Artist: Siscu Bellido
Release date: 2016
15 – 20 mins
Favouritefoe score: 7/10
Have you ever wondered what would happen if a fire breathing, chicken eating, treasure hoarding dragon decided to upgrade its usual game of Snap with a bit of Spot the Difference? Oh, and not forgetting its fondness for a bit of mantra chanting for good measure. I say usual but there is of course nothing regular about that scenario……..or this game!
Published by Devir Games, Dragons & Chickens is a card game that initially looks like a pattern matching, visual challenge. As you play it, however, you soon realise that the designers have more in store for you. That this is in fact a fast paced exercise in both physical dexterity and sharp sight. And you will certainly need both if you are going to collect the most treasures by the end of the game!
Click below to watch my Dragons & Chickens Rapid Review Video!
Easy to set up, the pack of 109 cards is divided equally between the number of players, and the small, solid wooden treasure chest and shield are placed in easy reach of everyone. The sleeping dragon card is also placed close by.
After that, everybody flips over their first card Snap style whilst chanting “MY-TREA-SURE” so that the images are revealed to everybody around the table on the final syllable.
Each card will then show a number of things: -
· Two treasures (a ring, a diamond, a pearl, a gold bar, a chalice, or a crown)
· A dragon or no dragon; and
· A lit torch or an unlit torch
After some speed spotting, players have to shout out the treasure which is most abundant across the revealed cards e.g. two crowns or three pearls. If there is a tie for the most prolific prizes (or no symbol is repeated across any of the cards combined), players can make a dive for the treasure chest. Whoever grabs it first gets the cards that round.
BUT, if any of the revealed cards show a dragon – or even just a part of one – then players have to race to place their hand over the shield instead. The last person to react loses and has to give up all the cards they have previously collected which depict the treasure matching those on the dragon’s own card.
UNLESS, that is, they have collected a chicken card along the way. Because, it seems, that there is nothing that this fire breathing, all-about-the-bling dragon likes more than roast chicken – not even the glittering gold treasures on your own cards! Offer up the chicken card, and the player gets to keep their cards. The cards on the table are given to the sleeping dragon as an after dinner treat so actually it is win-win for scaly-chops!
In a final (more advanced) twist, the “dark room” rule can be enforced. If any of the cards on the table depict an unlit torch, players can slap their hand down on it to steal that treasure, even if one or more cards that round reveal a dastardly dragon. One hand on the shield, one hand on a card, eyes everywhere – ooft!
Beware, however, because all-to-fast grabs when there is no actual need can lead to penalties – there is no just-in-case play allowed in Dragons & Chickens!
Speedy Snappy Spotting!
This game is a series of races. First and foremost you are going to have to be quick with your hands if you are going to win. But you have to be even quicker to process visual information. You need to look closely which can and does put the brakes on, even if momentarily. Because those dragons can be tiny, sneaky creatures and the torches are small. Miss one scaly beast and, if you’re not packing some of the Colonel’s finest finger licking chicken, then you could go from hero to zero in a single round.
But, on the flip side, if you are simply better at (or more physically able to play) these kinds of quick-reaction games than your opponents and can maintain consistency throughout the game, then it may be a little unbalanced in the challenge department. Certainly if you have younger players in your gaming group, there may need to be a little modification in order to level out the playing field.
Having said that, however, with the pressure to spot multiple things at once, and the potential need to grab a chest, shield, or card, any one player will be hard pressed to score the booty unscathed each round. And for that reason, the game works best at higher player counts.
The art style to make spotting the dragons and torches a challenge – it reminds me of a fantasy based cartoon I used to watch back in the 80s. And in fact the Artist began drawing comics around that time so, who knows, perhaps he was inspired by his previous works.
Our mini-meeple loves this game. It is everything he enjoys about Snap and Spot the Difference combined with the chance to shout, slam, and beat mummy with his razor sharp reactions! And he does. Every.Time. His expressions and excitement when he spies a tiny slither of dragon and shoots for the shield, or realises too late that he hasn’t, are what make me bring this game to our table.
With the right gaming group, this game is a fun 20 minute dash of frenzied chanting, shouting, table slapping, and sharp spotting. And if you like the kinds of sociable, filler games where you have to be quick with your hands as well as your eyes, then Dragons & Chickens could be one for you.
[please note that a copy of this game was kindly provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review but any opinions expressed are my own]