Dinosaur Cowboys primarily is a tabletop skirmish game involving dinosaurs wrangled by cowboys in the far future. In this respect the bulk of the mechanics do not necessarily constitute a roleplaying game. However, the rules also provide for a "Campaign Game" that links "battles and exploration into a continuing narrative" that gives players "the chance to grow a Posse and have consequences between encounters". In the Campaign Game, the intermittent battles utilize the core rules of the skirmish game.
Two types of Campaigns are detailed--Map Based or Narrative Based. A Map Based campaign is executed on a hex map or even a real-world road map of the USA. Campaign goals include controlling area or winning towns. A special section of Overland Travel rules details how characters participate in Map Based campaigns. In Narrative Based campaigns The Sheriff creates a branching narrative story in which characters participate. Depending upon player choice, the campaign develops along narrative lines with each intermittent battle determining the future possibilities. Narrative Based campaigns user few rules and generally are simpler to execute.
During a campaign game, characters suffer wounds and (hopefully) recover from them. Thus, characters may enter the next battle with existing damage (or may not be able to participate at all). Characters also advance by gaining Improvement Points and money--these are awarded to the Posse and then divided among the characters. Improvement Points are spent to gain trait improvements; money is spent to gain better weapons, armor, and equipment. All of this carries throughout the remainder of the campaign.