Who wants to play card games with plain, boring artwork when you can play using cards with adorable mythical creature illustrations instead!
|Designer(s)||Rhiannon McKinstry||Artist(s)||Rhiannon McKinstry||Publisher||
Dragons Wild isn't just a re-skinned deck of cards as my teaser may have suggested; Dragons Wild is a card game that re-creates a version of Gin Rummy that is more approachable by children and families. It simplifies the game by reducing the number of cards in each suit from 13 to 8 while increasing the number of suits in the game from 4 to 8. This puts a little more focus on collecting sets of matching numbers while still allowing for runs to be scored. Because of these small changes along with a new buying feature, the game should be much easier for children to pick up while still being fun for people of all ages.
Box and Components
I am reviewing a prototype of this game so I won't be specifically commenting on the quality of the cards and box. Also, the game is subject to change between now and the final Kickstarter.
The game will come in a fairly standard card box. The components within the box will include:
- Double-sided Round Marker Card: This will be used to keep track of the current round and the score given for each meld.
- Round Token: This will be used as a marker on the Round Card to keep track of the current round being played. The exact format of the token will be based on unlocked stretch goals in the Kickstarter campaign.
- 70 Cards: Eight Suits of 8 Cards and Six Wild Cards. Each Suit contains numbered card from one to eight. The suits are represented by different mythical creature, which are adorable.
What initially caught my attention with this game was the cute illustrations. Each suit in the game is represented by a different creature such as the phoenix, unicorn, and Pegasus. The art should appeal greatly to children (and adults like me). The numbers on the cards are very easy to read so those with poorer vision should have no difficulty playing this game.
For those familiar with Gin Rummy, this game will be very easy to learn. The goal of the game is to have the most points at the end of the game. You will earn points by creating Melds of cards, which will be either a sequence of matching cards of a single suit in numerical order or matching numbers regardless of suit.
The initial dealer can be decided by your favorite means; you will need a piece of paper or phone to keep track of score.
- Place the dragon token onto the round card on the "Round 1" position.
- The dealer will shuffle the cards and deal 7 to each player.
- Take the top card off of the deck to start the discard pile; place the deck beside this card.
You are ready to begin.
- Buying: At the beginning of a player's turn before drawing a card, other players may request to Buy the top card from the discard pile. The new player decides whether or not to accept the offer.
- If the new player says Yes, the buyer takes the top card from the discard pile AND the top card from the deck as a penalty.
- If the new player says No, the new player must take the top card from the discard pile.
- Buying actions may be repeated up to a total of three times per player turn.
- Draw Action: The new player decides to draw the top card from either the deck or the discard pile.
- Play Action: Next, they may perform one of these three actions:
- Set Meld: Lay cards creating a set Meld, which is 3 or more cards of the same value regardless of the suit. As an example, 7 Kelpie, 7 Jackalope, and 7 Phoenix will create a set Meld.
- Run Meld: Lay cards creating a run Meld, which is 3 or more sequentially numbered cards of the same suit. As an example, 4, 5, and 6 of the Kitsune suit will create a run Meld.
- Adding to Melds: Once you have at least one Meld in front of you, you may add any number of cards to a single existing Meld anywhere on the table; meaning, you can even add to another player's Meld and earn points for it. Using the example above, you could lay down the 7 Peryton to an existing set Meld of 7's or the 3 Kitsune to the run Meld.
- Additionally, the Wild Dragon cards may be played to represent any card (number and suit). If you play a card to a run Meld that has a Wild Dragon on either end of the run, you may move it to either side to play the card from your hand but only if it is on the end (e.g. 3-4-W moving the Wild from the 5 position to be a Wild 2 to allow you to play 1 [1-W-3-4]). Only one Wild Dragon card may be played within a single Meld.
- Scoring: If you play any cards during this turn, you will score them now. The number of points you earn decreases each round. All cards score the same points. On the Round Card, it shows how many points are awarded during each round; it list the points starting at 8 points on round one and decreasing by 1 each round until it hits round eight where it remains 1 point for each additional round. So if you play 4 cards on a turn during Round 4, you will get 4 (cards) multiplied by 5 (round four score) to earn 20 points that round.
- Discarding: Regardless of whether you played a card or not, you must discard a card to the discard pile if you have one. If you have played your last card but do not have one to discard, the game will continue until a player is able to discard their last card.
- Round Advancement: If you are the dealer, advance the round marker to the next round after your turn is over.
End of Round Scoring
Once a player has emptied their hand along with having a card to discard that round, the round ends immediately. All other players substract from their score 3 points for each Wild Dragon in their hand and 1 point per each other card (value doesn't matter).
The game duration is decided at the beginning of the game. You can either play until someone reaches 200 points (or another value), play a number of rounds equal to the number of players, or by some other means. Essentially, whoever has the most points after this End Game condition has been triggered is the winner. This is the great thing about cards games; they tend to be very flexible in how long the durations are.
While growing up, we played a lot of card games, and rummy was always my favorite along with Spades. I don't know if I ever played the traditional Gin Rummy before though. We probably played those games 2-3 times a week, and often, we would play multiple games in a row. So I have a fond spot for games like that. This takes that same card game style and makes it adorable and potentially more approachable than a standard deck of cards. It also simplifies the scoring making the numbers smaller and easier to calculate, which children may find easier to understand. It also eliminates things such as face cards being worth more points and wrapping run sets.
I really enjoy the illustrations for the game. Based on what I have read from the website, some of the stretch goals may present some variants to the artwork on the cards such as making each Wild Dragon card have unique artwork rather than using the same graphic on each. The other stretch goals plan to make the quality of the product itself better by improving the cardstock used, adding in wooden round markers, and including a score pad.
There were a few minor pieces of the rules that I feel could be cleaned up, but they have plenty of time to make rules clarifications before they order the final products. In my opinion, there is certainly a market for this game, and as long as they price the game reasonably and a campaign reasonable goal is set, I feel there is a great chance for success with this game. Dragons Wild will be hitting Kickstarter on February 2, 2021.
Dragons Wild Kickstarter Progress Updated Periodically
Dragons Wild Board Game Geek Page
We received the prototype of this product in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.