PuzzleNation Product Review: Hoard

Stealing a dragon’s treasure is an iconic adventure trope, a classic test of a hero’s mettle or a thief’s craftiness. But do you have the skills and luck necessary to pilfer from a sleeping dragon and get away clean?

In the card game Hoard, you’ll get your chance to do exactly that as you and your fellow players maneuver around a sleeping dragon, trying to collect matching sets of treasure while defending yourself from or attacking your fellow plunderers, all with the ever-present threat of a slumbering fire-breathing beastie looming over you.

In fact, waking the dragon (or lulling it back to sleep) is a key part of the game play, since it could be to your advantage to wake the dragon after securing some treasure for yourself.

Hoard combines the resource management aspect of numerous other card games with the luck and wherewithal of Memory. As you move around the board, you have the choice to look at one of the dragon’s treasure cards. You can either take that card, or you can leave it (and hope you remember what you found there, in case you need it later). If you leave the card, you’ll instead draw a random card from the deck.

You might find helpful treasure, a sword to attack with, a shield to defend with, a way to wake the dragon, or a way to soothe the dragon. The variety of cards makes the relatively small playing area a rich field, rife with possibilities.

Wait a minute, why would you WANT to wake a dragon?

Simple. You play for several rounds, and each round can only end in one of three ways:
A.) The last card from the deck is pulled
B.) A player begins a turn with no cards in their hand
C.) The dragon wakes up

So, if you’ve secured a good bit of treasure and you think you’ll win that round, it’s to your advantage to wake the dragon and end the round before the other players can catch up.

Only the players with the top two point totals (amassed from making treasure sets and other related card patterns, similar to Go Fish) receive victory points at the end of the round.

The first player to five victory points wins the game.

The strategy involved is what makes this a terrific game for puzzle fans. You need to make sure that you keep finding matching sets of treasure (both by remembering what cards are around the dragon and seeing which cards you get from the deck), defend your treasure from the other players, and avoid getting outfoxed in manipulating the dragon.

The mechanics of the game are simple, but the sheer number of options available to the player — as well as the element of chance involved — make for a very replayable game experience. One round, the dragon could be your greatest ally, while another time, the dragon wakes at the worst possible moment for you and your meager treasure hoard.

A great game for families, casual players, and hardcore board gamers alike, Hoard is gorgeous, well-executed, and great fun.

Hoard is a Cheeky Parrot Games product, available online now!

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It’s Follow-Up Friday: Kickstarter Roundup edition!

Welcome to Follow-Up Friday!

By this time, you know the drill. Follow-Up Friday is a chance for us to revisit the subjects of previous posts and bring the PuzzleNation audience up to speed on all things puzzly.

And today, I’d like to return to the subject of crowdfunding!

[Image courtesy of The Startup Garage.]

I’ve covered various campaigns for board games, card games, and puzzle projects across the Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding platforms over the years, and today I’d like to share a few more that could use your attention.

The first is the strategy game Sovrano.

Sovrano is a tactical game in the spirit of chess where you compete with your opponent to score points by capturing one or both of the towers in the center row of the board and/or by escorting your emperor to the throne at the center of the board. With only 11 game pieces apiece, this multi-tiered game is simple to learn but contains enough depth and nuance to keep players interested.

Although supporting Sovrano is a bit more expensive than the average game’s Kickstarter levels, it’s worth noting that each game is hand-made by the father-and-son team behind the game, and the craftsmanship looks gorgeous.

A bit more complex and cutthroat than Sovrano, Summit is a strategy game that’ll test your speed, cunning, and karma. It’s kind of like The Oregon Trail, but with other wagons racing you.

Summit combines path building (by laying triangular tiles on the mountain map), mechanics to help or hinder opponents (inspiring alliances and encouraging betrayals in equal measure), resource management, and an element of luck to create an intriguing racing game where players compete to climb AND descend a mountain before their opponents do.

On the simpler side of things, we have Hoard, a test-your-luck card game all about hedging your bet to sneak as much treasure as possible away from a sleeping dragon before it awakes.

With elements of Memory (remembering which treasure cards are hidden where), chain-solving (doing your best to combine where to move on the board with the cards in your hand and the treasures you’ve already nabbed) and risk management (do you try to wake the dragon now to secure your treasure, or do you hedge your bet and try to grab more before someone else wakes it?), Hoard is a quick-playing family-friendly experience that could be a great gateway game for more involved games later.

Our final game today, Knuckle Sammich, is far, far goofier than the other three, but it’s a project near and dear to my heart, because it’s a spinoff of one of my favorite quick-and-silly role-playing games, Kobolds Ate My Baby.

Now, for the uninitiated, a bit of backstory: kobolds are among the first creatures you usually encounter in a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, because they’re easy for even the greenest of heroes to defeat. They’re basically cannon fodder. So it’s great fun to have a game centered around playing one of these easily crushed minions, stealing food for your king and being generally mischievous.

And now they’re launching a card game all about eating sandwiches before they run out…or before you become lunch yourself! It’s guaranteed to be glorious chaos.

These are four intriguing and very entertaining projects, all loaded with potential, and I hope you consider contributing to one or more of them. As someone who has become a regular donor to various Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, I am proud to have funded some marvelous new ideas and watched them take shape over the months that followed.

Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!