The 18 Card Challenge - Dinosaurs... but!

The 18 Card Challenge is back!

The challenge this time is Design An 18 Card Game About Dinosaurs... But!

The but is a big one. "But NOT modern day dino parks or dinosaurs fighting each other."

Let's get deeper into those restrictions.

On the Button Shy discord, we've had a lot of discussions about the variety of dinosaur games. They are ALWAYS a Jurassic Park style game or dinosaurs fighting each other. And I've always asked, what else can you do with dinosaurs in a game? It's hard to put them in the modern day and not lean to Jurassic Park and if you go back in time, what else can you do but have them fight each other? There has to be another angle, and what better way to bring that angle out than a restrictive design challenge?

Now I know this is a pretty subjective requirement, so please judge for yourself when designing if you are going too close to Jurassic Park or fighting. Keep in mind that we are looking for 1) a great game that 2) does something new and interesting with dinosaurs as a theme. Now "new and interesting" doesn't mean just twist things up by putting wigs on them and have them sit in a court of law or something like that. I mean, it could, you never know. But instead we're looking for something interesting about dinosaurs themselves as a theme. Hopefully you can figure that out.

Additional restrictions:

The following ideas and mechanics are suggested against:

-Trick Taking
-Sprawlopolis clones
-Food Chain Island clones
-Games where you make and rearrange a 3x3 grid for the whole game
-Games where you set up 3 lanes and compete head to head across the lanes
-Games where players simultaneously reveal cards, compare them and that's it

Next, lets give you place to share your games, thoughts, look for playtesters and join in on the community behind these awesome games:

The Button Shy discord server has a whole section for designers, and a subsection for each of our contests. Visit it here and join along:

Now let's get into the rules:

-The game must be 18 cards. Cards must be poker size, not square.

-The players cannot draw on the cards, cut them, or modify them in any way.

- You may not use any additional components in this design. We see a lot of questions about pen and paper for score, and we say just expect players to add them in their heads for eligibility in the challenge. If it's excessively labor intensive and so much to keep track of, it might not be a good fit anyway.

-Rules must fit onto 3 pages of a google doc with a minimum font size of 10.


Submissions will be accepted from now until September 30, 2022 at 11:59 PM EST.

The winner will be announced on or before October 31, 2022.

Submission Requirements

Fill out the following google doc with the below information.

    1. Game Description: Including Game Title, Player Count, Estimated Play Time, Recommended Ages (if any), Brief Description of the game play.
    2. Print-and-Play File: This should include the rules and game files. The file can be hosted on either your own site, or a public one like Dropbox or Google Drive, or included as an attachment. IF YOUR FILES HAVE PERMISSIONS, PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY ARE OPEN SO THAT WE CAN SEND TO OTHER JUDGES.
    3. Short Pitch Video: No more than 3 minutes. This doesn't need to be any more than a handheld phone video, but we just request to see some visuals of the gameplay. We do not need a full play through or anything fancy. WE RECOMMEND YOUTUBE OR VIMEO. WE WILL BE USING SOME VIDEOS IN OUR RESULTS POSTS.

Additional Restrictions

Designs must be original works that do not infringe on any intellectual property. Submission must not be available for sale through any retail, secondary or print-on-demand market and may not be currently under consideration for publication by other publishers.

Designers must be 18 years or older to enter.

While designs need not have final artwork or graphics, they should be complete and playable. All designs remain the intellectual property of the designers.


The winner of each round will receive $100, paid via Paypal. All entries may be considered for publication by Button Shy Games (and if so, will be offered a contract with royalties like any other design that we publish).


We may feature the game images and submission videos on our YouTube channel. We will not be providing feedback on all entries, but hopefully seeing the finalists and winner will show why specific games pushed through the competition. We plan to keep our comments positive, and highlight why a game won instead of why a game lost.

Good luck everyone!


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