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.