Tiago Perretto
Brazil
Curitiba
Parana
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In the Year of the Dragon was one game I wanted to play for quite a long time - but its OOP status lasted for several years and simply no one I play with had it. Until one did. And now I have opinions.

In the Year of the Dragon is a work placement game from Stefan Feld, before he started his thing on colored dice and giving points for everything. In here you still gain points 16 times or more times during play and one extra final scoring, so there is no shortage of points, as this is Feld, after all, but one meaner and wanting to kill some folk and destroy houses.

The complexity of In the Year of the Dragon doesn't come from mix of mini games or bucket of rules, is placed, instead, in the most proper place: in the decision-making process: there are 8 months with problems (diseases, famine, taxes or attacks), two with extra scoring (the festivities), and you players simply won't be able to prepare for everything. Choices will have to be made, compromises accepted and dealt with. Workers will die/leave/slaved, maybe you will lose floors on your houses, and points will go to others and you will just be able to look and think "ah, I wish it was me".

Playing time, surprisingly, is much more manageable and lean than the informed 75-100 minutes - we normally don't pass the 75 mark with 4, and stay around 60 with 3. Maybe with 5 players taking their time, sure, is possible, and is best to shoot above than bellow in this matter. Still, is important to mention that the pacing is fast, as though there are multiple decisions each turn, they are often done quick.

While I don't like everything Feld has done (Arena: Rome is neat, but too agressive for my taste; and Oracle of Delphi was disappointing; etc), I do enjoy most of them, considering some brilliant games (Macao, Strasbourg, Notre Dame, etc), and In the Year of the Dragon is up there with the best: smart, tense, with interaction (denial, non-destructive), though decisions all around, punitive, yes, but giving points in all turns, to make players feel better, lively pace with small downtime - put all of this together and, sir, you got yourself a classic. Highly recommended.

Regards,


Image credit: Rokkr
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Stefano Adriani
Italy
Calolziocorte (LC) - Ispra (VA)
Lombardia
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Very nice review, thanks.

I totally agree: this is my favourite Feld's game, and also one of my top 10 favourite games at all!
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Chris Holt
Australia
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Great review! The only thing I disagree with is the "Oracle of Delphi was dissapointing" part..

So happy to have this on Board Game Arena. Wish someone would make an online version of Bora Bora.
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