Amasser Dragons – Shawnsolo Games – Review

You’re a dragon… You do what dragons do: rout lesser creatures, steal their gold, amass a hoard… It’s good to be a dragon.

"You’re a dragon… You do what dragons do: rout lesser creatures, steal their gold, amass a hoard… It’s good to be a dragon."

Theme and What is it?

You’re a dragon… yes a dragon. You do what dragons do, whether good or evil: you rout lesser creatures, steal their gold, and amass a hoard worthy of your name. You can even fight your rivals to do them harm and raid their stash as well. It’s good to be a dragon.

Gameplay Mechanics

Goal

Amass the largest hoard of gold by rampaging and looting.

Setup

Each player selects a dragon and then based upon the number of players, mix the dragon tiles with the terrain tiles to randomly create the playing area.  Draw at random the encounter tiles and place face down on the Encounter symbols on the terrain cards. Place the dragon markers on their respective Lair symbols.  Shuffle the card deck and deal 5 cards to each player. Determine which player goes first.

Turns

On your turn you draw 2 cards, may move up to your Speed, and may perform up to 2 encounters before declaring the end of your turn.

When you move, you can look at the encounter tile if you like to see if you want to engage it but be wary as there are encounters that aren’t just for engaging hapless merchant caravans or elven outposts.

To face an encounter, they identify their Attack power and how much gold they are worth if defeated.  The encounter is resolved by rolling d6’s equal to your total Attack plus modifiers against the encounter’s Attack; the dragon wins the encounter by having a higher result than the encounter.

If the dragon wins, it gets 2 gold for its lair and the number of gold for the encounter goes into its pocket.

If the dragon loses, it takes a Wound and the encounter is over.

You may also encounter another dragon by entering a location where they are and fight.  The odds of fighting a dragon opponent are better because you each start at Attack 3 and can only use cards in your hand to augment the encounter.

Initial Impressions

This was a quick game to pick up and learn. There were a few rules missing or needing clarification but didn’t hinder us from having a good time.

Game Build Quality

Components include cardboard pieces of a variety of thickness and size, cards, and dice.

The larger pieces came prepunched and of a thick quality stock.

The gold coins were what remained that needed punching.  They are tiny and there was a lot of thready remnants that kept falling off after punching.

The cards are a decent playing card stock.

The dices are mini d6’s.  At least in my box, they tended to favor the higher results (we didn’t mind).

The box was designed fairly well to store all the components, which is always a plus to me.

Artistic Direction

The art and graphic design for this game is done by BoardGameDesign.com, an online service that supports independent game designers.  The design of the tiles (dragons, terrain, and encounters) is all well done — a consistent and crisp fantasy look, while the box and rules sheet came off with a different style altogether that I’m not sure meshed well with the game pieces.

Fun Factor

This game is straightforward with clear objectives.  You know what you’re getting into when playing the game and if what you want is to be a dragon who pillages and plunders and destroys for gold, then this game does all that for you.

Age Range & Weight

Age range of 13+ is very old for this game, I would honestly say it could easily be for 10 year olds or even 8 depending on the kid.  Again the high age range likely has to do with the size and number of very small components. The complexity is low but a kid might need some help picking up the game given there are some issues with the rules.

Conclusions

The Good and The Bad

The Good: This is a light-weight game that offers a longer experience without requiring lots of complexity to drive gameplay duration.  Concepts are simple: you’re a dragon, you go places, you fight for gold. Game also gives hints for reducing game length or increasing it based upon number of terrain tiles used.  There are is also a shout-out in the rules to Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day for inspiration and there are a few aspects in the game showing that. (“More Wheaton!”)

The Bad: Usually I’m a little hard on game rules for organization or wording that can make it difficult to pick up initially but I’m going to be harder on this game.  There aren’t many rules to the game but reading and re-reading the rules there are some holes — a few small ones (rules for rounding and multiplying/adding) and a few basic ones (where do the dragons start, what are the cups for).  We made up rules on the fly and they seemed to work for us.

Final Observation

Overall my group and kids liked the game. The choice of different dragons and mostly unique stats and abilities between them give the game variety.  It’s also nice just to sit down with an easy game that you don’t have to think too hard to play and enjoy with your group for a couple hours.