[Review] Dragon Hordes, Warriors Expansion # 1
- (This review assumes that you already know how to play Warriors)
If you've read my review of Warriors, you'll know that I detest the
game, because it's a mixture of random combat and random set
collection which equals a random mess. I hoped that Dragon Hordes:
Warriors Expansion # 1 (Face 2 Face Games, 2005 - Richard Borg and
Alan Moon) would fix the problems and make the game more enjoyable.
Sadly, however, the expansion, while adding some interesting elements,
simply didn't do anything for the game - putting a heavy emphasis on
dragons, and that's about it.
Some comments on the game…
1.) Dragons: The biggest change to the game was the addition of
fifteen dragon cards, twenty flame cards, and sixteen more attack
cards (eight of them dragon-only attacks, the other eight mercenary or
dragon attacks). Each dragon that a player puts in their forces
counts as a separate nation. Flame cards are placed with dragons and
act as sort of "hit points." Dragons always roll two dice when
attacking and defending, and add one to both die rolls. Dragons can
attack pretty much anyone and can be attacked by anyone. When a
Dragon is "hit", they lose one flame card; if they have no flame
cards, the dragon is destroyed.
2.) Powerful dragons: Dragons are more powerful than anything else in
the game, which is good and bad. The good outlook is that now players
have something that they can attack other players' powerful armies
with. The bad news (in my opinion) is that Dragons can wreak havoc
and not much can stop them. I don't know what the point of setting up
large, balanced armies is, when the opponent can come sweeping in with
dragons, decimating your forces. Yes, most dragon attacks happen
after the regular attacks, but the only reason to attack a dragon is
to keep it from attacking you, which isn't much of a reason. Dragon
flames aren't worth any victory points, so attacking a dragon "might"
get you two victory points.
3.) Dragon points: Whoever has the most dragons at the end of the
game gets twelve points. This is interesting, but usually has the
effect of all players getting in a dragon race. You can try to avoid
this "nuclear arms" race by not placing dragons; but there are so many
in the deck, and they are so powerful I don't know how one can
successfully avoid using them. In every game I've played, the player
with the most dragons won the game.
4.) Catapults: Four more catapults are added in this version, and
catapults can also take down dragons! However, they can only hit on a
"6"; but upon hitting, they totally destroy the dragon, regardless of
flames. Take a wild guess of what all the catapults in the game
target? If you said dragons, you win!
5.) Attacks: One of my main complaints about Warriors was that there
were very few attacks, thus rendering the main feature of the game
fairly useless. Dragon Hordes fixes this to a degree, adding more
attack cards. However, the new attack cards are mostly dragon attacks
with some mercenary attacks, which are useless in my opinion.
6.) Focus: The main difference that Dragon Hordes adds to the game is
dragons - surprising, huh? But instead of adding a major element to
the game, Dragon Hordes makes dragons the focus of the game - and so
much the focus that there isn't really much point to doing anything
with the armies any more. Any army that looks powerful is going to be
attacked by dragons - so why try? Hooray, dragons were added and
overpowered everything else in the game!
7.) Players: Now that more cards are added to the game, up to six
players can play the game. Also, players get more cards in a four
player game - which is nicer, I'll admit, as it gives them more
options. A six player game is awful, though, especially if you get no
attack cards and watch as everyone uses their dragons to destroy your
I don't like the basic game, and I don't like the expansion. I think
they have the kernel of good ideas in them, but it isn't realized.
The Dragon Horde expansion might satisfy those for whom attacking with
dragons is a desired trait in game. For me, however, the game with an
expansion just didn't do anything, not enough to play again. If you
like the original, then you might like the expansion; but be warned,
it changes the balance of power in the game (towards dragons)
"Real men play board games."