Dragon Parade is a game I picked up specifically with my 6 year old son in mind. The theme looked perfect for us and the price was right. My only misgiving is that the box has a recommended age of 10+.
This review is being written after several two-player games against my son.
2-5 players try to predict where the Dragon will stop in this Reiner Knizia game publizhed by Z-Man Games.
In your small but sturdy box you get:
The game board
A deck of numbered cards in Red and Yellow
Wooden pawns in 5 colours for the players
Cardboard coins for scoring
The game board depicts the Forbidden City at the top center with two paths -- red and yellow -- that each wind down the board to their respective gates.
The deck is of standard quality. More variation on the artwork would have been nice, but the cards are completely functional. Likewise, the player pawns are of good quality.
The cardboard coins come in two sizes -- 5 points and 1 point. In a nice touch the 5 point coins have the familiar 'hole in the center' that old style Chinese coins have.
The wooden Dragon pawn, of course, is outstanding.
The rules are nicely illustrated and well written.
Overall, the components are great, and complement the theme perfectly.
The players try to predict where the Dragon will end up at the end of the hand. On his turn, a player will play a card and move the Dragon that number of spaces towards the red gate or the yellow gate. The colour of the card indicates towards which gate the Dragon moves. After this, the player places one of his seller pawns.
Players are restricted in where they can place their sellers -- you cannot place a seller in a square that is adjacent to two occupied squares.
After a player places his third seller he discards down to one card. The last turn in the hand will see the Dragon move about one last time before it stops. The hand can end prematurely if the Dragon makes his way through one of the gates. After all the moving is done, players receive points based on how close their sellers are to the Dragon.
A number of hands are played equal to the number of players in the game. At the end, the player with the most money wins!
The game plays like a tug of war with some opportunities to bluff. To succeed, you will need to anticipate your opponents' moves and plan yours -- the last move particularly -- accordingly.
The game is light and fast, and the small size makes it easily portable. We were able to play this at the neighbourhood McFood without troubles, and still have room on the table for what can loosely be called our dinner.
While the box recommends an age of 10+, I have to believe this is a deliberate attempt to make Dragon Parade appear as more than a kids game. My six year old son had no problem at all learning the rules and playing the game. After a few plays he was even trying different tactics. This is certainly a game where younger players can enjoy themselves and compete, and the quickness of play means they are not likely to get bored before the game finishes.
Playing this game encourages planning and anticipation. After a while, a healthy dose of misdirection is evident.
The best thing a child can get from this game is a good foundation in integer arithmetic. The game is essentially an integer number line with the Forbidden City at 0, the yellow track as the positive integers and the red as the negative. As the Dragon moves between the two tracks, you end up reinforcing integer math. Try to get your child to move the Dragon without counting -- it's pretty cool to see them move the Dragon 7 squares from Red 3 to Yellow 4 in one jump.
Who will like this game?
If you like fast, light games you can play with a child or non-serious gamers, this is a great game to buy. As an endorsement, my son likes this game quite a bit, and asks to play it frequently. And unlike some of his other favourites, I'm happy to oblige him.
On the flip side, it's not likely well suited for serious gamers, except as filler.
The Chinese characters on the large coins translate to "Welcome Money, Increase Treasure".
Components: Great, awesome theme
Gameplay: Fast and Light, suitable for young children
Recommendation: Great purchase if you play with kids, or like light, fast filler.
- Last edited Sun May 20, 2007 6:13 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Thu May 10, 2007 10:01 pm
Superlative info for those of us who play games with children--thanks for taking the time to review this for us!
Thanks for the comments, Guy. Since I play many more games with my son than I do with my regular group, I try to include in my reviews something about how well the game works with children. I'm still learning (via self-teaching) how to write effective reviews, but I think I'm getting a bit more comfortable with my style. Naturally, suggestions for improvements are always welcome....
My first play of this game (last night!) was with long-time gamesters, and the five of us had a fun time discovering what Dragon Parade had in store for us!
It's good to hear that it doesn't befuddle kids, either. I look forward to a chance to play this with a mixed crowd.
That's too much dough unless it's murder. And if it's murder, it's not enough.
Very nice review. This game is ideal for young gamers, or even young borderline gamers, because it's engaging and simple and fast. The age listed on the box is BS, you can go with young ones on this.
Oh, and you need at least 3 players for Dragon Parade to shine. Best of all, you can wade in with 5 players and the virtues remain.