Review: Drakon – dragon on a diet

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We are nothing more, than food. We were fools, when we thought, that this would be easy money. We paid no attention to stories of a foxy dragon. Everything went without any problems. We got into the treasury and all our enthusiasm was turned to a pile of gold. But then, we heard a deep breath behind us. Well.. it was too late to run.

But the players are not yet fried by this fiery breath of the dragon and want to arrange a hunt. That’s what board game will be about. It was prepared for us by author (Cave Troll, Wiz-War, Warhammer: Diskwars). His work has been published under flag of in . But Drakon itself is not anything new, because the first version was dressed in a box in year 2001. This new version is wearing already number four as version iteration.

The whole cave and a large dragon just stays low inside a square box. On its cover, title dragon is trying to have a peek at us and wants to play. But he is not just so innocent, its more like a cat plays with a mouse, before it eats it. Inside await players help cards out of thick paper, but especially cardboard tiles. There is a total of 72 of square room tiles. They have a different number of doors, and only into some of them lead red arrows.

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Many tiles are wearing icons of special effects. Rear side is all the same, so players could not tell them apart. To all this belongs also a pack of six hero cards of different professions. Everyone has in addition to image also some capability, that can be used sometime during the game. In final words about packaging, we mention 28 gold pieces and six miniatures, which correspond to heroes.

Players then at the beginning of each game must choose their own character, both in the form of main card and also miniature. In the middle of the table is placed starting chamber, where the heroes arrived. Now all there is needed to start is to place their characters on this spot. Remainder of the room tiles create draw pile. Somewhere aside is then formed a pile of dragon gold. Tokens must be turned with their value down and mixed thoroughly. Heroes do not have time to look at their prey and snatch everything without looking. Everyone then picks up four tiles to start exploration.

On his turn, each player may perform one of two actions of his choice. He can attach a new tile to the existing map and thus extend amount of corridors on the table. New chamber has to be placed adjacent to existing room and rotated, that none of the red arrows points towards already lined passage, but always have to be pointing outside in free unexplored space.

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In addition, player can take advantage of already existing corridors and move his pawn. And here come those red arrows again into focus. Hero may in fact move from his current position only following their direction and never enter those other closed doors. Individual rooms vary in the number of these exits.

This movement can (and will) activate effect of some of the rooms. They may start depending on when the hero leaves them or vice versa in a moment, when some of them is entered. With them can arrived destruction into the dragon nest, but chambers may also affect heroes – player can move opponents characters or his hero again. Room can also move and rotate differently, making explorers lost. For the players, however, the most important symbols are the coins. At that point, player can pick up one token of gold from the dragon’s treasure.

Some tiles in addition to the aforementioned icons also have a green dragon head on them. These spaces upon first discovery ensure, that the active player takes a dragon figurine and put it on any empty space on the map with no hero on it. From that moment on, whenever any tiles with dragon’s head is visited, active player can move dragon up to three spaces and all that regardless of the arrows in the rooms.

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Dragon is chasing players around the cave and they are trying to escape him, because when they are located in the same chamber, hero is immediately moved back into starting room. In addition, he also loses one of his coin tokens. Game then ends at the moment, when someone manages to accumulate gold coins with a total value of ten.

Drakon is an action and crazy game from start to finish. The whole game is about exploring the dragon’s lair, which is full of traps and surprising rooms. But the whole time, players have a choice of several tiles to place and can freely choose which and where they add to the cave. This has resulted in relative freedom, which is spoiled only by red arrows for movement.

But they have essential meaning for gameplay. Each door on the board are one way, and when you go inside somewhere, you can get away only by taking another path. Players can not run here and there, but really wander and seek tracks. This makes the game very interesting and heroes are often forced to move differently, than they would like.

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Second major element are the room effects, that allow players to influence not only their success, but also make their opponents unlucky. So they can really stir the situation on the board, which is otherwise only hunt for coins. But once dragon figurine enters the game, about a minute after the start, players get under control also key tool for attacking opponents. They can send each other back to the start tile, but especially empty each other pockets.

Great advantage of this game is its dynamics. Game is fast and exciting, which sits to this frivolous entertainment altogether ideally. And it also limits its audience, as players looking for reputable dungeon-crawling or tactical fights will not find their dreams come true here. This game works best as a crazy relaxation after a demanding game or just for fun. No tactics, just a treasure hunt. And that makes it an excellent choice also for dads and sons.

Battles can be completed in two players, when it is harder to catch opponents and easier to collect gold. But again, space in the cave then does not increase so fast, so players still have plenty options for mutual attacks. Still, Drakon is better in higher number of opponents, where, although the players have less control over what happens to their hero, the game is exciting and full of conflicts.

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Drakon is liked very much for its simplicity. And not only surprising processing including miniatures for this size of game is the reason to have fun, but also entertaining and dynamic gameplay. Game is fast and knows how to inspire and provide laugh, because escape from a dragon is full of unexpected situations. And just as well Drakon is quite a surprise hit in our newsroom.

DesignerTom Jolly
ArtistHenning Ludvigsen, Andrew Navaro, Brian Schomburg
PublisherArclight, Delta Vision Publishing, Edge Entertainment, Fantasy Flight Games, Galakta, Game Harbor, Giochi Uniti, Heidelberger Spieleverlag
Year Published2015
# of Players2 - 6
User Suggested # of Players Best with 6 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 6 players
(11 voters)
Playing Time60
Mfg Suggested Ages14 and up
User Suggested Ages8 and up
(6 voters)
Language DependenceSome necessary text - easily memorized or small crib sheet
(4 voters)
CategoryFantasy, Maze, Miniatures, Racing
MechanicGrid Movement, Modular Board, Network and Route Building, Tile Placement, Variable Player Powers
FamilyCreatures: Dragons, Game: Drakon
Primary NameDrakon (Fourth Edition)
Alternate NamesDrakon (4. Edition), Drakon (cuarta edición / quatrième édition), Drakon (czwarta edycja), Drakon (quarta edizione), ドラコン 第4版, 龍的午餐

Infos courtesy of boardgamegeek.com. More Infos.

Review: Drakon – dragon on a diet
Final word
Drakon is comfortable and relaxing pastime, that prides itself on mad rush for gold. This is partly due to chance and partly as result of the correct positioning of heroes. Across the chambers, there are not only human characters moving, but also dragon, which is also under control by the players. This makes the game really great in terms of spite. The game is full of unexpected events, that disrupt the already turbulent development. Matches are fast and very easily accessible to beginners. Match of Drakon can be declided perhaps only by those, who do not like game full of luck and chaos.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Pros
very suitable for young players
fast and dynamic gameplay
choice of four tiles
chamber effects
ability to control dragon and chase opponents
one-way door
Cons
luck
chaos
unpredictability
3.5
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