Dragonrealm Review

Dragonrealm is the sequel to the hit family game Dragonwood from Gamewright. While I don’t have any experience with Dragonwood, our family has spent a good amount of time with this release. From everything I have heard, Dragonrealm is a great step up from its predecessor without moving outside of the realm of “family-weight” game.

In Dragonrealm, you’re collecting numbered cards that belong in 5 different suits/colors. You can choose to “Rest” or “Explore” during your turn. When you rest, you’ll take two adventure cards, two of which are always face up so you know what you’re getting.

During this rest action, players can trigger goblin attacks and rockslides that can affect the plans of everyone at the table. Rockslide cards force players to pass a card to the right or left to another player. When a goblin card is revealed, it will tell you which of the three locations gets a goblin token. These goblins will take up valuable space on a location and can even take away some of the treasure that will eventually be paid out on the location.

Plan Your Attack

When you choose to explore, you’ll discard different configurations of cards in order to control a space on one of three locations that are in the center of the table. Exploration will fall into one of three types:

  • Sneak, discard cards that all share the same color
  • Search, discard cards of the same number
  • Storm, discard a run of cards, not restricted by color

Dragonrealm is essentially an area control game with some press-your-luck and set collection elements. Turning in cards will give you access to that number of dice from the die pool. Laying down 3 cards of the same color give you 3 dice to “sneak” at the location of your choosing. You’ll roll these dice to determine if you meet the requirements to place an adventurer at a location.

For example, the Den of Wolves allows you to “storm” this location for a total of 6 points. You’ll have to meet or exceed this number to place an adventurer on this location. The higher numbers commonly have a gold ring around the icon. If you meet or exceed this number, you can place two adventurers on the location.

When a location reaches its limit of adventurers, coins are paid out to the two players that have the majority of the adventurers. The player who had the most adventurers on a location will take the location card and get to count the dragonstones which can earn you the end game bonus of 5 coins. During a tie, players are given equal number of coins at a location. During the game, it’s not uncommon for the goblins to earn treasure, sometimes leaving actual players without any reward.

Once the dragon location is revealed and defeated, the game is over and coins are counted to determine a winner.

For Adventurers Big and Small

I was really impressed with how fluid Dragonrealm plays. This seems like one of the best games around to introduce younger gamers to area control and press-your-luck. The artwork on the location cards and the components in the game are exactly what you would expect from Gamewright. The dice look incredible and the wooden goblins and adventurers are an excellent touch.

While Dragonrealm isn’t going to be your go-to game for the next game night for your adult friends, this is a great selection for a mix of kids and adults or a game that kids 10 or older can play with their friends.

The game does a great job of mitigating bad die rolls with the Adventurer Academy. When you fail a roll, your adventurer will go onto this card and can be used to add a +1 for each adventurer to a future die roll. Adventurer’s Alley added even more value by allowing you to get enhancement cards that help you even more.

Dragonrealm comes with 25 different locations and during a game, you’ll only see 6 of these locations. This means that each game will be slightly different and adds to the replay-ability in a meaningful way.

If you’re looking for a great family game that engages both kids and adults, Dragonrealm might be a great fit for your game shelf.

You can purchase Dragonrealm at your local game store, Target stores or online through Amazon today.

Gamewright Games provided us with a retail copy of Dragonrealm for this review. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game.

Highs

  • Excellent introduction to area control mechanics for kids
  • Beautiful artwork and top-notch components
  • Variety of location cards increase replay-ability

Lows

  • Tends to lean on the lighter side of gameplay