Designers: Jake Given, Zach Given, Jonathan Ritter-Roderick
Publisher: Lay Waste Games
Year: 2015 (2017 expansion)
MSRP: Varies per edition
Players: 2-4 (2-6 with expansion)
Play Time: 23-60 min
Rules Available Online: Yes
I first had a chance to give Dragoon a shot back in 2015, shortly after PAX East while Lay Waste Games was still Kickstarting the game. It was a bit of time after that when my Full Metal Mantis edition of the game arrived with its full-color cloth map, all-metal pieces, and all the awesome gameplay crammed into that tiny box. My kids and I have been enjoying it ever since. Now Lay Waste Games has launched a new Kickstarter for a Dragoon expansion, The Barbarian and Rogue. It adds two playable human characters to the mix with different rules than the dragons.
Oh yeah, they’re also reprinting Dragoon in both plastic and metal editions. There’s also an insane Wyrmwood Gaming board to be had at the highest reward level.
Both the Barbarian and Rogue play differently than your standard dragon does. I mean, come on, are you going to just walk into a city and demand tribute if you’re but a puny human?
I don’t think so.
Let’s break it down.
He’s got a boat! This immediately makes him awesome right from the start. Who doesn’t love boats?
The Barbarian is similar to dragons in many ways but must level up to use more powerful cards. Barbarians also lose a level if they lost in combat.
How does a Barbarian level up? Tribute! The Barbarian earns a level for every gold it earns during its Tribute phase. You can’t go above level 5 because there’s nothing above level 5.
There are a few other differences with the Barbarian. Instead of stealing a dragon’s gold from its cave he can smash is. That dragon loses 3 gold but the Barbarian gains none. Then there’s the boat. The boat always sits right on the board in whatever row/column the Barbarian is in. The Barbarian can board the boat if it’s next to it to move anywhere along the edge of the board. You need to be careful, though. The boat always holds 3 of the Barbarian’s gold which can be lost of the Rogue or a dragon destroys the boat.
The Rogue is a sneaky bugger who can use their bag of equipment to do all sorts of nasty things on the board. They can also use tunnels to quickly pop from one end of the board to another and loot villages and cities claimed by other players. They can even do this to loot dragon’s caves. The catch? The Rogue can only have 4 equipment cards active at a time. This makes planning your moves and equipment set very important throughout the game.
Along with equipment the Rogue also has the ability to steal gold from villages/cities it’s standing on without destroying them. It can only do this once per city per turn.
Rogues are also a bit fragile when it comes to fighting dragons and barbarians. They automatically lose all combat if their Poison Dagger is not equipped. To help balance things out a Rogue can only be brought into combat by landing on another player or another player landing on them.
Want more details on the expansion rules? You can find them here (still a work in progress).
The pieces, as expected, are amazing. Since I already have a metal edition of Dragoon, Lay Waste sent me the Copper Ox Barbarian and Nickel OX Rogue. Both live up to their metal dragon brethren in awesomeness. In fact, I may like them even more than the painted metal dragons I have because the color on these won’t chip.
The expansion contains everything you’ll need to play these two characters, including the characters themselves, scoring token, a freakin’ boat, cards, reference cards, etc…
Have I mentioned how cool the metal boat is? No. It’s awesome.
I’ve made it clear several times over the past two years how much I love Dragoon, even though my kids aren’t nice enough to ever let me win. Well, you know what? Daddy wins when he plays as the Rogue. Take that!
The expansion adds a fresh take on gameplay and really makes you think how to plan out your moves. The Rogue is quick, sneaky, and has wonderful tools at their disposal. They’re also vulnerable if they doesn’t have his poison dagger equipped. The Barbarian is beefy and has a boat, but takes a bit of time to work up some steam. They both have different ways of scoring, and take a bit of getting used to, but can be devastating on the board.
They are also delicious, which an experience dragon player will know.
Dragoon is already an amazing game. The Barbarian and Rogue expansion continue on with the awesomeness by bringing in some fresh gameplay and the ability to handle more players on the board at once.
There’s also a BOAT.
A copy of the Dragoon Rogue and Barbarian expansion was provided free for review by Lay Waste Games.