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The dragon Drakon has captured a band of heroes who were trying to sneak into her lair. Instead of eating them immediately, Drakon has decided to play a game with her prisoners: The first hero to collect five gold from Drakon's hoard will be set free. The rest will be eaten.
As one of the captured heroes, you must race through Drakon's magical maze collecting gold and thwarting your opponents' moves with trickery and well-placed traps. After all, you don't have to outrun the dragon. You just have to outrun your friends.
Drakon is a fast-paced game of chases, tricks, and traps for two to six players. A complete game with more than 100 full-color game pieces, Drakon is playable in 20 to 60 minutes.
Average Rating: 3.9 in 9 reviews
Just finished my 4th game of Drakon. It was quick and easy to learn. I played with my wife and 2 kids and we had a ball. In todays hectic pace of life its hard to find time just to read the rules of a game. It took about 10 minutes to get a game going. If your a fan of Fantasy games at all this is a must buy.
I first tried Drakon a few weeks ago at a friends house and bought the game my self this weekend.
The game is setup differently every game as all players start in the starting chamber and from then on tries to build the dungeon from there.
In Drakon you are trying to outsmart your opponents by disrupting their paths to the gold and at the same time get enough gold yourself to win the game!
I have played Drakon quite a few times now and once you have played the game once, your next game is even better when you understand all the devious mechanics and uses of the different chambers.
I can strongly recommend Drakon to all players. Especially if you like to mess up your friends plans as you play. As I see it this is a true classic.
Though the game mechanics bear almost no similarity to Cosmic Encounter (CE), aside from each player having a special ability, it shares the nice balanced mixture of strategy, luck of the draw, backstabbing, and negotiating that CE introduced to the gaming world. And you can't beat the price for what you get in quality of components and replay value.
It does require at least four players, in my opinion, for the game to achieve its full strategic potential. I say this for two reasons. One, you want to be able to bump into other players in the dungeon to use certain abilities, such as the barbarian or thief. If the dungeon spreads out too much, you may not meet other players in the maze for the entire game with only two or three players. (Unless you can maneuver yourself into a teleport chamber.) Two, the lay-or-play a tile rule forces you to convince other players to work in tandem with you to screw over opponents who are about to land on a coin tile. This is the real challenge, and fun, of the game. I can't begin to count the times I was convinced I had the win in my hands on the next turn, only to have it snatched away by a couple of conniving opponents, one of whom played a destruction chamber for the other to move onto and wipe away the coin tile I was about to claim.
My only beef with Drakon is that there should have been a lot more than six characters to choose from. Our gaming group has come up with at least ten. We also found it more enjoyable to give each character two different abilities as you can only use each ability once during the game. We use small pewter minitures for the markers on the board and two different-colored chips to cash in as we use up each ability.
Overall, a great game that sits among the top five in my collection.
Drakon has become the queen dragon at the gaming table. With its mix of strategy, luck, and deviousness, the Saturday group pronounced it 'way cool'. Deciding whether to move or lay tiles seems to be the hardest choice until you realize that someone has four coins and is making a grab for the fifth. If you can lobby and hinder your opponents while diverting attention from yourself, you stand a great chance at winning, but don't bet on it. There are a bunch of ways for others to stop you when you least expect it.
Each of the characters has a cool ability with the exception of the dwarf (whose ability isn't that bad when you want to change blank tiles for something else, but it doesn't come in ultra-handy until you time it right). All in all, this one is a keeper and well worth the money in the right group. If you want to have fun with a little sneakiness, this is it. If you are a hard-core gamer (i.e. warmonger), then this will not appeal as greatly. As for me and my group, this dragon rules!
My gaming group plays Drakon on a regular basis, having played at least 10 times or more since we first started. It has become quite a popular choice now because it is easy to understand and quick to play. Also because the 'mess with your neighbor' factor is very high. Our last session was a real nailbiter.
I liken this game to a six-player version of chess. You are invariably looking ahead several moves, complicated by the need to 'checkmate' your opponents every so often. What directs your strategy is the set of dungeon tiles in your hand, from which you determine how to get gold, and how to stop everyone else from doing the same. Your opponents, of course, are plotting in a similar fashion.
