moderation. I turned it on in an attempt to thwart spammers, but they really haven't been a problem. Your posts should appear instantly now.
I also wanted to draw your attention to an interesting little book that came out in 2012. A Survival Guide: Living with Dinosaurs in the Jurassic Period was penned by geologist Dougal Dixon and is available as a cheap digital download on Amazon.com. It is a nonfiction book, but could prove a valuable resource for anyone writing dinosaur fiction. After all, how many books out there describe which dinosaur parts are best for eating? Here is a short review I wrote for The Miniatures Page last year:
Basically [A Survival Guide] is presented as a straight-forward survival guide, the big difference being it is about how to eek out a living in Jurassic North America - mainly because the time period is fairly well known in the geologic record. If you ever wanted to know which parts of a dinosaur would be best to eat, or how to build a shelter out of sauropod bones, or what ancient plants would be best avoided, then this is the book for you.Let's be honest: Castaway would have been much better if Tom Hanks had been forced to dodge dinosaurs.
The book starts with a general overview of the Jurassic environment, detailing sources of water, the best places to gather the materials needed for basic needs, and the general climate (as it turns out, Jurassic North America was something like a giant desert oasis in that it got little rain but had lots of groundwater). Then it delves into the fauna and flora, spending several chapters on the dinosaurs you might encounter. One thing the author notes: There are a lot of meat eaters. But he points out they may have been fairly specialized in their choice of prey, so larger predators such as Allosaurs may just ignore you. I'm not sure if I buy that: Seems to me no predator would turn away an easy snack if one presented itself.
So, which dinosaurs could you eat? Well, forget sauropods (too big and their muscles are too tough, although their eggs and the soles of their feet might makes great meals). And forget armored dinosaurs such as stegosaurs - too dangerous. Your best bet would be the plant-easting Ornithischians, relatively gentle creatures that ranged from roughly deer-sized to cow-sized. Cut off the head, hands, feet and last two-thirds of the tail, and you have a lot of meat left. The author even delves into how to best cook the different muscle groups.
One thing to note about A Survival Guide – the author assumes you're pretty much dumped into the environment without the convenience of modern tools, so don't expect lengthy passages about what kinds of guns to bring along. Rather, the weapons are ones you can make from the environment. Hint: Learn how to throw a bola.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
|Cover art for "The Death of the Moon"|
by Alexander Phillips. Image source
The Lost World and The Land That Time Forgot are the two most famous examples of paleofiction from the pulps, but there were several lesser-known stories that were just as entertaining. Unfortunately, many of them are now accessible only through microfilm in library collections. As a result, few people will ever get to read Alexander Phillips’ “The Death of the Moon” or Katherine Metcalf Roof’s “A Million Years Later.”
That said, a handful of pulp stories have managed to land on the Internet, thanks to expired copyright protections and the dedication of fans of the genre. Below are links to six of them.
When Reptiles Ruled” by Duane N. Carroll (1934), the first of three stories here published in Wonder Stories. The tale is told entirely from the perspective of an egg-stealing Struthiominus, making it an early precursor of works like Raptor Red and Walking with Dinosaurs. The story starts on page 76 and is continued on page 116.
One Prehistoric Night” by Philip Barshofsky (1934). Martian invaders attempt to colonize prehistoric Earth only to find the wildlife is more than they bargained for. This is one of the few early dinosaur stories that actually tries to get its science right, placing the right dinosaurs in roughly the right time frame. It’s also a wonderfully gory tale. The story starts on page 54.
The Reign of the Reptiles” by A. Connell (1935). The plot concerns a man who is kidnapped by a trio of scientists who want to try out their time machine. He is sent back to the Mesozoic, where he encounters an intelligent race of reptiles experimenting on early humans. Yes, this was just one example of a bad habit in the pulps: Mixing cavemen and dinosaurs together. The story starts on page 8 and is continued on page 109.
Famous Fantastic Mysteries for the short novel Before the Dawn by John Taine (1934; republished here in 1946). The story is about group of scientists who witness the Age of Dinosaurs using a "time viewer." Also of interest is another short novel by Taine, The Greatest Adventure (1929), which involves the discovery of a lost world in Antarctica and its dinosaur-like inhabitants.
Blitzkrieg in the Past” by John York Cabot (1942), which is a humorous tale about three U.S. soldiers who are accidentally thrown back in time with their M2 tank. Sadly, despite the dinosaur vs. tank battle we see on the magazine’s cover, the story is largely dinosaur free. It is instead populated by cavemen who are millions of years out of place.
The Lost Warship” by Robert Moore Williams (1943) - also was published during World War II, but this time it involves a warship that has been hurdled into the ancient past. This is the only story I haven’t had time to read before posting this list, but glancing over it, the work appears a caveman-and-dinosaur adventure in the spirit of Burroughs.