I have a library full of games. At its height it contained almost 500 different ones, these days I brought it back to 217 games according to board game geek. Naturally I have several games about beer and once in a post I’d like to tell more about one of them. This time it’s time for:
The Dragon & Flagon.
Okay, to be fair, this is stretching the definition of beer themed board game a bit. But I really like this game, so I want to talk about it anyway. Because this game is not particularly about beer, it is about a bar brawl! And not just a bar brawl, the game comes with 3D pieces, including rugs you can pull out from other players! Or well, at least from their playing pieces. No players were hurt during the writing of this post.
The Dragon & Flagon is a game for 2 to 8 players, but to be honest, do not play this game if you are not with at least 4 players. The game takes about 60 minutes according to the box, but only with experienced players, and it has a complexity rating of 2,3 on a scale of 5, which puts it on par with The Taverns of Tiefenthal. It’s recommended for 10 years and older.
The Dragon & Flagon is a so-called programmed movement or action queue game and is comparable with the more popular games RoboRally and Colt Express. Programmed movement means that you first have to play a certain card or several cards in order with directions for your character, but postpone the actual movement until later. In the Dragon & Flagon you will instruct your character to fight, boast, throw mugs, smash chairs, swing from the chandelier, and more. You will also try to get to he magical brew (lets call it a beer) in the middle of the tavern to gain access to a special ability. All this to build up your reputation as the best brawler in town.
Why I want to tell you about this game? I LOVE programmed movement. But even more, I am a sucker for 3D pieces and this game has the best pieces yet! Even though you are not actually going to throw with chairs or pull the rugs, like you would in Terror in Meeple City and other dexterity games, the game just oozes with theme thanks to the wooden and cardboard pieces. Even the rugs are actually pullable.
Every player chooses one of the nine characters te play with and receives the deck of cards, character mat, tokens, player token and standee belonging to that character. You can choose between several classic Fantasy characters like the Barbarian, the Buccanneer, the Cleric, the Druid, the Monk, the Paladin, the Rogue, the Swashbuckler and the Wizard. You are all having a beer and fun and are boasting about your adventures in the famous Dragon tavern and before long you find out there is only one! (1!) beer left! And you háve to get that beer! And you will stop at nothing to get it! Time for the most epic bar brawl to gain the most reputation points of the night!
Every turn you:
- Plan Actions
- Perform Actions
- Move Time Marker
Around the tavern there is a time path. The time marker shows in which round the game is. If your player token is in the same space as the time marker, you will be active that round. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the time marker reaches your character token.
Each character mat has 3 slots for the cards in your deck. You use the slots to plan your actions. When a charachter is active, you will perform the action in the first slot and the other cards will slide to the left. During the plan step every one places cards in the 1 and 2 slots if they are empty, at the same time. You don’t replace cards that are already there. Slot 3 is only for when you are dazed which happens when you were hit by another character under certain circumstances. You can place any card from your deck, except for the special action card. You can only use your special action card when you have the flagon with the last beer. You place the cards face down. During the perform step you take all the player tokens that share the space with the time marker and shuffle them face down (or put them in a bag). You take out one token and that player will play the action that is in the number 1 slot of their player mat. When there are no more player tokens left, the time marker will move one spot and a new round begins. If one of the four game end markers is in that spot, you turn it around. If it is the city watch the game ends. The player with the most reputation points then wins the game.
The cards dictate the action you will do and if you time it just right, you can gain a lot of reputation points. Every card tells you what you are going to do, what you need to perform that action, how many time (in rounds you skip) it costs and how many squares on the board are involved and in which direction. It also says what it will do to an opponent if you succesfully hit an opponent, like take steal reputation points and/or daze them. When you have the flagon with beer you are allowed to program your special ability as well.
If you played games like RoboRally before, then it might seem that only 2 slots to program is not that much, but combined with the time restriction it is more than enough. More often than you would want you will find that you cannot do what you want or gain the points you wanted to gain with your action if you do not plan carefully, and that is what I like so much about this game. It is a real puzzle to figure out exactly where you will be at a certain point in the game ánd where your opponents will be. Because you need to hit your opponent some way or another to be able to gain those reputation points. So you have to take into account your and your opponents’ location in the tavern, the time a card cost, the sequence of the actions, because some actions can make other actions stronger and some actions you cannot do with proper preparation (you need to have a mug in your hand to be able to throw that mug and you need to stand on a table to be able to swing from the rafters) and basically the timing of … everything.