I am a sucker for dragons. I have stuffed dragons, pewter dragons, glass dragons, dragon posters, a dragon “piggy” bank, lots of framed dragon art, … I even have a stained glass dragon hanging up in my home office. Oh, and a dragon cake pan. No, actually I have two different dragon cake pans. So if there is something with a dragon on it or related to it in some way, I’m probably interested.
Any wonder why I bought this game? 🙂
I bought the game from Amazon. The box is fairly small but is big enough to hold all of the game components. Opening the box reveals the components of the standard game.
I purchased the retail version of the game so I was missing the Kickstarter incentives. But I feel that the components of the standard game are produced very well. The dragon dice (there are sets in three different colors) are excellent quality and feel nice when rolling. A really nice touch is that the dragon that is the hardest to defeat (the red dice) also has the most detailed dice faces. It’s little touches like that that show attention to detail on the part of the game designers.
The combat dice are what you use to kill the dragon and also what you need to protect yourself from dragon breath.
The shield blocks the fire, the ax kills the dragon, and the fire, well, the fire kills you. 🙂
Game play is fairly straightforward. With one subtle twist, this is basically a Push Your Luck style of game. The other game I have that is the most similar to this would be Zombie Dice. The twist to Dragon Slayer is that someone else gets to decide if you should push your luck or not.
In Zombie Dice you keep rolling until you get shotgunned and killed or you decide to stop and eat your brains, er, points. In Dragon Slayer you need to roll a certain combination of dice to score points. To kill a dragon you need to roll (collect) a Head, Wings, and Tail for the selected target. You also need to get an Ax to kill the dragon. Along the way you can use Shield results to cancel out any Dragon Breath (fire) results that you roll. If you have an un-canceled fire, then you lose one of your combat dice, making it that much harder to slay the dragon. The more combat dice you lose, the harder it is to go after that next dragon.
Your score is determined by which dragon you defeat. The red dragon scores six points, the green four, and the blue two. (What makes them harder is the red dragon dice have the most fire icons and the blue the least.) The kicker is you have to kill all three dragons before you repeat one. Suppose you go for the easy dragon (the blue one) and manage to collect the head, wings, and tail all in one roll. You haven’t lost any combat dice yet, and you’re eager for more points. The blue dragon dice are set aside and are replaced by either the red or the green. Once you have vanquished all three dragons (in the same turn) then you have the option of continuing to push your luck and start over with the blue one if you want.
The first person to 40 points wins. If you kill all three dragons in a round, you get 12 points. Now the twist comes in!
Each player represents another dragon slayer, and they aren’t there to help! Suppose you’ve managed to kill all three dragons, but you’re down to one remaining combat die in your pool. One of the other knights can issue a challenge (calling you a wimp) and try to goad you into going after more dragons. If you accept, and you survive, you get double points for each additional dragon you manage to kill and the challenger gets zero. If decline to push your luck, you get half points for what you have killed so far and the challenger gets five points for spending their token.
It’s a fun game, and my family have enjoyed playing it. The game takes very little time to set up or take down, and games can last ten to fifteen minutes. The rules are easy to explain. The retail version comes with the components shown above. The Kickstarter version came with a score sheet and a combat card. I was able to find nice images of both of these online. I sized them to make sure they would fit in the original box, printed them on card-stock paper, and ultimately laminated them. Here’s the combat card that I was able to print:
As you collect the head, wings, and tail, you put the die on the appropriate spot. Once you have killed a dragon, take the head and put it on your trophy wall and decide if you want to go hunting the next dragon.
I also printed up a score sheet and created my own score tokens. The KS version had square tokens. I had a wooden dowel in my garage so I just cut off sections of that and painted them with hobby paint. They work fine for keeping score.
I only created one combat sheet, and we passed it around the table along with the dice. I plan to eventually print multiple cards so that each player has their own copy. Are these components necessary? No, the game plays fine without them. I just like to add “bling” to my games. 😎
Would I buy this game again? Yes, if for no other reason than it has dragon dice. 🙂 But honestly, for a quick and easy “push your luck” game this works great. The challenge tokens can be ignored if you want a non-confrontational version, or use them for the extra twist they provide. My family enjoys the game, and that’s what matters to me.