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My first thought when I looked at the box was "Wow, this game looks pretty". The bits look like wood or bakelite.
My first thought when I opened the box was "Oh. Um...". The bits (dragons and war tents) are made by folding up (and in some cases gluing) woefully thin cardstock. The dragons are the bits that will be touched most often and these will not stand up to the rigors of the average kid or careless player. This currently available version of the game was previously available as a set with hand made wooden tiles and bits, and for about the same price (current is about US$32; the set with wood bits was about US$40).
The rest of the set is average. The tiles are on approx. 1/8th inch thick card stock, as is the board.
The rules are well written, but leave some unanswered questions that have apparently been answered in previous sets of rules. I'm not sure why, but it seems as if the rules included with the hand made sets were more detailed. For example, two dragons can share the same square on the board and do not affect one another. However, there is no mention of this in the rules included in the current set. They also include a quick reference card in this current set that visually illustrates how the tiles work.
Game play is, to me, a lot of fun. I think I saw that someone had described this game as somewhat like a cross between chess and RoboRally. I would agree with that. You take turns laying tiles on the board that will affect how the dragons move. Normally a dragon will move one space forward each turn. However, there are tiles that will rotate them, move them extra spaces, push them, pull them, etc.
The board has no borders, which is to say that if you go off one side of the board, you come back on the other side of the board. Some tiles have an effect on spaces beyond where the tile is placed, and as a result of the 'borderless' board, tiles can influence movement of dragons on the 'opposite' side of the board.
Each player has a base ("War Tent"). If a dragon runs into or through the space where the war tent is located, the tent is destroyed and the player loses the game. However, it is possible that a dragon (or dragons) can destroy both tents on the same turn, resulting in a draw.
A full game should take about 15 minutes, but our first few games took about 30 as we learned the tiles and figured out strategies to use. Overall a good game that would only be made better by improving the quality of the bits.
S. Deniz Bucak
As Above, So Below
My books are forgeries. Nobody wrote them. - Philip K. Dick
I believe my set with wooden pieces was $50, not $40. So it was significantly more expensive.
Thanks for the review.
The Dragons and Tents could at least be made of plastic or wood. The tiles are now cardboard which is much cheaper than the wooden tiles that came with the original game, so there's no excuse...
I have found Dragons of Kir to be an engaging game. When I was first taught how to play, it was a two player game, but a group of three of us have gotten together several times to play. Since no-one wanted to be the "odd man out" we decided to play with three tents instead of the two. This added a whole new dimension to the game - alliances.
I have played just a few two player games and I find that I keep getting drawn back to having 3 or more players in the game, for the alliances (shifting alliances...)
Just having the possibility of teaming up with someone to take out the other person is worth it; just watch your back, because you're next... if you succeed in taking out that other player, or maybe sooner.
The game play is extremely varied; I don't think I have had any two games that presented me with the same situation. Of course there are a few blank tiles included in the package, we made use of those as well...
To change game play even more, try changing the starting location of your war tent, and/or rotate the first player to move, every time the dragons move. These can change the way you play the game - sometimes dramatically.
One note for the new players, don't focus on a defense too close to your war tent, a well placed "dragon fire" tile can wreck your whole day. Instead prevent the dragons from getting close to your war tent to start with.
Overall a very entertaining game with each game being a new experience.
Oh, I keep hearing about how people don't want to buy this game because of the game pieces. Their smallish size actually allow them to stand up to abuse quite well, and you will most likely be playing inside so, their being made of light cardboard is not an issue.