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Seven Dragons

RRP: £16.99

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RRP £16.99

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In Seven Dragons, players start with a secret goal colour from the seven coloured dragons and a hand of three cards. The Silver Dragon is laid on the table as the starting card; at this stage it is a wild card. The playing cards feature domino-like coloured panels in the same manner as Aquarius, an earlier game design from Andy Looney. On a player’s turn, she draws one card an…
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Category Tags , , SKU ZBG-LOO039 Availability 2 in stock
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Awards

Rating

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

You Might Like

  • Differentiation for different ages/abilities
  • Good family game
  • Pick up and play

Might Not Like

  • Chaotic take-that elements
  • Light ruleset and strategy
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Description

In Seven Dragons, players start with a secret goal colour from the seven coloured dragons and a hand of three cards. The Silver Dragon is laid on the table as the starting card; at this stage it is a wild card. The playing cards feature domino-like coloured panels in the same manner as Aquarius, an earlier game design from Andy Looney.

On a player's turn, she draws one card and plays one from her hand. Cards are laid so as to connect matching coloured panels. The deck also includes Action Cards such as Move a Card, Zap a Card, Trade Hands, etc. The used Action Cards form a discard pile, and the top card of this pile dictates the colour of the starting Silver Dragon; once the discard pile has started, the Silver Dragon is no longer wild.

Each player is given a secret goal card of one of the five colored dragons: RED, GOLD, GREEN, BLUE, and BLACK. The cards are played on the table connected like dominoes, with each player trying to win by connecting seven panels of their dragon. Action cards allow players to shake up the action in five different ways and the WILD and SILVER dragons bring strategy to the table. The game is fast, fun, colorful, and easy to learn - with enough bluffing and strategy to keep adults engaged.

The first player to create a connected territory of seven panels matching her dragon colour wins.

  • Age range: 8 and up
  • Number of players: 2
  • Play time: 5 to 10 minutes

VIDEO

Seven Dragons is a simple tile/card laying game, where players are trying to create chains of matching dragons to achieve victory. It’s easy to learn, quick to set up and is good for playing with children. I played it with my nephew who is seven and this is how we got on with it.

How To Play

In Seven Dragons players begin with a hand of three cards and a secret goal. To win the game they will have to lay cards on the table to create the titular chain of seven dragons in the colour of their goal card. However, special ability cards may allow someone to swap goal cards with you and gazump your hard work just as you are about to achieve victory.

This meanness might not always sit well when playing with children. It also adds a layer of strategy to the game that some children might not twig on to easily; holding a swap goal card and waiting for the other player to do the leg work before doing the old switcheroo. However, one of the things I liked about Seven Dragons is that the rulebook contains suggestions for rule alterations to adapt the game for different age groups.

The core rules for the game were easy for my nephew to pick up, though. Draw a card then play a card keeps the turn uncomplicated, the ability cards weren’t hard to explain and card placement was as simple as matching at least one dragon to an adjacent dragon.

Things that were more difficult to grasp were how the silver dragons colour changeability worked, and how to get bonus cards by making multiple matches. My nephew also got super-focussed on achieving his goal, leaving him a sitting duck for the swap goals card. Interestingly, this is the ability the designers suggest to use for his age group, but I would say the zap/move card powers are a better fit.

 7 And Up

The rules for Seven Dragons say the game was designed for adults and can be adapted for children. For my tastes, I would say it is something I would only play with children. This isn’t a criticism. I’m always looking for games where my nephew and I can compete together on a fairly level playing field and Seven Dragons certainly ticked that box.

It’s far more rewarding to approach Seven Dragons as a true family game. The differentiated rules are a nice touch in this regard and the way the game easily scales to include more family members. As is the quick play time that allows for another game if a mean uncle steals your goal and beats you (maybe I did this, maybe I didn’t). This stops the take that elements of the game from feeling too bullying or crushing. He won the next game if you are worried.

The artwork is fairly generic, but the different colours were easily distinguishable and the different dragons seemed to have different characteristics: the red dragon was linked to fire, the yellow dragon hoarded treasure etc. While some might see some of the pictures (featuring skulls etc.) a little scary for children, my nephew seemed to really engage with them and spent time after we’d played looking through the cards.

Final Thoughts

Seven Dragons is a game from Looney Labs better known for Fluxx, which should give you some indication of where this game is pitched. It’s not going to be one for grand strategists as the ability cards bring an element of chaos that can be hard to plan for.  Likewise, the gameplay is not going to present players with a myriad of difficult choices and routes to victory. Not every game has to be for heavyweight gamers, though!

I’m a firm believer that there is a place for all types of games. While I think Seven Dragons would have been better pitched at the family game market, I also think that assessing it on those terms casts the game in a favourable light.

There was enough going to keep adults and children engaged. The age/ability differentiation rules are not something I’ve seen often and are perhaps something more family games could adopt. Coupled with the light ruleset, they enabled younger and older players to play the game with a fairly equal chance of winning.

The real test of any game is, I suppose; would you play it again? And, yeah, I would play Seven Dragons again. It gave my nephew the opportunity to flex his grey matter on something a little crunchier than his roll and move games (nothing wrong with those either, though) and had enough going on beneath its bright fantasy surface to stop me getting bored. Seven Dragons has earned its place on my nephew’s growing game shelf.

Zatu Score

Rating

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

You might like

  • Differentiation for different ages/abilities
  • Good family game
  • Pick up and play

Might not like

  • Chaotic take-that elements
  • Light ruleset and strategy