Thursday , February 22 2024
Fighting a dragon is one thing; negotiating for its loot is another.

Card Game Review: Dragon’s Gold

Dragon’s Gold from IDW and Pandasaurus Games takes a fresh look at the classic dungeon-crawl scenario where adventurers look to steal a monster’s hoard. Many games focus on the actual battle of human against beast, but Dragon’s Gold focuses on the real madness that follows: how to split up the loot.

dragonsgoldboxThe game begins with each player receiving a “party” of adventurers with two knights, a thief, and a wizard. A series of dragons is laid out on the table, each beast featuring different strengths, known treasures, and unknown treasures pulled from the bag after it is slain.

The gripping fantasy art on each of the cards brings players in and encourages them to revel in the epic fun, yet keeps it light, for example by adding a bunny with a food bowl labeled “Merlin” in the corner of the wizard card, or a scarf on the ice dragon.

Because dragons are so powerful, players will combine their adventurers in a stack to gradually overcome them. Upon the slaughter of an innocent dragon in its nest, the real meat of Dragon’s Gold comes out as adventurers collect their treasures. Wizards and thieves use their special bonuses to automatically seize magic items and steal from opponents respectively. For the rest, a one-minute timer is turned, and players must figure out how specifically they want to divide their takes. If they cannot agree by the time the sand runs out, the treasure is lost for everyone.

When the Market card is drawn from the dragon deck, a wild minute of open negotiation springs across the table as players seek to maximize their takes just before the game ends. Then play continues until the last treasure is taken. Under the basic rules, gold is worth three points silver and magic items less, with additional treasures adding up in sets to make points and the unique Black Diamond being worth the most points of all.

dragonsgoldcontentsWhile basic play is a blast, the game can be kicked into an even higher gear through the use of the in-box expansion Magic Object deck. These cards give powerful twists to regular actions, turning them into chances to really drill defeat into an opponent. The “Velvet Glove” card allows players to steal two treasures instead of one, the seven-fingered “Glove of Holding” has extra draws, and other cards tamper with the strengths of dragons or the parties battling them. Another set of advanced rules gives a more complicated method of scoring, which in turn will make for even wilder negotiations in-game.

Dragon’s Gold is a versatile negotiation game for three to six players aged 12 and up that lasts about 45 minutes. If players are averse to negotiating or if the yelling becomes outright madness, alternative rules outline a statistical split of treasure value based on its rarity. At that point, Dragon’s Gold switches to a bidding game as players race to put their adventurers to work.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.

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