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Dino Chef : Tree of Stars                      (Part 1)

Posted 2nd July 2023

At the start of the year, I wanted to make a board game for my goddaughter(8) and nephew(6) - they are cousins who play together all the time.

As kids do, they are always coming up with new ideas, scenarios and mechanics for play;

Grabbing anything around them and improvising constantly.

Sometimes, you'd notice there are a few things that don't change. They'd fall into a comfortable pattern; the kids enjoy them and don't mind repeating.

This became the seed for the game.

 

Fast forward to around April, DINO CHEF - TREE OF STARS was completed!

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Unboxing complete!

DINO CHEF : TREE OF STARS is a restaurant management game with a dinosaur theme (late cretaceous period, the kids were very specific about that).

The kids memorised every dinosaur name they came across, and constantly lord their superior knowledge over me. So this theme seemed like a good bet.

 

You have your hungry, hungry dino-diners, eager to try your culinary skills. There are meat eaters, plant eaters and eaters that don't give a biscuit (because they eat all the biscuits).

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Make sure they form an orderly line, as Singaporeans do in their favourite national sport.

The game really begins when you seat your diner at its table, and prepare its meal!

Players have to make some risk/reward decisions with their limited resources and random ingredients, but it's a snappy game loop because your hangry diners are waiting!

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There are tasty looking ingredient cards with cooking instructions on the reverse sides, news event cards that tweak the flow and upgrade cards that give that sense of progression.

Plenty of things to keep the young minds busy!

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You get to pick from a selection of 6 DINO CHEFS as you begin each working day at the restaurant. These were a joy to create as I got to consult my goddaughter on the character design, and my wife helped me lay the colour palette. Here's her favourite, TY the T-rex:

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It's a pretty loaded product, by the time I was done! It has custom dice, dozens of tokens and standees, more than a hundred cards, a tri-fold board, game box and rulebook!

I tried to have them look, and feel, as high quality as possible. 

Then there is the pièce de résistance - the main objective of the game was to earn 10 Golden Stars

It was a lot of effort, but look at it!

We were all very pleased with how it turned out, how about you?

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I know it's a little cliche, but this game was inspired by my goddaughter, and I got to work with her, as well as my wife, on it; I can honestly say it's made with love. 

The little munchkin has played every iteration of this game so far, from its scrappy prototype to the current "finished" state. 

I'm still trying to get more copies of it made so she could even share it with her friends, but that's something I'd cover in later posts about this game. 

I plan to share some design insights, how all the components were made and more. 

Leave a message if you are interested in finding out more about this project!

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Thanks for reading!

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