Friday, 13 June 2014

Game Review: Dragonology

Review: Dragonology

So every new game I get, whether it’s something bought by the family because it looked cool and “John Plays Everything” or something I’ve picked up myself, is going to get reviewed.

This one was bought by the family, Cheers Ted, and is based from the best selling franchise of the same name.  On first look, excellent production values, big box, plenty of detail, and that’s where the first problem occurred.

The box is huge...

Not a problem if it’s filled with things so that you’ve got all the counters and all the tokens and everything else, but when it’s filled with a single plastic insert that’s three inches high and then the rest is empty space, it doesn’t bode well...

But, onwards...

Figures and miniatures, all painted, check

Good production values and artwork on the cards, check.

All good thus far.

The board, my god the board, looks brilliant, and for a second, I found myself thinking “This is going to be Ticket to Ride crossed with Reign of Fire, how much win could there be?”

Then I read the rules...

And at this point, folded it all up with a heavy heart and put it away. 

The rules dictate that you roll your way around the board, no skill involved, no placement of things, no strategy, nothing that would interest a person who actually plays games, rather than someone who likes aimlessly rolling dice to see who gets to a particular score first.  The cards have some effects, but they’re not metered or measured, there’s one card (eight of which in the deck) that allow the player to take another turn, thereby drawing another set of cards and possibly getting another turn, no rule in place to stop a player taking all the free turns though.  There’s another card that shuffles everyone elses cards but yours and gives you more cards in the process, and there’s nothing the other players can do to stop that either.

This, I find, is where the problem occurs when companies who really aren't games companies try and rush something out to capitalise on something, not thinking “My god we’ve got this awesome licence, let’s make an awesome game and then more people will buy things,” But instead thinking “These idiots will buy anything, let’s just put something out and get them to buy it”.  The first option will have people buying more (see the Dr Who licence from Cubicle 7), the second option will consign most of these things to the bargain basement, where who knows, they may one day provide inspiration...

In my case this one certainly has, I’m making the game that I thought this was going to be and it’s going to be all the awesome I wanted this game to be...

But for playing this one?

Sadly not.

1 comment:

  1. On the other hand, I have three grandchildren who LOVE this game. It is 'their' game and they record the winners in the little notepad provided. From their I have taught them Caverna.........; I found this an excellent way to introduce them to a board game.. They are 10, 17 and 20 now and the first recorded winner was in 2006. Can't be all bad :)