Adam Kaluza


No. of Players:

G@mebox Star



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Three dwarfs versus one dragon. This phrase describes the story of Drako, a new two player game from REBEL. And it is really a great one. The game comes in a small box with nice figures for the dwarves and the dragon and a set of 38 cards for each player. The board shows us a small hexagonal map, the battlefield. At the beginning of the game the dragon is placed in the middle and one dwarf at every edge of the board, two steps away from the dragon. Then the fight may begin.

In the game one player takes the role of the dragon who is decoyed by a dead sheep, the other player moves the three dwarfs, who have set the sheep trap. Both players use their own set of cards with different possible actions. All cards are shuffled at the beginning of the game. During a turn, the player may choose amongst the following two actions: either the player draws two new cards or plays one of the cards from his hand. Two of these actions are allowed in a turn.


The cards allow the player to either move or attack the other player. In order to carry out a normal attack, attacker and defender have to stand on adjacent fields. Most of the cards can be used for different actions, but you must always choose one of these possibilities. Once a card is used for the one or other action, it is discarded and removed from play. There are movement cards for one or two steps and the Dwarf player also has some cards to let two dwarfs move one step with just one card. This can be quite useful to force the dragon into a corner. Attacks have a hit value of one or two in case of the Dwarf player and one to three for the dragon, each of which brings one wound to the opponent. Again the dwarf player has some valuable attacks that let two dwarfs attack simultaneously with just one action. This can be very powerful, but it must be well prepared, because you must have two dwarfs adjacent to the dragon to use it. Of course, attacks can be defended, too. For this some cards have a shield symbol and can be played as a defence. Again a player must consider very carefully if he wants to use the defence of a card or the alternative attack or movement action of the card. Remember that once the card is used, it is discarded. So sometimes it is better to accept a minor wound to play a counterattack in the next turn with this card.

All of this moving and attacking would be a little bit monotonous, if the players could not carry out some powerful special attacks, provided they are given prompt opportunity. For one, the card "Fire Attack" allows the Dragon player to breathe fire in one of the six directions on the hexagonal board. As a result of this furious attack, all dwarfs in the line of fire get hurt if the Dwarf player is not able to protect each of them by help of an appropriate defence card.


Each of the three dwarfs has also a special ability. For the Dwarf player it is of utmost importance to send the dwarfs to favourably positioning so that they can concurrently attack the dragon from two flanks and bring their respective special abilities to bear. One of the dwarfs may throw his net hence pinning the dragon down for a while - but, of course, the Dwarf player must also command the respective card to bring this ability into play. Another dwarf may attack the dragon from afar with his crossbow and, last but not least, the third dwarf may choose to put himself into a rage which allows him to perform one additional action.

Obviously, the dwarfs all feature very potent abilities and, indeed the Dragon player has a rather hard time winning the game. The best he can do is taking advantage of his ability to fly freely from one field to another - provided, of course, the Dragon player commands the respective card again. But time is also on the side of the Dragon player. If he or she survives long enough, the Dwarf player will inevitably run out of cards and the Dragon wins the game. Thus, it is good advice for the Dragon player to avoid open conflict with the dwarfs as long as his or her cards allow him or her to flee the dwarfs. At first sight, this seems easy enough, however, each time I took over the Dragon's part, the hiding places on the board proved far too limited.


Both players can take stick, but after a number of hard blows the characters get seriously injured. The Dwarf player separately notes down the wounds of each dwarf. After any one dwarf has suffered his fourth, fifth or sixth blow (depending on the dwarf), he is knocked out and does not participate in the game any longer. As for the dragon, in case his dragon armour yielded to the dwarfs' attacks, the Dwarf player decides which one of the dragon's three abilities to destroy: movement, flight or breathing fire. In case one of these abilities took the final blow, the dragon can no longer employ it. Thus, destroying the dragon's special abilities is very advantageous for the Dwarf player. But nevertheless, he will not win the game until the dragon is killed.

In my eyes, Drako is a well balanced game. The game is a tough exchange of blows until the very end and a lot of games will not be decided until the last card is played. The dwarfs must attack continuously. But if the Dwarf player risks too much, especially at the beginning, the result is sometimes a dead dwarf instead of a heavy wounded dragon. The better strategy, especially for the dragon player is to prepare all blows carefully and to use the special abilities and attacks. For most players this is a little bit uncommon at the beginning, so I would say that a new player should always try the dwarfs first. The game takes you only about 20 minutes, so there will always be enough time for a revenge. I, for one, think that Drako is really an excellent, fast-paced and highly entertaining fantasy oriented game and it is surely one, if not the best two player game in 2011. So, what should I say, I really love it.

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright © 2011 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany