Just before Christmas, a friend’s Facebook Like proved useful for once: it led me to a four-player board game about warring dragons. I purchased a copy of Dragoon immediately.
Lay Waste Games, the company behind Dragoon, crowdfunded the game in 2015, pulling in just under 10 times their initial goal. The game has since been pretty popular online and at gaming conventions, and this week, the company launched its second Kickstarter, which funded in just under two hours this morning. It’s called The Rogue and Barbarian Expansion, and it adds a couple of players to the original game. For newcomers, it’s a good opportunity to pick up Dragoon, as the initial print run sold out last year. For $30, you can get the regular expansion ($40 for the Gold Edition with metal pieces), while $50 will get you a copy of the original game ($90 for the Gold Edition).
Jake and Zach Given originally created the game after they decided that they wanted to play from the perspective of a fearsome dragon. The premise is simple. You play as one of four dragons who discovers that humans are invading your lands. The goal is to take over the villages and cities that populate, and try to hoard as much gold as possible before your fellow dragons do.
Each player takes a dragon and moves around the board, claiming or destroying settlements as they’re populated during gameplay. With each village or city that you control, you gain tribute, and the first dragon to 50 gold wins the game. Along the way, you have to fend off your neighbors, who can fight you or steal your gold. Since I picked up Dragoon, I’ve played it a bunch of times, with each game lasting about an hour, depending on how terrible you want to be to your fellow players.
Beyond the fun gameplay, the game is also rather striking purely as an object. Because the Kickstarter did so well, the pieces are all metal, rather than plastic. (Those gold pieces? Real gold finishing.) The tiny dragons are adorable, but they have some heft to them, which makes this game feel a little more special than plastic pieces. The pieces have their own bag, and the game’s board is cloth: you can toss everything into a provided cloth bag and carry it around pretty easily. The game’s designer, Jonathan Ritter-Roderick told The Verge in an email that the feedback on the game has been overwhelmingly positive. “As you can expect, the metal definitely surprises people the second you drop it in their hands. Eee!”
With the expansion, Ritter-Roderick noted that they wanted to increase the complexity of Dragoon. Now, “there is more to think about every turn, regardless of the role you play,” he says. The new expansion adds on two new characters, which can stymie the four dragons. The Barbarian uses a boat and some extra cards to steal from the players from the ocean, while the Thief can use a card-based system of tools and tunnels to steal gold on the board. Like the main game, you can pick up a fully metal version during this campaign, but newcomers now have an option to pick up a game with plastic pieces that’s much cheaper.
Ritter-Roderick said that they enjoyed crowdfunding the game. “A typical route with a publisher likely wouldn’t have given us the freedom to do crazy things like solid metal pieces,” he explained. Now that the team has hit their $14,000 goal, they’re expecting to deliver the game by November 2017, and hope to stock the game in more online and physical retail locations.