In Cindr, you are going on dates with dragons, hoping to have the best, most successful time possible. The better compatible you are with your date, the more likely that is.
First, each player creates their cindr profile by filling in a Character Profile card. You give your character a name, some pronouns, likes and dislikes, and fill out the Compatibility Matcher. Here, you select your character’s preferences in relation to the four categories: Treasure, Climate, Lifestyle, and Social.
Next, you shuffle the Dragon Profile and Location decks and place them at the centre of the table with the image sides up.
Finally, you lay out the dice (red, blue, and green) and the three types of Second Chance cards.
On your turn, you first examine the top card on the Dragon Profile deck. The image side contains a picture of the dragon as well as a bit of flavour text that may indicate what their Compatibility Matcher looks like. For example, if a dragon says they like getting presents, it could mean they want your Treasure preference to be “Spender”.
If you think you are compatible with the dragon, you can “swipe right” to go on a date with them. If not, you can “swipe left” to reveal more dragons.
When you have found a dragon to date, you flip their card to reveal their Compatibility Matcher. Depending on how closely it matches your own, you get a green, blue, or red die per category.
Then you flip the top Location card to see where you are going and how it affects the date. Location cards may have effects such as changing the colour of a certain die, or giving you bonuses for completing a particular stage of the date or for rolling a particular result.
Finally, you start the date by rolling the dice you have gathered. A die will either land on a Heart or a Fire, green dice have more Hearts, red dice have more Fires. Rolled Hearts are potential Love points at the end of the date, Fires may cause the date to flop.
A date has up to three stages, each with one dice roll. You can stop after any stage and take the points you have accumulated, or you can decide to push your luck and continue, rerolling only the dice showing Hearts.
You have to complete at least two stages to be able to consider the date successful. A successful date allows you to add the dragon to your Dating Circle.
If you roll three or more Fires, you get Burned and do not get any points. You do however get a Second Chance card, which will help with future dates, such as allowing you to reroll Fires.
Whether you get Burned or you finish your date voluntarily, your turn ends. On later turns, you can date a new dragon from the deck or one from your Dating Circle. You can even date a dragon in another player’s Circle, you just have to pay Love points for it.
The game ends after the round where a player reaches 21 Love points. The player with the most points wins.
Excellent Theming And Flavour
I had an absolutely amazing time playing Cindr.
The theme is incredibly tight, reflected both in the look and mechanics of the game. The swiping right or left of course mirrors real world dating apps, as does the need to try and guess from a couple of pictures and a bit of (often self-aggrandizing) text whether you are compatible. The way the dice rolling works is true to life too: Even people who are not the most compatible can have a great date, and you can get burned even by your soulmate on paper. Though, usually, it doesn’t happen quite as literally as in Cindr.
My top selling point, and what truly made the experience for is, is the flavour text and illustrations. There is such a variety of dragons, different styles and attitudes and a lot of personality expressed in just a couple of lines of profile text. The illustrations are vibrant and playful, and the descriptions (the “Whelp” reviews) of the date locations are hilarious too.
I also really liked that we get to create a character at the beginning of the game. While Cindr is by no means a roleplaying game, it was fun to create a persona with which to court the dragons. I like that some parts of the Character Profile have a high impact on the gameplay, while others are “just” there for flavour, to build a fuller experience.
Play Experience And Replayability
As for the gameplay itself, I found that there is a good balance between what you can influence and pure chance. You can up your chances of rolling well by paying attention to the dragons’ profile texts, or by dating from your own or another player’s Circle, where you already know what their Compatibility Matcher looks like. But there is always the chance of rolling a Fire.
Another random aspect which keeps the game interesting and heightens the replayability is the Location Deck. Unlike the dragons, you have no choice which location to go to, and the way it can influence your date varies a lot. You might go in with four green dice only to be told that for this place, all green dice are swapped to blue.
Finally, Cindr comes with two variant rule sets which changes the experience and makes the game even further replayable. First, there is a Solo Mode where you can date a total of five dragons until you have been burned by them all, then compare your score to the game’s “Love Meter”. Second, you can play the game cooperatively, where you and your fellow players can freely date from each other’s Circles and your scores are accumulative.
If the idea of a dating based board game intrigues you, but you would prefer the game to be about people rather than dragons, you might like Dream Crush.
If instead you are not so much into the dating aspect but would like a game that has dragons in it, and where you make educated choices in order to gather a good dice pool, then you could check out Dragonwood.
Cindr is a game where you roll dice and take chances, all within the context of a fictional dating app for dragons. If you like games with fun premises and thorough themes, or if you simply really like dragons, you will like this game.