What: A beautiful game of devious dragons, destruction and domination
Players: 2-4
Time: 30-60 minutes (depending on player count)
People: Groups looking for something full of action that’s easy on the eye and doesn’t take hours to learn
Available: Support independent creators and pre-order it directly from the creators here

The Gist

Why we recommend it

Do you ever dream of soaring majestically through the sky, returning home to piles of gold and maybe burning several small villages to the ground? If this sounds like you then you may be one of the growing number of people with “Dragonitis”: an acute condition in which you fantasise about being well, a dragon.

It’s quite a dangerous condition, especially for your loved ones. So we recommend taking out your fire breathing fantasies with a board game. Not just any board game, of course, but one of the most beautiful board games we have ever seen. That game is Dragoon.

Before we get into what it is and how it works, lets just enjoy some of the game’s genuine splendour (no not Splendor).

  • Metallic carved-looking dragon totems that have a wonderful weight in your hand
  • The cloth board that features delightful illustrations
  • The simple and bold design of the cards and tiles
  • Even the scoring system doubles up as a tote bag for the whole thing.

And what about the game itself? Don’t expect any fancy gimmicks or unique mechanics but do look forward to a deeply thematic and tightly constructed game.

You and up to three of your friends are dragons fighting for domination of the lands. Each turn villages are going to pop up, which you can control for a slow and steady trickle of gold or burn to the ground for a quick cash injection.

You’re all fighting over these villages as they appear, jockeying for position.

Each turn you can move, control a village, fight your fellow dragons (and thus sending them back to their caves) or a number of other things. The trick is that you are limited to just three actions, meaning you can never really do as much as you’d like. That’s the kind of tight decision making that we at Best Play love.

Do you go all out pursuing your nearest rival, burning their cities and taking them head on? Or maybe you try and get as far away as possible, protecting your corner. Or you could use one of your special cards, that might work?

This is where the real strategy comes in. Using one of the many powerful cards you’ve been picking up is a key decision. Timing them just right is critical to winning, and when used effectively they can be devastating.

In a recent game, Jasmine was all set to win. Everything was in place and she used her card to perfection. With the 50 gold needed to win in sight, she played a powerful card that allowed her to destroy every village she touched, and also turning them into gold. She destroyed every single part of her hotly-contested area and shot up the leader board before sitting back smugly. Perfectly played, right? Well, that was until everyone else started slamming down their own cards, stealing precious gold straight back from her – eventually pulling her just below the victory line.

That gave everyone else just enough time to catch up and then overtake, with the game ending in a thrilling final showdown as everyone raced to get as much gold as possible.

The game moves between dragons slowly pacing the land, like boxers in the ring, waiting for their opportunity before bursting to life with a flurry of blows.

It’s these surprises, those twists and turns, that make this an exciting game that I love to bring to the table. It also helps that it’s just so gosh darn beautiful.

Disclaimer: Best Play were sent a review copy of this game and we’re covering it because we really really liked it.