News for March 2009
Shining the Spotlight 7
This week's staff favorite - Drakon!
Drakon | Published 17 March 2009

The spotlight keeps shining down. This week we will be taking a look at one of FFG's first forays into the world of Terrinoth. The world of Terrinoth is populated with all manners of fantasy creatures and characters. Featuring both hero and villian, overlord and minion, Terrinoth is a realm steeped in magic and mysticism. Some of you may know Terrinoth from Runebound, others may know it from Descent, and both parties will be able to recognize some of the heroes in this week's game, Drakon.

There were a few people that had Drakon as their staff pick, but Dan Clark, content creator, developer, and designer, slipped me a bottle of maple syrup (he's from Vermont) and got it for himself. "What I love about Drakon is that it is dirt-simple to teach and surprisingly nasty to play. I love to demo it. I can teach everyone at the table all the rules of the game in less than five minutes, and two turns in I can watch their eyes light up as they realize just how interactive the simple mechanics can be.

Drakon is an example of a style of game we do a lot at FFG - simple rules, complex components. This owes a lot to Cosmic Encounter back in the day, obviously. The core mechanics of Drakon are very simple - move or play then draw. But the gameplay that emerges from the combination of different tile abilities is fascinating. Saving a magic harp to break an opponent's loop, using the teleport and floating room tiles to jump onto someone else's gravy train, and careful positioning of the dragon herself are just a sampling of fun strategies you can try, many of which are not immediately obvious on your first play.

Drakon was a favorite lunchtime game around here for quite a while after the third edition's release and I still cherish my copy today."

In Drakon, each player is trying to get to 10 gold, as the first player to get to 10 gold leaves the dragon's lair alive. The other players get lunch, well that is to say they get to be lunch. So, how do you get the gold?

Turns consist of either playing a tile from your hand, and then drawing to replace it, or moving into an adjacent empty tile. Each tile has a unique attribute, ie. the Steal a Coin tile allows a hero on it to take a coin from another player, to the left or right as indicated by the tile. Tiles may be beneficial and you will want to play them near you, or they can severely impair the other players. Each turn will see you choosing between helping yourself, and doing your best to hinder the other players. ie. The Mind Control tile lets you move an opponent's hero. This combined with the Teleport tile, a tile that lets a hero move to any tile, can disrupt even the best laid plans.


Drakon features a healthy amount of variety. Do you play to prevent your opponents from getting ahead of you, laying down tiles to ruin their plans? Or do you play nice, and play tiles to build the best coin generator and do your best to be the first to attain the 10 gold needed to survive the dragon's wrath?

Included in the rules are four variants, so even the most experienced Drakon player has something new. One of the variants that sees a ton of play is the Heroes! variant. In this, each of the heroes has a special ability that can only be used once per game. The Knight may exert his ability and prevent an opponent from taking a coin from him. The Dwarf allows you to discard as many tiles from your hand as you wish, and then draw back up to four new tiles! Each of the powers, while only used once per game, has a big swing in how you play.

With how quick the game is to play, for game groups who wish their was a way to make Descent more competitive amongst heroes, they can play a game of Drakon to decide. Using the Heroes! variant above, have each player take on one of the roles in Drakon's lair. The winner of the game of Drakon is declared the overall winner of the night.

Overall, much like the games we have looked at so far, Drakon is very quick to pick up and play. A game takes about 30 minutes, and is very easy to learn. The tiles are thick stock, and the figures are superb. I especially love the figure of Drakon, and for those fans of Descent, she can be used with the card below, submitted by Matthew Saloff for our Design a Hero contest.

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Comments (7)

Published: 6/11/2009 4:53:54 AM

Buy this game!

Okay, it 's an oldie, but a very very good one! Fast to play, fun to play.

A must-have.

Published: 3/18/2009 12:34:23 AM

One of my favorite of the small box games, quick and fun, the 3rd edition was a great improvement. Larger tiles and the minis really added to the quality.

Published: 3/17/2009 10:35:47 PM

Agreed! I bought this one on a quiet day browesing my FLGS. I loved the cover, was already a fan of FFG, so how could I not? One of the great surprise buys of all time!

Published: 3/17/2009 5:39:32 PM

Great. I never even really considered buying this game until I read this.

I need a second job.

Published: 3/17/2009 4:57:13 PM

Love love love this game. You cannot play this game with just the basic rules. You have to play it with the funky "I have special powers because I play a wizard/warrior/etc" rules. Makes the game MUCH more interesting and fun! Love Drakon. Did I already say that? Oops. I did. Oh well. Check this game out!

Published: 3/17/2009 4:19:25 PM

Indeed.  Underrated game.

Published: 3/17/2009 3:43:15 PM

I love this game!

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