I think this is an excellent toy. You can teach a younger player how to solve the puzzles then let them play with it and try to solve the different puzzles. This will let them find their own way to an answer and help them improve these skills
Theme and What is it?
*Note* Copy of game provided by publisher for review.
Burgen and Drachen is family puzzle game. Players will be given a set up and try and quickly connect the castles and the knight, together using mismatched roads. The faster you are the more you’ll need to do. Eventually, you’ll need to face the dragons.
Burgen and Drachen is a game of spatial awareness and matching. At the beginning of each round you’ll reveal a kingdom card. These cards show the location of the castles and dragons in the kingdom. They also show the starting location of the knight. Players will use their personal boards to recreate the kingdom. You’ll need to place road tiles to connect the knight to the castles with no dead ends.
The first player in a round to complete to complete the map gets a point. When you have two points you’ll need to also connect the dragons as well. If you successfully complete your third map, you win.
When I sat down to get stuck in on this game I was expecting a bit of crunch to the rules. This was mostly due to Reiner Knizia being the lead designer on the project. I understood it was a family game, but it was still a concern. I was pleasantly surprised to find very simple straight forward rules. Which in this case is very much a good thing.
Game Build Quality
The components here are quite good. All of the tiles are good a thickness and quite durable. The player boards are all good quality with a decent size so you can see clearly what is required.
The art here is clear. Due to the nature of the game they didn’t get very fancy with it. However, I think it benefits the style of Burgen and Drachen that they kept everything bare bones here.
This is a thinky puzzle game. You don’t interact with other players at all. Most of your time will be spent looking at your own board.
Age Range & Weight
The box says 8+ and for the most part I agree with this. As a game you’ll need to be older to play it. The rules aren’t particularly difficult to understand. You still need to perform your actions quickly. I think younger players could use this, just not as a game. More on this in my conclusion.
I think this is a fine product, but I don’t think it’s a good game. Because this is a puzzle it all comes down to spatial awareness and pattern matching. Since some people will just generally be better at these things than others it can very quickly become about one person finishing quickly while everyone else catches up.
There is a bit of a catch-up mechanic in that you need to connect more things for your third and final point. This lets players who are having a hard time with the patterns catch up to the person in the lead. The problem is that everyone will hit that level and you all end up stuck in the same place. There is no mitigating factor to people just being better at t then everyone else. Because of that I don’t feel comfortable recommending this as a game.
However, I think this is an excellent toy. You can teach a younger player how to solve the puzzles then let them play with it and try to solve the different puzzles. This will let them find their own way to an answer and help them improve these skills. In this way I think this is a great game. It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Just one where the picture changes every time you do it. If you want something for your kids to sit down and play with on a rainy afternoon, this is a great puzzle.
That said, please try before you buy. Hit up a local game store, library, or convention and see if you can get a copy of this to give it a go.
Much like the knight in this game it’s easy to get lost sometimes and find ourselves hitting a dead end. If you find yourself at a dead end and losing hope I beg you to reach out and ask for help. I guarantee there are people out there who want to hear from you. They want to help. Remember, even if you’re lost, you’re also important. People care about you and want you to be around for a long time. Be well.
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