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Subject: Dragonheart: A Great Game Built for Two rss

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Kristen McCarty
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Dragons seem to be very popular these days. Think of all the books, movies, and cartoons featuring dragons. To list a few: Eragon, "How to Train your Dragon," "A Game of Thrones," and even Dragon Riders of Pern. These mystical creatures enchant and scare us. Recently I discovered a lovely game featuring fire breathing dragons and even a stone dragon.

Introduction

"The Great Dragon has been turned to stone by an evil wizard. The dragons fire is locked away in the ruby Dragonheart. Trolls and fire dragons threaten the city as the Great Dragon sleeps. Huntress and Knights try desperately to keep these predators at bay.

A player becomes either a disciple of the Great Dragon, vying to free him from his stony prison, or a minion of the evil wizard, ensuring the dragon sleeps forever."

Object of the Game


In this two player game one player is the a disciple of the Great Dragon and the other a minion of the evil wizard.

The disciple is trying to free the dragon. The minion is trying to prevent the freeing of the dragon. The two players take turns placing cards on the board to collect cards for their score piles. Each of the cards are worth one to four points, and at the end of the game, the player with the most points succeeds at his goal and wins the game.




Components / Set Up


The components for "Dragonheart" are of great quality (as we would expect of a Fantasy Flight Game). The plastic Great Dragon Figure really serves no purpose, but is still a great piece.

I really like the artwork for this game as well. The game board is a nice thick cardboard. The board is placed in the center of the gable and the Great Dragon figure is placed to the right of the petrified dragon space, above the dwarf space.

Each player now chooses which deck to take, the red or the green. Both decks are exactly the same, except for the color on the back. These decks are shuffled and the players each draw five cards for their starting hand. The remaining cards form the draw deck. These are placed face-down in front of the player.

The youngest player chooses who plays first and that person starts the game.




Game Play

Players alternate turns. Each turn has three steps: play cards, collect cards, and draw cards. The active player will complete all three steps before the second player takes their turn.

Step 1: Play Cards: The players plays one or more cards face-up to the game board. The cards played must be the same and correspond to the picture on the game board. For example all the cards played must be Sorceress and placed on the Sorceress space. The player reveals the point values of the cards as they are played. They don't need to play every card they have, only at least one.



Some spaces on the board have a single outline, others have multiple outlines. The number shows how many cards are needed to activate the space's effect. These let the activating player take cards and place them in their score pile. It only activates once per turn and not every space has an effect.

On spaces with only one card outline, any number of cards may be placed. There is no limit. Cards are placed in a stack with only the top card visible. Players may not look at cards below the top card.

Spaces with multiple outlines can only hold as many cards as there are outlines. All cards are at least partially visible.



Step 2: Collect Cards: If possible, the player now collects cards from the game board. If they activated a space effect that allows him to collect cards they can. They are put into their score pile. The player can look at this pile at any time.

When a player activates a space and there are no cards the player collects no cards. Also, when necessary, the Huntress, Knight, and Ship cards are removed from the board during this step, as well.

Step 3: Draw Cards: During the third step the player draws cards to refill their hand up to its maximum size (usually five). After this it his the opponents turn to begin.

Space Effects


The board uses arrows to help remind players of which spaces effect each other.

 


Treasure Chest: This is where the wealth of the dwarfs accumulates. It lures fire dragons and sorceresses, and cards played to the treasure chest does not trigger an effect.

Fire Dragon: Playing cards to the Fire Dragon space allows them to take all the cards on the Treasure Chest space. This causes the Fire Dragons carry off the dwarfs treasure.

Petrified Dragon: Cards played here do not trigger an effect. "The Petrified Dragon sits silently in accusations against those who imprisoned him. The Dragonheart flickers with life, until the day when the spell can be broken."

Sorceress: The Sorceresses know wants great wealth and the magic of the Dragonheart for themselves. Playing cards to the Sorceress allows the player to take all the treasure chest cards or all of the cards on the Petrified Dragon space. The player may only take the cards from one of those two spaces.



If the player takes at least one Petrified Dragon card, they also take the Great Dragon figure and places in front of them. This gives them a hand size of six cards. If the Great Dragon was taken they must go back to five cards. The new owner takes a random card from their opponents hand and places it on top of the opponents draw deck.

Troll: The evil wizard has sent trolls after the Sorceress. When a card is played to the troll space the player may take all the cards on the Sorceress space.



