Home > Games > The gold ones are the King’s, the red ones are from Wales…

The gold ones are the King’s, the red ones are from Wales…

September 26, 2014

So Miss B was in the “spare” room (which is largely taken up with games, so isn’t very spare) looking at the shelves of boxes and commenting on a few games that she’d like to play again, some she really didn’t fancy, and asking me about a few she didn’t know about. One of this latter category was Dragonlance, a big box boardgame TSR made in the late 80’s based on the popular D&D scenarios and novels.

A bronze dragon flies away with the Dragonlance, with the greens in hot pursuit.

A bronze dragon flies away with the Dragonlance, with the greens in hot pursuit.

I played this game a couple of times, many years ago and thought it was OK, and then found a copy of it in a charity shop a few years back, so added it to the collection. To be frank, it still looks pretty cool when set up on the table, even if it is almost impossible to get the gates and walls to fit together properly. I mean, when you have everything in play you have 30 dragon miniatures (in 6 colours) to fly around the place, how cool is that? The altitude of the dragons also come into play, and this is represented by a stack of disks that elevate the figures, and combat causes losers to fall towards the ground. And on the subject of combat, it generally strongly favours the attacker, who gets bonuses for swooping in at speed rather than just taking pot shots. Movement is, unfortunately, based on a die roll, but at least if you get unlucky and roll low you get to draw magic cards which can give all sorts of nice bonuses to compensate you for the lousy moves.

So far, so fantastic. Unfortunately, the stacks of disks with dragons balanced on top can be really precarious and there can be a lot of accidental knockings-over, particularly when you have a functionally one-armed seven-year-old and a shaky-handed klutz like me. Still, we muddled on through.

The game we played just used the basic rules and one set of dragons each. The rules suggest that in a two-player game you could play two, or even three colours each, which I think we will do next time as our game was over quite quickly without much battling and too much manoeuvring space. Miss B had a shockingly bad start, movement-wise, but then managed to draw a couple of magic cards which helped her get to the Dragonlance rather easily and then out again with some neat tricks, after which I was unable to catch her.

We had a great time with this. The game has amazing visual appeal and is quite a lot of fun to play, despite its flaws. We’ll probably be giving it another go soonish, using more dragons but almost certainly sticking to the basic rules. There are advanced rules that add all sorts of extra tactical factors but, frankly, who needs them?

The verdict from Miss B (aged nearly 7¾): “Very exciting adventure game.  I WON! One of my dragons kept falling over.  Daddy drew a magic card but it was, ‘bronze dragons immune’, so VICTORY!”

The game: Dragonlance (TSR), 2 to 6 players aged 10+.

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