Saturday, 21 January 2012
Dwarves Have Weird Hobbies
Since The Other Half was kind enough to buy this for my birthday, you might want to take this review with a pinch of salt, though if I had hated it, I promise you I'd just keep quiet, rather than spinning an intricate web of internet-based deceit.
Anyway, whether you believe me or not, Drako is pretty good. Much as I love games of significant, even implausible complexity (as previoulsy reported, my favorite game is now so staggering convoluted even its expansions need expansions), there's something to be said about a game you can pull down and play through to completion in under thirty minutes.
Drako fulfils that need exceptionally well. In large part, that's because it's a game about three dwarves trying to mess up a dragon, Who wouldn't want to play that? They're pretty good at it, too. Perhaps they've been practising, working their way upwards from particulary vicious pigeons (alas, not represented in the game mechanics). They've brought a net, and a crossbow, and one guy who gets really angry, and they have to chop off the dragons wings, its feet, and whatever bit of it lets it breath fire, before they run of out time and the dragon flies away . Oddly, the dragon can still do this without wings. And feet. Maybe if necessary it can roll its broken body down the mountain side? We can only speculate.
For its part, the dragon has to survive until the dwarf player runs out of cards (you can draw two cards or play one each action, and there are two actions to a turn), or it manages to kill all three dwarves (no easy task - in our first two games not a single dwarf was killed). The dragon player has a deck, too (running out of these doesn't end the game, but it does mean that the dragon can't do anything, which generally seals its fate). The cards themselves display the various actions that can be performed - moving, flying, attacking, or launching nets/quarrels/jets of flame. They can also display defence actions, which protect you from attack, but at the expense of not getting to use whatever else in on the card too.
And that's pretty much it. There's enough going on to make the game more than just hoping for the right card (both times we played, the dragon died as a result of the last attack left in the dwarf deck, which suggests the game is nicely balanced, at least for rookies), but you can read the rules in ten minutes and explain what matters in about half that time. It's only disadvantage is it's for just two players play it (I suppose three people could take a dwarf each, but the bitching over who got to use each card would probably ruin the speed of the game), but otherwise, it's a really nice way to plug a half-hour hole in your day.
It's nice and pretty, too. Looks like there's four more miniatures to add to my increasingly ridiculous paint list.