With the Kickstarter for Roots of Mali, SunCoreGames’ new base set, hitting tomorrow I figured I’d get my review of last year’s Light of Dragons up. Light of Dragons and Roots of Mali are both the same game, just with different tribes. The tribes in both games have different spells and innate powers, making them play completely differently. Both games are completely stand-alone, but can be mixed for varied gameplay. I’ll be posting a preview of Roots of Mali on Purple Pawn tomorrow, so this post will strictly be about Light of Dragons.
While seeming very thematic with amazing art and some lore in the rules, Light of Dragons is actually a tactical, abstract game of positioning. Both players have identical sets of six-sided dice, each side containing the same 6 creatures. Throughout the game you’ll be moving, upgrading/downgrading dice, casting spells, and attacking your opponents forces. You’ll always know exactly what your opponent has on the board, what they can do, and how many dice they have left in reserve. With 100% of the information available to both players, it’s all about putting what you have to good use.
The goal in Light of Dragons is to earn 10 Might Points. You do this by attacking your opponent’s dice. Defeat a level 4 creature, get 4 Might Points. Do so in one of the 3 rows on your opponent’s side of the board for +1/+2/+3 bonus points, depending on how close to their side of the board you are. Creatures can only attack creatures that have a lower value, with the exception being that level 3 creatures can also attack level 6 creatures. Creature powers and spells range from moving a different number of spaces. moving diagonally, splitting into several weaker creatures, forming barricades, moving through other creatures, and more.
The units in Light of Dragons are powerful, and make for a fairly fast game. Many creatures focus on lowering the power of other creatures, getting more creatures on the board, and providing extra Might Points. As you’ll see in my preview of Roots of Mali tomorrow, this set plays very differently. My oldest son and I actually played Roots of Mali first and were amazed at how much faster Light of Dragons plays, and how different it feels.
So how is it?
We really liked it. My oldest son is a huge fan of abstract strategy games, and took right to it. It took us both a bit of time to learn what each creatures can do, and how they work together, but really enjoyed the whole process. The basics of the game are really easy. The complexity comes from the tribe and its abilities. The mark of a good abstract is that it’s easy to learn/tough to master, and I feel this fits that pretty well. Add the beautiful art, excellent dice, and the scattering of lore in the rulebook, and I was hooked. My biggest complaint? The box. It’s a bit large and unwieldy considering there’s just dice, a small board, a rulebook, and summary cards inside. While it’s beautiful to look at, it’s not easily stored on my shelves with other games.
Does that effect the game at all?
You can snag Light of Dragons from SunCoreGames for $40, and the Kickstarter for Roots of Mali lands tomorrow, like I stated earlier. From the Kickstarter preview, it doesn’t look like they’ll be any special deals to get both games, so you’re not missing out on any savings by ordering Light of Dragons today.
A copy of Light of Dragons was provided free for review by SunCoreGames