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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Player of Games, #82: Dragonwood

My wife is not big on the sword-and-sorcery stuff. It's unlikely that she would ever wade into the fantasy paper realms of D&D, or descend into the digital depths of Diablo.

But Dragonwood, she likes. Dragonwood, she'll play.

And play Dragonwood we have, with our boys over the years. It's a simple enough system that they could play when they were eight or nine, and yet sufficiently engaging that we continue to enjoy it well into their teens. The concept is familiar, fighting the various monsters infesting Dragonwood until you amass sufficient strength to confront the final worms themselves. Your combat strength is based on the cards you draw, confronting the player with the choices to Stomp, Strike, or Scream their way to victory. Each approach uses a different combination of cards (all the same color, all the same numbers, numbers in a row), giving you a certain number of dice to roll. It's like gin rummy meets D&D. Magical trinkets can be claimed along the way to aid the doughty campaigner.

The best part of Dragonwood is that it does not take itself seriously in the least. The monsters are rendered in cartoonish images, and some of the magic weapons might be a lucky mushroom or a bucket of spinach. That light silliness, along with the easy playability and yet strategic thinking required have made this a favorite of our family.

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