Super Tooth Game Review (prepublished version)

Please Take Note: This is a review of the game’s final prototype. The art, game bits, and the rules discussed are all subject to change. The game is being reviewed on the components and the rules provided with the understanding that “what you see is not what you might get” when the game is published. If you like what you read and want to learn more, we encourage you to visit the game’s official web site or visit the Kickstarter campaign. Now that we have all that disclaimer junk out of the way, on with the review!


supertooth_top

The Basics:

  • For ages 5 and up
  • For 2 to 4 players
  • Approximately 15 minutes to complete

Geek Skills:

  • Counting & Math
  • Logical & Critical Decision Making
  • Pattern/Color Matching
  • Hand/Resource Management

Learning Curve:

  • Child – Easy
  • Adult – Easy

Theme & Narrative:

  • Collect plant-eating dinosaurs before the meat-eaters get them!

Endorsements:

  • Gamer Geek rejected!
  • Parent Geek approved!
  • Child Geek approved!

Overview

It is the age of the dinosaur. Both small and large varieties walk the earth, swim the oceans, and fly the skies. They are the rulers of the world and their domain is fraught with the constant struggle for survival. Meat-eaters hunt the plant-eaters and the plant-eaters hunt for the perfect salad. This is a game of survival and only a player with a logical mind can save the hunted from the hunters!

Super Tooth, designed by Neil J. Opitz and to be published by Farm Fresh Games, will reportedly be comprised of 62 playing cards (that contain carnivores, herbivores  and various prehistoric events), 4 Reference cards, and 12 Cretaceous Coin cards (which are used to track victory points). As this is a review of a prepublished game, we will not comment on the game component quality, nor can we state with a straight face that what we listed as the game’s components is fully accurate. This is a prepublished game, after all, and might very well change before it is fully completed. We do like the artwork, though. “Whimsical and playful” is how we have heard it described.

supertooth_cards

Game Set Up

To set up the game, first separate the Cretaceous Coin cards and the Reference cards. Set the Cretaceous Coin cards to the side and within easy reaching distance of at least one player. These cards will be needed, but not yet. The Reference cards might or might not be needed, based on the groups’ overall familiarity with the game. Keep them around, though, in case you have a brain fart and need to look up a rule. The remaining cards will be referred to as the “draw deck”.

Second, shuffle the draw deck thoroughly and place it, face-down, in the middle of the playing area.

Third, draw 3 cards from the top of the draw deck and place, face-up, in a row next to the draw deck. This row is referred to as the “landscape”. Leave room on the other side of the draw deck for a discard pile.

That’s it for game set up! Determine who the first player is and begin!

Dino Hunting

The game is played in turns with no set number of rounds. A player’s turn consists of 3 steps which are summarized here.

Step 1: Refill the Landscape

To complete this step, the player draws cards from the draw deck and puts them in the landscape row until a maximum of 3 cards are face-up. Depending on the last turn, the player could be drawing 1, 2, or 3 cards. This step is skipped for the first player as it has already been completed as part of the game set up. If the draw deck is ever exhausted, simply shuffle the discards pile and place it face-down to make a new draw deck.

Step 2: Resolve the Landscape

This step is a lot more involved than the first one, and depending on the cards, the player will either have to think a great deal or not at all. The landscape is resolved by taking action on the cards in the following order:

  1. Event Cards
  2. Meat-Eater Cards
  3. Plant-Eater Cards

Event cards (represented with a dinosaur footprint) can impact the landscape, just the active player, or all players. Event cards are always resolved first, and if the result of the Event card reduces the landscape to one or more cards that the player cannot resolve, the player’s turn ends. The included Event cards are summarized here:

  • Volcano: destroys (discards) all the cards in the landscape and ends the player’s turn.
  • Egg: replace the egg Event card with any dinosaur card found in the discard pile (the Event card is then discarded).
  • Quetzalcoatlus: replace the Quetzalcoatlus card with a randomly drawn card from an opponent’s hand (the Event card is then discarded).
  • Tyrannosaurus-Rex: all the cards currently held by all the players are collected, shuffled, and dealt back out to the players – all remaining cards in the landscape are discarded (the Event card is then discarded, too).

