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"He's no good to me dead."
I avoid CCGs for the same reason most others do; namely the fact that one could dump many hundreds of dollars into a game and still be nowhere near having a complete set. So the fact that Dragon Hunt is dubbed “Your key to the kingdom of Wyvern” (Wyvern being a CCG) I was not compelled to buy a copy. However, I made a recent online game purchase and since I hate to pay all that shipping for one game, I decided to look for something in the bargain bin. And since Dragon Hunt is a stand alone game, I figured why not. I bought a new copy for less than $6.

Not only is Dragon Hunt a stand alone game, you can’t combine it with Wyvern cards even if you wanted to. I say this because apparently true Wyvern cards have a different back than the cards found in this game. The cards in DH are separated into two different groups (Dragon cards and Action cards), each with its own card back, which, for what it’s worth, are much nicer looking than the Wyvern backing. The game comes with a booster pack of Wyvern cards to serve as an impetus to get into the CCG, but again, these cards can’t be used with the cards in DH.

As stated above, the two decks in DH are Dragon cards and Action cards. Each deck is shuffled separately prior to playing the game. The Dragon deck contains two types of cards: Dragons and terrains. To begin the game, each player is dealt six cards from the Dragon deck face down. The players then place the six cards face down in front of them in two rows of three (think of Hera & Zeus). This is called the player’s “battlefield”. The remaining Dragon cards are placed in a draw pile nearby. Each player is then dealt seven cards from the Action deck, which are also kept secret from the other player. The remaining Action cards form a draw pile beside the Dragon deck. Each player also starts the game with 25 gold (you can keep track of this any way you choose).

On a player’s turn, he must draw a card before doing anything else (there is no rule as to how many cards a person may have in hand). Then he may, if he wants to, rearrange the cards in his battlefield, but this is optional. After that, there are three possible actions to take, and a player must take one, and only one, action per turn. The three possible actions are:

Attack – Since the Dragon deck contains only dragons and terrains, the cards in one’s battlefield will obviously contain only dragons and terrains. Terrains, of course, can’t attack, only dragons can. Furthermore only face up dragons can attack, so if you want to attack an opponent’s card, you must first turn the dragon with which you wish to attack face up, paying an amount in gold pieces determined by the strength score of the dragon printed on the card. The player than may attack one card in his opponent’s battlefield. A dragon that does not have the flying ability must be in the attacking player’s front row and can only attack a card in the opponent’s front row. A dragon with the flying ability can skip over one row to attack. A dragon with Super Flying may attack from the attacker’s back row to his opponent’s back row. A dragon can attack any face down card or a face up dragon (a dragon cannot attack a face up terrain). If the dragon attacks a face down card which, when turned over, turns out to be a terrain, here is what happens: If the attacking dragon is identified on the card as a scout, the terrain is eliminated from the game. If the attacking dragon is not a scout, then the terrain is removed from the defender’s battlefield and attached to the attacker’s dragon in the attacker’s battlefield. The terrain card will have some kind of effect on the dragon for the rest of the game (+1, -1, etc., depending on the particular terrain). The defending player than draws the top card from the Dragon deck to replace the lost terrain. The defending player also receives an amount of gold equal to the number of gold symbols on that particular terrain card. If the attacking dragon attacks another dragon (either face up or face down) the winner is determined by the strength scores of the dragons, with a tie going to the attacker. After the initial attack is established, the player with the lower strength goes first, each player being given the opportunity to play from their hands actions cards that can help sway the outcome of the battle (think of Torches & Pitchforks). Some cards are played on individual dragons; some affect all dragons; some nullify other Battle Actions, and so on. Many of these cards require gold to play. There is no limit to the number of such Battle Action cards than can be played during a given battle. When both players are done playing any Battle Action cards they wish to play, the attack is resolved. The loser's dragon (or dragons as some Battle Action cards allow other dragons to join in) are discarded, as well as all battle action cards played by either side. One attack is allowed per turn, then the turn ends. Instead of attacking, the player could...

Play a Dragon Slayer – Some cards from the Action deck are called Dragon Slayers. These cards allow a player to kill an opposing face up dragon without a battle. Different Dragon Slayer cards have different values. For example, a Dragon Slayer might only be able to kill a dragon with a strength of 3 or less. Another may only be able to kill flying dragons, etc. Dragon Slayers are played from the hand (they are Action cards), and each is marked with an amount of gold which must be paid to play the card. As this type of action is not considered a battle, Battle Action cards cannot be played during a Dragon Slayer attack. There is one card in the deck (called Marina) that can nullify a Dragon Slayer attack, however. Playing one Dragon Slayer card ends the player’s turn, whether it was successful or not (i.e. blocked by the Marina card). The third option is...

Swap a card – The player chooses one of the cards in his battlefield (whether it’s face up or face down does not matter) and discards it to the discard pile. He then draws the top card from the Dragon deck and replaces the card just discarded. That ends his turn.

The game ends when one of the players loses all six of the cards that made up his battlefield. Running out of gold does not affect victory, it only greatly limits the types of cards that person can play, as most cards require gold to play them.

I feel that the artwork (all of which is done by the same artist, apparently) is not bad, but not great either. Remember some of the awesome artwork found in some of the M:TG cards? Well, that’s not here. Think of old depictions of dragons from the Orient, and you’re on the right track. But again, the artwork is certainly not what I would call bad.

It’s a quick game, very simple, for 2 players only, and strictly a card game. It’s really not too bad, especially considering how cheaply it can be purchased. I would imagine that after enough plays it might get old, especially considering the fact that there are only so many different cards in this stand alone version of the game. Eventually, players may find themselves wanting to try out new cards, and then, by necessity, venturing into Wyvern territory. But of course that was the idea all along.
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