Each player, during his turn, has the following choices to make: He can either move his piece one space, or lay down a dungeon tile from his hand. In the process of laying tiles, a unique dungeon shape is created through which the players advance their characters. If a player moves onto a marked tile, he must perform the action denoted by it. A tile with a gold symbol awards the player with one gold piece. The first player to acquire 5 gold pieces wins the game.
Most tiles have special powers. For example, the 'Magical Shift' tile allows you to replace an existing dungeon tile with one from your hand. Some tiles allow you to steal gold from your neighbor, while other tiles force you to relinquish gold pieces. It is possible to create traversable sections of dungeon that do nothing but create or steal gold pieces.
For those who enjoy the agony of decision making, there is the 'place tile or move' mechanism common in other games of this type. This can further complicate matters near the end-game. If an opponent is close to achieving victory, an almost mandatory 'check', or block, is required on your part. This means either a killer tile placement, or a clever move onto the right magical tile. Of course, a preventative tile placement will also delay your own path to victory this turn.
I find that an ability to look ahead several moves comes in handy, along with a little mind reading. A player who can predict where he and his opponents will end up, several steps ahead, can gain a critical edge. Ideally, you are trying to create a section of dungeon that will give you a lock on victory, in other words, a 'checkmate'. This is the dungeon that no one can stop, regardless of tiles at their disposal.
Overall, I find Drakon to be mentally engaging and enjoyable. It invokes a good balance of strategic and tactical thinking, and has just enough luck to keep things interesting.
We played Drakon the first couple of time this weekend. Like the deviousness, possibilities, tactical nature of play.
Did not like: in a five player game, everyone can gang up and prevent one person from winning. This leads, eventually, to multiple people having four coins... and then having the winner chosen slightly 'randomly' based on who the first person is that just can't be stopped through some diabolical agreement of the other players.
ALso, with five players (three new) we took two hours... too long for this type of game.
The previous review of Drakon considered it to be an excellent children's game, but less enjoyable for adults. I have to disagree. Drakon is teeming with the 'screw-your-opponents factor', something that's kinda unfair to do to a child as young as 6 (as in the previous rewiew), but great to do with a fellow gamer.
Gameplay is simple. Players start by randomly choosing a character (dwarf, knight, thief, barbarian, etc.) to play. Each of these characters has a special power that can be used once during the course of the game. Then each player is dealt four tiles, while the rest are relegated to a draw pile. Building the dungeon tile-by-tile, players venture forth into the various vaults searching for five gold pieces. Each tile represents a single vault, and shows the routes out of the vault (indicated by arrows), and, usually, a special icon in the center of the room which indicates a special action. Because of the movement and tile-placement rules, players generally have to follow a one-way route through the dungeon. However, clever tile placement can allow you to loop back around to a previously-explored room.
Each time you enter a room with a special icon, you get to do the special action indicated by it. Some rooms let you destroy other rooms, others allow you to warp anywhere on the board, some allow you to steal a coin from an opponent, etc. There's a nice variety of special rooms in the game, but it's not too overwhelming. Also, some printed-out copies of the excellent player aid card from The Games Journal (http://www.thegamesjournal.com) are extremely handy when first playing the game with new people.
Drakon's most successful element is the ability to seriously thwart other players with superior tactical play. Even though tiles are drawn to your hand randomly, the game is balanced well enough that the only way to win is through good, sometimes surprisingly complicated, tactical play (which was not alluded to in the previous review). By destroying chambers, moving opponents, warping, and using your character's special ability (among many other tactical options), you can thoroughly screw over your opponents. And, if you can't do it yourself, you can always place a tile near another trailing player to allow him to screw over the target player. Such tactical options allow for a surprising amount of player interaction.
For gamers that like the occasional cutthroat filler game, you can't go wrong with Drakon. After being introduced to this game a week ago, I've become rather hooked on the fast-moving, solid, but very dirty gameplay. There aren't many downsides, either, save for the horrible punch-out framing (it's ludicrously bad; you MUST use an X-Acto or similar craft knife in getting the tiles out cleanly). And, even more rewardingly, the luck of the draw is usually balanced out by a large number of tactical options; so, ultimately, luck has very little to do with the outcome of the game. Recommended.
