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Subject: What Dragon? rss

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Childish Trickster
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Colorado Springs
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Down along the creek, I remember something
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We then enjoyed a game of Dragonland. This is one of those game where the rules are simple and the strategy straightforward, but the multitude of options each turn make for tough decisions. The board consists of a number of volcanoes connected by land and water paths. At the beginning of the game the volcanoes are randomly stocked with five kinds of goodies: three colors of jewels, dragon eggs, and power-ups of various types. Each player has three tokens matching the jewel colors. On your turn roll two weirdly-numbered six-sided dice, and move two of your pieces around the volcanoes. When you get to one, you reveal the power-up if you're the first there. You may get to keep it to later use, or it may be a common one that stays there for anyone to use. You may also collect a jewel or egg, but only the same colored jewels as your dude. A key planning point is that one type of permanent power-up is a must-visit at some point for each of your guys, otherwise you forfeit beau coups points.

The trick is that having sets of goodies (egg and one of each color jewel) is how you score big, so you have to collect the four goods fairly evenly. The various power-ups help you do that efficiently, or help you get to goods before someone else. There's the opportunity for mild ronkage by going after more stuff than you need to try to shut others out...but that could easily backfire. There are some subtleties, but I think this game isn't too hard for 8-10 year olds, and the slightly pasty theme is a plus for younger players.

Anyway, although I was lost for clues the first ten minutes, I managed to win 70-something to Jake's 60-something and Joe's high 50-something. I liked the game, although no one's going blow a brain gasket playing. It's pretty much a traveling salesman problem with a medium amount of chance and indirect player interaction. Efficient use of the die rolls and power-ups, together with mild planning, will get you through nicely. I will play this again anytime a less-strenuous 45-60 minute game is called for.
 
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