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Artisan dragons, the smaller and magically talented versions of their larger (and destructive) cousins, are sought by shopkeepers so that they may delight customers with their flamecraft. You are a Flamekeeper, skilled in the art of conversing with dragons, placing them in their ideal home and using enchantments to entice them to produce wondrous things. Your reputation will grow as…
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Dice Tower


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • The cute theme – Dragons
  • Light strategy game
  • Stunning artwork
  • Beautiful components

Might Not Like

  • I don’t want to even consider the possibility that you might not like dragons?!
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Artisan dragons, the smaller and magically talented versions of their larger (and destructive) cousins, are sought by shopkeepers so that they may delight customers with their flamecraft. You are a Flamekeeper, skilled in the art of conversing with dragons, placing them in their ideal home and using enchantments to entice them to produce wondrous things. Your reputation will grow as you aid the dragons and shopkeepers, and the Flamekeeper with the most reputation will be known as the Master of Flamecraft.

In Flamecraft, 2-5 players take on the role of Flamekeepers, gathering items, placing dragons and casting enchantments to enhance the shops of the town. Dragons are specialized (bread, meat, iron, crystal, plant and potion) and the Flamekeepers know which shops are the best home for each. Visit a shop to gain items and a favor from one of the dragons there. Gathered items can be used to enchant a shop, gaining reputation and the favors of all the dragons in the shop. If you are fortunate enough to attract fancy dragons then you will have opportunities to secure even more reputation.


Dragons, enchantments and shopping! What’s not to love about the beautiful world of Flamecraft? Let’s swoop in and take a closer look…

Flamecraft has been a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign drawing people in with the stunning artwork and oh so cute dragons. The standard version includes wooden dragon meeples, cardboard coins and cardboard resource tokens. The dragon meeples are silk screened so look very nice and I was so excited to jump into my first game but, how did it play?

Preparing Our Scales

Roll out the beautiful playmat and lay out the starter shops and starter dragons. Pop the coins, resources, enchantment cards and dragon cards in their places.

Each player starts with a fancy dragon card, these are essentially hidden goals to gain extra hearts (points), 3 artisan dragon cards (that players can place in shops around town) and a dragon and matching heart scoring marker.

Get In Loser, We’re Going Shopping

Now we are all ready to head out into the Flamecraft world of shops to collect some resources (potions, meat, bread, plants, crystals and iron) basically all the important things your dragon may need to cast enchantments and fulfil their fancy dragon objectives.

The shops themselves have different extra benefits. As you add more shops to the game (this happens when you fill a shop with 3 dragons) you find the newer shops have extra benefits that far outweigh the starting shops. This makes it important to fill those original slots with dragons and get more stores into the game ASAP. For example, if you have the Scale Mail Post in play, when you visit you can ‘draw 2 fancy dragon cards, keep one and give one to another player for 4 hearts’. There are lots of chances to give other players resources or cards to gain a benefit. This is a nice touch as it promotes a friendly playing atmosphere, rather than the ‘take that’ playing style.

We’re Soaring Now

Once you have collected the correct resources to cast an enchantment at a shop, it’s time to enchant and collect the benefits. Benefits include hearts, dragon cards and coins.

We found it quite easy to collect the resources needed to complete these cards. Flamecraft isn’t a game where you are collecting everything you need for 5 turns just to do one thing on the next turn. I found that I was enchanting pretty much every other turn and collecting resources/laying dragons on the alternate turns. This is a game where you constantly have something to do.

Collecting extra fancy dragon cards as you go is definitely an important part. These give you bonuses that are either triggered during the game (these hold a sun symbol) or at game end (moon symbol).


There are 2 different enchantment decks that you can use, purple or golden. We found the purple deck was the simplest. It was quicker to collect the items needed to fulfil them without obstacle. I would suggest starting with the purple deck and moving on to the golden deck when you are ready for a further challenge.

There are some very cute names for the dragons, enchantments and shops which shows the attention to detail that has gone into this game. It’s fun to visit ‘Sew Cute’ or cast a ‘Hobbichino’.

There are also the optional companion cards which add an extra element to the game, giving each player a one time use power. Finally, there is a lovely looking solo mode included which is always great to see, meaning you can get those dragons to the table as much as possible!

Closing Time

There are 2 ways for the game to end – running out of enchantment cards or running out of artisan dragon cards. Initially we felt we would always be running out of enchantments but after playing a few games and then switching to the golden deck we found we were just as likely to run out of dragons. It seems to depend greatly on the shops that show up in town vs the enchantments that are available to cast. That’s good because it adds variety and replay ability to Flamecraft.

Overall we’ve had lots of fun playing Flamecraft. It’s not too complicated and the theme is very enticing so I think it will hit the table a lot in our house when we’re looking for a light strategy game. To end with a Game of Thrones quote (because why not?!) – ‘No one will take my dragons’.

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.

If Your Bread Isn’t Baked By A Dragon, Is It Even Bread?

I bet you never knew you wanted to play a game about cute dragons who make bread and brew potions, but once you see even one picture of Flamecraft, you will realize you can’t resist the thought. This is a worker placement, family friendly, mildly competitive game where you choose one of 6 dragons (they are different only in colour) to try to be the one with the most reputation at the end. You’ll be collecting resources, firing up other dragons and enchanting shops as means of attaining that, and you’ll be looking adorable as you do.

How The Game Works

There is a neoprene mat in Flamecraft that has the illustration of a village that looks like something out of a comic book, with spaces for shops, some of which are there since the beginning of the game, and the rest of which you’ll be drawing from a deck to populate empty slots on the map. On your turn, you will visit one of these shops with your dragon to either collect resources or enchant the shop. The resources are potions, diamonds, leaves, anvils, toasts or steaks. They are colour coded and these 6 types also correspond to each one of the player dragons, the types that the (non-playable) artisan dragons can be, as well as the main resource that can be gathered from almost all of the shops in the game (a handful of shops are either wild or give you something other than a resource, like a coin or the chance to draw another artisan dragon). Coins are wild, they replace any resource of your choice.

So, when you choose to gather resources, you will get one of each resource icon in that shop. Note this can be from 1 to 7 icons, because each shop has three slots for you to place an artisan dragon (and, as mentioned, they each have their own type/icon) and can be enchanted up to three times. Each enchantment card also has an icon, so if a shop is occupied to its maximum capacity, your gathering will be very fruitful. Also, when you choose to collect resources, you have the option to put down an artisan dragon in an empty spot in the shop, then use the ability of one of the dragons there (in the game, this is called ‘firing up’ the dragon) and finally use the ability of the shop itself. Starting shops don’t have abilities, but all others do.

Alternatively, you can collect nothing, but instead spend your resources to enchant the Flamecraft shop. This will always immediately give you 4 to 8 reputation points, as stated on the enchantment you choose, and add an extra icon to the shop. When you choose to do this, you don’t get to place an artisan dragon or use the shop’s ability, but you do get to fire up all dragons currently in the shop, so you can stack up their abilities.

That’s pretty much it for gameplay. The game ends whenever the last card from the artisan dragon or the enchantment deck is drawn. Everyone else gets a final turn and whoever has the highest reputation wins. There are end game points to be scored via fancy dragons, which have their own deck. Each fancy dragon will have a certain requirement that, if you meet, will net you some extra reputation. So that’s something else to bear in mind when planning your strategy.

For The Lone Dragon

As is common in the solo variant of a game, the main change is you’ll be racing to reach a minimum number of points before the game ends. What triggers the end is still the same: last card drawn from either the artisan dragon or the enchantment deck, but this actually becomes quite time sensitive, as a new enchantment will likely be placed in the village almost every turn.

The way this works is: the player’s turn happens the same way it would in a multiplayer game. After that, you must draw one card from the artisan dragon pile and place that new artisan dragon in the first available slot for that dragon type in the village. As each available player dragon corresponds to one of the six types of resources and artisan dragons, you will also move the equivalent player dragon token (unless it’s your own) to the shop where you placed the new artisan dragon. Finally, if there is an enchantment of that same type available, you will also place it in a shop that still has room for it. Once the game ends, you get a title depending on how many reputation points you have (the game doesn’t refer to winning or losing conditions, although there is implied success from scoring 75 points).

The setup for the solo Flamecraft mode states that you need to remove some of the cards form the deck, so you will be playing with a reduced number of cards, which makes the time you have to score reputation points very tight. There are some things you can do in terms of strategy, such as relying heavily on fancy dragons, but that is very luck of the draw. Or you can try to reduce the odds of enchantments being placed when it’s not your turn. Every time I’ve played this game solo, the end game condition was met from the enchantment deck, so keep a very close eye on it. Beside the deck, there are 5 slots for a face up enchantment. Those are the only 5 available to use at any given moment, either by you or by the automa. The rule is that you must always place one of the five face up enchantments if at least one matches the type of the newly drawn artisan dragon. So what has helped me is to keep the variety of types on the face up enchantments as low as possible.

Is Dragoning A Group Sport?

Flamecraft has been dubbed by many a game that’s sold mainly on cuteness. The mechanics are not the most complex out there. Many reviewers for Flamecraft ranked it very high specifically because their children loved it, because it looks good and is easy. Another point that’s been raised is that player interaction is mostly positive. One of the artisan dragon abilities in the game lets you deliberately gift a resource to a player in order to immediately gain 2 reputation points, so you’ll be doing that a lot. There isn’t much – or anything really – available in terms of harming another player. With all that in mind, I don’t think this game is at its best when played solo. With little complexity, a lot of style, and a strength based on generous player interaction, most of its value is probably found when playing as a group. Although many might appreciate the fact that winning a solo game is actually quite challenging, and the rules include certain achievements that can be unlocked in each successful playthrough in order to sort of make up a campaign. But each game will be very similar to the last.

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • The cute theme Dragons
  • Light strategy game
  • Stunning artwork
  • Beautiful components

Might not like

  • I dont want to even consider the possibility that you might not like dragons?!