Draco & Co.
English language edition
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Draco is the king of all rogues and bandits. He gets his name, not because of his fierce temper, but because of his terrible breath! Draco's "Company" is the feared "Round Table Gang", a band of brigands who scour the kingdom's roads for loot and plunder. Every night, Draco and the gang gather together at the Shady Dragon Tavern to divide up the day's loot.
In addition to his breath, Draco is famous for his drinking. He loves a good party! And when he starts to get "happy" he starts handing out treasure. Whenever someone proposes a toast, Draco gives rewards to the group of thieves on his good side. However, Draco does love his money, so he makes any player on his bad side give up some of their treasure at the same time.
With the aid and drink of furious fawning and elbowing, all the gang members try to stay on Draco's good side and avoid his bad. All in an effort to gain the bandit King's favor, and consequently get a bigger part of the loot.
I bought Guillotine on a whim one day - thinking we might play it occasionally. I was very surprised to see that my family loved the game - and wanted to continuously play it, over and over! So when I saw that Draco and Co. was compared to Guillotine, and that it was designed by my favorite game designer, Bruno Faidutti (with Michael Schacht) I immediately snatched it up.
So is Draco and Co. worth buying? The short answer is: Why not? It's cheap and very fun! The longer answer follows.
First, a short description of the game: Each player place a card with a picture of a castle in front of them. Each castle is a different color - indicating what color that player is. Then, each player takes the two character cards of that color (characters are amazons, goblins, gnomes, and rogues), and places them in a pile with 3 special characters (Brother John, Aunt Sarah, and Zork). This stack is then shuffled and laid onto the table in a circle. The circle starts with the Draco card (the leader of your motley crew). The Draco card is two sided, and shows him toasting with his right hand on one side, and his left on the other. The card starts with him toasting the right.
Then, a deck of action cards are shuffled, with five cards being given to each player. A pile of silver and gold coins is laid in the middle of the table (the bank), and each player receives one gold coin to start the game (one gold coin = 3 silver coins). One player is chosen to start, and the player to his right takes the little wooden Goblet and places it in front of themselves.
The object of the game is simple - maneuver your two characters so that they are on Draco's 'good' side - the side that he is toasting on, and avoid his 'bad' side. Each turn is made up of three parts - play an action card, drink a toast, and draw an action card. Drinking a toast is optional, the other two options are not. At the end of a player's turn, if they have had the goblet in front of them for one round, they place it back in the middle of the table. Most of the cards change the positions of the characters on the table. Some strategy is involved in shifting the characters back and forth.
A toast can only be drunk if the goblet is in the middle of the table. Whenever a toast is 'drunk', the four characters on Draco's 'good' side get 4,3,2, and 1 silver coins respectively. The two characters on Draco's bad side must pay 2 and 1 silver coins to the bank, respectively. After a player drinks a toast, they place the goblet in front of them. Thus, when someone drinks a toast, you have to wait until one entire round before anyone has a chance to drink a toast again.
The game ends when the last action card is drawn - and whoever has the most money wins!
Zork, Brother John, and Aunt Sarah are special characters - and have special rules governing them. Zork is a skinflint, and is hated by Draco. Because of this, Zork gets no money on Draco's good side and is charged double by Draco if he is on Draco's bad side. But since Zork is a penny-pincher, he won't use his money, but take money from the person who's character is next to Zork. Everyone hates Zork! Brother John is a nice chap - he doesn't care about money. Therefore he gives any money he gets from being on Draco's good side to the person who's character is next in line. However, John is also broke, and so when he has to pay the bank, the player next to John must pay for him. Aunt Sary is a mystical person. Whenever a toast is drunk, the characters sitting next to her get an extra action card for their player. Occasionally, Aunt Sary also can be controlled by a player.
Comments on the game:
1). Guillotine: The inevitable comparisons are there - and the simple fact is, they're true! It's certainly a little more complicated, but feels the same, when playing. I like Draco and Co. better, but people who like very simple games would like Guillotine better, I'm sure.
2). Theme: The theme works very well - it feels like you are at a big after-looting party. Everyone has a blast getting on Draco's 'good' and 'bad' sides.
3). Components: I love the compenents of this game. The blue wooden goblet is nice, and the wooden silver and gold disks used for coins are of great quality, and can take a lot of play. The artwork is superb - with very nice pictures for each character - every character has a different drawing. The action cards did not please me quite so much - they used the same picture on two different cards, which isn't as nice as a different picture per card. The box is small and very sturdy, and it fits everything in it very easily.
