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Level Up Your Investment Game with Dragonfire in Market Phases”

Level Up Your Investment Game with Dragonfire in Market Phases”

As mentioned in prior reviews, I adore coops and deck-building games. I also played Dungeons & Dragons as a kid. In this article, At Gen Con 2017, I saw Dragonfire, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed cooperative deck-building game, and wanted to play. When I learned it was a reimplementation and improvement of Shadowrun: Crossfire, I had to get it.

Gameplay Synopsis


To begin the game, players select an adventure. The setup of the game, including the encounters (monsters and/or locales that the players must vanquish) is described as an adventure that spans several acts.

Starting with the party leader, a Dragonfire card is frequently drawn. Only cards with the “assist” keyword are played by the active player and the other players. After all cards are played, damage is computed, defeated encounters are deleted, and the party receives gold.

Active players absorb damage from encounters in front of them. Active players draw two cards and buy cards from the market with their gold if they are not startled. Purchased cards are held directly. If all encounters are eliminated, the party wins (if it’s the last scene) or rests before the following scene.

If encounters remain, the next player to the left becomes the active player, and the processes from above are repeated until the scenario is finished or the party is weary, a pleasant way of saying slaughtered.

Game Experience

Dragonfire was a really fun game for me. Despite being a deck builder, it stands apart from the competition thanks to several features.

Hand management, for instance, is not the same as in every other deck builder I’ve played. Instead of being placed in the discard pile, purchased cards are taken straight into your hands. You could decide not to buy a more potent card to obtain an aid card faster if there is one available that your group needs.

I liked the coop gameplay too. In essence, the game is a puzzle. Monsters have level-based damage tracks, and each level has one of five thematic types, which each player is good at fighting. As a fighter playing a martial card, the player’s class may receive a bonus for matching its specialization. The damaged tracks must be cleaned from top to bottom unless a card effect defies this requirement. The Half Ogre possesses three colorless, one martial, one deceit, and one colorless damage track.

Teammates must determine how to play their cards. Should the other players provide three damage to clear the first level of the damage track so the active player can clear the second and third levels? Every class starts with at least one card for each of the four colors. Should they defer their assists and let the Half Ogre damage the active player?

Complex Dragonfire Puzzle: Maximizing Damage and Managing Cards


This illustrates Dragonfire’s challenge of maximizing damage and managing cards in every phase. Imagine trying to determine how to remove encounters when every player has at least one in front of their character. It’s not that simple.

Dragonfire cards appear. One is drawn at the start of each phase, complicating the problem and changing the combat. Monsters may heal one degree of damage for every harm they do to a player or improve the attack strength of one sort of encounter. These changes affect target prioritization!

Unfortunately, if the scene returns to the party leader, the Dragonfire card is discarded (possibly triggering another effect) and a new one is drawn. As the Dragonfire discard pile rises, its effects worsen. I like this strategy for ensuring game speed, as the Dragonfire deck can burn you if your party is slow. HA!

Dragonfire’s Slow Character Development: A Disadvantage to Enjoyment

Regretfully, the rate at which the characters in Dragonfire developed was my main complaint. Five XP is the most typical reward, except difficulty modifiers, which raise XP gain at the expense of a more challenging adventure.

Characters can place stickers in six different positions, but only one is available when they first begin their adventure. The next slot has a fee of five XP. A third slot is ten dollars. The sticker prices themselves are another expense.

Sure, you can apply a sticker overlay to get a reduction off the sticker’s original price, but adding a 30 XP sticker to my sheet will still require completing six adventures successfully. Assuming the smallest amount of time for each adventure, that equates to six hours of gaming for just one sticker. Instead of letting the player anticipate their next character upgrade, this can make the game feel a little bit like an XP grind.


We had a great time playing Dragonfire. It’s a distinctive deck builder with character growth and construction through stickers and magic objects, all centered around an incredibly interesting problem to solve. For me at least, the subject only served to heighten Dragonfire’s intrigue.