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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Use Your Sea Dragons To Sink Ships and Dominate the Waters

by W. Eric Martin

Is it time to start previewing games that will debut at SPIEL ’23? I’ll say “Yes” — mostly because that’s what I’m doing in this post.

Sea Dragons is a 2-5 player game from Yaniv Kahana, Simone Luciani, and Pini Shekhter that will be released in both English and Spanish editions by Chilean publisher Fractal Jeugos.

Here’s an overview of the setting:

Humanity has become more daring when sailing the seas. More and more pirate ships venture into the forbidden seas of the gods, endangering their underwater kingdoms and the strange creatures that live there. In Sea Dragons, you must protect the seas by sinking pirate ships, collecting their treasures, and becoming the legendary protectors of the aquatic kingdoms.

In Sea Dragons, each player represents a family of sea dragons that want to be recognized as protectors of the forbidden seas. On a turn, you play a pattern card from your hand; the small cards show a polyomino of size three, medium size four, and large size five. You then cover spaces on the game board that match this shape.

The game board consists of four quadrants, each representing a sea kingdom, and your sea dragon can lie in one or two kingdoms. (The center area is off limits.) With the dragon, you can collect treasure and sink ships, and sunken ships can be used to complete missions.

You gain a presence token each time you place a sea dragon (or part of one) in a kingdom, and at game’s end you gain a bonus for having a majority presence in a kingdom. The value of the kingdom, however, depends on certain spaces remaining uncovered by dragons — so the more you fight for dominance in a kingdom, the more likely you are to lower its value.

At the end of a turn, you draw a replacement shape card from the market, with a large shape being available only if you’ve previously played a small card. Are large shapes better? Not necessarily because you can’t place your own sea dragons next to one another, and if you place one next to another player’s dragon, they receive treasure — yet with larger dragons you can sink more ships and claim more treasure.


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