I bought Drakon with my 6 year old son in mind. He will eagerly try just about any game that has dragons or some other beasty prominently displayed on the packaging, but if the game plays slowly and awkwardly he won't be eager to come back to it. This is a game he has been coming back to.
The players each take on the role of a hero who has been captured by the dragon Drakon. Instead of devouring our intrepid adventurers, Drakon decides to let them wander around his lair collecting gold coins. The first hero to collect five of these coins is released and the rest are dragon-dinner.
The thing that makes the game interesting is that the players actually build the dragon's lair as the game progresses by laying down tiles. At the begining of the game each player is given four tiles and each player's pawn is placed on the central 'Drakon' tile. Play rotates with the active player either expanding the lair by laying down a tile and drawing a new one from the hefty stock of tiles included, or moving his pawn one space. Sounds simple. However, with the exception of the key tile and the magic portal tile, each tile has one, two, or three arrows, designating a path the player can choose to leave the tile, and one, two, or three doors or gates through which the hero cannot pass. The only rule of laying down a tile is that you may never place a tile in such a way as to have two arrows pointing at each other. This rule gives the eery effect of having every door slam shut behind your pawn and realizing that you can't turn around! I have often made the mistake of stepping on a tile that had only one arrow pointing off of it and nothing built in the spot that the arrow is pointing, only to have my son put down a vicious well tile or 'dragon's due' tile.
This brings me to the one of the most important feature of the game: the various types of tiles. Some tiles are beneficial: gain a coin, teleport anywhere in the lair, for instance. Some are things to avoid at all cost: the well, which forces you to lose a coin, and 'dragon's due' which forces you to place a coin in the 'Drakon' tile for the next player that lands there. But some tiles, my son's favorites, allow you to thwart your opponent: steal a coin, destroy a tile, steal a tile from someone else's hand (a player can be brought down to zero tiles this way!), pick up a tile from the lair and place it in your hand and replace it with another from your hand, and our favorite: the mind control tile that lets you move your opponent's pawn one step. There are also wind tiles that blow you either two or three tiles away.
Overall, it is a fun, light game of damaging your opponent when possible and helping yourself when possible. I think that the very simple tactics it requires are great for younger gamers. Plus, hey, its got a great big dragon on the front of the box.
After playing a few times, my son and I decided that the game play was too slow, even though it didn't take very long to finish the game. So we decided to alter the game by allowing each player two actions on his turn and then force them to gather ten coins rather than five. This way the lair gets nice and large quickly, and you can still maneuver around a bit, too.
If you regularly game with a child, this is a great game. However, I don't think it would go over quite as well with my more serious gamer friends.
This game is kind of fun, but not great. You get a random assortment of tiles with which to work, and the most you can really do is affect other people's positions. The end game comes down to a couple players about to win and a third player determining which of those two win. In fact, this has happened every single time I have played, which is why it gets 2 stars. If you can not win of your own devices, the game has a critical weakness.
The permutations of tiles affecting each other is low and drawn out. You must chose to either place a tile, or move. Thus, you can always see what every other player is about to do, and the only way to have immediate effects is to place a tile for the next player in line to utilize. If you are far from the edge of the board, forget about having any interesting decisions to make for a good 3 or 4 turns.
The game would have been better were you to both place and move, and if the tiles interacted with each other in more interesting cascading ways. This had the potential to be a great game but fell short.
You will have more fun playing Jolly's earlier version Wiz War or else trying out Dungoneer.
A jolly Jolly game. The dragon's prison starts as a single tile where heroes are held. One tile added per turn extends it unpredictably into impermanent corridors where heroes search for freedom and victory. Moving your hero to an adjacent tile forces him to obey its instructions. Directional arrows restrict movement and turn the array into a wicked maze. Destination tiles increase or decrease your supply of coins, chaotically rearrange the array, or let you move another's hero to endure the consequences. Escape and win by collecting five coins. Even jollier is the version in which each hero has a special power to use just once!