Monday, December 27, 2010

Dragonology , a review

My son received "Dragonology:The Game" for christmas. He's a simply nuts for anything with big teeth, be it dragons, dinos or even crocs, so this is way up his street.

When I saw the box I was impressed. Its about the size of a standard square box, think Lord of the Rings(2000) or Doom:The Boardgame or Memoir '44, and you're on the right track. This box is a nice heavy weight card with a loverly design printed on it, it exudes quality. What I especially like about it though is that the top of the box is also a flap! Open the flap and behind you find a transparent plastic top that lets you see the playing pieces inside the box.

When you take off the top inside you find some excellent looking bits. There are a number of character pieces that you use as pawns. These characters are full of ... well character. They are pre painted and each is different. There's the woman dressed for a tea party, an explorer and a chap in a nice suit and so on. You'll be moving these around the board. Unfortunately play has revealed that a couple of these are perched on bases too small and tend to fall over.

Then you have a bunch of dragon miniatures. These represent pretty much every type of dragon you've ever heard of. The standard four legs two wings, the chinese dragons the wyverns and so on. These are fairly small and not in scale to the player pawns.

The board is a wonderful peice of art featuring the entire world laid flat with path ways traced aross it. Along these pathways are cities, ports, dragon homes and special spaces that allow you to collect tickets or knowledge ( more later ).

The theme of the game is that your character will be travelling around the world researching information on dragons, which you then use to ensnare a dragon or three. Some of the special spaces I mentioned allow you to take a Ticket to help you on your journey around the world. These tickets are absolutely wonderful. Shaped like old world tickets and depicting airplanes, balloons, trains etc they look like real tickets!

As I said you're going around the world researching, so when you land on a city, dragon-home etc you can take a "Bit of Knowledge" card. These either give you an ability to break a rule or give you a bit of knowledge about one of the dragons. When you collect three bits of knowledge for a single type of dragon, you should make your way to the dragon's home space and collect that dragon. Once you have it, no one else can get that dragon... unless they have a card that lets them steal it!

The "Bit of Knowledge" cards are loverly to look at, they have a high sheen and the art on the front is top notch, unfortunately they choose to have odd shaped cards without a straight edge on them. They look great but do suffer from not being easily shuffled or fanned in the hand.

As to play. Well it's basically, roll the die, move, pick up a card or ticket if you can, collect a set, get a dragon, move to the end game space. And that's it. There just isn't any substance to it for a hobby gamer. For the family however to play over the Christmas break, once a year, instead of Monopoly... most definitely.

It is a wonderfully produced and smashing looking, and sadly missing any real game play.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Deepsea Desperation

Deepsea Desperation is a board game released by Greenpeace. It's a little print and play game that quite obviously is a dig at BP, and politically driven. At first glance you can see that the oil drillers are the bad guys and animals are in danger, everything as you might expect.

What did I expect?

I expected a miserable piece of rubbish. The "real" world often puts out these kinds of things and without fail thay are rubbish. Roll 'n move in a snakes 'n ladders style.

But Wait! What's this? The game is designed by Terror Bull games? The people who designed "War on Terror"! Real game designers. Wow!

That's right a small print and play given away with political motives designed by real game designers! I was shocked.

Well I printed the game and gave it a try. To be sure its not a great game, but it is a real game with tactics. Considering that it's only two pages to print and games last about 10 mins' what do you have to lose.

I hope this kind of thing becomes a trend. People pushing agendas, maybe even products, but with real playable interesting games we can get our hands on.

Not much chance , but I've got my fingers crossed.

Get the game