Dragoborne: Rise to Supremacy is Bushiroad’s latest international project. Dragoborne is an exciting new TCG that heavily involves the strategic use of dice to either defend yourself or augment your spells and creatures’ powers. It’s releasing August 2017 with three Trial Decks and the Rally to War Booster Pack. Organized play will have monthly shop tournaments and promo cards, and Dragoborne will be integrated with the Bushiroad Championship Series.
In Dragoborne, each player controls three forts, which represent the Dragoborne’s Nation allegiances as well as the player’s life total. The aim of the game is to destroy all of the opponent’s forts, and to accomplish that, players summon fearsome creatures to aid them in battle and cast powerful spells to devastate their opponents or to grant boons to their allies. In addition, players can use their own powers to alter the course of the game. This power is represented by dice, which can be used to empower creatures, enhance spell effects, and even protect forts. Skillful manipulation and usage of dice can mean the difference between a crushing defeat and an overwhelming victory. Dice values also play a role in the outcome of the game, as different powers can be unlocked with different values—you don’t need to roll high to do well in the game.
When constructing your own deck, you’ll get to choose three starting banners, which can be the same or different colors. You’ll also include three dice, the colors of which will match your banners. When you set up the game, you’ll have three forts. Each fort will have one of your banners and two randomly dealt cards from the top of your deck. Those cards are effectively the forts’ hit points, called barriers. When both of a fort’s barriers are gone, that fort is destroyed, and when all three of your forts are destroyed, you lose the game.
At the start of your turn, you’ll roll all your dice and draw a card, and you may play an additional resource by putting the top card of your deck face up and upside down by your banners. Each banner has one of the game’s color icons on top, while other cards have their color icons at the bottom. By placing it upside down, these icons line up. These cards serve as your resources during the game, so while you start out with three, you’ll be building up to play bigger and bigger things over the course of the game. The resource system is familiar from other games, but the three starting banners mean the game starts with momentum, and because you chose your banners’ colors, you’ll never be missing a key resource type.
Creature cards can be summoned into your three forts. No more than two creatures can occupy a single fort, but you’re allowed to swap their positions around during your turn. There are also spell cards that can be played for a variety of effects. Each card has a cost that will require you to put to rest a certain number of resources, and at least one of those must match the color of the card you’re playing.
In front of each fort is a place for the fort’s owner to prepare an ambush. Spells and creatures can both have the ambush ability, which allows the player to pay 2 resources to place the card face down in front of a fort. When a fort with a prepared ambush is attacked, the defending player will reveal and play the ambush card, which can be anything from a creature that can jump in to defend to a spell that will deal damage to the opponent’s creatures. Ambushes make attacking a fort exciting. There’s a tension to knowing your opponent has prepared something for you that you’ll have to work around eventually, but since each fort can only have on ambush set at a time, things will never stack too far against you.
The dice come into play when you assign them to either Dragoshield or Dragocross. You can protect your forts by placing a die that matches the fort’s color (the banner assigned to the fort during setup determines its color) at that fort. The amount of defense the die will provide depends on the value that die rolled that turn, and your opponent will have to deal enough damage to break through the die in order to combat any of your creatures or to deal any damage to the fort. To Dragocross, place one of your dice on one of your creatures. Creatures can vary, but most have white die icons in their top-right corners, meaning any die can be placed there to give the creature +1/+1. Some creatures also have special Dragocross abilities that given them extra abilities when dice have been assigned to them. Dragoshielding and Dragocrossing are the actions you can take with your dice, but the dice values can also come into play depending on certain card effects, such as Torch, which deals damage equal to the value of one of your red dice. These dice mechanisms give you interesting choices each turn, and while the exact results of the dice rolls won’t usually impact the game too heavily, a high roll (or sometimes even a low roll) on a key turn can clinch victory.
During your combat phase, you can declare attacks against your opponent’s forts. You may attack with a creature from any of your forts against any of your opponent’s forts. If there’s no Dragoshield there, your opponent will be able to choose one creature at the attacked fort with which to defend. If there are no creatures to defend, or if your opponent chooses not use one, you’ll deal one damage to the fort (regardless of the attack value of the attacking creature). Dealing damage to an opponent’s fort means one of the barrier cards is removed and added to the opponent’s hand. In addition, some cards have the Fort Burst ability, which will allow the player to immediately play the card for free rather than add it to hand. Though there are risks to destroying a barrier, it’s how you win the game, and this mechanism helps keep the tension high throughout the game. Fort bursts are like ambushes in that they add surprise and excitement, but fort bursts push this theme perhaps even more than ambushes because even the owner of the card doesn’t know it’s coming. When both players are anxiously awaiting the reveal of the card, you know you have a dramatic moment on your hands.
Overall, Dragoborne offers some familiar TCG features while adding many new twists. The dice in particular set this game apart, and time will tell what exciting Dragocross abilities Bushiroad has in store.
Dragoborne Releases — August 2017