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.