The Great Dragon Race is a kids game for 2-4 players. Players move around a course of floating islands avoiding obstacles (and each other) in an attempt to be the first to cross the finish line.
This game is beautiful from an artistic standpoint. The dragons are the stars of the game, each wonderful different in looks, drawing on a variety of different dragon types. The board is also beautiful (and big)consisting of islands floating in air (because why would dragons have a race on the ground?). The company used Chris Seaman (of D&D and Magic fame) to illustrate the box, pawns and game board. The game also has a lot of nice little touches, like a spot gloss on the box and on the pawns, good quality cards, nice summary play mats, illustrations on the back of the game board, background stories for each dragon and rider, and even nice little quotes around the inside of the box. These and other little details all combined to create a really cohesive product.
This is a game for kids. So the game play is simple. Each round a player with draw up to their hand size of five cards, play a card from their hand and move that number of squares on the board. The are a couple of things that make it more engaging, however. First a player can discard three of a kind to move to the next “watering hole” on the board (usually about 10 -15 squares apart, when on a watering hole you are immune to negative effects) Second, if a player plays a card that has their dragon symbol on it, they can immediately play another card. Third, if a player lands on another player they randomly take a card from their opponent and immediately play it. (Dragons are vicious to each other!)
There are also some special cards that do things like move the person in first place back five spaces, or cancel a players move, pass the player immediately in front of you and other things like that. All fairly simple things (after all it is a kids game) but they help to make the game compelling and not a boring “play a card and move” type game.
Trial by kids
I gave this game as a gift, a little concerned that the youngest (five years) might have a bit of a problem with it. My worries were groundless, and within a game or two, the each had their favourite dragon, and loved playing cards to foil each others progress while trying to get to ahead. It worked well as a three player game, and also wasn’t so long that the kids got bored (or complained that they couldn’t catch up with the leader). There was enough depth to the game that adults could play with the kids and not be bored either.
This is a great quality kids game, and for the price, is amazing value. The art (especially the dragons) is amazing, the game play is deep enough that it doesn’t get boring, and is game is fairly quick (about half an hour depending on number of players/age range).