Dragonrealm turns players into treasure-chasing adventurers who will seek out new locations while trying to avoid goblins and rockslides. Two to four players collect numbered Adventurer cards and try to build up sequences or sets of matching colors or numbers to earn a roll of up to six dice (numbered 1 to 4, with 2 or 3 being more probable than 1 or 4). A high enough roll means a player can place a token (a “meeple”) or two on one of the three active Dragonrealm locations. If the roll fails, players can place a meeple in the Adventurer Academy to provide a boost to future rolls. When all the spaces are filled in a location card, the player who holds the most spaces wins the card, and all players who hold spaces win coins. Play continues through six locations (five for a two-player game) and a final Dragon location, and the player with the most treasure wins the game.
The fantasy style will be familiar to players who know the original Dragonwood game, though experience with the earlier game is by no means required. Location names hint at danger and darkness — Witch’s Cabin, Slimy Tunnels, Enchanted Forest, Dragon Rock, and so on. Every game uses a new mix of cards with different levels of difficulty and rewards.
The game appears complex at first; plan on at least twenty minutes to learn the basics and expect to consult the rules often during the early rounds. However, once players become comfortable with the rhythm of the game, play moves swiftly, the strategies become clearer, and the game becomes more competitive and fun. Players with active imaginations can build stories around their explorations; the mathematically-minded can focus on the probabilities of success and consider whether that one-use enhancement card should be played sooner or later.
Emily Crawford ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master’s in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia. .