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How To Play Flamecraft


Fancy a drink at “Flagons and Dragons” or a snack at “La Petite Dragon”? While we are eating, we can discuss how to become the best Flame Keeper in the whimsical town of Flamecraft.

Flamecraft is a collaborative worker placement and engine-building game set in a town where Artisan Dragons and their human companions work in harmony to produce all variety of goods. As flamekeepers, the players will work to ensure these small Dragons are placed in the best environment to produce wondrous items to awe the citizens of this fantasy town and grow their own reputation.

From setup to end game scoring, the players are surrounded by beautifully designed components and by the adorable characters created by Sandara Tang. The rules will not feel too complex and a nice and warm feeling will be constantly fuelled by the puns and playful jokes of stores' and Dragons' names.

However, behind all the niceness and cuteness, Flamecraft is still a competitive euro game and, as such, a good level of strategy is needed in order to win the game and grasp any opportunity to score big. How could you do this while playing with super adorable Dragons is a skill we could master together.

Hey, There's New Hot Stuff In Town!

Flamecraft setup is pretty straightforward and it starts by laying the tower mat in the centre of the table. The mat is designed to track the score and to hold all the cards and decks used in the game. It also provides the placeholders for the shops which will made your town centre starting with the 6 initial shops you need to place during the setup. Order and position of the shop does not count and you could place each of them where you prefer. In each shop you also need to place a Dragon from the Artisan Dragon deck randomly choosing one with an icon matching the icon of the shop. This is a key concept in Flamecraft as worker placement is driven by matching icons between the Dragons and the shops.

The next step of the setup is preparing all the decks needed in the game. First, all shops should be separated in 7 piles based on their icon (6 for the main goods and 1 for all the other shops). Once all piles prepared, players will randomly pick 1 shop for each of 6 main good piles and 4 from the 7th pile making a deck of 10 shops in total.

The next deck to prepare is the Artisan Dragon deck that is proportional to the player count as described at page 4 of the rulebook. Once the deck prepared, the first 5 Artisan Dragons will need to be revealed and placed on the mat in the area with the fountain. The Artisan Dragon deck not only provides the workers for your game engine but also serves as timer triggering the game end once it runs out.

The last deck to prepare is the enchantment one. In this case, players chose either the gold one or the purple one where this last one is recommended for an easier game. As per the Artisan Dragon, the first 5 enchantments are placed on the mat in the dedicated area in the middle of the scoring track.

All other components and decks are placed as per the diagram in the rulebook. Getting ready for a game should not take too long overall but if you have the deluxe components and the trays the setup will obviously be much smoother.

Finally, each player collects one player token, one reputation marker, 3 Artisan Dragons from the deck in play, 2 Fancy Dragons and 1 token for any of the goods if there are 4+ players. Once each player has discarded one of the 2 Fancy Dragons and the first player is chosen/ agreed the game can start.

The Heat Is On Flamekeeper

In a game of Flamecraft, player alternate taking turns till the deck of Artisan Dragon will be fully exhausted. Each turn, a player must move their token to visit a new shop and, once there, decides to either gather resources or enchant it. If there is already one or more players in the chosen shop, one goods token or coin must be paid to each of them before the player can move that such shop.

What Should I Get Today

When gathering from a shop, players could take goods, Dragons and/or coins depending on the icons displayed at the location. All the icons on the shop, on any enchantment card and on any Artisan card present count toward the amount of items a player could gather. The icons on the bottom line of the shop do not count as they are the requirements for placing a Dragon (see a bit later). One key aspect to remind: players can collect any amount of goods at this stage but they will only be able to keep a maximum of 7 of each type at the end of their turn.

Once all goods gathered, the player can place an Artisan Dragon and eventually activate it. In order to add it, the icon on the top left corner of the Artisan Dragon has to match any icon on one of the empty slots at the shop. The order in which Artisan Dragons are added to the shop is not important and once the Dragon added the players can collect the reward associated to that space. You would probably realize quickly that the icon requirements are all in the same brownish colour while the icons of the rewards to be collected are always coloured.

