Hoard: Review

Fairway knows all too well how much dragons love their treasure. He’s reviewed at least one game for TIGR where that was the case.  Today, he ventures into the lair of a sleeping dragon to see if he can walk out with the most treasure in this review of Hoard by Cheeky Parrot Games. 

Hoard is a two- to four- player set collection and hand management game in which players are adventures trying to take treasure from a sleeping dragon. I’m glad I backed this game on Kickstarter.

Initial Impressions ^

  1. The art is soft, almost dreamy. Fits the idea of a quiet search of a sleeping dragon’s lair.
  2. A “memory” game that isn’t hard on the brain.
  3. This game is quick, easy to teach, and would be playable anywhere.

Game play ^

Hoard is played over a series of rounds. Players are adventurers trying to score enough points to win by mostly securing treasure that surrounds a sleeping dragon.  Each round ends when the dragon is woken up.

The game consists of a set of treasure and action cards set out around three sleeping dragon cards.  At the start of each round, the dragon cards are turned so that the slumbering side of the dragon (blue) is face up and the awakened side (red) is face down.  Around the dragon, the treasure cards are placed to form a five-by-three grid.  Each player places their player pawn on one of those treasure cards and peeks at it.

Players are then dealt a starting hand of five cards.

Each round of the game consists of players taking turns performing one action. There are four possible actions: move, secure treasure, take a dragon action, or “fight.”  To move, a player rolls a die, moves their pawn around the dragon (in either direction) that number of cards. The player can look at the card they landed on and do one of the following: take it and replace it with a card from the deck, swap it for a card in their hand, or leave it face down.

The player can secure treasure by playing a set of matching treasure cards face up in front of them.  The set must be cards with at least three total treasure icons of the same type. This is possible by using single iconed cards or ones with double icons.  A player can also later extend these sets for additional points.

Another option is to do battle using sword and shield cards.  To attack, a player may play a sword face up in front of them and select a player to attack. If the attacked player has a shield, they take the sword which will score points at the end of the round.  If they do not, the attacking player will keep the sword face up and typically will take or exchange a card from the attacking player’s hand.  An attacking player may also play a shield later to secure the unpaired sword.

Finally, a player may play a dragon action card: eek or shh.  The eek card will wake one of the slumbering dragon cards while the “shh” card puts a waked dragon card back to sleep.  Players can also score points at the end by having played exactly three dragon action cards.

When the dragon is completely roused, the round ends and players score their points.  In general: you score a point for each secured treasure, lose a point for each treasure in your hand, score a point for each matched sword/shield pair, and five points for exactly three dragon action cards.  Rounds continue until a player score the requisite number of points and the game ends.

On the green ^

Hoard is clever, quick and a lot of fun.

Art.  Everything in Hoard is composed of a great set of art. There’s a nice range of well-illustrated character pawns and there’s a nice attention to detail on the dragon and treasure cards. It all fits the theme very well.

A good amount of strategy in a roll & move game.  Players always felt in control of this game. Everything from the rest state of the dragon to decisions to attack other players were well done.

Player counts.  This is playable as a duel, but supports a full family of gamers.  And while it’s sweet spot is at the higher end of the play count, we enjoyed it at each level.

Play time.  This game can be fast or long depending on your own preferences. All you need to do is adjust the “winning” score: more points means more rounds and more plays.  Since it’s easy to set up and play, you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Memory game.  For a memory game, it’s not hard on the brain. The location of a handful of cards you place isn’t all that hard.  People who don’t like memory games should not shy away from this one.

Where it comes up short ^

Hoard is exactly what it’s billed to be. We don’t have any particular gripes about the game.  The game does have a bit of luck built in: your initial deal of the cards, whether you uncover a shield, whether you’re able to complete that set, whether someone wakes the dragon before you can do much, etc. None of this detracts from the fun of the game though.

In the hole ^

Hoard is definitely worth picking up for a family of gamers. The dragon treasure hunting theme, the soft, dreamy art, and the kid-friendly mechanics are fantastic. But Hoard definitely would make a neat change of pace for any gamer group that enjoys set collection games. This game is sure to appeal to a wide range of treasure loving gamers.

Hoard is in the hole for a Birdie. ^

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