Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How to Steal Their Dragon (Dragonology)

Good morning, intrepid adventure!  How would you like to travel to exotic lands, meet fantastical creatures far beyond your imagination, and perhaps even discover untold riches, hmmm?  That's right, this can all be yours, if you act now!  Just grab your Journal, and come join fellow thrill-seekers like yourself in Dragonology!

GAME DESCRIPTION: Dragonology is a Board Game published by Sababa Toys, and based on the fictional encyclopedic book Dragonology book.  The object of the game is to search the globe for information on Dragons to become the Master Dragonologist.

SET-UP:  Each Dragon is placed on the board in its specific location.  Each player is dealt 1 red Bit of Knowledge card and 3 Transportation Tickets.  The rest are placed face-down on the board.  Each player reveals their Bit of Knowledge card and places their figure in the City indicated on the card.  Then, each player rolls the Dragon Die.  The player with the highest roll goes first, with the Dragon's Eye being the highest number.

MOVEMENT:  To move, the player may either roll the die, or discard 1 Transportation Ticket.  If the die is rolled, the player moves that many spaces, or to any Dragon's home city if the Dragon's Eye is rolled.  If the player discards a Ticket, they may move according to the Ticket used:
  • Air (Hot Air Balloon & Airplane):  The player may move to any space on the board.
  • Sea (Steamboat):  The player may move from one Port, indicated by an anchor symbol, to any connecting Port over any blue Ocean/Sea spaces
  • Land (Locomotive, Camel, Elephant, & Stagecoach):  The player may move to any space in that continent.
SPACES:  When landing on a space, there are 4 actions that can happen.  Landing on a blank does nothing.  Landing on a Port, City, or Dragon's Home allows the player to draw a Bit of Knowledge or Transportation Ticket.  If a player lands on a "B", they draw a Bit of Knowledge card, and if they land on a "T", they draw a Ticket.

DRAGONS:  Once a player has collected 3 matching Bit of Knowledge cards about a specific dragon, they then must either use a Ticket, or roll exactly to land on that Dragon's home.  Then, they discard those Bit of Knowledge cards and collect, or Master, the Dragon figure.

KNOWLEDGE:  If a player lands on a space with another player, they may trade cards, or Bump them.  A Bump Challenge is conducted by the challenging player wagering any number of Cards OR Tickets in Rock, Paper, Scissors.  The winner takes all wagered cards.  In addition to Dragon Bit of Knowledge cards, there are special Spells and Charms Bit of Knowledge cards that have various effects:
  • Wild:  This card may be used as any third Dragon Bit of Knowledge card.
  • Snatch:  Steal a random Bit of Knowledge from any player.
  • Hypnotize:  The player may request a specific Dragon's Bit of Knowledge card from any one player.  If they have it, the player gives 
  • Master Claw:  If a player lands on a Dragon's home that has already been collected, they may steal the Dragon from the player.
  • Déjà vu: Take another turn.
  • Confusion:  Take all others players Bit of Knowledge cards, shuffle them and deal them out, not including yourself, 
  • Swoop:  Move another players piece to any space.  This may only be played if the player has collected any of the following dragons: American Ampithere, Cockatrice, European Dragon, Frost Dragon, Gargouille, Marsupial Dragon, or Wyvern.
  • Shield:  This protects a player from Bump Challenges, Snatch, or Hypnotize.  This effect can only protect against one card per Shield.

DRAGON'S EYE:  Once a player has collected 3 Dragons, they can then advance to the Island of Winged Serpents.  If a player rolls the die to land there, they must roll the exact number to land of the Island.  Once a player has landed on the Island, they are immune to all Spells and Charms.  Then, during their turn, if the player rolls the exact number of spaces or a Dragon's Eye, they reach the Dragon's Eye on the board.  If they roll lower, they advance that many spaces, and must wait until their next turn to attempt to reach the Eye.  If they roll higher, the player stays there, and attempts to roll the next turn.  The player that manages to reach the Dragon's Eye on the board with 3 or more Dragons wins, and signs their name on the Record Sheet, stored in the Secret Envelope.

CONCLUSION:  Dragonology is a beautiful game, with cards reflecting its theme well, a gorgeous board, and detailed figurines that are better than some Mini-figs I've seen.  The problem comes down to its gameplay: It feels like every bland board game ever created.  For how pretty the game looks, the generic gameplay kills it.  Now, this wouldn't be so bad if the gameplay was shorter, but games tend to last at least an hour or so.  If you have kids who are interested in dragons, it's worth playing once or twice.  Otherwise, the only way I can recommend it is if you can find it at a thrift store for cheap, and only for the figurines.

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