Dragoon Expansion Preview

Dragoon, by Lay Waste Games, is a simple yet beautiful coffee table game. The second we saw it at last year’s PAX East, Andrew tossed his wallet at the booth and scooped up his copy. While it may not be the most in-depth game strategy-wise, we still love it for its sleek design and high quality components.

With 1 day left on their Kickstarter Lay Waste Games is adding to their gorgeous little game with an expansion called The Rogue and Barbarian.

The expansion adds two new playable characters that will let you play with 6 players instead of four and gives you more options for play style. Both pieces come with new rules which can seriously change up your strategy.

The Barbarian is similar to a dragon in many ways. He’ll stomp around the board claiming cities, busting faces, and carrying off as much loot as he can, but unlike a dragon, he can level up by spending precious gold. Mr. Barbarian uses a separate deck of cards and their level determines which cards they have access to.

The Barbarian also has a ship. This gives him a different way to move around the board. If the Barbarian is standing on a space next to his ship can use an action to get on and disembark at a different spot on the edge of the map. This gives him a bit of extra mobility.

Andrew:  In my plays as the Barbarian, I found it to be an interesting series of trade-offs.  You could get very powerful very quickly, but you had to spend your precious gold to do so.  You were easily as dangerous as any dragon…with the right cards, at least…but had some added vulnerabilities, like your boat being destroyed.  I liked the Barbarian’s gameplay, but sometimes the power felt like it came at too much of a cost.

The Rogue, on the other hand, is made to move. She can sneak around the board using tunnels dug with her trusty shovel. These tunnels actually allow her to move diagonally, which is pretty powerful since other pieces cannot. The tunnels also act as claim tokens for population tunnels, but can co-exist with other players claims.

Besides her shovel, the Rogue has 5 other pieces of “equipment”: grappling hook, poison dagger, pick pocket, poison the well, and pawn shop. You can only have 4 active pieces of equipment at any time so balancing which you want to have out is key.

The Grappling Hook makes the Rogue move 2 spaces instead of 1. This can be great if you need to move fast, but you have to move those 2 spaces if you have it equipped.

The Poison Dagger gives the Rogue the ability to roll the combat die. Without the dagger the Rogue automatically fails combats. She’s a lover not a fighter.

“He’s looking at me isn’t he? I think he’s going to attack. Gosh darn it. Why did I pawn off my dagger for this shovel!”

Pickpocket allows you to steal from an opponent you are on the same space as. You’ll get 3 coins from them and it costs 0 actions to use. This is super powerful as there is nothing the other player can do, but it is also risky, as the Rogue can’t fight unless they have Poison Dagger equipped.

With Poison the Well, the rogue sacrifices their ability to rob a population tile. Instead they can destroy the town/city and gain the destruction value for it.

Lastly, the Pawn Shop gives the Rogue the ability to switch out their equipped items. This one is very important because some of your items take away key abilities for others and being able to change up your tactics is part of what makes the Rogue special.

Jess: I had fun playing as the Rogue. Most of the time I could move around pretty easily and the spaces where I had dug my tunnels were often protected by other players claims. Everyone is so busy fighting each other, I can just sneak in, dig a tunnel, and reap my rewards.

Andrew:  All that said, The Rogue and Barbarian expansion doesn’t revolutionize the game. If you thought Dragoon was too simple and didn’t want to plonk down $50 for the game, then this expansion isn’t going to be what changes your mind.  On the other hand, if you’re a fan of the original, grabbing this expansion is a no-brainer.

Jess:  Totally.  What it did do, which I love, is add some variable player powers to the game, which made it feel fresh and a little more tactical.

Andrew:  Agreed.  The fact that you can play Dragoon with more players, and sub in these alternate characters in place of dragons, even playing without any dragons, is really neat.

If you thought Dragoon was a worthwhile investment and love it the way we do, then the expansion adds to that value. It gives you the ability to play with more people, allows for new strategies and tactics, and even lets you play a 2 player game without dragons.

The Kickstarter campaign has a lot of really cool add-ons like the Bard Barian, which goes to promote awareness for the World Builders charity, or the super-mega-deluxe wooden board by Wyrmwood Gaming.

Jess:  My favorite add-on is the Ketchup plushie. It’s adorable!!!

If you are interested in picking up the expansion or just want to learn more, check out the Dragoon Kickstarter, but do it soon as the campaign ends April 11 2017 11:00 AM EDT.

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