Published by Blue Orange Designed by Ludovic Barbe & Bruno Cathala
DRAGON RUN is a crazy-fun, fast paced 15 minute game for 2-5 Players aged 8+
The components are few but of good quality, which is ideal as it’s a game kids especially like to play over and over. There are 10 Location cards (6 different types: Discard & Draw x 5, Take Another Turn, No Crying, Draw a Treasure card, Look at Top 3 Treasure cards and the Dragon), 3 Talisman cards (Redirection, Invisibility and Languor), 5 Potions (Mind Control, Health, Annulation, Vision and Light) and 7 Character cards; these character cards are double-sided (healthy & injured). There is also a Dragon Temper card.
The Rules are in two booklets, one French language and one in English, and the cards and characters are all in French; though there are English translations on a separate sheet which are soon remembered after a game or two; it’s just the first couple of games which may be a bit slow as players will most likely need to consult the translation sheet regularly.
The game mechanic is quite simple; all players are Adventurers trying to escape after your get rich quick scheme of stealing the Dragon’s treasure went slightly awry. Every step you take makes the treasure in your backpacks rattle and this noise has awoken the Dragon. Your choices are not looking good, in fact the best thing you can do is RUN!!!
Every player is given, either by choice or randomly, a Character card, which they place face-up in front of them (face-up being the uninjured side), they also are dealt 4 random Treasure cards; the remainder of these making a face-down Treasure stack. After a few plays letting players choose their characters we have come to the conclusion that it is better to have a random distribution as each card has a special ability and some are quite a bit better than others if in the right hands.
The aim of the game is to get out alive of the dungeon with the most treasure, please note the “get out alive” clause because dead characters, even if they are the richest, cannot win.
The Dungeon (Location) cards are shuffled and the player order determined by whatever means most suits the players – last to have been eaten by a Dragon, roll a die that sort of decision – and they, as do all players, have three choices:
1. Charge Headfirst – basically you turn over the top Location card and act accordingly.
2. Advance Cautiously: Discard a Treasure card of Value 1 or higher and take a Discretion test – roll the die and act according to the result versus a small chart – this option may cause you grief or it may cause the Dragon to lose a Temper point, ie cool down a little. If you can get the Dragon to go back to sleep you can escape safely.
3. Cry like a Baby – Discard at least 2 points of Treasure and Pass on your turn.
Each character can only take 2 points of hurt before dying, that is to say, one point = injured, second point = dead. Players have potions and amulets that they can use to prevent them from dying – play cards at any time generally – and the Cleric character can heal them, though any Cleric worth their salt is going to charge for this service, which is one of the reasons we say characters should be dealt not chosen.
Mostly a turn goes by a player turning over a Location card and hoping it’s not the Dragon as that is an automatic wound; every other card is no problem. Once the Dragon appears the marker on the Dragon Temper card is moved down towards sleep and the Dragon card is placed back in the Locations deck which is then totally, discards and all, reshuffled. In this way it is possible, as there are only 10 Location cards, for the Dragon to appear twice in a row – I know because I managed it, in fact I was injured, healed, injured then turned over the Dragon on my next turn and died, during one game, which of course caused severe merriment to the other players.
The Dragon wins if it kills all Adventurers or the Adventurer alive and the richest wins if they get out of the Dungeon. Each Treasure card has a number of Gold coins on it to show its VP value. Extra Treasure cards are obtained via Location cards, though characters can only hold up to 4 Treasure cards at any one time so there are times when you have to give Treasure back (drop it as you RUN!!!)
No brain teaser or mind-boggler, DRAGON RUN is a fun and amusing game, ideal to keep kids happy and away from getting into trouble for 15-30 minutes, with most kids wanting to play at least twice.