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Dragon Bridge

No, this isn't a variant on Contract Bridge: you won't be bidding, taking tricks or communicating with a partner in code. Indeed, you won't be partnering up with anyone: Dragon Bridge is a strictly two-player game. It's a filler-length card game where you and an opponent will be playing cards to move along a bridge to escape a dragon.

Keith Burgun has designed an appealing game where players each control a wizard. In the basic, learning game the wizards are all treated as the same but the 15 different wizard cards in the box all come with different powers and special abilities that shake the game up. The wizards also come in a bizarre mix of styles: so you have some that look very human but others that are furry animals and, in one, case, a potato!

Players have a hand of action cards that mostly allow you to Move or Teleport your own wizard up or down the bridge or to Bump an opponent. Along the way you can make use of magic gems. If you have three green gems flipped face up, you can flip them all face down to claim an Item card that will usually apply to your wizard for the rest of the game.

Your aim is to get your wizard to safety by moving it to one of the orange spaces on the bridge. On the face of it, that might not seem like much of a game: you play Move cards to move your wizard towards the orange and play Bump cards to move my wizard in the wrong direction. However, there is more: this is where the dragon come in... Action cards aren't just played to a discard pile, they are laid out in the dragon's Nest. Some cards have dragon wing icons on them. If ever there 9 or more dragon wings in the Nest, the dragon takes flight - moving from one side of the bridge to the other. That means the area that you've been moving to to reach safety and win the game switches to being the area where a wizard can be devoured by the dragon - losing you the game.

This seemingly simple twist elevates Dragon Bridge to a clever tactical game. Canny players will play cards to the Nest deliberately in order to trigger or avoid triggering the dragon's flight, and your choice of movement (ie: the direction you choose to move) is no longer as blindingly obvious as you first thought. Added to this, several of the wizard's special abilities trigger when the dragon roosts (ie: the Nest fills with 7 cards but there aren't enough dragon wings to trigger its flight).

The various wizard abilities, item and other special cards offer plenty of variety to help keep Dragon Bridge fresh after multiple plays, but there are also some variant rules to try, so you'll certainly get your money's worth from this game. And if, like us, you have a desire to jazz up the components, it's a simple matter to pull a couple of wizard figures and a dragon mini from another game to give Dragon Bridge a more tactile edge.

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