We at Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy® feel dragons too often get a bad rap. Not all dragons are gargantuan destroyers and hoarders. Some of us are small, helpful, and drop-dead adorable. So we’re happy to tell you about Cardboard Alchemy’s worker-placement-meets-engine-building game, Flamecraft.
In Flamecraft, you take on the roll of a Flamekeeper, skilled in the language of the dragons and eager to support the helpful dragons in finding useful work. Play begins in a small market town with only a few shops and a few dragons in your hand. Most dragons are artisan dragons, and come in six flavors: purple potion dragons, pink-and-white crystal dragons, grey metal dragons, yellow bread dragons, red meat dragons, and green plant dragons. Each shop has space for three dragons to join its staff, and most want two or more types of dragons to fill those openings. When you stop at a shop, you can either collect the items the shop produces (potions, crystals, metal, bread, meat, and plants) and add a dragon to the shop as well as “fire up” a dragon to activate its special ability, or you can spend the items you’ve collected to place an enchantment on the shop, improving it for everyone who comes to use it later. You can also remove dragons from a shop to add to your hand. Once a shop has all its dragon-openings filled, you can add new shops to the town. These shops often have special abilities of their own.
There’s a seventh type of dragon in the game: fancy dragons. These give you various goals that they’ll reward you with points for achieving. You can also acquire points by matching artisan dragons with shops and by activating special abilities of both artisan dragons and shops. You play until you’ve run out of enchantment cards or artisan dragon cards. The winner of the game is the one with the most points.
The combination of enchantments plus dragon and shop abilities can create machine-like synergies, where firing off one set allows you to activate another, so by the end of the game, you’ll generating a lot of resources and points all at once. But anything you can do, the other players can do as well, and because of the secret goals given to you by the fancy dragons, you’re only able to guess what goals the other players are pursuing.
The art by Sandara Tang for this game is absolutely adorable. The designers have really leaned into that art, giving every individual dragon its own unique illustration and name. The game can be played solo or by up to five players. The typical game lasts an hour, and uses the number of enchantment and dragon cards to adjust for the number of players to keep the playing time from expanding. If you really enjoy worker-placement and engine-building games, or you just adore cute little dragons as much as we do, you’ll want to get this game. We expect it to be incredibly popular, so talk to the dragon experts at your local Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy® today in order to secure your copy.