Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports
No. of players: 1-6
Amount of time to play: 30-90 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 5 min
Draconis Invasion is a deck-building game in which you must hire mercenaries to repel the attacking hordes. Killing the monsters gains you VPs.
Draconis Invasion is a fairly typical deck-builder with a few wrinkles throw in. You begin with a deck of 12 starting cards. On your turn you can play an action, then buy a card, attack one of the monsters or get two cards that add bonuses for killing specific monsters.
The above turn order and mechanics are pretty typical but this game has a few wrinkles. First buying mercenaries just adds them to your deck. In order to get them to attack one of the monsters you must pay them. The better, more expensive units require more cash to activate.
Another unique mechanic is Terror. Terror represents how afraid everyone is. You gain Terror cards when you attack the monsters. They do nothing when you draw them besides increase the Terror level. Once the Terror level hits six an event is triggered that penalizes the player with the most kills. You set the Event deck up before you start the game and the bottom card ends the game. The game can also end after someone kills a certain number of monsters.
Three Campaign cards are placed face-up during setup. These cards grant you extra VPs if you kill a specific type of monsters. Sometimes they even require a certain number. On your turn you may take two of these in lieu of attacking or buying.
Once the end game is triggered, players add their VPs from kills and Campaign cards. The player with the most VPs win.
Draconis Invasion is a deck-building game that adds a few unique mechanics to the genre. None of the additions are ground-breaking but this is a solid game for those that like deck-builders.
The components for this game are very nice. The art is especially impressive and the cards are good quality. The rules are easy to read and follow too. For a better experience make sure you are using the updated 1.1 rules.
It is nice that there are suggested configurations you can play through. It feels like you are progressing through an epic battle. And I like that there are some differences from many deck-building games. But those differences got mixed reviews from me and my group.
It is both interesting and can be frustrating that you must pay your mercenaries to fight. That means you have to get a hand where your money and mercenary meet. But opinions in my group differed on it being more annoying than thematic. The new rules let you place one gold card on top of your deck during your turn. This helps lower the chance of getting a mercenary with no money.
Since you need to have enough cash to fight most early turns are the same. Get the action card that thins your deck, get better wealth cards, and then buy mercenaries to attack the monsters.
I like that Terror is both a catch up mechanic and used as a timer. The penalties are not too harsh from the Terror events. Some players did not like that the cards don’t do anything but many deck-builders have cards that work that way.
If you enjoy deck-building games and are looking for a solid one with a few unique wrinkles, check out Draconis Invasion.
Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 3 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 2 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 4 out of 6
Overall 4 out of 6