Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Fall 2015 Games
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Gamewright
Price: $14.99

Dragonwood is a game of strategy and knowing the odds. This fantasy-themed card and dice game has players collecting Adventurer cards to earn dice; the dice are rolled to try to collect Creature cards or bonus cards to make one or more future rolls a little bit easier. As players defeat the mythical or wild creatures (anything from spiders and bears to trolls and dragons) they earn victory points. The one with the most points when the second dragon is defeated (or when the game has gone through two rounds of the Adventurer deck) wins the game.

We enjoyed laughing at the characters that appeared on the Creature cards ("Crazy bats AGAIN?") and working out how many dice were necessary to take a particular creature from being possible, to probable, to a sure thing. The dice are numbered 1 to 4, and not all rolls are equally likely, so this led to some interesting discussions on probability. We also found that probability doesn't tell the whole story unless the roll is a sure thing; one frustrated player tried and failed numerous times to defeat a stubborn dragon with better than 50% odds, until a sibling lucked out on the first try despite no better chance. We also found that the bonus cards were a huge benefit if collected early in the game but became little more than a liability if obtained late; this was another important lesson in strategy. Adults and children alike appreciated this clever family game.

Emily Crawford   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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