Who would have thought that the age old game of Dominos would suddenly have been the spawning point of numerous Euro games?
Well renown game designer Bruno Cathala, along with Marie & Wilfried Fort have joined forces to create a game in which the players are searching for baby dragons amongst the multiple stacks of dragon eggs.
The authors have taken account of the excellent Kingdomino and Queendomino, also by Bruno Cathala, and added something interesting whilst taking something of the gameplay away. For reasons unknown to me Blue Orange, the publishers, have used Maëva da Silva, Christine Deschamps as artists for DRAGOMINO instead of the Kingdomino and Queendomino artist: Cyril Bouquet. Maybe Cyril can't draw dragons (or eggs) ?
Each player begins with a similar Start Domino with one end as Snow and one as Desert, a solitary flag in a single colour denoting each as a Start piece. The colour of the flag has no bearing on the game except to identify the piece as a Start Domino. The Mummy Dragon meeple is given to the youngest player to be Start player.
The gameplay is the same however many of the 2-4 players are involved. This is also similar to the Kingdomino and Queendomino games. At between £14.00-£20.00 (online) it has the attraction and appearance of games that sell easily for double that plus. Queendomino £20.00-£25.00. Kingdomino £13.00-£21.00 - all prices found online.
The terrain dominos are shuffled and stacked in the box on their sides. From these four are drawn and placed in full view on the table. In turn the players take one of these and places it in front of them adjacent to a Domino already in front of them. At the beginning this is the Start Domino as it is the only Domino you have. Once you have added more Dominos you have more options on where to place the chosen domino.
Unlike other Domino games, when you place the new Domino it doesn't have to match any terrain already in your layout. Usually you would be trying to match one or both sides of the new Domino as it would score good points for you.
In DRAGOMINO when you match two pieces of terrain you select a Dragon Egg of the same colour as the terrain, then flip it over and position it across the joint where the two Dominos meet and match.
If you find it to be a Baby Dragon then it is worth one VP at the end of the game. If you find a Broken Egg then you get the Mummy Dragon (but no VPs) and become Start player if you still have it at the end of the turn. The turn ends when all players have chosen and placed a Domino. The game ends when all Dominos have been taken. The Mummy Dragon holder gets one bonus point.
If you play with less than 4 players then you still put out 4 Dominos every turn and any remaining after all players have selected one are removed from play (not put back with the others in the box).
Sometimes, in fact quite often, you cannot improve on the original, but these new ideas for Dominos have definitely brightened up a classic game by skilfully and happily bringing it into the 21st Century.
There is a game variant: the Dragon's Thirst, which, to be honest (why did I say that? I am always honest with my reviews) seems like an afterthought. Having tried it a couple of times I still believe it has that bolted on for the sake of it feeling.