Flamecraft, or should I say Lamecraft?

Dragons are just cool. There's no way around it. They run the spectrum from cute like "Toothless," to awesome like Charizard (don't tell me he's not a dragon-type Pokemon), and ruthless and villainous- see Smaug or final-form Maleficent. When it comes to dragons of tabletop gaming, most people will point to the eponymous dragons of D&D. Perhaps more serious board gamers might mention the angry and annoyed Nictotraxian from Clank. However, the adorable dragons of Flamecraft might be the coolest dragons out there.

Flamecraft is a resource management game where players take turns placing their dragon figure in one of the available shops around town. Once a player has chosen a shop, the player decides between two actions- either a Gather action or an Enchant action. 

How to Play:

In a Gather Action, the player will take all resources a shop gives as well as each dragon that is currently there and then go through the following steps in order:

  • Place an Artisan Dragon card from his or her hand at that location and gain the reward shown (typically a coin or a "Fancy Dragon" card, which can score bonus points either during or after the game).
  • Choose one of the Artisan Dragons in the shop to "fire" its ability. There are six different types of Artisan Dragons and each type has a unique ability. Firing an ability is short-hand for activating a dragon.
  • The player may then use the location's special ability, if it has one. None of the starting shops have a special ability, but all other shops that appear during the game do.
In an Enchant Action, the player does NOT gain the resources located at the shop, but instead will spend resources to purchase an Enchantment card. This enchantment will reward the player with points and sometimes give a new Artisan Dragon card as well. 

Once the points have been gained and an Artisan Dragon card selected, if applicable, the player then gets to "fire" off the abilities of EACH dragon located at the enchanted shop in any order.

Judging Dragons:

The first thing most people notice when they see the box of Flamecraft is the artwork. Sandara Tang did a phenomenal job here with her warm, charming characters that make Flamecraft feel like a living cartoon world- and it's a world I want to live in. It gives me the same feelings of playing something like Animal Crossing. It's a fictitious world, but you almost desperately want it to be otherwise.

The game inside matches the inviting images on the outside. This is not a challenging game, rules-wise. It has often been compared to the complexity of Wingspan, but I don't see that. Flamecraft is a simpler game. While there are intricacies hidden inside the decisions players make, they are essentially choosing between two options- get resources or spend them. 

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of Flamecraft is the order in which actions are taken. However, the fantastic player-aides make learning and playing this game very straight forward. And the game has been generous enough to supply a card for each player. 

The components here are slightly underwhelming in the retail copy. The wooden dragons that act as player tokens are painted, and the board, while a little on the too long side, is a neoprene mat. Those are the high points. However the resource tokens, which are used constantly, are thin cardboard and very small. I'm not sure how many plays they might survive. 

However, I did recently play a very used copy at a board game cafe, and while the card sleeves and lamination on the shop tiles were splitting and fraying from heavy play, those tokens seemed to be serving their purpose. Perhaps because of how many tokens are provided in the game, but it is worth noting, even though I don't particularly like their minuscule proportions.

There are proprietary upgrades available if you like to make your table top games look great. There are sculpted miniatures, wooden resources, and metal coins. Any interested person can also find small suppliers creating their own upgrades. I purchased a 3D printed wishing well to stand on the board in the appropriate area and hold the coins instead of simply stacking them on the well spot painted on the mat.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about Flamecraft is that my wife wanted to play the game the next day after her first game. And we played it again the day after. This is quite rare in my household. We've now collectively shared it with a couple from church, my brother and sister-in-law, and my oldest son. It's been intriguing enough for experienced players, but approachable enough for my nine-year old daughter. Everyone who has played it has enjoyed the experience.

Here is where I will compare it to Wingspan. I rate Wingspan a strong 9, and I have to say Flamecraft is right up there. This is a great game for all ages. It's not complex, but does have some strategies to dig out. Flamecraft, along with its dragons, is definitely cool!

Score: 9/10

You can find Flamecraft at your local or online game store, but can also be found at retailers such as Target and Barnes and Noble. MSRP is $40.00


  1. I have to play it!!! Love the new post bud! Missed your writing! Im so happy you are enjoying this :)


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