Dragons!

Seven Dragons 213x300 Dragons!I recently received a review copy of Seven Dragons from Looney Labs and thought it worth drawing to your attention. It took me a little while to get around to cracking it open and having a look, but what I see and hear from others suggests it’s a good match for use in a casual library game event.

Seven Dragons is a turn-based competitive card game. You win by forming a continuous chain with seven dragons of the same color as your goal’s color, which is set at the start of the game (but can change).You play by drawing a card and laying it down according to the rules. There are Action cards that throw a wrinkle into play, forcing players to trade hands or goals, or allowing a player to move a card already placed.

DRAGONS!
Cards have pictures of dragons — one, two, three, or four dragons might appear on each card. There are Red dragons, Blue dragons, as well as Gold, Green, and Black. There is one wild card, a Rainbow dragon, which is simultaneously all of those colors. The last dragon, a Silver, is where the game begins and changes color depending on how the game is unfolding. The rules stipulate that colors of dragons can only be placed with at least part of the edge matching the identical color — Red dragons hang out with other Red dragons, even if there is a Green dragon sharing that edge.

KEY POINTS

The game is super-simple to learn, but has a modest level of thoughtful strategizing and a bit of bluffing in how to place cards or how to nix someone else’s carefully-laid plans. By selectively removing some of the Action cards, the game can be enjoyed by someone as young as 3 years old.That said, a gamer friend whose opinion I trust said the game kept being the one his whole family returned to repeatedly during their summer vacation. Given the size of his games library, that’s a pretty strong recommendation in my book.

Depending on the demographics at your library, here’s another side benefit: because the game depends on color and position — not language skills — it can be enjoyed by your patrons who are still developing their English skills. If you want to encourage those developing skills, you probably have a good selection of books featuring dragons of myth and legend.

Better yet — bring out your art books on how to draw dragons. They will certainly be inspired by the images on the cards.

GLORIOUS TO LOOK AT
This may be the artist-illustrator in me speaking, but honestly the very best part of this game has to be the artwork on the cards, the work of Larry Elmore. Elmore is one of the grand old masters of the game industry, a gentleman whose work graced the covers and pages of countless Dungeons & Dragons modules, scenario books, and class guides. His style is instantly recognizable to anyone who ever walked into a hobby games store and looked at a fantasy role playing game. It is his work that takes this game from being just a clever expansion to Looney Lab’s 1998 game Aquarius — a perfectly good little game in its own right — to being something to go out of your way to pick up.

Games programming varies hugely from library to library. If you have a setup that allows for a pretty card game that’s easy to pick up and learn, fast to play with anyone who walks in the door, Seven Dragons should fit the bill. At $15, it should fit your budget too.

Game on!

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Liz Danforth About Liz Danforth

Liz Danforth, MLS, is a freelance game illustrator, scenario designer, and game developer who was inducted into the Academy of Gaming Arts and Design's Hall of Fame in in 1996. She has 18 years experience as a part-time paralibrarian in Phoenix and Tucson and is one of about a dozen "gaming experts" working with the American Library Association on a million-dollar grant-funded project to study the use of gaming to improve literacy skills and to develop a model "toolbox" for gaming in libraries. Through Danforth Design & Development (D3), she also works as an artist, a writer, and a library consultant. Follow her on Twitter @LizDanforth.

Comments

  1. John Tintera says:

    I have met the Looney Labs folks at trade events (eg GAMA and Origins) and am a big fan of their “Flux” card games–great to hear that they have another hit on their hands!

    • Liz Danforth says:

      I love Fluxx (and Osprey Publishing, let me add!) — I especially love that Fluxx is one of those games that seems to make older gamers crazy (with the changeable rules) and delights the younger players (with the changeable rules!).

  2. Angela says:

    This looks fabulous! I think I’ll try this for a tween program. Thanks for the review!

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