Dwarf: "Driven by the search and not the wealth the Dwarfs seek treasure. Once they have uncovered enough, they display their discoveries on the highest mountain top to sparkle in the sun. When four Dwarfs meet they tell tales of their finds while they are deep in their cups." The player who plays the fourth card takes all four cards on the space.

Knight: "Where there is a monster there is a knight to fight it. Mostly the knights fight trolls, if there are no trolls they carry the sorceresses to safety (whether the sorceresses wants them to or not.)"

When a player places the second knight card they take all the Sorceress cards or all the troll cards. The player may only take cards from one of the spaces. Next, the knight cards are placed face-up in the stack below the ship space.



Huntress: "Brave Huntress stalk the fire dragons sent by the evil wizard." The player who plays the third card to the Huntress space takes all the cards on the Fire Dragon space and puts the Huntress cards face-up below the ships space.

Ship: "Distant lands and new adventures call the Knights and Huntress. Once their work in this land is done, they board their ships and when the time is right, set sail for distant lands."

The player who plays the third card to the Ship space takes all the cards below the ship space (Knights / Huntress). Next, the three ship cards are placed in a face-up stack next to the game board. The second time three ship cards are on the board, they are placed next to the first stack. The third time three ship cards are placed it is the end of the game.



End of the Game


Once the third stack of ship cards are placed next to the game board the ending of the game is signalled. After the player who placed the third stack has ended his turn, the opponent takes one final turn.

The game can also end before the third stack of Ship cards are placed if one player is unable to draw any cards from their draw deck. The turn in which the player has no cards to draw is their final turn. The opponent may take one final turn.

Once the final turn of the game is over, the players return the remaining cards in their hands to the box. These cards have no value. Then, each player totals the point values of the cards in their score pile. The player who possesses the Great Dragon figure scores three more points.

The player with the highest point total wins, freeing or keeping the Great Dragon petrified, depending his they were the green or red player. In case of a tie the player with the Great Dragon figure wins.



My Thoughts


Dragonheart was a surprise hit for and my husband and me. Last Thanksgiving, we bought this game from the Fantasy Flight Holiday sale and didn't expect too much. Once played, we realized we had a light, beautiful and enjoyable two player game that makes a great filler, week night game, and gateway game.

A card game usually equals a lot of luck and that is certainly true in this game. You may be forced to make a move you really don't want to make because of your hand. This was true for me a few times. Sometimes you choose the best of the worst and sometimes you just get lucky. For example putting down a five treasure card you can't get next turn or laying down one fire dragon and taking 15 points of treasure. The choices you make are certainly meaningful but at the same time not deep enough to leave one stuck in analysis paralysis. Also don't underestimate the Dragonheart, a six card can certainly prove its worth.

Players also need to keep track of what their opponent is doing and possibly how many points they have. During one game, my husband thought I was way ahead of him, and tried to end the game early before I could get even more cards and defeat him even worse. I certainly had more score cards but they were mostly one's and two's. As a result his smaller yet larger numbered pile won by almost twenty points.



Had I been paying attention better I may have been able to change my tactics, gone after the higher point cards, and tried to keep the game going longer.

In my opinion this would be a great couple's game. I certainly enjoy battling this one out, with my husband. The easy rules, beautiful artwork, and quick game play lend themselves towards this end. And, because the game is quick to play it's easy to get a few plays in; best three out of five maybe?


Quick Stats:

Designer: RĂ¼diger Dorn
Artist: Michael Menzel
Publishers: Fantasy Flight Games, Kosmos, Filosofia Edition, Galakta, Giochi Uniti, MINDOK, Smart Ltd, Stupor Mundi
Number of Players: 2
Game Length: 30 minutes

 


Photo Credits: W. Eric Martin(W Eric Martin), Christensaurus (SubtlyArtistic), Antony Hemme (Toynan)(2), Laszlo Molnar (lacxox), Antony Hemme (Toynan)(2), Laszlo Molnar (lacxox), Henk Rolleman
(henk.rolleman), Antony Hemme (Toynan)


Thanks for taking such great pictures and sharing them with us!
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Mike Fox
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very well done review. have some
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Donald Wilbur
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My wife and I also just recently discovered this game. We totally love it, plus as you said, it's a wonderful time filler for a weekday night game. We typically play best out of 5.
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Kristen McCarty
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Thank you
 
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Justin Gillies
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This review has sold this game for me. I need to get it ASAP!
 
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Mark Ramsey
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Screws fall out all the time. The world is an imperfect place.
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Avii wrote:
This review has sold this game for me. I need to get it ASAP!

Well, now would be a good time. It's on sale at the FFG site for $10!
 
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