|Designer: Jake Given, Zach Given, Jonathan Ritter-Roderick
Artist: Nick Nazarro
Publisher: Lay Waste Games
No. of Players: 2-4 (2-6 with expansion)
Playing Time: 30-60 Minutes
Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
WARNING: This is a preview of the Dragoon Rogue and Barbarian Expansion. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.
Dragoon is a 2016 game that had rave reviews. Lay Waste Games has gone back to the supporters to bring two separate expansions as well as a “Gold Edition” of the base game.
|The Copper and Black Nickel teams from the “Gold Edition”|
Since this was my first time playing this magnificent game, I will take the opportunity to review all of it together.
Dragoon, the base game, is set in the scene of an island with up to four dragons living there when the humans start to come and colonize parts of the island. Since there are limited resources on the island, namely gold, the dragons start to hoard the gold from the humans (and the other dragons).
The game consists of player turns with three phases in each turn; 1) Populate; 2) Actions and 3) Tribute. When a turn ends with at one or more players holding at least 50 gold, the game is over and the player with the most gold is declared the most powerful dragon, or human in the expansion.
The Populate phase is where humans build villages or cities. The board is a 6×6 square with 36 open spots. Dragon caves occupy up to 4 of those spaces and the others are open to human habitation. In the populate phase players roll a red and a black die and find the corresponding square on the board to place the new village or city if it already has a village.
|6×6 Board with the Black Dice Rolls represented on the bottom and the red dice rolls
on the left. The board is fabric and folds yup into a game back for easy portability.
If a city can’t be placed or upgraded then there is a human theif who takes an opportunity to collect gold.
The Action phase allows the Dragons and the Humans to traipse around the board. They have opportunities to destroy the populations for instant gold, terrorize them for the opportunity of tribute money, and battle other dragons or steal gold from their caves.
The final phase of each round is to collect tribute money from the villages and cities you have terrorized depending on how much terror you strike into them (characterized in how high of a die roll you achieve). There are various cards and actions that change how strong you may be in a phase or round, and this continues until someone has taken enough gold from the populations and other dragons to win.
|Scoring Skulls on the Scoreboard which doubles as the
bag that holds the entire game.
The expansions add a 5th and 6th player to the game—both humans. With the expansions you can play with all, some or no dragons and only the human characters. The expansions are for a Barbarian—a human who shows up at port in a ship and can rally the populations to help him as he gains levels. And for a Rogue—a human who travels quickly and stealthily through tunnels he makes his way throughout the island. He also finds useful tools to help his sneak-ery and accumulation of more gold.
|The Gold Edition Rogue|
|The Gold Edition Barbarian|
Rules and Setup:
The rules are well explained and thought out. The base game is easy to pick up on and comes with several reference cards to help players along. The rules for the expansions are coming along. They are most of the way there, but some minor edits with some FAQ’s for how things work when interacting with the normal game would be helpful.
Setup is easy, but continues throughout the game. Each Populate Phase is another setup phase really. It is a good part of the game mechanics to find that things change quickly when there is a player (the human that isn’t playing) changes things up for everyone.
Theme and Mechanics:
The theme is really cool, especially with the Gold Edition out. I really enjoy the concept of pick up everything and throw it in a bag, or drop a bag and have everything to play a deeper game.
I like the mechanics. They are definitely unique! I really enjoy the concept of this human player that doesn’t really exist, but is able to interact with the players.
|Dragons staring each other down.|
Game play in the base game was easy and quick. For the most part, the reference cards were all that were needed to move play along. We finished most of our 3-4 player games in around 30 minutes. The expansions definitely slowed us down the first time, but that was quickly remedied in later games. The game time was a little longer, but only because we played with 5 players.
The recommended age might be a little higher than necessary. My 10 year old probably enjoyed the game as much or more than anyone.
Artwork and Components:
Components were absolutely top notch. I have talked about it already a lot. The Gold Edition is a winner and if you’re going to pick up the game, I think it’s a ‘Must Have’.
|What’s in the Box – Base Game|
|What’s in the Box – Rogue and Barbarian Expansions|
The artwork on the cards and village tiles is really good. Unfortunately when you make a portable game on fabric you probably forfeit some of the opportunity for fantastic artwork. But if you consider that you are trading that for METAL DRAGONS, I think we can all agree that that is a huge win!
Have you ever seen a beautiful chess board set out just for the imagery? That is this game for me, you might find it laid out on a corner stand just because it looks so cool.
If you want a game that is quick to set up, easy to play, various strategy that is every changing and cool looking, then I have your game. Plus they have upgraded their pieces, added an expansion and some stretch goals happening now, you have to get your hands on this one. I think this is a must have in a gamer’s collection!
I’m not 1000% sold on the expansion yet. I think it is going to take a few more games, but, if you’re going to have the game that is so cool, you better have the expansion too, plus it allows that 5th and 6th player.
I am a big fan of this game. From the second I pulled it out of the box and saw the shiny mettalic pawns to the second one of us won the game I was in love with the mechanics, theme, quality and play of Dragoon. This is a game that will come out on holidays and snow days for a long time to come. I wish the expansion had a different feel for me, but as I play it more, I might understand the characters enough to love them like I love those Dragons.
Players Who Like:
I can’t even come up with a game to compare this to. It is a really nice strategy-luck balance. Castles of Burgundy probably feels similar, although Dragoon is far less complex. If you like any games in that strategy/luck genre Dragoon is another winner.
Check out Dragoon and the Rogue and Barbarian Expansion on:
About the Author:
Dave Merrell is a Professional Structural Engineer who specializes in Zip Lines and Challenge Courses. When he’s not swinging in the trees (or sharpening his pencil) he’s playing games, most often with some or all of his 5 kids. Dave lives in beautiful Flagstaff, Arizona.