Game Time: 60mins +
Flamecraft is a game designed for 1-5 players, published by Lucky Duck Games (https://luckyduckgames.com). Participants of the game become Flamekeepers, with the objective of enhancing the town's shops by collecting items, placing dragons, and casting enchantments. Each dragon specialises in a specific item (such as bread, meat, iron, crystal, plant, or potion), and the Flamekeepers know which shops are most suitable for each type of dragon. By visiting a shop, players can obtain items and favours from the dragons in residence. The accumulated items can be used to enchant a shop, increasing its reputation and earning the favour of all dragons in the shop.
Attracting fancy dragons can result in more opportunities to gain reputation. The game was originally on Kickstarter, feel free to take a look at what it had during the campaign:
So what do you get in the standard edition?
1 Neoprene Town Mat ( I do not feel this adds any benefit other than looking pretty, NOT needed)
210 Goods Tokens (35 each of Bread, Meat, Potion, Plant, Crystal and Iron)
24 Coin Tokens
34 Jumbo Shop Cards
8 Player Aids
42 Artisan Dragon Cards
36 Fancy Dragon Cards
36 Enchantment Cards
7 Companion Dragon Cards
6 Wooden Dragon Tokens
6 Wooden Heart Tokens
This is a relatively straightforward worker placement game. Each player receives their own actions card / player aid. On your turn, you move your dragon to a new shop in the village. If there are other dragons already there, you must give each of them a resource as a penalty for visiting a popular shop.
Once your dragon occupies a village space, you must choose between two options: Gather or Enchant. In Gather mode, you gather as many resources as are available at that location. For instance, if you go to the Draco Bell (some really cute puns throughout this game) shop, you can collect resources indicated by the stall and dragons present in the shop for example six meats ( for example three for enchantments, one for base location, two for artisan dragons already there) and one diamond (from the diamond artisan dragon). If you have some artisan dragons and the shop has space, you can place your dragon there and receive a reward. You can then activate one artisan dragon, which lets you draw an additional artisan dragon into your hand.
Alternatively, if you choose the Enchant mode, you will enchant the location, which adds resources to the location and typically awards you victory points. One of the benefits of casting an enchantment is that you then activate ALL artisanal dragons at that location!
That's the main idea of the game - move, gather or enchant, and repeat! There are additional rules about new locations, Fancy Dragons, and a few other mechanisms (coins are special), but the basic concept is to collect Artisanal Dragons and Enchantments to earn Victory Points. Play continues until they run out of Artisanal Dragons OR Enchantments, and the player with the most victory points at the end wins! A very typical engine builder style game.
What is an engine builder board game I may hear you ask?
An engine builder board game is a type of board game where players construct and optimise their own game "engine" or system over the course of the game. The game engine refers to a player's interconnected network of cards, pieces, or resources that work together to generate points, bonuses, or other benefits. The aim of the game is to build the most efficient and effective game engine, which requires careful planning and strategic decision-making. The game typically involves acquiring and managing resources, developing and upgrading cards or pieces, and generating synergies between different elements of the engine. Examples of popular engine building games we've reviewed are Cosmoctopus, Terraforming Mars, and Wingspan if you wish to compare.
This is another game that relies on the OOOHHH shiny and cuteness factor, slap any other art on this and it would be just another engine builder game. It is the production value of this that sells it and the theme is key. I mean who doesn't like cute dragons? If you don't then its NOT a game for you. The game was very popular on Kickstarter funding over $2,000,000USD with over 29,000 backers. I mean come on... just look at these dragons, the only reason I didn't back this was because our resident Dino-Girl did!
So, let's break it down for you in our key areas:
It is an engine builder style of game at the end of the day, so its very replayable in my humble opinion.
Phenomenal, need I say any more, its this that makes this game.
Cute dragons, I mean what more is there to NOT like?
It's not complex. While it has the age guideline of 10+, I think its purely because of the small components (no need for CE mark this way), but an 7/8 year old could play this.
A great rulebook, all nice and clear, well laid out and easy to follow.
It's not unique. It's an engine builder at the end of the day, but the artwork is great and this is the big selling point.
The Kickstarter was good value with all the extras you get. $80USD for the deluxe is great especially with the KS exclusives. The retail version is available for pre order from the Lucky Duck website* for about 35 Euros (not including shipping), so not horrendous.
Flamecraft has some stunning artwork and is an majorly aesthetically pleasing game, and I for one love a game that look great. Its gameplay is straightforward and simple to teach, ensuring that players are always engaged and feel productive on their turn. The game mechanics do not involve a lot of interference with other players, which makes it a suitable choice for those who do not enjoy highly competitive games. If you are looking for a game that does not involve a cutthroat competition, Flamecraft could be the perfect choice for you. The artwork is incredible and the artist needs a shout out so Sandara Tang well done you've done an amazing job (ArtStation - Sandara Tang -www.artstation.com/sandara if you want to go check out her other work).
Could Flamecraft be a new gateway engine builder? What do you think? let us know in the comments.
Your DoaLG Founder