Game Review: Dragonwood

Text reads Game Review: Dragonwood
Dragonwood is a fun strategy game that relies on a little bit of luck. Players are on a quest to earn victory points by taking out monsters and gathering powerful magical items. Designed to be played by two to four players of ages eight or older, this game can be played in about 20 minutes. For all the Dice Goblins out there, you will love the six shiny red and gold math rocks!Dragonwood BoxEase of Set Up and Play
As with all of the Gamewright games our household has played, Dragonwood comes ready to play out of the box with clear instructions. This game features two card decks: Adventurer cards and Dragonwood cards. Players are dealt Adventurer cards and collect or defeat the Dragonwood cards throughout the course of play. There are several ways to approach each of the creatures from the Dragonwood cards.  A player can choose to Strike, Stomp, or Scream. The variety of options adds an extra challenge, as you will not always know which of the three options your opponent’s is likely to choose.

The premise of the game may be straightforward and simple to learn, but the number of players and the random nature of the cards and dice does afford a healthy level of replayability. Players may also wish to attempt different strategies for winning, such as focusing on magic items or clearing as many creatures as possible. The ease of play, short time of a round (and completes game), and the strategic element means this game can easily become a household staple.

While the adventurers artwork is well designed on the cards, I would personally like to see future editions of Dragonwood to include more diversity in their characters. Whenever a game features a cast of heroes, it’s important that everyone who plays is able to identify themselves within the selection of characters.  Representation aside, I did enjoy the colorful and humorous artwork displayed on the Dragonwood cards, with the fire ants being my favorite.

Fire Ants Card
Enjoyment Level
Our house had a lot of fun being silly while playing this game. It is great for those moments when you want to play a family game with a little bit of strategy involved, but don’t have the bandwidth or time investment for something as involved as Catan or Everdell.

Our house greatly enjoyed Dragonwood. While the representation of the hero characters should be looked at for future editions, the gameplay itself allowed for a fun family game night. We even had a family member join who doesn’t typically enjoy tabletop games. It is easy to pick up and would make a great game to play with tweens, especially those that have interest in meatier strategy games or TTRPGs but aren’t quite ready to learn all of the rules. Variant J recommends Dragonwood as a helpful ice breaker for a Session 0 of a new TTRPG group to help cut through the awkwardness and get to know each other’s game play styles. I expect that most game tables would find a lot to enjoy in Dragonwood.

Dragonwood Cards and Dice
*Photo Credit: Variant Berry

Related: Game Review: DragonRealm

Have you had a chance to play Dragonwood? What did you think?

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