There are lots of amazing table top games and many of them have more expansions than you can imagine. The challenge becomes whether to buy a new game or to buy an expansion to one that you already own and love. Sometimes, the choice is obvious. Does it involve dragons? Yes. Done.
Tile placement games generally involve a very simple mechanic: select and place a tile. The best of this genre are easy to learn, fun to master, and highly replayable. Each time you play, the tiles are placed in a different order and the results vary.
Tsuro is a beautifully simple game with a gorgeous Chinese dragon on the box, a phoenix on the board, and a dragon on the markers for each player. Players take turns placing a tile and moving their dragon along the path created. The goal is to stay on the 6×6 grid board longer than all other players. Tsuro is a super quick game to play and only takes about 15 minutes. It comes in the original version Tsuro: The Game of the Path and slightly more complicated version Tsuro of the Seas. The Sea version employs the same basics of tile placement and the goal remains staying on the board, but adds the risk of sea monsters removing players from the game.
Carcassonne is a tile placement game with no boundaries other than the edge of your table. The objective is earn the most points by claiming ownership to the various parts of the map being created with the tiles. Knights live in cities, farmers till the fields, thieves are found on roads, and monks are in the monasteries. All claims to a land feature are made by the beloved meeple. The base game design is based on the fortified French town of Carcassonne, but it is also available in few standalone variants such as Carcassonne: South Seas. There are also oodles of expansions available and, happily, one of them has a dragon.
The third expansion for Carcassonne is called The Princess & the Dragon. When the rules for a game include the dragon’s menu, you know you have found a way to make a good game even better. The game publishers have even considered other expansions which might be in play, ensuring that the dragon gets to eat as much as possible.
Unfortunately, the dragon will miss a meal if a meeple is protected by the annoying fairy. And the dragon doesn’t appear until a player places a tile with a volcano on it. The poor dragon doesn’t get to move every turn, so might it might even go hungry for awhile. Rules for the princess? Oh, does this expansion have a princess in it too? Well, unfortunately the dragon can’t eat any princesses because they aren’t meeples; they are merely figureheads on a city tile.
Dragons and tiles. A winning combination.