Sunday, February 23, 2014

Kosmos Two Player Game Series - Dragonheart by Rudiger Dorn

Dragonheart is a relatively straightforward card game.  One player represents an Evil Wizard who has imprisoned the Great Dragon in the Dragonheart stone, while the other player is trying to release him. Both players have identical 50 card decks comprised of Dragons, Treasure, Trolls, Dwarves, Knights and other fantasy figures of various values. On your turn, you play one type of card onto the matching space on the board. Some spaces can take any number of cards, others are limited to just 2, 3 or 4 cards. If you play a card on an unlimited space or fill one of the spaces that can take only 2-4 cards, you activate the action of that space.

Actions allow you to take other piles of cards on the board to score for points at the end of the game.  So, for example, if you play any number of Fire Dragons, you take all the cards on the Treasure space.  If you play any Sorceress cards you can take all the cards on the Treasure space or all the cards on the Petrified Dragon space. Doing the latter gives you the Dragon token which means you have a hand limit of six cards instead of five, a big advantage.

The game continues with players playing cards and taking other cards into their score pile while, occasionally, the Dragon token switches sides. The game ends when nine ship cards have been played or a player runs out of cards in their deck. Add up the value of the cards in your score pile and add three bonus points if you own the Dragon token. Highest score wins.

The strategy is to play cards onto the board that your opponent can't capture but that you can on your next turn. There's a fair amount of luck in what cards you draw and sometimes you're forced to play on a space that's going to benefit your opponent. The trick is to limit that as much as possible. Since it's a short game, Carol and I agreed to play two out of three.

During the first game, Carol had good luck with her draws and played four Dwarf cards onto the Dwarf space several times, moving them into her score pile. I had an early lead but it soon evaporated and she shot past me to win 56 to 34.

I regrouped in game two and when I thought I had the advantage played ship cards to bring the game to an early end. The strategy worked and I won 46 to 36.

The final round was tight, with both of us scoring a lot of points. In the end, I had the Dragon token and higher value cards.

Final scores:

   Bob      34 - 46 56
   Carol    56 - 36 - 44

Coming up:  We visit the Scottish Highlands for an epic tug-of-war in Heave Ho!

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