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Zoom In Dragon Delta
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Store:  Family Games, Ding & Dent
Genre:  Connection
Format:  Board Games

Dragon Delta


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Product Awards:  
Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2001

Ages Play Time Players
8+ 45 minutes 2-6

Designer(s): Roberto Fraga

Manufacturer(s): Eurogames Descartes USA

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Product Description

THEME
Each year on the delta of the Dragon River, there is a great competition among the bravest and strongest youths of the kingdom. They attempt to cross the river on fragile bridges built from planks and stones in order to reach a village on the opposite side. The first player to cross the delta is the victor, and wins a golden dragon statue from the King. However, in order to get across, contestants must carefully calculate their moves, negotiate past the maneuvers of their opponents, and avoid the dangerous obstacles presented by the dragons living in the water that give the delta its name.

RULES IN BRIEF
On each turn, the players each choose 5 action cards from their hand. The cards are placed face down in front of them. Then, one by one, the cards are revealed simultaneously. Players then perform the actions (Place one or more stones, place one or more planks, move their pawn, remove a stone or plank). One of their 5 cards may be a dragon, which blocks the move of an opponent. The object is to be the first player to move their pawn to the village on the opposite shore.

CHARACTERISTICS
Dragon Delta is a simple tactical game, that the whole family can enjoy. Its quick and easy rules require players to anticipate their opponents' moves and attempt to see through their bluffs. Fortunes in the game change dramatically, as player build and alter bridges, and cause fearsome dragons to slow down their opponents. More experienced players will be charmed by the beautiful components, and surprised by the depth and subtlety of the game.

Product Awards

Spiel des Jahres
Nominee, 2001

Product Information

  • Designer(s): Roberto Fraga

  • Manufacturer(s): Eurogames Descartes USA

  • Year: 2000

  • Players: 2 - 6

  • Time: 45 minutes

  • Ages: 8 and up

  • Weight: 1,166 grams

  • Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English.

Product Reviews

 
 
 
 
 

Average Rating: 4.4 in 7 reviews

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by A Gamer
The gameplay is well balanced, people in last can still win
December 03, 2004

I've played this game about 15 times and I really enjoy it.

First, there is no dice roll. The only aspect of chance comes from the plays that your opponents make. As another reviewer pointed out, this game is not "strategic" in that you can't plan out five moves ahead as the board configuration will change greatly based upon the moves other players make.

The secret of a great evening is to subtly use the work of other players in accomplishing your goal.

In one game, we had a timid foreign student playing with us. For most the game she was dead last, but still won!

 
 
 
 
 
simply fantastic
December 10, 2001

The rules are simple, and going cold took us less than five minutes. The point of Dragon Delta is to build footbridges across the delta so you can get to your pre-designated target village from your home village. To build a footbridge, first you must lay bridge stones--these hold the planks. Only one stone per board rock is permitted, and once placed on the rock, it cannot be moved around on the rock. Think of it as a cement bridge abutment, if you will. As for placing planks, no more than three planks may be supported by one bridge stone. And most annoying of all, you are not allowed to measure the distance to see which of your planks will fit best. The one you grab is the one you use. UGH! That makes it difficult for the spatially challenged, such as myself.

Dragon Delta is similar to [page scan/se=0044/sf=category/fi=stockin.asc/ml=20]Robo Rally in that you choose five cards and the order they will be played in for each round. All players turn up their cards at once. However, you choose from the same set of cards each round, so there's no way to do the same action twice in one round. This makes it interesting. There are cards to move your pawn one, move your pawn two, jump an opposing pawn, place one stone, place two stones, place one plank, place two planks, remove a plank or a stone, and cancel the action of one of your opponents. It's a game of getting where you are going without falling in the river.

Visually, this was a VERY great game. The 3-D effect of the stones and planks was sufficient that the more... right brained of us might be able to hear the water of the delta sloshing across the stones.

We only had three players, and it was obvious that this is a game in which you can NOT be the nice guy and just try to reach your goal. You must bite to win. This game probably escalates in intensity with more players. We can't wait to try it.

I came in dead last, but I *still* think it's a great game.

 
 
 
 
 
Chaotic fun. Simple game with broad appeal
August 13, 2001

Highly recommended for family groups.

Simple gameplay, but with enough strategy to make you believe you can outwit your opponents despite the inherent chaos. Any plan made at the beginning of a round rarely comes to pass, so contingency plans are a necessity.

It's also a very tactile game as you build and dismantle bridges and try to make your planks stretch between stones.

We found that white is at a slight disadvantage when playing with 5 as he does not benefit from having an opposing player building bridges toward him.

We also found it's easy to forget the rules regarding picking up bridges and later realise you have three colours in your hand.

The hop over an opponent's card more often than not seems to result in a hop into the water and a swim back to your island.

 
 
 
 
 
Good game for 6
January 13, 2001

Recently had time to try Dragon Delta. I won't go over the game rules since Greg's review is excellent in that respect. I have never played Twixt but would compare this game to RoboRally and Kahuna. You set your action cards, move your token and either build or destroy bridges.

