I played this fun lair looting game two player with my 6 year old son Ethan. It says age 10+ on the box, but after numerous plays, he has got to grips with the basics and doesn't need too much prompting throughout the game. Personally, I would say 10 is a little high for the recommended player age.
Having spilled open the box and set up the cards, Ethan was keen to crack on. He was especially excited to be playing 2 colours, (2 player rules), as we normally play with Mum and Sister too.
I'll be green and blue, that'll be cool!
He then set about gathering knights within range of the Dragons lair, ready to be the first to pounce on the treasures that lie within. I took a more conservative approach and spent a few turns bringing as many of my knights into the game as possible.
Ethan saw his chance..
He soon fulfilled his plan and was first to grab a treasure, sure enough, he took a 2 coin card, remembering he may need to bribe the Dragon later. He'd snuck into the lair, so he was safe regardless of what he rolled when waking the Dragon.
It's at this point he was keen to trail a blaze through the dragons lair, so some reminders on playing his first action wisely were issued.
Move your back knights first!
At this point I was set to show that patience would win out. While he had a knight looting the Lair, I also thought he'd be splatted by the Dragon a few times to compensate. However, he'd either learned how to weight the dice, or was rolling with the blessing of the dice lords themselves.
It wasn't long before he had enough coins to start looking at the gem bonuses, he's always keen to get the 4 colour bonus and that was his next target.
I'll take that gem next..
As Ethan worked a 2nd knight into the dragons lair, I started moving my knights nearer, realising that I'd slowed my campaign down a bit too much. Ethan was still rolling well and hadn't had to bribe the dragon and soon had two knights getting the end of lair bonus.
I stepped up my knights activities and made a path for the end to ensure Ethan didn't grab all these bonuses, he was on course for 3 and me for 1.
You're not having all these!
This is where I started to make some gains, my knights were entering the dungeon with no dragon in sight. Once Ethan had grabbed the 4 gem colour bonus, he had switched to picking up all the 4 and 5 coins he could. So I snuck in and started collecting blues and yellows for the end game bonus.
Ethan was still rolling well, but his luck was starting to fade and opted to bribe the dragon a couple of time's with some 1 coins he'd found. I grabbed the last end lair bonus card, to ensure I got one of them, and we were into the final run.
Remember, the dragon doesn't eat you, he just puts you in his nest..
There's always a point when it's better to let the Dragon take your Knight than bribe him and we'd reached this point. We've found that the kids struggle with this concept, especially when they were younger. But as Ethan has had more experience with the game, he didn't struggle with this decision once I'd shown him that he would be better off losing the knight than paying the bribe. It didn't take much convincing as he'd mopped up the bigger coins and taken the majority of the bonuses!
I persisted with going for gems and was now majority on blue, red and yellow. I probably would have got green too if I hadn't let on what I was doing, Ethan grabbed the last green and I finished the game by taking the last yellow to ensure I maintained the yellow gem bonus.
Too many coins in your hand for me dude..
I realised 2 thirds in that I'd let Ethan run riot with the coins. He was in constant firing line of the Dragon, but he managed to dodge a lot more than he was grabbed. I did take 3 of the gem bonuses, but it wasn't enough to topple his horde.
A big grin later and he was soon off to find Mum to relate the tale of his epic Victory over Dad