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Drakon 2nd Edition

Designer: Tom Jolly
Publisher: Fantasy Flight
Players: 2-6
Time: 30 minutes
Reviewer: Greg Aleknevicus

I reviewed Tom Jolly's Drakon last year and since Fantasy Flight has recently released a second edition so I thought I'd take the opportunity to detail the changes between the two editions.

  • The tiles are slightly thicker in the second edition. Not by very much and still not up to Hans im Gluck quality but an improvement none the less. The die-cutting seems to be better as well although there's still room for improvement. There were little fuzzy bits on the tiles but at least I wasn't concerned about actually ripping them as I punched things out.

  • Second edition player marker on left.The player markers are larger and have plastic stands that will no longer damage them. Initially I thought this was a much needed and welcome change but there is a rather serious usability issue with these. The markers are large enough that they tend to obscure the markings on the tile with even a single player token on them. If you have two or more players on the same tile you'll need to do a lot of lifting to see what the chamber actually is. This is largely due to the larger bases and the fact that they're opaque instead of clear as they were in the first edition. So I'm a bit torn, I really didn't like how the original bases tore up the bottoms of the tokens but they were much better in actual play.

Drakon tile backs (Second edition on left)
  • The backs of the tiles are different. Now, normally this would be an insignificant issue and I probably wouldn't even mention it. However, there is the issue of the impending expansion. I can only assume that those tiles will match the second edition ones and so will not match the first edition. Of course, this may not be that much of a problem as it's not that critical that you can identify expansion tiles from "regular" ones but I wish Fantasy Flight had given this a little more thought. I would not be surprised if sales of the expansion are hurt because of this.

  • Rules are in seven(!) languages. Again, a pretty minor change and one unlikely to affect many readers. However, Americans are often accused of ignoring the rest of the world so I'm glad to see that this American company is looking beyond its own borders. If we want to encourage German game companies to publish English rules it's only fair if we reciprocate and encourage foreign translations of English rules. There does not appear to be any changes to gameplay itself (at least I couldn't discern any) although they are a little clearer and they've addressed a few problems with the original.

  • A one page tile summary is included in the rules. Definitely an improvement on the original although I still would have preferred a separate sheet.

  • One change that I had hoped for but wasn't made was an alteration of the graphics for the "Mystic Vortex" chamber. I complained in my original review that it's too similar to the "Coin" chamber so this would have been a great opportunity to fix this. Sadly, this wasn't done and so it's still too common to confuse the two.

None of these changes are significant enough for owners of the first edition to rush out and purchase the second edition. However, I would say that overall it is an improvement on an already good game. I'm glad that Fantasy Flight is working to improve the quality of their games.

- Greg Aleknevicus

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