Nathanael Mortensen brings you a fun little card game with potential for hearty strategy. Illustrated by Jonas Akerlund, this game oozes beauty. In Dragon's Hoard, you play as a dragon and use your sheep to bid with other dragons for treasures to add to your hoard. But be careful, the townsfolk won’t stand for this abuse against their psychedelic sheep.
Dragon’s Hoard is a simple game in physical design, 96 cards in a small compact box. As soon as you open the box you find a glossy and easy to read rulebook. Just below, you’re greeted by two colorful sheep grinning back at you. You can’t help but smile at the silliness of these fluffy rainbows. And, that’s it, simple game with only a deck of cards. No mess, no fuss.
Me and my fiancee playing a 2 player game of Dragon's Hoard. Squishy Dice photobomb!
Comprising of only cards, examining the components will be simple. The cards, leave something to be desired of quality. I have had 2 copies of this game. The first copy clearly had a defect card in it. When I went to shuffle, the front and back split and shuffled a card into another. The second box I got has had little to no faults. There were some rough edges and “cheap” card stock wear but nothing severe. I would recommend sleeving your cards but the downside to that is that they will no longer fit into the original box. There is one small "thing" that also stands out while playing, blue and purple cards are difficult to tell apart BUT you can use the symbol of the color to do so. Interesting fact, the designer wanted to make a game that color blind people could play. I assume this design mechanic was the answer to that, brilliant execution of mechanics with great art. In the end, I would have expected a better quality card to match the quality of the game and artwork.
Hands down some of the best art I have seen in card games of this type and most games in general. There is a certain amount of whimsical nature in each piece but is still retains a high quality of traditional fantasy art. One of my favorite cards is one of the treasures, a simple bag of jewels. Jonas has done such a great job capturing the gleam from the gems, it’s almost as if you can reach out and touch them. An interesting feature of the sheep; each color has a symbol that represents it’s color and each color sheep has physical characteristics that mimic these symbols. A simple attention to detail that is not over looked by this happy treasure hoarder.
Quite a simple game, you almost don’t realize how deep the rabbit hole can go in strategy. Each turn players will draw 2 cards and take 2 actions: Play a treasure or Play an Action Card. You may not repeat the same action type on your turn. Here are some of the actions you may play:
*Skip an opponent’s turn by sending out a questing Knight.
*Make an opponent discard half their hand with the wrath of an Angry Mob.
*Draw two extra cards as a Shepard brings you more sheep.
*Steal two cards from an opponent with the help of a Wolf.
*Stop an action being played against you with the ferocity of a Dragon.
*Make one of your own actions unstoppable through the power of a Wizard.
*Give your treasure somewhere to shine by storing it in a Lair.
*Lastly, and most important of all, spend “sheep” to bring treasure cards into play.
The treasure cards will cost sheep of the same color and generally some sheep of any other color. The amount depends on how many points the treasure is worth. The higher the points: the higher the cost.
Each card has two sides. The back being different colored sheep for you to spend. The face being an action or treasure card. Each card is worth one “sheep” when you are trying to bring treasure into play. So there is a balance when it comes to putting treasures into play or spending actions to harass your opponents. For example, a "Ring" with a red border will require you to discard one Red sheep and 1 sheep of any other color. Place the Ring in play and you are one shiney closer to victory.
There is a type card variant in the game that puts another twist on gathering points. Each color has a “Lair” card that can be put into play and will give you bonus points for each corresponding color treasure card in play. If I was to have the Orange Lair in play and I have two other orange treasure cards in play, I would get 3 bonus points. These bonuses go as high as 10 points for four matching colors.
I have played 2 player games, 3 player games and 4 player games of Dragon’s Hoard. It plays great at all levels, I would recommend 4 players. There will be parts of the game, where you are just drawing cards to buy bigger treasure cards, so you have fast turns but your opponents can have longer turns. With just two players, these turns can be kind of lackluster and your attention can start to wander. I am not sure what I would change to make it more interesting, but those parts of the game can be a little stale and are generally at the beginning.
However, in four player games, there is always someone doing something to someone else. Ultimately, there is a good sense of threat in Dragon’s Hoard. After all players have put down a lair and have begun to show their color choices, the card selection becomes ruthless and every action card twists the knife deeper. Every turn you scramble to think of something to do before someone steals the cards from your hand, takes those Yellow Sheep you need or plays that 10th treasure and ends the game. The pressure gets high towards the end and most players stay within 1-2 treasure cards of one another.
As I touched on previously, the depth for Dragon’s Hoard can go quite deep. Like most resource games, there is a strong sense of balancing your actions and resources. I have found that even more so in Dragon’s Hoard, balance needs to be weighed quite carefully. There are several strategies you can take to having the highest hoard. You can take the time to spend a lot of sheep on one high point treasure card like a Damsel or Prince(if that’s your thing). Or you can drop low point treasures as fast as you can and hope you can end the game quickly with the most points. Or a combination of and play Lairs toward the end of the game, to have that final bonus point surge and over take your enemy’s score.
Replay value you ask? High. Really high. It is a small game so it fits in anyone’s luggage or even a pocket. It’s easy to teach so it makes a great CON game or gaming group game. Dragon’s Hoard is a light hearted game that encourages socializing and just hanging out with friends. I look forward to playing this game for years to come.
My winning Hoard of 61 points!
I would strongly recommend you ordering this game from your LGS if they do not have it on their shelves now. It is a great game to add to anyone’s collection and at a low price, it’s hard to say no.
Scoring, out of a possible 5 s.
Artwork – There are several pieces I want as posters or get printed on playmats…just beautiful. There is talk of "artwork of the year" and I couldn't agree more.
Components - The quality of the cards is so far from the quality of the game and art. The box is too small to allow storage of sleeved cards, which makes me sad. The rulebook is top notch though but it only contrasts the level of the cards.
Player QTY Scaling – While 2 player games are very doable and have their own fun, 4 player games are where it’s at.
Replay Value - Not only can you play games in a row, as the years go by this will always be in my choice of games to play at any given moment.
Fun - The theme/concept is great and 100% right up my alley to make me happy. However, those few turns of just drawing cards keep sticking out.
AVG Score -
Light(1) or Heavy(5) - Light game with simple mechanics but can be the thinking man’s game.
Kid(1) or Adult(5) - Right there in the middle. I would say 10 and up would have no problem. But honestly this game begs to be played with adults around a round table and drinks.
- Last edited Thu Feb 13, 2014 2:36 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:32 am
Thanks for the review, I'm glad I backed it and hope to have my copy in a few weeks. I love those sheep
Cool, already on my purchase list. Any idea when it will be available in Europe? Tnx.
Like I said above, most of the big online stores (US based) have it in stock, so you can buy it there.
I do not know if any European distributor has picked it up yet or not.