Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tabletop Tuesday! Proceed with caution... Here there be dragons!

Tabletop Tuesdays are BACK and boy-oh-boy, do I have a GREAT game to share with you today!

Formerly a weekly post about tabletop gaming, Tabletop Tuesday is being resurrected as a biweekly series. New posts will be published every other week. Like always, Tabletop Tuesday posts will include game reviews, instructions for playing, and details about my adventures as a tabletop RPG player. Requests and game suggestions are always welcome!

Today's game is Dragonwood by Gamewright. This is one of my new favorites, and I am so excited to share it here. We just purchased it at the end of July, so this review is written from the perspective of a new player. Hit the jump to read more!

Game: Dragonwood
Manufacturer: Gamewright
Ages: 8+
Players: 2-4

When we found a copy of Dragonwood at our favorite local comic and game shop we had to snatch it right up. The Boyfriend had heard about this game and was intrigued by the gameplay. It was also a recipient of the Mensa Mind Games award in 2015; this award reflects the quality of a game and its mechanics, selecting the five best games of the year.

Dragonwood combines simple strategy and basic math skills in a fantasy setting. Using cards and dice, the goal of this game is to defeat the monsters and magical beasts that inhabit the Dragonwood forest. Each beast is worth victory points and the player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.

How to Play:

Dragonwood is played with dice and two decks of cards: the Adventurers Deck and the Dragonwood Deck. All of this and the rule book are included in the box.

The Adventurers Deck contains numbered cards in five colors. These cards are used to attack the monsters and win items from the Dragonwood Deck when they are used in different combinations of color or number.

The Dragonwood Deck has three types of cards: event cards, monster cards, and item cards. Event cards affect the game as soon as their drawn and usually involve gaining or losing cards. The other two types of cards can be won the same way - by combining Adventurers cards to Scream, Strike, or Stomp the monster or item.

Here are some example card combinations that could be used to defeat this troll:

To Strike the troll the player must roll a 9 or higher using the dice. To Stomp, they would need a roll of 11 or more. And to Scream, a 9 or higher. The number of Adventurer Cards a player uses determines how many dice they roll to defeat the monster, and the dice are numbered 1-4, so players need to plan how many dice they need to win.

If the number rolled is equal to or higher than that needed for the attack, the player wins, discards their attack cards, and collects the item or the monster for their victory point total. If they roll lower they lose a card from their hand as a "wound" and can try again with the same or different cards on their next turn.

Once the Dragonwood Deck is spent or the Adventurers Deck has been shuffled once, the game is over and the victory points are tallied. The player with the most monster cards also gets a 3 point bonus to their total.

These are the rule for the basic game - the box also contains variant rules to make games longer or shorter, or to add Dragon Spell attacks.

Dragonwood has quickly become one of my favorite games. It is fun to play. The reliance on drawing cards and dice rolls means the game is always a little different every time you play. And the variant rules increase the replayability of this game.

Dragonwood was very easy to learn, and we were able to jump right in and play several rounds without having to constantly refer to the rule book - this is always a major plus! The game mechanics are simple, but remain interesting after several rounds because players must rely on dice rolls, drawing cards, and out-strategizing their fellow players to win. Because of this simplicity, I believe this game would be a great introduction to young players on how to play strategy games - do they go after the smaller monsters, or do they save their cards to go after the bigger victory point values? And how many dice do they need to roll to have any shot of defeating the monster?

And though this game is recommended for players aged 8 and up and I believe families would enjoy this game, this game can also be enjoyed by groups of adults or seasoned gamers. Games last about 20 minutes, so your entire evening is not devoured by a single game, and it is very portable - we'll be taking our copy with when we visit relatives this weekend!

The price (only $15) and the replayability make Dragonwood a game that I heartily recommend. I will probably be buying a few for Christmas gifts this year!

The Tabletop Tuesday series is my own personal hobby - I do not receive any compensation for these reviews. 
Thank you for reading!

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