Having gotten an early release copy of the new Dragon Dice Firewalker/Treefolk Starter at PAX East this year, I was very eager to dig back into a game I haven’t played since 1995. The pre-release of this set has finally hit SFR’s online store, so you can actually snag the dice now if you’re interested.
Not having a solid rulebook with the bag of dice I brought home, I used a combination of the official rulebook, this YouTube video by That’s How We Roll, and these great reference sheets from user Herrigold on BoardGameGeek. While Dragon Dice is actually fairly easy to play, years of releases, promo dice, etc… have caused the official rulebook to swell to a considerable size. The video and reference sheets were a huge help to my son and I when we were ready to jump in and play.
The goal in Dragon Dice is to obliterate your opponents army, or two capture 2 of the 3 terrains in play. The game is a very abstract war game where the number on each 8 sided terrain die is how close your army is to capturing that terrain. Each side of the terrain dice also let you know what types of attacks can be made at that distance: magic, missile, or melee. Each player builds an army out of their dice using an agreed upon point amount. When building an army small dice are worth 1 point, medium are 2 points, large are 3 points, and the 10 sided monster dice are worth 4 points. Armies are split into 3 forces between the terrain dice.
Each turn a player will have 2 opportunities to maneuver a terrain die (move it up or down a number), and attack. There’s also a phase for Dragon actions if a dragon has been summoned using magic (These buggers wreak havoc on anyone at the terrain their summoned at. It’s both terrible, and awesome.) Units can also be pulled into reserve so they can move between terrains as needed. I won’t do much more in depth with the mechanics. Just check out the video above for a better overview on how to play.
All that being said, how does it play? First off let me say that back in the day I totally didn’t play Dragon Dice correctly. Now that I know how to play, I’m a bit addicted. The dice are wonderful, and I love the army building aspect of the game. There’s also just something very satisfying about rolling handfuls of dice and raining destruction upon your foes. The magic system adds a huge amount of depth the game, and the sheer amount of dice and expansion dice available has me wishing I could go out and snag it all. There’s a reason Dragon Dice is still around after all these years, and I give SFR a huge amount of credit for keeping the game alive and kicking.
I should also mention that extra dice for the game are solid in the form of Kickers. These are basically booster packs that come with 8 dice. You always know you’re going to get a monster, 4 common dice, 2 uncommon dice, and 1 rare die, but you don’t know what unit each of those dice are going to be. You can also buy more terrains, dragons, and even a few expansion sets that add more to the game. I’m hoping to snag some of these extras soon.
So far this may be one of my favorite games I’ve played this year, and I have a feeling it’s one I’ll be playing it for a long time.
An early release copy of the Firewalker/Treefolk starter was provided free for review by SFR, INC. A kicker for each army was also purchased.
I wanted to get into this game with a friend of mine. We both very much like the idea of the game essentially each person sits down with a dice bag, dumps them out and goes from there. No cards, no tokens/minis, no boards, just dice (and a reference sheet until you know what you are doing, but that fits into the dice bag)
He says it feels like something you would either see some background NPCs playing in a fantasy-medieval tavern or in some cyberpunk club. Very cool imagery.
Now.. I just need to figure out how to get started.. any suggestions?
There’s actually a new starter set releasing shortly, which I’ll be reviewing once it comes in the mail. That’s the best way to start!