Publisher: Lay Waste Games
Designers: Jake Given, Zach Given, Jonathan Ritter-Roderick
Time: 30-60 minutes
In Dragoon you play as competing Dragons ransacking cities and towns for gold and fame. The first player to reach 50 gold will trigger the end of the game and hopefully become the richest dragon of all. With the expansion, it can be played with up to 6 players.
Dragoon is an area control game where each player controls a dragon flying around claiming towns or cities and causing terror on humans in an attempt to collect the most gold (supposedly dragons like gold!). The game is quite simple. You have 3 action points to spend each turn and specific actions cost 1-2 points. You can play as many cards as you want for free but have only a few of them at any given time. Your object is to gain the most gold. This is done by razing towns, controlling towns and finding treasure.
At the beginning of each round you have to place new towns randomly out on the board. The board is set up in a grid pattern, so you roll 2 dice and place the town where the two numbers meet. If a town is supposed to go where a town already is, the tile is flipped over revealing a city…..which can provide you with more gold. For every town you control at the end of each round you have the chance to gain gold based on a die roll.
The actions a player can take include Move, Claim, Raze, Steal, Attack and Draw. Movement costs one point for every space. When you Claim a town or city, you simply put one of your markers on the tile you want to claim. If there is someone else’s marker on it, you just exchange it. You get a certain amount of gold from a town or city by razing it and taking it off the board. Cities are worth more of course. Stealing from the thief allows you to get gold from the treasure spot on the board, that changes throughout the game. Attacking another dragon will get you up to 6 gold. Stop on their cave and roll a die, you get to steal that much gold from them. But don’t linger because if you end you turn in that cave, they will return immediately to kick you out. Drawing a card costs 2 action points and simply gets you a new action card.
At the end of every round, each player will roll a die for each marker they have on a town or city and get gold based on that roll. The higher you roll the more gold you will get. If your Dragon is actually on on of those towns or cities with your marker you automatically get the highest gold value.
Once one player reaches 50 points you finish the round until all players have had an equal amount of turns. You add up the final points and the player with the most gold is the winner.
The components in Dragoon are off the charts! I really love the look and feel of this game. The metal pieces are something to behold and holding them just makes you smile. I love the simpleness of the bag being the score track and the linen main board. The tiles are nice and thick and the cards are very good quality.
The mechanisms in Dragoon are smooth and clean. I can teach this game in a matter of minutes and be off and running. The action cards are some fun stuff that you can do that change the game quickly or give you a better action than just your main actions. Turns are rally quick and not a lot of thinking goes into each round. I do wish there was more of a battle for first player due to this being an area control game. The game play is best with more players.
The Rogue and Barbarian Expansion:
I really like the way each one of the Rogue and Barbarian play so different. It brings a nice new feel to the game. Each having their own action card deck and special abilities that come with them. The Thief is fun due to him building tunnels and going in hitting an area quickly then getting out. It’s a nice change of pace.
Base Game: 3
Dragoon is not a game that we will play over and over. It is a fun game that is pretty quick so it will get to the table at various times. The challenge is that you are simply playing the same game every time. The Dragons don’t differentiate themselves by any ways.
The Rogue and Barbarian Expansion: 4
This is where the game could have really been great. The Rogue and Barbarian play differently enough that you get a different feel each time you play. That would have been fantastic if you did the same thing with each dragon. Give them each different decks with unique abilities. Adding the expansion to Dragoon makes the game much more interesting when replaying it.
There is not as much strategy in this game as we would like. There is a ton of randomness that makes the game very light hearted from rolls to card and tile draws. You just can’t take it too seriously. The game plays best with more players due to the randomness of the town tiles coming out. I mean, placing tiles is random, getting gold is random dice rolling, at the end of a round rolling for tribute from your cities is random, which cards you get is random. There is just a ton of randomness in this game. Which is not a bad thing, you just need to know that going into it.
Final Thoughts: 14(15)/20
Here’s the thing…..Dragoon is a simple, fun, quick game that can be played by a wide variety of players. If, you know it is random and light going into it. If you are expecting this to be a great deeply involved strategy game for the heaviest of players, you will be disappointed. The Rogue and Barbarian expansions brings great diversity to an already solid game. If you like fun, quick games where you can mess with other people A LOT, you will love this game. Families with younger players who love beating up on mom and dad, should pick up this easy to teach easy to learn game.