How to Play
Insert batteries into the dragon and place it onto the center of the gameboard. Each player chooses an explorer pawn and places it on the cave entrance space. Place a red jewel on each space with a red dot on it and a blue jewel on every space with a blue dot. Place the golden eggs on the egg space. All of the players roll the die with the player rolling the highest number getting to go first.
Playing the Game
To start a player’s turn they roll the die and move their pawn the corresponding number of spaces. While moving a player can move in either direction. The player must move the full amount of their roll except when they move to the cave entrance and the egg space which immediately stop a player’s turn. A player may not enter the path to the golden eggs until they have collected a jewel of each color.
Players can collect jewels in a couple ways. If you already have a jewel on top of your pawn or you already own a jewel of the color you are trying to take, you cannot pick up the jewel. If you land on a space that has a jewel on it you may pick it up and put it on top of your pawn.
A player can also steal a jewel if they land on a space with a player that has a jewel on top of their pawn
After moving their pawn if a player lands on a space with instructions printed on it, they read the instructions and follow them. Some of the instructions on the board include:
- Move to a Jewel: You may move your pawn to a space that has a jewel on it. If you don’t already have a jewel on your pawn and don’t have a jewel of the color of the space you move to, you may take the jewel on the space.
- Take A Jewel From Another Player: If you don’t already have a jewel on top of your pawn you may take a jewel from the top of another player’s pawn. You cannot take jewels that have already been removed from the cave and you cannot take a jewel of a color that you have already taken out of the cave. The player does not move their pawn at all to take the jewel from the other player.
- Roll Again: You may roll the die again and move the number of spaces rolled. If your first roll activated the dragon, you must activate the dragon before taking your second roll.
- Enter Hidden Passage: You may move your pawn to the passage exit on the other side of the cave.
- Take the Eggs from Another Player: If you land on this space you may take the eggs from any other player if they have them on top of their pawn. You may do this even if you have not acquired both colored jewels.
After completing the action on the space that a player lands on, the player may have to activate the dragon. If the player rolled a three or five they must push the spine button to activate the dragon and wait until the dragon stops moving.
Any jewels or eggs knocked off a player’s pawn by the dragon are placed on the board on the space where the player lost them.
The player must leave the space on their next turn but can then return to the space on a future turn to retrieve the jewels or eggs.
After a player has acquired a jewel or the eggs they must make their way to the cave entrance. When a player reaches the cave entrance they claim the jewels/eggs.
The player can no longer lose jewels after they have been taken out of the cave. When a player has acquired both types of jewels they can try to acquire the golden eggs. The player moves to the entrance to the eggs and places their two jewels on the entrance to enter the path.
Their turn then ends but no other players can access the passage to the eggs. The player continues to move down the path to the eggs until they reach them. They put the eggs on their pawn, slide back to the normal path, and then their turn ends. Once a player has brought the eggs onto the main path all of the other players can steal the eggs (without having gathered both jewels) by landing on the space with the eggs on it or by landing on the space that allows them to steal the eggs.
Winning the Game
The first player to bring the golden eggs to the cave entrance wins the game.
When you look at Dragon Strike the first thing that catches your eyes will probably be the motorized dragon. I have to say that is the first thing that stood out to me. I have to admit that the dragon is a pretty cool component. It is surprisingly fun to watch the dragon’s head whip around as you wait and see if it will knock jewels off of players’ pieces. The dragon is cool because it is designed where the dragon’s head can flip in any direction at any time. The dragon’s head could look like it is going to hit your pawn and then switch directions at the last second.
Unfortunately the cool dragon is about all Dragon Strike has going for it. Dragon Strike feels like Milton Bradley came up with the idea for the dragon and then forgot they actually had to make a game to go with it. Dragon Strike is a very generic roll and move game that has broken rules that makes it a pain to play.
The biggest problem with Dragon Strike is that pretty much 80-90% of the game is pointless. You spend most of the game moving around the gameboard collecting jewels which you need to access the dragon eggs. The problem is that you don’t really even need to collect the jewels. The only benefit of collecting the jewels is that you can then be the first player to grab the eggs. This is kind of pointless though since once a player has retrieved the eggs any other player can steal them. The game has spaces that allow you to steal the eggs, players can land on the same space as the player who has the eggs or the dragon could end up knocking the eggs off from the top of the player’s pawn. I honestly don’t know if it is even possible for the first player to grab the eggs and bring them back to the cave entrance without losing them at least once.
The problem is that once a player grabs the eggs, all of the other players are going to position themselves between the player with the eggs and the cave entrance. Players will also surround the space that allows you to steal the eggs. Once a player gets both jewels there is no reason not to get your pawn ready to steal the eggs from the player who grabs them. With all of the players trying to steal the eggs, every player has just as good of chance of winning the game despite how well they do in the first part of the game. To illustrate this I actually ended up winning the game despite not moving a single jewel out of the cave. I got lucky that a player lost the eggs just a couple of spaces from the exit and I was able to pick them up and take them to the exit. Basically I did nothing in the entire game and yet I still won.
I just think it is a stupid idea to create a game where it doesn’t really matter what you do for most of the game as long as you are lucky at the end of the game. Honestly the game should have just cut the whole idea of the jewels out of the game and just had a race to see who could get the eggs out of the cave. The game would be really short and still not very good but you wouldn’t have to waste a bunch of time with pointless action that means nothing for the final outcome of the game.
Dragon Strike is entirely reliant on luck. You need to roll well, avoid other players stealing from you, and not having the dragon knock over jewels and eggs from your pawn. The luckiest player will always win Dragon Strike because there is no real strategy in the game.
While the dragon is pretty cool it adds a lot of luck to the game. Some people will get lucky and not have their jewel knocked off while others will have their jewels constantly knocked off. In the game I played two players always had their jewels knocked off before they ever got a second turn with the jewels on their pawn. The other two players had a little more luck but still struggled since the dragon is very efficient in knocking off the jewels. You are unlikely to move a jewel or the eggs very far unless you are very lucky. Basically the game is an exercise of slowly moving the jewels closer to the exit until someone gets lucky enough to actually leave the cave with a jewel.
So it should not come as a surprise that I did not enjoy Dragon Strike. Basically the game is broken since your decisions have very little impact on the final outcome of the game. Unless you like games that rely purely on luck, I don’t see you getting a lot of enjoyment out of Dragon Strike.
While I did not enjoy Dragon Strike at all, I can see younger children enjoying the game quite a bit more than I did. The game is simple and I think young children will really enjoy the dragon. Younger children also won’t mind the terrible endgame which makes the rest of the game pointless. The game may work in a family setting but I wouldn’t recommend the game to any adults if they aren’t going to play the game with younger children.
Dragon Strike is the perfect example of a game based off a component instead of actual gameplay. While the dragon is pretty cool, there is next to nothing else to the game. The gameplay is dull and relies almost entirely luck. It doesn’t hurt that the first 80% or so of the game is totally pointless since once one player has grabbed the eggs, any other player could easily steal the eggs and win the game without actually doing anything to deserve victory. Outside of playing the game with young children I can’t see any adults getting much enjoyment out of the game. If you have young children that would be interesting in the theme it may be worth picking up Dragon Strike. Otherwise I would stay far away from it.
If you would like to purchase Dragon Strike you can find it on Amazon.