Any time a new Artisan Dragon is placed into a shop, a player could activate a Dragon at the same shop. This last action is also called “fire up” the Dragon as the effect triggered is listed next to the fire icon at the bottom of the Dragon the card. A very important point to remind is that a player can chose to activate any Dragon at the shop, not necessarily the one they just placed). In fact, adding a not so useful Dragon to trigger an effect or a chain of effects using another Dragon already at a shop is a very powerful strategy to win the game.

Adding an Artisan Dragon or firing one up may result in all slots at a shop to be filled. As soon as this happens, the player draws a new shop and places it face down in one of the empty entrances on the side of the mat. Although not frequent, it must be noted that the addition of a new shop has to be completed even if a chain of effects may free one of the slots at a shop just after the last one has been taken.

Last but not least, a player can also chose to use a shop ability (if there is one).

You Shall Not Pass But Instead Enchant A Shop

A player can chose to use any of the enchantment in the face-up row instead of gathering from a shop. Any shop can be enchanted, even those with any Artisan Dragon in it or completely filled, and any enchantment can be used as far as the icon(s) on it matches the icon on the shop. To enchant a shop, a player needs to pay the cost depicted on the card and then they gain immediately the reward shown at the bottom of the enchantment itself. Coins could be used in lieu of any other resource.

Once the enchantment completed, the enchantment card then is placed over the shop name leaving visible only its icon and name. The player has then the choice to fire up all Dragons at the shop. The order in which the abilities are activated is chosen by the player and if any of these abilities allows a player to add a new Dragon its ability could also be triggered once it is added to the shop. In this case, adding a new Dragon also requires for the Dragon to meet the icon requirements of the slot and grants the player with the rewards as usual.

End Of The Tail And Final Scoring

Before completing their turn, the active player will turn face-up all shops added during their turn to expand the town. In addition, they also discard any Goods and Artisan Dragons that exceeds the maximum allowance (7 of each type and 6 respectively). There is no limit to how many coins and Fancy Dragons a player can have.

Before passing the turn to the next player, new Artisan Dragons and Enchantments are added to the central board to ensure there are always 5 of them. This action means Dragon and Enchantments are not replenished during a player turn.

Aiming For The Beast Score

Once either the Artisan Dragon or the Enchantment deck runs out, the end of the game is triggered. All players, including the one triggering the end-of-the-game condition have the chance to play one final turn before finalizing the scoring.

Each players add to their reputation tracker the rewards for all their Fancy Dragons plus 1 for each of their Coins. As this is a challenge to be the best Flame Keeper, the player with the highest reputation wins. Tie-breaks are decided basing on the amount of Artisan Dragon in hand and leftover goods at game end.

How To Tip The Scales

Beating your competition to be crowned best Flame Keeper in town is not as easy as it seems at a first glance. In fact Flamecraft has a lot of choices and options in store for you at every turn and you will often find that the race is very balanced till the very end.

A key aspect of Flamecraft is to focus constantly on your end goal. As the aim of each players is to maximize the reputation, the few shops granting these points will be filled quickly. Considering this, it would be wise to avoid to be the one to fill the last slot in a shop as much as possible: any new shops added after another one has been completed, can only be revealed at the end of your turn thus potentially allowing the next player to grab precious reputation points.

Reputation points are also collected by fulfilling the Fancy dragons conditions. The less important fact to know is that, among them, some are scored directly during the game while others are calculated only at the end. The most important ones to know on the other end is that there is no limit to both the amount of Fancy Dragons a player can have and the amount of them a player can fulfil in a turn. If you are lucky enough to collect a good number before starting fulfilling them you may get some good synergies and boost your scoring substantially.

Another cardinal aspect to remind is that Flamecraft is played on a common board. Every time a player visits a shop or adds an Artisan Dragon or an enchantment to the board, the options for the next player can change revealing new and better course of actions. For example, a player taking the last slot in a shop could make enchanting it much more rewarding even if you initially planned to only gather from it.

More flexibility is also needed to adapt to the changes to the board triggered by those shops that allow to move or swap Dragons. Some of this interesting effects could be exploited to trigger chains and combos leading to the opportunity to gather much more goods in one turn or to add multiple Dragons.

That concludes our guide on how to play Flamecraft. Did this help you? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames.