Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review: Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs

I don't know about schools these days, or schools in the past for that matter anywhere else in the world other than the ones I went to, but at our school at the end of term no one ever felt like doing any work. Teachers, pupils - no one could really care less about learning. At high school any celebratory activities were banned by the Head until the afternoon and it was lessons as normal in the morning (albeit with a high % of Hangman lessons) but at primary school we did pretty much nothing all day.

I know a lot of the time we had to suffer through Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or Fievel Goes West (over and over and over... Every single end of term for what seemed like an eternity...). Since Robin Hood only fills up a couple of hours we got to take board games to school and play those for the rest of the day.

Some kids took Twister and a select group of the most popular kids got to play it in the library. I remember a time when Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur was taken ('he turns and spins 'til someone wins!'). I can't really remember much else about it other than I was never given a choice about which game I took. It was demanded that I take Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs. Which was fine by me as a) I didn't want to make Anthony cry with the disappointment and b) it's possibly the best board game ever made EVER.

The game has been sat in a cupboard at my parents house basically since I left primary school. Such things became less popular at high school. Sure you could still play board games on the last day (afternoon!) of term, but that was generally regarded as the stupid, boring choice when there was the much more 'exciting' option of going to the school disco instead.


I was at my previously mentioned parents house recently and my 5yo began rooting through the cupboards. There, at the bottom of the pile, beneath Monopoly, Cluedo and the rest was LVD. Being 5 and therefore a fan of all things dinosaury I was commanded to dig it out and set it up to play.

The idea of the game is to lead your team of explorers past the dinosaurs, avoid the volcano, and reach the hidden temple to collect as much gold as possible. To add further spice there's a swamp monster and a pteranodon who swoops down and flies people about the board.

As you'll be able to see from the photos the dinosaurs are the 80s versions of T-Rex's, back when they were thought to be slow, lumbering animals who needed support to stand up by sitting on their tails (or was that bit just helpful when getting toys to balance?).

Other than that, the game hasn't dated at all. It was as much fun to play now as it was 20-odd years ago. I was shocked that we actually played the entire game. Usually the only thing that keeps the eldest's attention for more than 10 minutes is a computer game, so I was in awe that not once did he hurry things along, get bored, or wander off.

The only slight problem was that my little dino-fan seemed to think it was a team game: him and Dad Vs the dinos. This made me feel a little guilty when it was my turn and I wanted to move the T-Rex's to eat his men. 5yo obviously knew what he was doing, however, as despite him helping me out at every opportunity ('Here, Dad, I'll move your man closer to the gold.') and me 'accidentally' flying his men to the most annoying places on the board, he still managed to win.

Sometimes, it seems, being the good guy pays off.

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