Review: DrachenTurm – bringing down any castle

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Building a castle is one thing. But if you want to hide a princess from her dragon suitor, then its not enough. This task will not be easy at all. You can be the best architect of all time, but when a huge and dull monster lands in front of your gates, you start to worry. That’s because all the rocks shake under his thumping paws and everything crumbles.

And all the players will build their stone tower in the (Dragon Tower) board game, which was designed by . He was able to create it with support of company and illustrations mady by . The whole game was released at the end of for all children to enjoy.

The dragon castle and all the necessary tools are hidden in a large yellow box. Picture of the lid shows a malicious dragon, pulling the scaffolding with the prince and several servants. Inside, players will find cardboard components, that will be used to build a high tower. Just below the top, there is space for princess’s room and outside of it, there is a balcony leading around the entire perimeter with a single door, that can take you inside for an audience. This is the place, where players will put figure of princess Zafira, when the tower is build and firmly placed in its base.

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This tower is placed on elongated game board and base of rescue scaffold is attached to it. Ancient builders have chosen a big stone as a support for their stairs to save the princess, while the other side is placed on the lower balcony. Stone is tightly wrapped with a rope, which leads all the way to the big dragon’s belly on the other side. This dragon is now placed on first space of his path to the castle. In the course of the game, he / she will be moving and pulling the rope. Small square tiles are shuffled and placed with their image down on the table, creating an offer, together with guards and staff figures.

The whole match consists of two phases. Players will first build castle as a shelter for their princess. As soon as the dragon arrives, knights will find out, that this shelter is not enough to keep her safe from the dragon and prince will try to make a quick evacuation of the princess to his chariot. They will have to make a way down with the princess, lead her into the carriage before the dragon pulls the whole rope, destroys the scaffold and sets out to find his bride.

But let’s start from the beginning. Players are alternating in attempt to send workers, who serve as support for new platform of the scaffolding. Drawing a small tile from shuffled offer determines what a team of players can or can not do. The main ones are help tiles colored in five different shades. Whenever someone reveals such a tile, he can take a cardboard worker of the same color and place him on the current floor of the scaffolding. But there needs to be a free position of such a color. Otherwise, the whole turn is forfeited, because player failed to find the right help.

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If, in addition, they reveal a building block with a new scaffolding floor at the right time (when all the vacant positions on current level are filled), they can build another platform and get one step closer to the rescue of the princess. But there are also pictures of Dragon Tarax among these drawn pieces. When player reveals him, it will not make the team happy, because it means moving dragon one box away from the building. This stretches the rope the dragon pulls and reduces the time, that the players will have in second stage of the game.

Only when the scaffolding is built, players move proceed to the second part of their match. In the meantime, dragon could have moved to some of the farthest squares on his route. But before he starts his pulling work, players first have to choose color and role for each other. They get a stick to push princess around. Only after that can they pull dragon’s ear, which starts the winding process and rescue can begin.

This part of the game is significantly faster. Players try to push the figurine of the princess out of her room, then across the balcony to scaffolding and through the holes in it down to the meadow. There’s a carriage waiting there. But time is running fast, dragon rope is winding up and rock, which holds the scaffolding, is moving with it. If players fail in their job, then the construction collapses and princess has to go to a wedding with dragon. However, if the figure safely arrived in the carriage earlier, princess had escaped and can celebrate with her new hero – mysterious prince.

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DrachenTurm is a charming child and family game. It is first and foremost about memory and luck. Without this pair of requirements, it is simply not possible to build a scaffold well, quickly and successfully. Unfortunately, the bad luck can largely decide what position the players will have in the second phase. Do not be mistaken, you just need a little bit of bad luck, reveal some dragon tokens and suddenly, you have a good portion less time for the final rescue.

Game lets all participants work together. And this leads to perfection of the second part, where players need to be carefully conspicuous and communicating. They also need to be skilful because the princess figurine is quite disobedient. This will be especially true, when going through scaffolding floors, where princess character can easily jump out. In that case, the rules say that players should return her to the same place and continue. However, precious time is going on all the time. Rope is shorter with every second and the cramped construction will crumble in a moment.

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This means great fun especially for young children. Kids are the main players who appreciate processing and cooperation in the second phase. In addition, it is suitable already for five-year-old gamers. All children will surely appreciate skill training (even when building scaffolding) and, of course, focus on memory.

 

Unfortunately, due to the number of plaques, it will practically never happen, that you have dragon on some of the first positions. This choice of designer makes little sense, because the whole phase loses tension. So, if you want to have more chances, it is a good idea to place some dragon tokens out of the way and do not use them in setup.

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At the same time, it is not possible to set up any difficulty in this part of the experience, while in the second half of the game players can get some handicap. But the preparation will always be the same. Whole game does not last for more than ten minutes. The more players there is, the easier the second part of the match is, but also more complicated the communication.

Processing is absolutely perfect. Cardboard pieces are of high quality and huge, everything sits in and the graphics are very nice and playful. But what drives the whole impression is the beautiful dragon figure and the mechanism that attracts the stone with. This element is the ultimate king of the game, and the kids will be very excited about it.

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Even those minor flaws and complaints can not change the fact that DrachenTurm is a wonderful game for children. They will want to return to the world of the dragon and princess. So if you want fun for your children, which is not quite stupid and can keep their attention, DrachenTurm should definitely belong to your wish list.

DesignerCarlo A. Rossi
ArtistChristine Faust
PublisherHABA
Year Published2016
# of Players2 - 4
User Suggested # of Players Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players
(4 voters)
Playing Time15
Mfg Suggested Ages5 and up
User Suggested Ages5 and up
(3 voters)
Language DependenceNo necessary in-game text
(4 voters)
CategoryAction / Dexterity, Children's Game, Fantasy, Memory
MechanicCooperative Game, Memory
FamilyCreatures: Dragons
Primary NameDrachenturm
Alternate NamesDragon Tower, Drakentoren, La torre del drago, La torre del dragón, Tour du dragon

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: DrachenTurm – bringing down any castle
Final word
DrachenTurm probably does not offer any reason, why the small players, for which he is intended, should not like it. It is a beautiful looking game that is divided into two completely different phases. Players train skill and memory during their course, but they will most appreciate the processing itself. Five-year-old preschoolers can play, building scaffolding, moving dragon and searching for tokens. But during second phase, dragon will destroy this scaffolding under their feet. Rescue of the princess itself requires proper communication and skillful hands. DrachenTurm is really good for kids.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
wonderful processing
two phases
five years up
trains both memory and skill
fast game
Cons
tom many dragons in the first stage
first phase difficulty setting is missing
0
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