In the board game Dragons by Bruno Faidutti, published by Matagot and the Swiss board game publisher Board Game Box, dragons vie for the most glorious treasures. However, some fall by the wayside because they have completely forgotten to eat. The following review on Dragons reveals whether this can be really fun.


Deadly greed

Dragons don't do much in life, just what they really love to do. Most of all they love to chase gold, jewelry and all sorts of shiny objects, accumulate them and enjoy having these beautiful things around them and looking at them.

Some dragons completely overlook the most important things in life because of their greed for shiny things: food, the basic need that should actually be the greatest pleasure. These two things are at stake here: looting and eating. The game designed by Bruno Faidutti Dragons is for 3 to 6 players, ages 8 and up, and a game lasts approximately 30 minutes.

Loot and eat

The players compete as dragons to get as many points as possible while collecting treasures and to eat enough in several rounds. So the player has to have two things in mind in order to win the game. After all the rounds, a check is made at the end of the game to see who has collected the fewest sheep and cow cards. The or those have already lost completely because their dragons have literally starved to death. The remaining players add up their points. Whoever has the most points is the victorious dragon, who has brought both treasures and food under one roof.

Game material

The game Dragons has 110 cards, 6 different cardboard kites with stand, 1 writing pad and a small manual. So the material is very manageable.

Contents of Dragons after opening for the first time
The contents of the game in the box after unpacking for the first time. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck

The illustrations look very appealing, so that you immediately feel like unpacking the game and trying it out. Even the box is printed on the inside.

There are two types of cards: game aids and treasure cards. The game aid shows the player how many points he receives at the end of the game. This is also important because the points are awarded irregularly. It shows symbols and numbers that are easy to understand.

The treasure maps, recognizable by the illustration with the gold pieces on the back of the card, contain many different items: armor, jewelry, diamonds, gold pieces and polish pots. They also show sheep and cows, which are part of the dragons' food source.

Unfortunately, the cards have one shortcoming, because they are a bit too slippery. In the game it is important that you can only see the top card on a deck, but these often slip away.

Simple, foolproof rules

The rules are very easy and therefore the instructions are not very extensive.

Game instructions from Dragons
The instructions are very brief. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck

The treasure pile is divided into three or four rounds, depending on the number of players. In each round there is a pile of cards in the middle. At the beginning of each round, as many cards as there are players are turned over and form the beginning of treasure piles.

Beginning of the game of Dragons: The cards are revealed one after the other.
Each player in turn reveals a card. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck

From now on a player has two options: he draws a card face up and visible to all, and puts it on one of the treasure piles. Or he puts his kite on a treasure pile to reserve it for himself.

Secure good treasure maps or do you prefer to wait for better ones?

In the beginning, only cards are drawn and discarded in turn. At some point particularly attractive treasure maps have accumulated for a player who wants to take them quickly before someone else does.

The first dragon has secured his treasure pile.
The first dragon has secured a treasure pile. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck

The other players continue until the last player is left. He receives the last pile and, if still available, the cards from the draw pile.

Game Dragons: If the penultimate player has placed his dragon on a treasure pile, the third player owns the third pile and the rest of the draw pile.
At the end of a round, each player has new treasure cards for their collection. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck

Memorize cards and play poker

You have a good chance in the game if you are good at memorizing things. Because you should always keep an eye on which cards have landed on which pile and which of them is the most attractive. The player should also consider what cards he has already collected and which sets would now be worthwhile for the highest possible score. Many tactics are otherwise difficult to implement. You can of course influence which card you place yourself and also whether you secure a treasure pile as early as possible or take risks.

Have you eaten enough or starved?

At the end of all rounds, the players' sheep and cow cards are counted first. The one or those who have not collected enough of these cards lose because their dragons starved to death. So you have zero points and do not participate in the counting of points. Bad luck, someone was too greedy ?!

The scoring

The cards are best sorted by category to have a better overview. You now get a different number of points.

Dragons: The collected treasure of one of the dragons.
A dragon's collected treasures. Photo: Melanie Dürbeck

Here are a few examples: The player always receives 3 points for royal jewelry in sets of 10 and for each complete set of armor parts. If you have the most gemstones in red and blue, you get 12 points. And the pots of polish are calculated exponentially. So for 3 polish cards I get 3 x 3 = 9 points. Fortunately, the players have the game aids and a writing pad with them so that they can easily add up the points.

Filled in page in a block
Photo: Melanie Dürbeck

Images of Dragons

Infobox

Number of players: 3 to 6 players
Age: from 8 years
Playing time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: medium

Publisher: Matagot / Board Game Box
Author: Bruno Faidutti
Year of publication: 2018
Language: German
Cost: 14,90 Euro

Summary

Dragons is very nicely illustrated. The dragons in particular are very popular, you can literally see the greed on their faces. The game principle is very simple and the rules are well described and understandable. It may be a bit too easy for frequent gamers. The challenge is to memorize the cards on the treasure piles in order to generate a high score, and to take risks if necessary.

It is well suited as a family game for this. Children can easily become good opponents in this game due to their usually more pronounced memory retention. Unfortunately, the map surface is too slippery: the map material could have used a little more grip.