Kickstarter is a goldmine for gamers, whether you are a player, designer, or just a plain old fan. Sure, it has it's pitfalls, like any other investment engine, however there are many great designers, artists, and honestly, pretty darn good marketers, bringing you their creations for your consumption on a daily basis there.
With that in mind, I give you, Dragon's Bard. As a disclaimer, I have not backed this project as of this post but plan on doing so, post the Gen Con spending spree about to critically hit my wallet!
I had the opportunity to meer Erik Dahlman, the Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Albino Dragon and he invited me to playtest this very artistic looking gem. Its a quick to learn, strategic game of tricks, trumps, and dragons! Here's our video, with more below...
In Dragon's Bard, you are competing against other player's for "Story Tokens". At the beginning, all players randomly choose 5 of each color token and place them on their respective story areas, the circles on the board. Then, the deck is shuffled and a certain number of cards are dealt depending on how many players there are.
The deck consists of 5 "suits" or colors, each again matching the story areas. Each suit/color has a value of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. 1's let the player who played them go first on the next turn. 2's allow you to get a Mandolin token (worth 1 point) when played. 3's change the "trump" color, and so on, with most cards either providing a high value to win the trick, or an affect to gain you points or strategically set you up for the next trick.
The goal being to have the highest color in the suit that started the trick, play a trump color card to trump the initial suit played, or get really risky and try and play a 3 to change the color of the trump, maybe have it be the same as your 3, and be the player with the highest in that suit to steal it.
Each turn, the first player may move the Dragon on the board to a color of story token of their choice to compete over. If you win a story token with the highest suit of the same color, you get a bonus as well so timing and strategy of remembering what your opponents have played is paramount.
There are also Rumor Tokens to obtain, by playing 4's, and the person with the most of them at the end of the game gets a 5 point bonus. When all the Story Tokens are won, the players count their points, and the highest total wins!
So what did I think? I think it's an amazingly beautiful game that is amazingly simple to pick up but strategic enough to keep you thinking at every turn. I had a blast playing the game (even though I was crushed in the final point standing by Erik... but hey, it's his game, he should be better at it than me at this point right?) and found myself thinking how accessible it is in terms of age and play styles. Sure it's based on fantasy novels from the Dragon's Bard series, but anyone who likes Trick taking Trump style card games would enjoy this as well I believe!
Albino Dragon is also the group behind Genegrafter and Ace of Spies, both previous successfully funded Kickstarter campaigns, and available as part of one of the backer levels for Dragon's Bard. Will their latest be a success too? Hop on over to their Kickstarter page to check them out and see for yourself!
Oh, and they have hands down, the best 1st player tokens I've sene by far!
Very special thanks to Erik for letting me play and film Dragon's Bard as part of the Austin Board Game Bash!