Meat-eaters (represented with what would appear to be a very expensive T-bone steak) are just that – carnivorous dinosaurs. They only exist to do two things: aggravate the players and eat. Every meat-eating dinosaur has a favorite plant-eating dinosaur they would happily devour. This is indicated with a small image that matches one or two plant-eater dinosaurs. The only way to resolve meat-eater is to feed it or chase it away (some of the plant-eaters are militant vegetarians – specifically the Triceratops). A player can remove the meat-eater by either discarding a plant-eater in the landscape that matches the type the meat-eater likes to eat, from their hand that matches the meat-eater’s dinosaur meal of choice, or any plant-eater dinosaur that can chase meat-eater away. The eaten plant-eater, the aggressive plant-eating dinosaur, and the meat-eater are then discarded. If the player cannot feed or chase away all of the meat-eaters in the landscape (thus removing them) or chooses not to, the player’s turn is over and all the remaining cards in the landscape are discarded. Example meat-eaters include:

  • Allosaurus
  • Plesiosaur
  • Deinonychus

Plant-eaters (presented with a giant leaf) are obviously the “good guys” (unless you are a plant), collected by the player, and placed in their hand of cards. But only if the plant-eater survived cataclysmic events and ravenous meat-eaters. And let’s not forget that dinosaurs are big, REALLY BIG, so the player cannot collect all of the plant-eaters at once. If the player has made it to this step, they can do one of the following:

  • Take 1 plant-eater dinosaur of their choice from the landscape
  • Take a set of 2 or 3 matching (same picture/same name) plant-eating dinosaurs from the landscape

Any plant-eaters not collected remain in the landscape.

Step 3: Exchange Sets

Points are scored by the player creating plant-eater sets. A set consists of 3, 4, 5, or 6 of a kind. The rewards for each numbered set are as follows:

  • Set of 3: collect 1 Cretaceous Coin card
  • Set of 4: collect 1 Cretaceous Coin card and 1 plant-eater card of the player’s choice from the landscape (if any still remain)
  • Set of 5: collect 2 Cretaceous Coin cards
  • Set of 6: collect 3 Cretaceous coin cards

A player can only exchange sets if they collected one or more plant-eaters during their turn from the landscape and can make as many exchanges as they like and are able to. Any cards used in the exchange are discarded.

This ends the player’s turn. Well, technically, the player’s turn could have ended in step 2, but let’s be optimistic here.

Winning the Game

The game continues until a player collects 3 Cretaceous Coin cards (or if playing with only 2-players, a total of 4 Cretaceous Coin cards). This player is the winner and can do a victory lap on the back of an Argentinosaurus if they like.

Expanding the Game

Note: The following expansions will only be made available through stretch goals. Based on how well the  Kickstarter campaign goes, these expansions might or might not be available with the base game.

Two game expansions are already planned for this card game. To play with an expansion, simply add them to the existing cards in the base game. Each expansion is summarized here.

Sunny Days

The conditions are just right for the dinosaur population to explode. The plant life is lush and full, allowing for more plant-eaters. Of course, more plant-eaters means more meat for the meat-eaters. Included in this expansion are a total of 9 new dinosaurs (7 plant-eaters, 2 meat-eaters) and 1 Hot Sun Event card. The new Event card represents the perfect ecological conditions for the dinosaur and stays active. Until the Hot Sun Event card is removed by the Volcano or the Asteroid, players fill the landscape with 4 cards instead of 3!

End of Days

As the title of the expansion suggests, it’s the final days of the reign of the dinosaurs. Included in this expansion are a total of 9 new dinosaurs (7 plant-eaters, 2 meat-eaters) and the doomsday Asteroid Event card. The new Event card removes all the cards in the landscape (including the Hot Sun Event card). Then all the players discard 1 card of their choice from their hand to the discard pile and reshuffle the discard pile into the draw deck. This event ends the player’s turn.

To learn more about Super Toothvisit the game’s official web site or visit the Kickstarter campaign.

Prediction

This game is going to be very easy to predict, so I’ll keep it short.

For the Child Geeks, this game is going to score big points. An easy to play card game with dinosaurs? Might as well be covered in candy. For the Parent Geeks, there is not nearly enough to Super Tooth to suggest it is a game to  be played by adults with adults alone. This is a family game, through and through. For the Gamer Geeks, Super Tooth isn’t going to get any love. Too simple, too random, and too … well … childish.

Teaching the game is very straight forward. For the youngest Child Geeks, help will be needed when scoring sets, but that’s about it. There is no hand size limit and all the plays are visible (except for what is currently being held by the player in their hand). None of our players had any questions after a few minutes of game explanation except for one Child Geek who asked if there was anyway they could collect meat-eaters. He was disappointed that he  couldn’t.

And so, as I passed the deck of cards to my wife to shuffle, I asked them all their thoughts on the game so far.