The Great points of this game we found were that it didn't take long to learn the rules (and they were concise and easy to understand); there is little downtime for players usually, making it a great game for 6 (the number in our group today). It's also challenging because every other player's moves can drastically affect yours, making strategy a challenge! It involves some bluffing, intuition and a dash of good old-fashioned luck.

 
 
 
 
 
Simple And Fun
January 21, 2002

Dragon Delta is an enjoyable game as long as you don't take it too seriously. There is so much chaos built into the game, that when you win, it's really only because someone didn't plan to play a particular card at a particular step to thwart one of your moves.

The only strategic decision-making in the game is the pre-arranging of five action cards every round. But to call this 'strategic' is stretching it a little. Yes, you try to arrange the cards to avoid conflicts (or to deliberately interfere) with your opponents, but the arrangement is pretty much guesswork, especially with lots of players in the game.

On your turn you make tactical decisions about where to place stones or planks, which size plank to use, where to move your piece, or which stone/plank to remove, but the available options are limited and the best choice is often very clear.

This is not to say Dragon Delta is a bad game. On the contrary, it's great fun to play! You just need to accept the chaotic nature of the game and resign yourself to having a good time.

Even though it's mostly guesswork, pre-arranging your five action cards is lots of fun and gives you the opportunity to get sneaky on your opponents. The subsequent rolling out of the cards, one at a time, is also an exciting part of the game. On top of that, the components are very attractive, and the rules are so simple, that just about anyone can pick it up and play in a matter of minutes. Definitely recommended.

 
 
 
 
 
Twixt meets Roborally
September 02, 2000

Here's a fun family game with the elements of Twixt and Roborally thrown in. The game was originally released as Dragons of the Mehkong but that probably wouldn't go over well in the American market, hence the name change to Dragon Delta.

It's a game where, like Twixt, you must get from one side of the board to the other. Like Roborally, you play five cards which are revealed in succession to create one round of play. The components are nice and simple. Each of up to six players has a pawn, six planks of various sizes, and a pool of stones to place on the map. The map is made up of six villages around the outside of the board from where your pawn begins. There are islands on the map where you place stones upon which you, or another player, will place planks to work your way across the delta. The bits are nicely manufactured à la German style game and adequate for this game.

Each player starts with a hand of 13 cards that allow various actions. The cards allow you to place 1 or 2 planks, move your pawn 1 or 2 planks, place 1 or 2 stones, remove a stone or a plank, jump over another pawn, or cancel another player's action. Of the 13 cards, you must choose 5 to play face down. These will be revealed from left to right and each player in turn will perform their action (unless another player has played the Dragon card which nullifies your action). After each round is played, the cards are returned to your hand, and the next player in turn becomes the first player to play actions in the next round. Some nifty things in the game are the limitations on plank size. Some islands are further apart than others, requiring the use of longer planks. Also, each island stone can only support three planks.

Be forwarned now that this game does have a significant luck factor to it and a Kingmaker problem. It's not the type of luck you get from rolling dice, but the type from having played the lucky combination of cards that won't be messed up by your opponents. It's also the luck that adds tension and fun to the game. You never know if your move will be thwarted my someone playing a Dragon card on you, wrecking the rest of your plans (also much like Roborally). On the other hand there is room for a thought-out strategy of which cards to play--and in what order--to maximize your success. Part of the fun is guessing what card to play to wreck your oppponents' plans for getting across the delta. For example, you may have played a 'place 2 planks' card in your first position with a 'move 2 planks' card in you second slot. If an opponent plays a Dragon card in your color as their first card (thereby nullifying your first card), your second card moving your pawn will be worthless without the planks in position.

The game lends itself to at least 4 or more players to create the chaos that makes the game fun. With 2 or 3 players, there is more strategy involved with getting to your destination. Now onto the Kingmaker issue. For those uninitiated gamers, the Kingmaker problem refers to the ability of allowing those players that don't have a chance at winning to determine the player that does. In Dragon Delta, it's easy to be close to your goal and then have everyone gang up on you to prevent you from reaching it. At the same time this may slow down their goals and progress as well. Eventually someone will get the right combination of cards and win. I didn't find this to deter from the game very much. The game played in under an hour with 6 players and everyone had fun. I'd put it in the category of quick games like Condottiere or Web of Power with about the same simplicity of those games also.

I'd give the game a solid 75db on the Mulder Meter, worth about 3 1/2 stars. Using Funagain's rating, I'll bump it up to the 4 star level due to my being a sucker for Euro games. The price is also very reasonable for this game. If you need a game that plays well with more than 4 people, this will be a worthy addition to your closet. Cheers.

 
 
 
 
 
A Little Bit Disappointed
September 03, 2002

I played 'Drachen Delta' a few times because I translated the rules from German to Dutch. Well, I just couldn't get the hang of it. I first thought it could be compared to ROBO RALLY, but boy was I wrong! While the latter is a fine and fun game (I never got tired of it), the former is only a not very well succeeded replica of it. I personally think that it lacks a sort of enthusiasm. No one in our gaming group would give it another try. Perhaps because, like someone of our friends stated, it lacks a certain 'fluency'.

No to me it only gets three stars, and perhaps that's still half a star too much.

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