DragonRealm – Gamewright – Review

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The age range (10+) and increased complexity and available strategies strike the right balance for the game while expanding deeper the theme and scope of this world.

Matthew Kearns


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Theme and What is it?


Pitted against other adventuring groups, in Dragonrealm you must conquer a variety of locations within the realm, ending with the confrontation with the dragon!  Marshall your forces for good and make ready for adventure. Will you Sneak, Search, or Storm your way to treasure and victory? Roll the dice and see.

Gameplay Mechanics



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The goal of Dragonrealm is to accumulate the most treasure coins by conquering locations, having adventures still in play at the end of the game, etc.


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Choose the side of the Adventurer’s Location to use (Academy or Alley) and place it in the middle of the play area.  Sort the remaining locations based upon color/number and shuffle each. Place the goblin meeples, dice, and treasure coins within reach of the players.

Create a Location Deck starting with a Dragon Lair Location and other Locations stacked on top, 1-2-3- repeat.  Turn over the first three Location cards above the Adventurer’s Location. The remaining Location cards go back in the box.

Shuffle the Enhancement cards and deal three to each player, who then choose either one Level 2 or two Level 1 Enhancements to keep and use during the game.  The remaining Enhancement cards are placed off to the side.

Shuffle the Adventurer cards and deal five cards to each player.  Two cards are also placed face up next to the Adventurer draw deck.  Each player also gets the adventurers of his chosen color. Determine the first player.


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Each player has the choice of one of two actions: Rest or Explore.

Rest is where players replenish their hands by drawing from the Adventurer draw deck or the face-up cards next to it.  Cards are drawn one at a time to address special cards that could be drawn. If a face-up card is drawn, replace it with the top card from the Adventurer deck.

Explore is when players attempt to conquer locations.  Players choose the type of Explore attempt (Sneak, Search, or Storm) based upon the cards in their hand and roll a number of dice based upon the number of cards put down.

If the result meets or exceeds the target number, then the player is successful and places an Adventurer on the Location card he just defeated. If the result is less than the target number, the player picks up the cards he played, puts an Adventurer at the Adventurer’s Location, and draws a card.

Locations are conquered when all the spaces are filled and a player or goblins have the most tokens at the Location.  Conquering a Location or being second place earns you coins. If there is a tie, the treasure is split, and no one gets the Location.

Once the dragon’s lair is conquered, the game ends and any other remaining locations are scored as if they were complete (if they have any Adventurers on them).

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Initial Impressions


Very reminiscent of Dragonwood. Dragonrealm is easy to pick up as it uses the same mechanics for gaining cards, dice, and attempting the different exploration techniques.

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Game Build Quality


Dragonrealm comes with playing cards, overlarge cards, wooden meeples, dice, and cardboard tokens. The cards have a light linen finish but are flimsy so could bend/crease easily. The cardboard tokens are thick and the finish holds well after punch-out. The dice are custom like in the other game and same faces (1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4). The meeples are detailed, especially the goblins, with a nice color finish.

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Artistic Direction


The art is fantastic again, building on what they did for the previous game. The Location and Enhancement cards provide so much more detail and insight into the lands of Dragonrealm. The cover art for the box is evocative as well, reminiscent of other fantasy art.

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Fun Factor


Dragonrealm expands on the set collection/dice mechanic using an area control aspect as well, providing more strategy for victory and, thus, a more mature game for fans.

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Age Range & Weight


The age range (10+), increased complexity, and available strategies strike the right balance for Dragonrealm while expanding deeper the theme and scope of this world.

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Without a doubt my boys and I were excited to play this game because they grew up with Dragonwood and it being one of two games that made it to our table the most over the years. This is the biggest reason it was one of my top picks out GenCon. Sure, the basic elements of Dragonwood were there to defeat the obstacles/creatures, but the area control aspect and inclusion of meeples to sacrifices for bonuses made for deeper, richer game.

Some might say this game is still a little simple, not crunchy enough for them, but it is exactly what a 10-year-old needs as either an introduction to the hobby, these types of mechanics, or give them the next step into appreciating this world brought to you by Darren Kigsen and Chris Beatrice.

Yo! Darren, Chris! Give us another!

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