4). Price: It's a Blue Box Game, which means it inexpensive and easy to buy.
5). Rules: The rules are very easy to explain, and are only 4 small pages to read. The rules are full of examples, and are very thorough and detailed.
6). Strategy: As with all of Bruno's game, there is a great deal of chaos in the game. So much happens between your turn and the next, that you really can never control what is going on. This game really falls into the 'party' game atmosphere, as one plays the game more for fun than to win. There is some strategy in shifting your characters around, but nothing that a 6 year old couldn't pick up. I don't feel that this detracts from the game at all - but if you are going to be playing for blood, this game probably isn't for you.
7). Fun: The fun factor! Is this game fun? And the answer is a resounding yes! It's fun to flip Draco over and have his good and bad sides switch. It's fun to see Zork make someone pay double money to the bank (except when it's you.) It's fun to move both of your character to Draco's good side, and move your wife's to the bad side. When we play this game - everyone has a good time.
So, I highly recommend this game. It, like all Blue Box games, is easy to pull out, teach, and play quickly. It's worth the price and is a lot of fun to play. It will make a great addition to your collection!
Draco and Co.
Draco and Co is a redesign of a Michael Schacht (Coloretto, China and many more) game by Bruno Faidutti (Citadels, Warrior Knights and many more) and Michael Schacht. This is one game designed with drinking and fun in mind, a great party game that may be light on tactics, but is strong on theme and entertainment.
Each player controls two members of Draco’s gang. The key to success is to make sure your gang members are on Draco’s good side, and that your opponents members are on Draco’s bad side. Whenever a toast to Draco is proposed the brigand leader becomes generous to those on his good side – giving them money, and forces those on his bad side to pay up.
In order to move the gang members about you play one of your hand of action cards, these could get you some extra money, move a gang member closer to Draco’s good side, or move a gang member closer to Draco’s bad side. In addition to Draco and the player’s gang members there are three hilarious ‘neutral’ gang members, Aunt Sarah – a mysterious lady with who can assist those sitting next to her, Brother John – a man there for the food and drink only, who passes any money on to the gang member next to him, and Zork – a miserly misfit who leeches off whoever has the most money. As well as playing and picking up cards you may have the opportunity to propose a toast to Draco, and either receive money or have to pay money – depending on whether you have gang members on Draco’s good side or on his bad side.
One of the things I admire most about this game is the way it’s authors have involved the players, when you play you are not simply moving pieces around a board, you are not simply placing cards or playing cards, you are asked to physically form a part of the game mechanism – at different times you may throw coins, flip cards and so on – and this is what makes playing Draco and Co such a fun, and funny, experience.
Draco and Co is not a game that will provoke deep thought, it is not a game that will require a brilliant strategy, but it is not meant to be. Draco and Co is a game that will always inspire laughter, a game that is fun to play when your gaming group is looking for a good way to unwind, or an amusing game to play while a few drinks are imbibed.
The main object of this light family game is to collect as much money as possible. Money is paid out each time there is a 'toast' during the game.
The game comes with both character cards (depicting colors of each player), and action cards. Character cards are laid in a large circle on the table, intermixed with 4 'special' characters, where your goal is to be either close to, or far away from, when scoring occurs.
Scoring occurs anytime drinks a 'toast' in the game. (There's a little wooden cup). Gold and sliver in the middle of the circle get paid out each time a toast is drunk, and as you can imagine, character cards constantly move and change position based on action cards played by each player. Once a player plays an action card, he may drink a toast if it's possible (a toast may only be drunk once a round), he takes another card, and the next person takes his/her turn.
Overall, there isn't much you can do to prepare in this game. There's a lot of backstabbing which made this game entertaining, and it's excellent bang for the buck, the question is though, if I bought it, would I ever play, regardless of price? The answer is rarely if ever.
3 stars for being cute, and possible fun in the right crowd, but not entertaining enough for much higher.
Shuffle Draco, his three Assistants, and the Character cards (two per player) faceup in a "round table." Begin turns by playing and obeying an Action Card (replenished at the end). Most Actions shift cards in relation to Draco. You may then "drink a toast" (preventing another toast until your next turn ends). When a toast is made, players whose Characters are closest to the right of Draco earn money, while those closest to his left lose money. Sitting adjacent to one of Draco's Assistants increases your earnings or losses. The player with the most money wins when the last Action is drawn. Of course, you don't really have to drink: The mercilessly chaotic Action Cards will leave you plenty giddy!