What’s the red thing on his neck?
Back in the late 90’s the German game company Kosmos churned out an impressive range of two player games, which was slightly unusual then, and still is. Dragonheart is a more recent addition to that range, which sounded like a good idea to me. The presentation is, as with the other games I have seen from the range, great, with a gorgeous and striking box, and nicely illustrated cards and board, plus a cute dragon miniature figure. Once I’d got past all that it quickly became apparent that the theme (the forces of light and dark doing battle to decide the fate of a petrified dragon) is entirely superficial: you just lay down cards in a kind of serial game of advanced rock-paper-scissors. The rules explained the mechanics just fine but left me with no real feel as to how to approach game play.
Miss B, of course is not worried about such niceties as strategy and quickly embraced the whole concept of playing a fire dragon to grab the treasure, or three huntress cards to shoot down the fire dragon. The pictures provide enough theme for her to start imagining the stories going on behind the game play.
This is a game that actually feels harder to explain than to play. Dragonheart just plays insanely smoothly. Most of the rules, which could easily have involved a lot of referring back to the rulebook, are elegantly represented by arrows and rectangles on the board, so there is actually very little to remember. After the first few turns, Miss B was even starting to remind me of the rules.
Once we had finished our first game, we instantly had to have another go, and since then the game has found its way onto the regular request list, alongside the likes of Sleeping Queens and Coloretto, which is some achievement. More to the point I think that this is one of a handful of games that, in our little household of three of us, would work well as a quick game between any two of us. We’re definitely pleased with this purchase.
The verdict from Miss B (aged 5½): “It was good because I really like dragons. Can we play again?”
The game: Dragonheart (Kosmos), 2 players aged 13+.