Dragonwood has been a family favorite of ours for a couple years now. On my son’s 6th birthday recently, he got to pick a family game to play and this one was his top choice. My kids love the concept of collecting enchantments and defeating monsters. I love that it requires critical thinking skills and has my younger kids practicing basic math like number recognition and ordering numbers.
Recommended Age Range: 8 and up (He needs a little help, but this is my 6 year old’s favorite game.)
Price Range: ~$20
Amazon Product Page (Affiliate Link)
The rules of Dragonwood seem a little complicated at first, but they are actually pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. The game includes a couple cheat sheet cards that remind you what happens on each turn and the different ways to attack. I think it’s funny that my kids are so much better at remembering the rules than I am. I constantly have to refer back to the cheat sheet to remember how to “Strike,” “Stomp,” and “Scream.”
The basic premise behind the game is that you are an adventurer on a quest through the forest of Dragonwood trying to defeat a bunch of monsters. You use the cards in your hand to try to attack the monster. The strength of your hand determines how many dice you may use when you roll. If the number you roll is higher than a number specified on the monster card, you defeated the monster and get to collect the victory points.
There are a number of different styles of attack based on how you arrange the cards in your hand. A run (numbers in a row) is called a Strike. Having cards of the same number is called a Stomp. Having cards of the same color is called a Scream. Depending on your method of attack, you will need to roll a different number to be victorious. If kids are working on number recognition or how to order numbers, this game definitely reinforces those skills.
To make the game more fun, you also have the option of trying to capture magical enchantments instead that give you certain advantages when you attack monsters.
One thing that makes this a great family game is that there is a lot of dice rolling luck involved which levels the playing field for a wide range of kids. My husband and I help our 4 and 6 year olds when they play so that they know which cards in their hand to use for an attack. However, they can do the rolling all on their own and are so excited when they defeat monsters.
Another handy feature of this game is that even though it says it is meant for 2 to 4 players, we almost always play with 6 people and it seems to work out just fine. The one things I have noticed is that the box says this game takes 20 minutes and we find it to take much longer than that. I think that is probably because we have too many people. However, if we need to cut the game short, we just see who collected the most victory points when we need to end and call that person the winner.
I can see Dragonwood staying in our game closet for a long time. Even as the kids get older, I think this will be one of those games that we return to for a long time.
Click here for more Board Games Reviews for kids of all ages.