The first thing to say about Book of Dragons is that there is no Book of dragons. The game comprises a box containing 40 cards made up of four each of 10 different designs. The illustrations (all by artist Kerem Beyit) are striking, though some of the darker images can be hard to make out. There is no text, numbering or iconography on any of the cards and, as things stand, there is no rulebook in the pack.
The idea behind Book of Dragons is that the cards can be used as the basis of a range of different games. The box links to the game’s website (www.bookofdragonsgame.com) and that, in turn, gives a batch of different rules for games that can be played using the cards. There are games by Robert Burke, the publisher behind the idea, but other contributors include well-known board and card game designers Martin Wallace and Mike Fitzgerald.
The interesting concept is the idea of asking a bunch of different designers to come up with their own games using the same components. It’s a bit like author George R R Martin did with his Wild Cards ‘mosaic novels’. The games so far on the Book of Dragons site are a mixed batch but all are playable. What is especially fascinating, however, is to see the various directions that different designers take ideas that use these same components.
The Book of Dragons launched this weekend on Kickstarter. The copy shown here is a prototype that came in a tuckbox. That is also available through the Kickstarter campaign, though the campaign is mainly promoting a retail version that will come in a bigger box and with printed rulesheets. If you want to give this game a try, I’d recommend going for the retail pack, if only so that it should give you scope for sleeving the cards. With dark edges, the cards will show up any nicks or wear, so you won’t want to play with them unsleeved.
You can find out more about Book of Dragons by checking out the Kickstarter campaign, which runs for another month from the date of this post.