On Google+ there is a large and active gaming community that each year participates in a “Secret Santa” and this year J4G joined in, sending several games to one person and receiving two in return! Dragonwood from Gamewright is the first one we shall review!
Dragonwood is a mixed game of cards and dice and as it is made by the same people that bought us Forbidden Island and Desert you can expect quality. The dice are wonderfully well made with a glossy finish and bright gold numbering. You never fail to notice the number! The card quality is great if a little thin. I think I’m a little to critical of cards, wanting them all to be wax playing card thickness but tese are as thick as Magic the Gathering cards so that should be good enough for most. Thankfully card protectors are so cheap you can pick up a thousand for under $10 here on Amazon.
The design work on Dragonwood is really beautiful. The artwork on each card is great and it’s clear that they had a lot of fun with the characters they have made. Having no drawing ability at all I’m always in awe of really good drawings and Dragonwood make me smile every time especially the enemy cards.
Dragonwood is a fantasy dice game with an almost poker feel to some of its elements. The premise is you are an adventurer looking to prove your worth by slaying mighty dragons in the magical Dragonwood! You do this by drawing numbered and coloured cards and using those cards to “Buy” dice rolls to attack monsters or get enhancements.
By using the cards in either straights (Sequential numbers) or Flushes (Either all the same colour or same number) you trade them in for dice, a straight of 5,6,7 for example, will give you three dice to attack your opponents defence. Defences are different depending on what collection of cards you use so it’s a matter of strategy to pick the weakest defence while still getting enough cards to get the dice roll needed.
The addition of enhancements make attacking much easier as they add special attributes to you and your dice rolls. You still have to “attack” the enhancement to win it and it may only be a one shot but in a battle to the death wth a giant dragon a +2 can make all the difference!
Event cards add a random element to the game. As you replace your monsters Event cards appear to mess up your day. For example, a quicksand card that immediately removes all enhancements from the landscape to be replaced by new cards and a windy day card that blows your cards to the player to your right. Hopefully expansion packs will soon be available to increase the event cards to keep the game fresh.
The game is won when both dragons are slain and the points awarded for each monster are totaled. The J4G family team found the games high luck to skill play style means everyone gets a win sooner or later which is great for people with younger kids.
Time scale and players
Dragonwood takes around 20 minutes to play and is good for 2-4 players. A lot of games can suffer when only 2 players are competing but Dragonwood seems to be fun no matter the party size. As it can be played by ages 8 and up Dragonwood is fast becoming a staple on family games night.
Currently there are no expansions to the Dragonwood game.
Dragonwood is a hit. We are always looking for great, low cost games that can be played with just 2 players and this hits the sweet spot. It is fun, fast paced and imaginative and the great use of cards and dice working in concert make the game varied enough to keep Dragonwood on our gaming roster!
Unfortunately there is no Tabletop episode of Dragonwood but season 4 is on its way so fingers crossed!
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