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Subject: [Jack's Die] Review: Dragon's Gold rss

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Alberto Casarrubios
Spain
Madrid
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You'll find a Spanish version of this review at http://eldadodejack.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/resena-dragons-....
Puedes encontrar una versión en español de esta reseña en http://eldadodejack.wordpress.com/2011/12/26/resena-dragons-....

Dragon's Gold is a game about groups of adventurers who kill dragons for a living (to each one their own) and face one of the most important dilemmas any adventuring group has had to solve at one time or another: How to split the treasure? It's very easy to explain and fast to play (around 45 minutes per play) where the most important skill is the ability to close deals quickly.



The first thing that comes to attention about this reedition is the care and quality of its components. From the metal box with a bas-relief dragon and all to the li'l screens to hide the scores, not to mention the cards' art, everything's very good quality and quite colourful. As a nice touch, they've come to the lenght of overproduction: magic item and scoring cards are printed four times, once for each of this edition's languages (English, French, German and Dutch). But, pretty as the components may be, if the rules don't match them there's little thing to do, so let's see how do you play this thing:

Each player has a group of four adventurers: a wizard with strength 1, a thief with strength 2 and two knights with strengths of 3 and 4. Four dragon cards with strenght values from 5 to 11 and different treasure values are placed on the center of the table. Part of their treasure (which is represented by wooden tokens in different colours) is visible, and part of it is only shown when the dragon is defeated. In alternate turns, each player places one of their adventurers under one of the dragons in play. When there are adventurer cards with a combined stregth equal or higher than the dragon's, it is defeated; random tokens are placed on it until its total treasure value is completed and every player who has adventures involved in the feat have a minute to split that treasure in any way they see fit. When the minute has passed, if no agreement has been achieved, the treasure disappears and nobody gets anything. In any case, after that the adventurers are given back to their owners, another dragon with its corresponding treasure is put on the table and play continues.

A couple details add some more life to the game: thieves can steal tokens from other players after killing a dragon; wizards can get magic items if they get certain treasure tokens, and halfway through the game there's an open market phase when all the players have one minute to trade tokens with one another any way they choose, but the game's basis are those quick negotiations, which work for two reasons: First of all, the sand timer that smoothens the game and avoids situations as the ones we've all lived at one time or another in Settlers of Catan, when a stubborn player goes on for ten minutes saying "Hasn't anybody got ore? You really sure? What if I gave two sheep? Three sheep? Three sheep and a wheat for an ore, will you? Won't you? How can you not have...?"; and also the variety of treasures and the final scoring, that make any token have either an absolute value (for ecample, gold is always worth 3 points), or a relative one (tokens of each colour only score for the one with the majority of them, and a complete set of 5 colour tokens is worth 5 points), which gives the game a strategy level when it's time to place adventurers and negotiate.

If you haven't already noticed, I've been thrilled by this game and I recommend it to anyone who's looking for a quick and easy negotiation game to liven up the mood in any gaming session.

The best: It's a game with no downtime and with a lot of player interaction.

The worst: A player who's too shy or passive is going to have a rough time playing this. If you hate games like Bohnanza, Dragon's Gold isn't going to make you fall in love, either.
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Matthew Roskam
United States
Birmingham
Alabama
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We got this to the table for the first time over Christmas break...liked it a lot. Family reaction was mixed...my ADHD daughter thought it was too long, but then again, only Dominion seems to keep her attention. The rest seemed to like it. The negotiating wasn't as contentious as I was afraid it might be. I agree with your review. I think the thief and magic items elements need to be there to keep it interesting.
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Alberto Casarrubios
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Thank you. I know no game is for everyone, but this is as close as it gets IMO. It's pretty, it's easy to explain and it's social. I wouldn't take something like Chaos in the Old World to a random coffee table, but this game is one I would never be afraid of proposing to a non-gaming group.
 
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