What is it? Dragons literally made out of precious metals, burning cities and each other for fame and points
The Deets: 2-4p, 30-60min
Designer: Jake Given, Zach Given, Jonathan Ritter-Roderick
Publisher: Lay Waste Games
“We can’t compete with Mayfair, so we decided to make the most beautiful game we could.”
This was my first introduction to a game I happened to stumble on in the dark corners of the dealer hall, and it was no lie.
Dragoon is a beautiful game. You can see that at first glance; the pieces are literally made of gold and silver and other solid metals, the board is printed on fabric, and the art is excellent. It’ll also run you a hefty $75. But this is the kind of game you might just leave set up on your coffee table or your shelf if you have the space, because it is pleasing to the eye. I mean. C’mon.
The game itself is a highly interactive game of smashing and burning. You play as dragons terrorizing the pesky humans trying to settle your island, which means most of your aggression will be targeted towards those NPC human cities, but you can fight the other dragons and even steal gold from their lair.
The human settlements are added to the board at the start of each round by a random coordinate roll – sort of like adding fire in Flash Point. An empty space gets a village, but if you roll a village space, it becomes a city.
Then the dragons get to rampage around, taking actions to destroy and subjugate humans. You can just wipe out a village and collect the prize money, or you can claim it for your own and demand the occupants pay tribute to you. You mark each city you’ve claimed, but if you’re not present at the end of the round, those upstart humans might not pay up as determined by a die roll. (If you’re there, oh boy will they pay). Also, those cities might be stolen away from you by other dragons if you don’t protect them.
You also have action cards. Like many games, these cards generally provide more efficient ways of doing things under specific conditions. For example, one card I played let me destroy everyone human village I moved through on my turn. Another forced all my villages to pay up in tribute even though I wasn’t there. The actions came in a wide variety, and all of the cards I saw seemed pretty fun, and nothing looked overpowered.
It’s a pretty simple, straightforward game, but the fun lies in the action-packed, fast-paced nature of it. Once you’ve got the rules down, turns fly by pretty quickly, and you get to do a whole lot. There’s no player elimination – getting attacked sends you back to your lair or steals gold, if the attacker succeeds – and you can jump right out into the world to do damage right away. Also, it’s a sight to look at.
Admittedly, it might be a tough sell to drop $75 on this game. Normally you’d expect a game of this depth to be between $20 and $30. You’re paying out the nose for these incredible components, so whether or not the game sounds interesting that aspect might pull some weight. I wouldn’t mind having a copy of this to pull out, but I’ve got other things to spend $75 on. I am told there will be a regular edition in the future with more standard pieces and price, but this edition certainly draws in attention. I saw many copies sold even while I played the short demo.
I mean, c’mon. Look at this: