I am always looking for a new adventure, and what better place to do that than with a good book (or game). I can still remember the first time I ever came across The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I was scouring the shelves of my school library, trying to find something for my required reading. There wasn’t much that interested me, so I kept searching. Then I found it, my next great adventure. It was old and worn and at first glance, it was just an innocuous green book. Upon further inspection, I spied a little drawing of a dragon at the bottom of the front cover, and I knew then, that this was the book I had been looking for all along.
The Hobbit was always one of my favorite books, and when I got the press release for Hoard, I was instantly brought back to that first read, that first adventure. A game about stealing treasure from a sleeping dragon? I was sold. What was even more exciting, was that the game was designed and illustrated by two members of Weta Digital, the digital effects company who had worked on The Hobbit movie. So freaking cool!
Don’t Wake The Dragon
In Hoard, players take on the roll of treasure seekers, trying to steal away all the gold, gems, and goblets from a dragon’s lair. The goal of the game is to be the first treasure seeker to earn 5 points. The game is for 2-4 players and features elements of memory, strategy, and luck.
In the center of the play area are the three tiles that make up the dragon. On one side the dragon is asleep, on the other he is awake; you begin the game with the sleeping dragon face up. Then 12 treasure cards will be arranged around the dragon face down. These cards create the player board. Players will be dealt 5 cards to start, then each player will place their character on a card; they will get to peek at that card. From there, players can perform 1 of 4 actions:
- Roll and move
- Secure Treasure
- Play a dragon action card
- Play a sword or shield card
So, what do these actions do? The first action will let you move your character, either clockwise or counterclockwise, the amount of spaces shown on your die roll. You will get to look at the card you land on and choose whether or not you wish to collect it. If you collect it, a new card is drawn from the deck, and then it is put face down, replacing the card you took; you will get to look at this card first. If you do not like the card you land on, you take one randomly from the top of the deck. This is where the memory aspect of the game comes into play. The second action is to secure your treasure by playing sets in front of you; this secures your points for the round. The third action lets you play a dragon action card. These cards can either wake the dragon, by flipping one of the tiles to the awake side, or put the dragon back to sleep by flipping one of the tiles back to the sleeping side. The last action lets you play a sword on another player as an attack. If you play a sword on a player, and they reveal a shield card, they will take your sword and pair it with the shield to get a point at the end of the round. If the defending player has no shield, you get to look at their hand and take one treasure.
The game is played over a series of rounds (each round will take about 10 minutes). A round ends when a player has run out of cards or the dragon has been woken up. At round end, add up your treasure totals and deduct any treasures that were still in hand. The player with the most points will get a 2-point token and the 2nd place player will get a 1-point token. Then play will repeat until one player has earned 5 points worth of tokens. The video below gives a nice overview of the cards and how to play.
What’s In The Box
A copy of Hoard will include the following components:
- 59 Cards: Dragon, treasure, and interactives (swords, shields, dragon action cards)
- 4 Character pawns: Punchboard to insert in clear plastic stands
- Scoring tokens
- One custom die
There are five levels for backers to choose from for this campaign. All prices for this campaign are converted from New Zealand Dollars. Levels range from $1 NZD to $95 NZD.
The first level is the standard $1 ($0.68 USD) thank you pledge. For a pledge of $15 ($10 USD), you will get a full art PDF print and play. This is a little pricier for a PnP than what I have been seeing on KS lately. Most seem to go for $5 USD. I would honestly skip this level and go straight for the next, which gets you the full game.
To snag a copy of the game, you will need to pledge $30 ($20 USD). This is a really good price. Just remember, that this does not include shipping (I have included the shipping chart from the campaign page for easy reference). A pledge of $55 ($37 USD) will get you two copies of the game; one for you and one for a friend. The last pledge level is meant only for retailers in New Zealand. For $95 ($64 USD), retailers can snag 6 copies of the game. If you are a retailer outside of New Zealand and are interested in backing at this level, you must contact firstname.lastname@example.org first.
The campaign’s funding goal (in NZD) is $16,000. There are currently three stretch goals for the campaign:
- $17,000 NZD- Dragon tiles will be upgraded to 1.3mm boards and a small resealable plastic baggie will be added in, to store all of the tokens and the die
- (No $ amount listed yet)- Linen finish on cards and a new interactive card to add in for 3-4 player games
- (No $ amount listed yet)- Will provide new artwork, punch board, and plastic holder for a 5th player character pawn. Once reached, all backers of $15 or higher will have access to the PnP files.
Cheeky Parrot Games
Cheeky Parrot Games is Julia Schiller’s one-woman show. Her company handles everything from design, to publishing, to distribution. Julia is an expat American who has been living in New Zealand since 2000. She helped cofound SchiMil in 2011 and then Cheeky Parrot three years later. So far, Julia has helped bring these game titles to life: Komodo, Manifest, Cat Capers, Granny Wars, and Raid the Pantry. Julia has been working with Tim Kings-Lynne and Beck Veitch, from Weta Digital, to get Hoard produced and out to players. So far, Hoard looks like it is going to be another success!
I think that this game is going to be a winner with families and lovers of games like Forbidden Island and Jaipur. I like that it it combines light strategy and memory with some luck, without being completely reliant on it. I’m also really digging the art; it’s colorful and the character pawns really look full of life. This is also going to be another game where you can easily slip in a play between your heavier games, and it will be a great intro to more casual players. The inspiration for the game is also something that I really appreciate. Having been a fan of The Hobbit for so many years, this really is a nice way to share that kind of adventure, without getting wrapped into another franchise game.
As I am writing this, the campaign is about 69% funded with 16 days still left in the campaign. I have no doubt that it will reach its funding goal, and I feel like it could easily reach at least one of the stretch goals before the campaign finishes up. If you are looking for a fun, light family game, you should definitely check out Hoard.
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