Whether you raid the land as a mighty dragon, attacking forces and soaring through the sky, or take on the role of a general, deploying and upgrading armies and controlling as much land as you can, your main goal is gaining power. Can you do it all on your own? Or will you need to rely on the the Dragonbond – the fabled union of dragon and mortal – to help you on your path to victory? Let’s see if you have what it takes to rule!
What Is It?
Asymmetric Strategy Game – General and Dragon players have different play styles (i.e. generals can upgrade units, dragons can gain power by killing units) and every player has unique action and Vaala cards which they’ll need to use as best they can to get ahead in the game. Once dragonbonded, players also gain access to a special ability. Players will play cards to move around the board, attack one another (and neutral units), and collect power in an effort to win.
Programming – Players will go around stacking action cards in a single deck until 1 player passes, and then those cards are resolved in order. Since players play all cards before knowing what actions their opponents are taking, they will need to try and figure out what their opponents might do so they can plan their reactions ahead of time. Event cards are also put at the beginning and end of every action deck to be played during the round, which can add more power to the board, give players extra actions, and more.
Potential for Teams – Players start off individually, but a general and a dragon player can become bonded and if that happens, if 1 of them wins, they both win.
Combat – Players can attack one another while moving around the board. Dragons have strength depending on how many wounds they have, and generals’ strength comes from the units in their region. Players will roll combat dice to determine the outcome.
Who Is It For?
- 4 Players – No matter how many players (1 to 4) there are, there are always 4 characters on the board, some are just “Faceless” (AI) characters. Personally, I thought the AI was just kind of tedious, and created a lot of randomness that was frustrating at time, especially in a 2 player game. I would really recommend it at 4 players for the best experience.
- Ages 14 and Up – There’s a fair amount of front-loading for rules, so it may not be suitable for younger/less experienced players
- Fans of fantasy, war-esque battle games
- Players who enjoy trying to think ahead (i.e. programming)
- Quality – Great miniatures, nice overall production quality, good insert
- Aesthetics – Great look/table presence, nice art
- The mechanism of dragonbonding is unique and can definitely change gameplay and strategy from play to play
- Vaala cards seem balanced for each role
- I like how the generals and dragons play slightly differently and that changes the player’s strategy each game
- Combat resolution is simple
- Faceless Players – I’m not a big fan of the AI when you have less than 4 players. It’s a little clunky and slows down the game
- Rules – The rules are laid out as an overview, then core concepts, then a glossary. For me, it was difficult to learn how to play from it; I just didn’t like that format because it felt too broken up
- The board is quite large, and yet the spots are still too small at times to fit everything that needs to be in them
I’m somewhere in the middle on this one. The rulebook was a pretty big barrier of entry for me, because I just felt like a lot of important information was buried further into the rules than it needed to be, which left me confused going into my first play. I also was not a fan of the Faceless players, meaning that, for me, this game is a 4-player only game, which is just a tough sell to get the the table.
That said, I also thought the game had some cool elements. Building the action deck each round was a bit slow, but it was exciting to see how actions unfolded, and how players reacted to what others were doing. Combat could also be swingy at times, since it came down to dice rolls, but that could also create some epic highs and lows for all players, which was neat.
Overall, I don’t think this one is at the top of my favorites list personally, but I do think there are a lot of people into programming and combat games that are really going to enjoy it.
Game Designers – Jack Caesar, Alessio Cavatore, William Burgos
Artists – Irene Aretia, Tom Babbey, Aldo Domínguez, Bruce Brenneise, Chris Caesar, Fernando Martinez, Florian Stitz, Tyler Walpole, Steve Prescott, Adam Wesierski, Todd Ulrich
Publisher – Draco Studios
MSRP – $59.99
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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