Dragon Lords: The Battle of Darion, available now on Kickstarter, offers players the role of supreme general of a fantasy army. Wizards and heroes are strategically placed, while the rank and file nervously glance at the hideous and sulphurous maw of the summoned dragon – a hell descending from the heavens. With incredible artwork that simply drips theme and mechanics that promise quick and bloody combat, we are delighted to offer up this preview.
These Are Your Orders, General
This card-based 2-player game has a simple winning condition: Be the first to gain 50 victory points, or completely destroy the opposing army. This is done by means of skirmish-style combat between men, magic and beasts on the battlefield.
Gather the Army
Players will take on the alignment of good or evil. Units are chosen from a wide variety, each costing points. A maximum points total of 55 is set, forcing players to choose carefully. Will you go for larger numbers and select weaker units, or fewer, but much more powerful? There are neutral units who can offer their services like mercenaries.
Each player must have one knight and one dragon on their side, the latter of course being the heavy hitters. Cards to choose from are both units and upgrades, including wizards – always handy to have knocking about.
In addition to units, generals must select a deck of 20 order cards worth 20 points and 10 spell cards worth 10 points. These apply twists and surprises to the battle, that will give a keen edge – not just the blade-y type. Having multiple wizards, muttering incantations, offers additional cards.
Location, location, location
Once armies are assembled, all thirsting for battle, players then select their kingdom from random location cards. Each will provide a bonus that could present a useful edge. Time to march to war.
Set up is simple. On each side of the table, generals will lay out unit cards. The fighting will take place from and in the central zone. Spell and order decks are shuffled and cut by the opposing player, then the summoning deck is shuffled and placed within reach. 3 cards from both spell and order decks are taken and added to players’ hands.
Two gem and three healing potion tokens are taken and placed by each army. Mounted tokens are added to each unit that will be riding to glory, and the same for every winged unit. Finally, initiative is decided by rolling dice – highest goes first. Now both armies are ready to rock.
Let Battle Commence
During each turn, a unit is selected to move and attack an enemy. Each has two actions, that can be used to perform special attacks, move, heal, etc. They can attack only once per turn, but can choose between melee and ranged combat. Toe-to-toe melee can only take place in the same zone. Swords and lances can, of course, only reach so far…
Going for a ranged shot can be done across all zones, but carries a cost in gems and a penalty to hit the greater the range. Attacks are resolved by rolling dice dictated on the card, while the defender rolls to deflect damage. Some can bestow an unpleasant condition onto the recipient, preventing them from getting payback.
Add a Little Magic
Things looking grim? Time for some magic to turn those tables. Spellcasters have a mana value, enabling them to cast a spell from the deck costing up to this number. Spells have requirements, such as alignment or caster type, to be able to unleash onto the unfortunates.
Casting can be defensive as well as offensive. A shield against dwarven axes can be created, for example, as well as something a touch hot to flambé their beards. Creatures can also be summoned to add a spiked tail, or a flurry of fangs, to proceedings. Take a step back and imagine what an incredible battlefield scene this would be, with all this going on…
Victory is in Your Grasp
Have a look at the how-to-play video Wolflord have posted on Youtube. You will see how straightforward, yet exciting and strategic Dragon Lords is. There looks to be a lot of deployability here, with a lot of options and variations to try out. I mentioned the great artwork before, in a previous news article, but this really is cool stuff. Nay, a thing of beauty!
Mechanics are quick and the game will be nicely portable, so you can bring battle along wherever you like. The Kickstarter campaign is up until 2nd May and Wolflord are keen to stress that there will be Euro-friendly shipping. Well worth checking out – have a look on Kickstarter here.
Good luck, General!
- Genre: Skirmish-based card game
- Players: 2
- Age: 10+