Dragoonium Board Game Review

Game: Dragoonium
Publisher: Thorny Wench Game Studio
Lead Designers: Naomi Bielefeldt-Shenk, Jacob Schenk
Lead Graphic Designer: Jacob Schenk
Board Game Types: Card Game & Hand Management Game

Players: 2-9
Duration: 30+ minutes
Recommended Age: 12+
Time to learn: 10-20 minutes

Dragoonium Board Game Review

Cards, meet Dragons. Dragons, meet cards.

Cards, meet Dragons. Dragons, meet cards.

Game Description/Gameplay

Dragoonium is a 2-9 player single deck strategy card game featuring a fantastical setting and gameplay reminiscent of the classic card game 2500

Players pick a color/suit, which comes with an accompanying Dragon/Monster with unique special abilities that can be played throughout the game in exchange for a scored card or a fixed amount of gold. Play proceeds with players attempting to play sets of either the same card number or a set of ordered numerical cards. Either way, it takes at least three to put down a set and score gold.

Once they have put down at least one set, players are able to play on other players' score sets. Again, things are quite similar to 2500, with the added variation that some cards have special effects when discarded and the ever-present Dragon/Monster abilities can be summoned to swing the game one way or another suddenly. 

Have we mentioned that there are a lot of cards in Dragoonium? There are a lot of cards in Dragoonium.

Have we mentioned that there are a lot of cards in Dragoonium? There are a lot of cards in Dragoonium.

After that, it's pretty much a race to a set gold total that varies depending on player number. The abilities offer a surprising number of tactical possibilities and seem well-balanced enough to offer tough decisions on whether to spend a few pieces of gold to really mess up your opponent's strategy.

Verdict

Dragoonium is a thoroughly old-school card game affair that will remind you of card night at your grandparents' house. Just with a Lord of the Rings aesthetic and some additional abilities thrown in to spice things up. It's enjoyable, but it's rough in its current state.

While the gameplay feels polished and balanced for an unfunded Kickstarter game, the artwork needs some attention. It seems as if there were three design aesthetics all thrown into the prototype to see what would stick: a passingly pleasant, vibrant watercolor style, a placeholder, blankish style with logos on a white background and perplexingly, real people photographed and placed on the cards in a way that is unsettling and creepy. And the number of breasts on display feels excessive (admittedly, this may be a selling point for some).

For this game to have a real shot at retail, the team needs to double-down on the vibrant watercolor designs and have them produced for each of the different suits. Otherwise, the mish-mash is confusing and off-putting.

Aesthetics are only part of the picture, though, and the underlying gameplay is solid. If they can find a way to put this into a more portable package, it could be a great purse (murse?) game to bring along to the pub for a little more strategy than the typical card game.

Gateway Game Score (what's this?) - 4/10
Overall Score - 6.5/10 (would be 7.5/10 with more polished/portable presentation)