Scream, Stomp, and Strike Your Way to Victory
- What: Dragonwood card game
- When: Six years and up
- Why: Compact, affordable, fun
- Where: Amazon
If your kids love fantastical creatures, and you love games that reinforce math skills, look no further than the forests of Dragonwood for entertainment. This card game made for kids pits players against one another to earn the most victory points.
The game comes with two types of cards, the red Adventurer cards (mainly numbered 1 through 12 with a few bonus cards) and green Dragonwood cards. It also includes 6 dice numbered from 1 to 4 on each side. The Dragonwood cards contain three types: creatures with a green background, enhancements with a purple border, and events with an orange background. Defeat the creatures to gain their points on the road to winning. Enhancement cards help you win more creatures. Event cards never end up on the table, but go into play as soon as they appear and then get discarded.
Each player gets five adventurer cards to start the game. Place five more Dragonwood cards on the table face up to collect. Each Dragonwood card has a numeric value that must be reached to “capture” that card. Players combine three or more of their Adventurer cards in a pattern to take one of the five cards face up on the table. Card patterns can include sequenced numbers, cards with the same number, or cards with the same color. Every card combined into a pattern earns that player a dice, so four cards of the same color mean you get four dice to roll. Roll the dice and add up the numbers to see if you’ve gotten higher than the creature (or enhancement) value. If so, you take possession of that creature along with its victory points, replace the Dragonwood card you took with one from the deck, and play continues with the next person.
The trick? Each card has a different number depending on the method used to capture it. While it might only take 8 points with cards in sequential order, it could require 12 points to defeat using cards of the same color. The game ends when both the two dragon creature cards have been captured. The player with the most points wins, with an extra three points going to the player who captured the most creatures.
This game moves fairly quickly once kids understand the basic set up and strategy. The more cards you can combine, the more dice you roll, and the better your chances of defeating any given creature. Capture more creatures to get more points to win the game. The basic math keeps kids comparing numbers, sequencing numbers, and matching colors, while the dice rolls require lots of small number addition. Kids must also be able to compare their roll total with the number on the cards and determine which one is higher Finally, they need to add all their points at the end of the game. But few kids will notice these efforts as they try to collect creatures and win the game.
The cards and dice store easily in a small box that doesn’t take up a ton of space. If you lose a card, you can still play the game without an issue. Dice are tricker, as they have numbers only up to four, so they can be hard to replace if you lose one. You’ll want a decent sized surface to play the game, with room for two decks of cards and five cards laid out, plus extra space to keep the creatures you capture. You can roll the dice into the box lid if you want to keep them confined.
This game makes a great gift. In fact, that’s how we acquired ours, as a birthday present from a friend. Learning to play is easier than it sounds, and doesn’t require a lot of lengthy set up or clean up. But it’s also not as common as other games, so it provides some novelty in these times of limited resources. Enjoy battling the creatures as well as each other in this game to bust some boredom around your household.