Dragonwood: A Game of Dice and Daring


  • Dragonwood
  • Designer: Darren Kisgen
  • Publisher: Gamewright
  • Plays 2–4
  • Ages 8+
  • Playing Time: 20 minutes
  • Initial Release: 2015
  • Elevator Pitch: A card-and-dice game that mimics a basic RPG and recalls a simplified Magic: The Gathering for a younger audience.
  • Roar Score: 4/5

If you’ve read any of our game reviews here on The Roarbots, you know that we’re kind of in love with Gamewright. Their games are mostly perfect for all ages, the production quality is fantastic, and they’re super affordable.

Dragonwood is one of their latest titles, and it targets a slightly older player than something like Super Tooth or Feed the Kitty.

You play an adventurer on a journey through the enchanted forest of Dragonwood. During the game, you play cards to determine the number of dice you can roll. The more dice you can roll, the higher the potential result, which means you can defeat more powerful enemies or capture more powerful items to aid your journey.

Each player is dealt a hand of five Adventurer (red back) cards, which come in five different colors and are numbered 1–12.

Five Dragonwood (green back) cards are turned face up on the table to form the Landscape. These cards include creatures (which you need to defeat), enhancements (which you can capture for special abilities), and events (which occur immediately and affect all players).

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On your turn, you can either draw one Adventurer card from the deck or play cards from your hand to try to capture one of the cards in the Landscape. How to do this?

Each Dragonwood card has three different values on the lower-right corner: Strike, Stomp, and Scream.

You can play cards in numerical order (regardless of color) to strike. You can play cards that are all the same number to stomp. Or you can play cards that are all the same color to scream. The number of cards you play equals the number of dice you can roll.

Defeated creatures come with victory points. Enhancements grant special abilities, such as more powerful attacks.

The game ends when the two dragons (that are somewhere in the bottom half of the Dragonwood draw pile) are defeated or the Adventurer deck has been played through twice. The player with the most victory points wins.

The game claims to be appropriate for ages 8+, but it can certainly be played by younger kids. If they can read by themselves and remember the basic rules, they should be good to go. True, some of the strategic thinking might elude them, but this isn’t exactly a really heavy game.

Dragonwood is a fantastic family game with an awesome theme and an interesting mechanic that will help introduce young gamers to more strategic thinking and gameplay that doesn’t clone more popular games.

Like all Gamewright games, this one comes highly recommended.

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(Disclosure: I received a review copy of Dragonwood for review purposes. All opinions are my own.)

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire, StarWars.com, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.