DragonLand by Gamelyn Games
‘Adventure in Dragonland! The dragons store their treasure in the numerous volcanoes, but their treasure is in danger - the volcanoes will soon erupt! To save the treasure, the dragons have asked the dwarves, elves, humans and magicians for help. Each group competes with the others to be the most successful at gathering treasures for the dragons.’
3 words to describe this game: dragons, witches and unicorns (I fail to see where you can go wrong with that combination!) Gameplay: Goal - Each player leads a group of companions through Dragonland. Their goal is to collect sets of dragon eggs and gemstones. Each player scores points for each gemstones and egg but extra points for a complete set (egg, ruby, emerald and sapphire) When the last egg is collected, the game ends and the player with the most points is the winner!
Essentially, you are companions vying to collect treasure before the volcanoes erupt. Using destiny cubes (dice), you are given your movement and on your turn you can move and then take treasure from a volcano you land on. You are only able to take treasure though according to your colour companion unless you have magical tokens which allow you to deviate from this such as the unicorn or witch token. The game ends when all the dragon eggs have been found and then scoring commences. You are awarded points according to how many sets of gemstones you have acquired but the twist in the tale is that if your companion has not collected a magic ring on its way round (a little rubber band you add to the bottom of your meeple) then you cannot score any of the gemstones for that colour companion.
Theme: Dragonland - the theme runs through every component and is totally immersive. It looks beautiful and is so fun for adults and older children alike. Components: 1 game board: I love the look of this board and it really invites you into dragonland! Only thing I would say is it isn’t always clear the entrances and exits to the volcanoes but we were quite lenient in our gameplay and so it never really was a problem 12 companions: possibly one of the only downsides of this game are the companions. In this game, you are not a particular colour but rather a particular shape token and the way they have denoted the difference between the dwarves, elves, humans and magicians is not all that clear as they are made up of different rounded or pointed shapes and it wasn’t that easy to distinguish between. I’m sure as you play it gets easier but on first play through it was a little tricky and I’m sure on one occasion that I put a magic ring on a token that wasn’t mine. 12 magic rings - elastic bands - not sure how long these will last after you have pulled them on and off the companions 4 treasure vaults - cardboard divider/screen which allows you to shield your gemstones and tokens - a nice little touch as they are made in keeping with the theme to look like the walls of the castle. Really cute and I think for younger players a nice nod to older games that use screens to hide components etc like Dungeons and Dragons and Captain Sonar etc 2 destiny cubes - these are dice - nothing much to say other than lovely colour 1 tower of destiny - a cardboard dice tower which you put together yourself. Again in keeping with the theme of the game designed to look like the portcullis of a tower. So cute and our daughter loves it. We also love a good dice tower - only one downside is that it doesn’t fit in the box made up. It doesn’t take long to build but much like the Everdell tree, I am sure that constant building and taking apart will eventually mean that it’s not as sturdy. I think that we may indeed choose to play with our own dice tower in future but it’s a nice thing to have included and definitely adds to the look and feel of the game. 18 dragon eggs 57 gemstones (9 diamonds, 16 ruby, emerald and sapphire) - great quality 36 tokens (6 boatmen and small dragons, 4 unicorns, 4 witches, 4 extra steps, 3 King’s dragons and 3 magic ring symbols and 2 magic hands) - now I like what the tokens add to the game however on our initial game, we had to keep looking at the rule book and as there is space on the back of the treasure vaults it might have been nice to add the rules for these to the back of the dividers as well as having the scoring conditions.
Overall thoughts: First of all, can I just say that this arrived this morning and we were immediately drawn to get it to the table. The artwork is so inviting and the theming is so cute. Our seven year old loves both dragons and volcanoes so this is one we showed her straight away and we were all eager to see it and play. The basic premise and gameplay is easy to understand. Your companions can pick up coloured gemstones matching their colour or dragon eggs and tokens or one diamond. Diamonds are wild and helpful in collecting sets. The difficulty initially is trying to remember what all the tokens do. However I can see once you have mastered these how you can use these more to your advantage. On your first playthrough, you might not know how to use these to your advantage but with subsequent plays, it will become second nature. My feeling is that there are games in our collection that will now not be played because this game incorporates so many things we love with a theme we enjoy. We have games like Dragonimo and Treasure of the Incas which we love because they have hidden items elements to them but I think this game has that and so much more. This game is stated to be for 9 and upwards and I would agree with this. The strategy element of the game was a little above our 7 year old but she enjoyed the theming and will want to play again. We had to help her a little but it was still enjoyable. It’s visually enjoyable and I think this will be a favourite in our house for a long time to come.
Thank you to gamelyn games for kindly sending this awesome game out for review.