Review: Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur
Publisher: Pressman
Year: 1987
Tagline: Don’t get caught in the path of this zany dinosaur! Be the first to get your pieces into the cave… and win!

A happy dinosaur that is knocking over pawns with its tail

how we met

Bill found Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur for $2.99 one afternoon when I was not able to tag along. This game was a great find. A lot of people have strong memories of it, and Dizzy happens to still work after all these years! That’s not always the case with wind-up toys, so I was happy to have a nice copy.

how it plays

Your object in Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur is to get all 5 of your pawns to the cave first. Then you win!

On their turn, a player rolls both dice and moves accordingly. They are able to move one pawn the total of both dice, or they can move a single pawn one die number, and another pawn the other die number.

Two dice showing red numbers or green dinosaurs
The dice, sometimes your friend and sometimes really not. Sometimes in focus and sometimes really not. Like any game.

Each player has their own colored path that winds toward the cave in the middle. The goal is to get their pawns into that cave as quickly as possible, but it’s a bit of a trek. Once pawns land at the cave they are safe forever and can be removed from the board.

Each corner is a different color starting point with its own color winding road made up of dinosaur footprints.
The long and winding road to the cave. Each corner is a starting space for each color.

If a player rolls one dinosaur on their roll, they move the number of spaces required by the other die and then wind up Dizzy, place him in the cave area facing any direction, and let him go. When Dizzy moves off the board, he is out of play and done. But in the meantime any pawns that are moved completely off the paw print they were on or are knocked over entirely are moved back to start. Then the player rerolls the dinosaur die and moves that number of spaces.

If a player rolls two dinosaurs, they set Dizzy going after their enemies twice in a row and then take another turn.

The dinosaur is a green wind up toy
Meet Dizzy

Here’s where it can get interesting. Once a player has all five of their pawns on the board, they are able to stack their movers and move them as one piece – but the stack can only be three high. So there’s a couple of different strategies to the game. Either run like the wind with single pieces until they land in the cave or try to stack pieces and make a run for it, a bigger risk with a potentially greater return.

The five blue pawns with different cartoon people on each
Yes, they are kind of gross. They are from 1987.

As mentioned, the first player to land all of their pawns safely into the cave wins!

how it went

You know me by now, don’t you? I stacked my pawns as high as I could. I did it over and over. From a game strategy perspective, it is probably wisest to take single pawns and make a run for it on each turn. But no, I could have a 3-high, precariously-balanced, mega pawn. I want that every time!

A shot of play showing 3 red pawns stacked on each other
What is that saying about giants and standing on their shoulders?

We enjoy “take that” games, and this was no exception. The tricky thing is that you can point Dizzy wherever you like, but he goes where he will. You can’t accurately target your enemies, so Dizzy becomes a crapshoot. I enjoy that aspect of gameplay, but I can see why other players might not.

Most of the time Dizzy will just kind of turn a little and then beeline for the edge of the board. Every so often, though, he would cover whole giant sections of the board and upset almost everything! It was actually a pretty decent balance, if random.

Sometimes this happens
And sometimes this happens

I can see Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur getting tired as you keep getting reset and start to feel like the gameplay is endless. We had a little bit of that. It is difficult to target specific player pawns with Dizzy… except when they are super close to the cave entrance, then you can pretty easily wipe them out. So you can really wipe out progress at times. And other times he just runs right off the board.

When I am my best self, I try to take notes about our gameplay for later reference – whether they are jokes or noteworthy events or issues or whatever. The only thing I had written down for Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur is that Keri looks into my eyes as she winds up the dinosaur. And yeah, we developed an early rivalry that probably helped Bill to ultimately win with his make-a-run-for-it strategy. Way to go, Bill!

play or pass

Pass. We had a good time, but gameplay can be long and repetitive. If you find Dizzy Dizzy Dinosaur at thrift, pick it up because it’s worth a couple of bucks. It has a high nostalgia rating. And I definitely enjoyed our play through… I just don’t want to keep it or play again.