Step Puzzle Company
The long-awaited tournament of Ruby Castle is happening soon. Knights from all around the kingdom are traveling to reach the castle before the tournament begins. There is only one little (big) problem…the giant dragon that roams the mountain on which sits the Ruby Palace. It is really not too big of a deal, right? I mean these are seasoned knights. They should be used to racing up mountains and battling ferocious dragons. All in a day’s work if you ask my opinion.
Chess Kingdom Knight and Dragon is a 3D puzzle game for 2-4 players.
The game revolves around the player’s movement up the mountain. Each turn players roll dice and move their knights up the mountain. They can land on spaces that award them with tokens to use when fighting the dragon, or they can land on a dragon space which makes the players roll and move the dragon. If the dragon ever ends its move on a space with a knight, a battle happens. Battles are resolved by drawing a Dragon token. It will have a picture of a chess piece. The players must use their own token they have collected that has an equal value to the Dragon token or greater. If the Dragon wins, the player has to start over at the bottom of the mountain.
There are also traps. Under each knight is a marble. If the knight goes over a trap and cannot protect himself, then the marble will fall and come out at a new area of the board. The player must move their knight to that new area.
Once a player has reached the peak of the mountain the tournament begins. Basically everyone does dragon battles until someone is left standing. So, it is important to collect as many tokens as you can during your trip up the mountain.
The rulebook for this game is rough. The game is made for 5-years-old and up, and it took me a few times to even start to comprehend what they wanted me to do. I am still not sure we played it the way it was meant to be played. We improvised and did what felt natural when he had questions. I think that the translation did not go well and that may be the biggest reason why it was hard to get through.
Once we figured things out, the game was actually very enjoyable. I played it with all three of my kids. My youngest son stuck with it for about half the game (normal for him), my oldest son loved it and wanted to play it again. My daughter thought it was a bit too young for her. For me, it was time well spent with my kids. There are some issues that I had with mechanics and how the game ended, but none of the kids mentioned these so I did not bring it up with them.
Chess Kingdom Knight and Dragon has some serious table presence. The 3D board is awesome and looks wonderful in the middle of a table. The knights and dragon are nice wooden pieces. This game was built to be played by young children and it was built to last. Very high quality all through the components. You can tell this company knows how to make games that are made for young players.
The art is very fun and it allows the kids to be involved with the story. The board looks amazing. The dragon is really fun. The overall presentation is polished and has uniformity.
Kids should have no problem relating to the game and the characters involved with it.
What I enjoyed most about Knight and Dragon was getting to spend time with my kids and have a game that even allowed my youngest to be involved (for most of it). My kids liked the racing aspect of the game. Trying to be the first to get to the top. Once the tournament started, they kind of lost interest and it got a bit confusing. I would say that when we play in the future, we will just do the race to the top and make some house rules that makes that portion of the game more intense (maybe all my rules are house rules ((see above about the rulebook))).
Chess Kingdom Knight and Dragon has an age recommendation of 5+. I think if you only focus on the race to the top of the mountain young players should have fun and stay engaged with the game. Once you have to worry about fighting the dragon and using tokens representing chess pieces to combat each other, it does get a bit heavy for young players who know nothing of chess as a game.
My daughter, who is 11, thought the game was fun, but wasn’t sure how much she would play it. She thought it was too young for her. She would rather play tougher games. So the target age is probably 5-10. Everyone loved the 3D board, it was a hit with all ages.
Although things started out rough with the rulebook for Chess Kingdom Knight and Dragon, it ended up being a good experience. We worked things out to be able to play a full game. The kids had fun and my son (8) couldn’t wait to play again. I enjoyed spending time with my kids and found a game, with a few modifications, should be one that I can play with my two boys fairly often.
The art and table presence are really great and the manufacturing is top notch. This is great since it will be played over and over by kids, especially boys. I was glad to see that they made sure that could happen.
Although I feel like there is an age ceiling on Knight and Dragon, it is still a great game to introduce young players to. Just be prepared to work on some of your own rules since the rulebook is not always helpful.