River Dragons board game Review

First released in 2000 under the name “Dragon Delta” (A Rickety Race Across a Delta), River Dragons was re-released by Matagot in 2012. A game of programmed movement, “River Dragons” sees players trying to be the first to cross the delta.

River Dragons by Matagot Games - Board game review by gameapalooza Australian tabletop game reviewsRiver Dragons by Matagot Games

Setup, Gameplay of River Dragons
Players each get a player meeple (and they are amazing, check out the image below), 6 planks of different lengths and up to 13 action cards matching the player color.

Stones are community based so sat to the side of the board in easy reach of all players. Everyone starts in their own village and it’s time to begin! The overall idea without going into every rule is you place stones, then planks on stones and essentially begin the trip along the planks, over the delta to the other side. Problem is, everyone is trying to do the same thing and those pesky action cards you carefully chose the order of will be revealed in player order one at a time. This means you can have planned one thing, only for it to be scuppered by a player who reveals their card before you. If the game mechanic sounds familiar and you’ve played Colt Express, it’s kind of similar.

Cards let you do different actions, like placing a stone(s), placing a plank(s), removing one or the other, moving your adorable player meeple, jumping an adjacent meeple or playing the dastardly Dragon Card. Planks can only be placed on the stones previously placed (each stone can only hold a maximum of three planks). The aforementioned dragon can only be played once per player and it means the player matching the dragon’s color misses that part of the turn order.

Needless to say “River Dragons” is a real hoot and by hoot we mean fun. If you don’t enjoy the programmable movement mechanic of games like the previously mentioned “Colt Express” or the more indepth “Robo Rally” you may want to give this one a body swerve. For everyone else there is fun to be had, though it does have small moments of frustration. All up though “River Dragons” is a clever and beautiful game.

Gameapalooza House Rules
Zero, zip, none. “River Dragons” needs no help in bringing the fun.

2-6 Players

Ages: 8+

Setup Time: A few minutes
Play time: Approx 30 minutes.

River Dragons by Matagot Games - Gameapalooza Australian tabletop board game news and reviewsRiver Dragons over on our Instagram account last year.

Overall
Overall “River Dragons” is a really fun game and a great gateway game. Play – though simple – can actually be fairly strategic and the ability for other players to block you in some way really adds to the laughs at the table. We had a ball with “River Dragons” and we think you will too.

Game Build Quality
Amazing production value, beautiful artwork, lovely double sided board (one with markers and one with none – essentially a beginners and veterans board). The planks are fantastic and unlike the original version they’re now plastic and not cardboard. Those playing pieces have to be some of the most adorable you’ll ever come across. Even the box insert is beautiful. If we’re gushing on these points it’s because it’s just a lovely thing. Matagot put out quality games and this one is sublime.

[author] [authorimage timthumb=’off’]/content/images/2016/02/gameapalooza-micro-review-icon-sm.gif[/authorimage] [authorinfo]Micro Review – River Dragons from Matagot is beautiful, from the box art to the components, even the insert. We enjoyed the programmable movement mechanic and those gorgeous playing pieces. We’ve added it to our events library and only wish it were the giant version. Wonderful stuff, though not for those who frustrate easily. Definitely one to check out however.
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