In Dragon's Gold, each player controls a team of dragon hunters (two knights, a thief, and a wizard).
Like all dragon hunters, they have only one goal: gold, silver, jewels and magic objects.
As for actually killing a dragon? It's a piece of cake.
But the most difficult part comes after the dragon is dead: the adventuring party has to figure out how to share the spoils.
As soon as a dragon is overpowered, then some additional gems are revealed, and the players who had participated in that hunting party start a negotiation over how to divvy up the gems.
If the sixty-second sand timer runs out, then no one gets treasure.
Have you ever wanted to fight dragons and take all the credit, even when you barely helped? Then Dragon’s Gold is the game for you.
Set-up for Dragon's Gold (designed by Bruno Faidutti) is simple and can be done within a matter of minutes:
- First, give each player four adventurer cards (two knights, a thief and a wizard) and place them face-up in front of the player.
- Then, give each player his/her treasure screen.
- Shuffle the dragon cards, lay four in the centre of the table and place the remaining cards face-down next to them.
- Place all of the treasures in the bag.
- Pull out the number of treasures indicated on the bottom left of the dragon cards and put them on the indicated number on each card.
- Put the market card exactly in the middle of the remaining dragon cards and you are ready to begin.
The player with the most points at the end of the game wins and points are scored by negotiating your reward(s) for defeating the dragons.
At all times there will be four dragons in the centre of the table and these all have a number of known treasures and hidden treasures. Known treasures are treasures that are drawn at random from the bag and are placed on the card before any player can attack. Hidden treasures are treasures that will be pulled from the bag once the dragon has been defeated. To defeat a dragon, all you have to do is match or exceed to dragon’s strength, which is indicated at the top of the card.
On a player’s turn, all they do is place on of their four adventurers on a dragon. Each adventurer has an attack value, and some have special powers too. When the attack value reaches the value on the dragon, the dragon has been defeated. If only one player has placed cards on the dragon when it is defeated, they claim all the treasure. However, if more than one player has placed adventurers on the dragon then a negotiation takes place.
For negotiations, any players who helped to defeat the dragon have one minute (until the sand on the timer runs out) to negotiate who takes which treasure. If they can come to a negotiation, players then take the treasure agreed. If they don’t, then all of the treasure is lost!
Negotiating Rules and Special Powers
As well as doing it within the time limit, there are a few rules:
- The negotiations can’t rely on luck in any way (e.g. a flipping of a coin).
- Negotiations can only be for that dragon and promises cannot be made for future turns.
- You can’t discard any coins in an attempt to spilt them evenly.
A wizard’s special power is that he seizes magic objects. If there is just one wizard in the negotiation, he immediately takes the red treasure. If more than one wizard is present, the red treasure stays in for the main negotiation.
A thief’s special power is obviously all about stealing. All thieves, starting with the player who laid their thief first, gets to steal a treasure (without looking) from one of the other players taking part in the negotiation.
If a thief and wizard are both present (from the same player), the player who owns them can look behind an opposing players screen and choose one treasure to steal.
After a dragon is defeated, the players take their adventurers back and face down in front of them and the dragon is removed from the game. A new dragon then replaces the defeated dragon.
When the market card appears, players have one minute to openly trade with each other and then the game continues until all of the treasures from the bag have gone.
- Silver pieces are worth one point each.
- Gold pieces are worth three points each.
- Magic Objects (red tokens) are worth one point each.
- The Black Diamond is worth seven points.
- For each of the five other colours (the gemstones in green, blue, purple, yellow, and the white diamonds), the player with the most tokens scores 15 points (with three players), 12 points (with four or five players), 10 points (with six players). If players are tied for the highest total in a colour, they each score the full bonus points.
Final Thoughts on Dragon's Gold
Dragon's Gold is a fantastic game with a wonderful level of player interaction. The gameplay is simple and easy for new players to grasp and it is very easy to teach just about anybody. There are tactics involved in your choice of which card to use and where but it essentially all comes down to negotiations.
Unlike games like Monopoly, where someone can be stubborn and refuse to negotiate, in Dragon’s Gold, if they do this, they will almost certainly lose. I never knew how incredibly tense a negotiation can be and it’s so exciting, as the seconds fade away, watching players suddenly all lower their expectations.
The pace of the game is quick and the components are all excellent. Every group I have played it with has thoroughly enjoyed this light-hearted, fun negotiating game but I can imagine, if people took it too seriously and began to take failed negotiations to heart, it could become confrontational. However, if players understand the rules of the game, this should be easily avoidable.
A truly brilliant negotiating game, full of tension, laughs and realisations that maybe you’re not as good a negotiator as you thought!