“Pretty easy game about collecting the same type of dinosaurs and collecting points. I don’t think I’m going to have any problems with this.” ~ Liam (age 8)

“I love dinosaurs and I know what each of these are, Daddy! Can I go get my dinosaur book to show you?” ~ Nyhus (age 5)

“The artwork is not my style, but the game rules are simple. Should be fun with the kids, but not with just adults.” ~ My Wife (if I told you her age, she would hunt me down…let’s say “early 20’s”)

Exactly the type of responses I thought I would receive from all three of my family members. The fact that my 5-year-old is crazy excited about dinosaurs in general is really coming through as he bounces up and down at the table in anticipation. Let’s see if his level of excitement is well founded or if Super Tooth is super bad. And I don’t mean “bad” as in “good”.

Final Word

As predicted, the Child Geeks enjoyed Super Tooth and none of our players, from age 5 and up, had any problems understanding and playing the game. A few of our younger Child Geeks had a difficult time holding all the cards, however. We simply let them place their cards on the table. All of the Child Geeks enjoyed the game play and the illustrations on the cards, with several of the dinosaurs bringing chuckles to the younger Child Geeks. None of the Child Geeks had anything negative to say about Super Tooth and unanimously voted to approve it.

An intense (and entertaining) game at our family table!

An intense (and entertaining) game at our family table!

Again, as predicted, the Parent Geeks were not at all thrilled with Super Tooth as an “adult game”. As a family game and as a game they could play with their younger children, they found Super Tooth to be superb. There is enough thought needed to play the game to keep the adult mind engaged, but not nearly to a point where any of the Parent Geeks thought it was a challenge. According to one Parent Geek, “this is just a solid and well done family card game – you can’t go wrong with it at my family gaming table.” The Parent Geeks voted to approve Super Tooth, but only if positioned as a family card game.

The Gamer Geeks played the game, rolled their eyes, and then walked away. There is nothing to Super Tooth to suggest that it’s a game designed for Gamer Geek elitists. Super Tooth does make use of some of the core geek skills, but the game play does not require them in abundance or at a high enough level of proficiency to keep the Gamer Geeks interested. They did not endorse Super Tooth for the simple reason that they didn’t think it was a game for them.

So who is Super Tooth for? I think the sweet spot here is for families with Child Geeks between the ages of 5 and 8. My 8-year-old could play Super Tooth like a Boss, but started to lose interest in it. Now, admittedly, I challenge him a great deal with games that are well beyond his age group, but Super Tooth is not a game of great depth to begin with. His young mind needs a challenge – always has – to keep him engaged and Super Tooth can be downright simplistic at times. For example, if you pull a Volcano Event card, your turn is over. The only real thought that ever needs to go into the game is hand management and deciding on which dinosaurs to sacrifice and to collect. For young Child Geeks, that’s a lot to logically think through. For older and more experienced players, it’s a cakewalk.

But walking cakes aside, Super Tooth is a solid game. It delivers fun and keeps the younger Child Geeks busy and entertained. While the game lacks appeal for adults and more experienced players, it draws the younger player in like a moth to flame. Colorful, whimsical, creative, and very straight forward, Super Tooth is a game the Child Geeks liked to play with, liked to look at, and were happy to ask for again and again. Well worth the time to play at your family gaming table. This is especially true if you have a young dinosaur lover in your home.

I rather enjoyed Super Tooth, as I do most games that make my children happy and eager to play games with their father.

This game was given to Father Geek as a review copy. Father Geek was not paid, bribed, wined, dined, or threatened in vain hopes of influencing this review. Such is the statuesque and legendary integrity of Father Geek.

About Cyrus

Editor in Chief, Owner/Operator, Board Game Fanatic, Father of Three, and Nice Guy, Cyrus has always enjoyed board, card, miniature, role playing, and video games, but didn't get back into the hobby seriously until early 2000. Once he did, however, he was hooked. He now plays board games with anyone and everyone he can, but enjoys playing with his children and wife the most. Video games continue to be of real interest, but not as much as dice and little miniatures. As he carefully navigates the ins and outs of parenting, he does his very best to bestow what wisdom he has and help nurture his children's young minds. It is his hope and ambition to raise three strong, honorable men who will one day go on to do great things and buy their Mom and Dad a lobster dinner Cyrus goes by the handle fathergeek on Board Game Geek. You can also check him out on CyrusKirby.com. Yes, he has a URL that is his name. His ego knows no bounds, apparently....
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One Response to Super Tooth Game Review (prepublished version)

  1. Hi Father Geek,
    Funny that you mentioned the Volcano card. I demoed the game at PretzCon in Omaha last weekend and we (me and several players) updated this Event due to it’s arbitrary nature. The new event is interactive and allows the player whose turn it is next to select a single card from the Super Tooth Landscape that is “consumed” (discarded) by the Volcano. It played much better after the change. I am still working with other possible scenarios for this and another card that will be tested and finalized prior to printing.
    Neil

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