Dragonfire is a cooperative deck builder set in the D&D multiverse. Players take on a one of the races and character classes and fight their way through encounters to finish an adventure. Similar to a legacy game, Dragonfire has you mark up your character sheet with stickers and doing better on an adventure will yield XP and items for next games. The base game has 8 adventures to play though, each with optional scenarios to make it even harder.
When I heard about Dragonfire a few months back, the hype was definitely real. A cooperative D&D deck builder? I knew my game group would be all over that. We managed to get the tutorial adventure played and the excitement continued to increase. Come the next week and we played the first Evil Arises Adventure.
We got creamed. We had to keep checking the rulebook almost every turn for rule clarifications and keywords. The tutorial did not prepare us for the complexity of this game. Not only that, but we didn’t even know how the easier, less complex Dungeon Crawl standalone adventure. It wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the rulebook to start with that adventure.
So once we epically lost our first adventure, we went on to the Dungeon Crawl, which we thankfully won. But the hype was gone by then. Our group is unsure about Dragonfire and how much grinding each adventure will take, to earn enough XP to move on to higher level adventures.
The mechanics themselves are fine. I do think they added one more layer of complexity than they needed to. I also think our group won’t enjoy doing each adventure 4-5 times just so we can level up. We have so many other board games to play, and this one didn’t sit as well as I’d hoped with the group.
We also found out later that there was an errata to the first Evil Arises adventure, that would’ve made our time much easier. That tells me that they are still essentially playtesting the game and balancing it out. That doesn’t give me a lot of confidence to be honest.
What I will say is the card and component quality are amazing. The artwork, stunning. That’s part of what made me so excited when I opened the box. But to us, the gameplay was lackluster at best and tedious at worst. My game group does plan on giving this game a few more goes, but I think we are going to house rule to add extra XP for the game. They really aren’t interested in grinding through the game.
So, overall, Dragonfire fell flat upon the hype I had for it. I’m hoping later adventures will be more fun, and that with adding more XP that my game group will enjoy it better. If you don’t like grinding style games, Dragonfire is definitely not for you. I think my friend said it best: “I’d rather just play normal D&D.”