Wednesday, November 5

NaGa DeMon 3: First Rules!

We're still right at the beginning of November, but things are off to a great start. I've managed to play Codename: Dragon a few times at work this week already and considering how fresh the idea is, the game works remarkably well. Don't get me wrong, it's a long way from finished. But even now it's playable and interesting. I was delaying putting the rules up here until I'd had a chance to play them and check them for glaring problems, but here are the first version rules for critique:

Dragon Dance
Fire v. Lance
2 players
10-30 mins


8 The knight action cards
8 The dragon action cards
1 The knight player aid card
1 The dragon player aid card
9 heart tokens representing the knight's life force
20 gold coins representing the dragon's life force
3 large red dice for the dragon
5 small white dice for the knight

Dragon Dance is a game of bluff, cards and dice between a knight and a dragon in a mortal fight over the King's daughter.

Aim of the Game

The aim of the game is to reduce your opponent to zero life force through cleverly timed attacks without running out of your own life force. Each round you will simultaneously choose a card and a die to action - either attacking, defending or manoeuvering as you dance around each other looking for an opening to exploit. The dragon is more powerful and has more life force, but he's also less agile and slower, so the knight has to strike fast before his limited life force is extinguished.


Decide amongst yourselves who will play the dragon and the knight. The dragon player takes the dragon player aid, action cards, three red dice and the twenty gold coins to represent his life force. The knight player takes the knight player aid, action cards, five white dice and nine heart tokens representing his life force.

Both players roll all their dice and place them in front of them and place their player aids with the 'Long Range' side face up nearby.


The game takes place over a number of rounds during which the players act simultaneously. Throughout the game the players' life tokens, remaining dice and played cards are kept open so that both players can see them.

Each round consists of four phases:

  1. Choose a die (or none)
  2. Choose a card
  3. Action the card
  4. Discard card and die

Choose a die
In the first phase, both players simultaneously choose either one of their remaining dice, or none. High values boost attacks, low values boost defence and medium values boost both attack and defence to a lesser degree.

During this phase, hide your remaining dice from your opponent and then choose one of them to use this turn (by, for example, placing a finger on it) or choose none (by, for example, placing a finger on the table next to your dice). Then reveal your dice along with your selection. The chosen die will be used to either boost an attack or defence card, or as a bluff to trick your opponent into playing a sub-optimal card.

Choose a card
Once both players have revealed their chosen die (or none), both players simultaneously chose a card to play this turn. The chosen card is placed face down on the table in front of them and then when both players have chosen the cards are revealed. Chosen cards must be playable at your current range, check your player aid to see which cards your can play at your current range, or check the 'Short range' or 'Long range' icons on the cards in your hand. You begin the game at long range.

Action the card
Both cards are actioned simultaneously.

Attacks & Defence
If either player chooses an attack card, calculate the damage they deal as follows:
If they have chosen a die, use the table on the card to determine how much damage they are dealing, if no dice is chosen determine damage using the no dice column in the table.
If their opponent has not played a defence card, they lose life force equal to the damage dealt.
If their opponent has played a defence card, use the table on the defence card (along with any die chosen) to determine the defender's protection as for the attack damage. The attacker's damage minus the defender's protection is the amount of damage dealt to the defender.

Example 1:
Konrad (the knight) chooses a '5' and the Hack attack card and Derek chooses a '1' and the Flap defence card. With a 5, the Hack deals 3 damage, but the Flap and a 1 prevent 4 damage, so no damage is dealt.

If both players attack, the damages are calculated and dealt simultaneously, possibly killing each other at the same time.

Example 2:
Roberto (the knight) chooses a '6' and the Charge card and Todd chooses a '3' and the Breathe Fire card. With a 6, the Charge deals 5 damage, which is unblocked, so the dragon loses 5 life force. Breathe Fire with a 3 deals 3 damage, so the knight loses 3 life force.

The knight has the Charge card, which is a very powerful long range attack, combined with a reduce range movement. After dealing damage, if any, resolve the movement as described under 'Movement' below. For example, in Example 1 above, the combatants would now be at short range.

The knight has a Dodge card which if played reduces damage dealt to him this round to zero regardless of what attack the dragon performs.

Example 3:
Jack (the knight) chooses no die, and the Dodge card. Sam chooses a '6' and the Rake card. Sam's attack would have dealt 3 damage to the knight, but the Dodge reduces that to zero, so no life force is lost.

Knight has two short range attacks Hack and Slash which have the 'Combo' keyword. If a Hack or Slash is played and deals damage as described in the 'Attack and Defence' section above, the knight may perform a follow up attack. Providing the combatants remain and short range and the knight has his other short range attack card in his hand he may immediately play it (assigning a remaining die if any) as an undefended attack which deals a second round of damage this turn.

Example 4:
Konrad (the knight) chooses a '4' and Hack, while Roberto chooses a '2' and Advance. The Hack deals 2 damage to the dragon, and seeing as it dealt damage, Konrad can use the Combo effect to immediately play the Slash card from his hand (not the discard pile) along with the remaining '1' die to deal a further 1 damage. Roberto's dragon loses a total of 3 life force.

If either player has played a movement card (Charge, Advance or Retreat) then the range is adjusted:
  • If one or both players 'reduce range' you are now at short range
  • If one or both players 'increase range' you are now at long range
  • If one player 'reduces range' and the other 'increases range' your range remains the same
Flip your player aid cards as necessary to show the range you are now at.

Discard card and die
At the end of the round both players discard the cards they played (face up where they are visible to both players) and any die they used with it. These discarded cards and dice are unavailable to the player until they play the Recuperate card, which allows them to reclaim all discarded dice and cards, returning the cards to their hand. Once they have reclaimed the dice all their dice are re-rolled.

End of the Game

The game ends at the end of the round in which at least one player has been reduced to zero life force. If the other player has at least one life force remaining they are the winner, otherwise the game is a draw and the Princess wanders off.


GamesBook said...

These rules seem clear and straightforward!

Just some quick suggestions from one read-through:

* Drop the "The" from the cards section of the contents list
* Maybe use 'she' as the pronoun for the dragon and the dragon player (or for the knight, if you are feeling daring...)
* "Decide amongst yourselves" should be "Decide between yourselves "
* "place their player aids" might read better as "place their player aid cards"
* Maybe briefy mention the 'range' concept in the Overview

Looking forward to seeing the cards!

Roberto said...

Hola, Jack:
It's a good first version of the rules.
I'd add a comment like "both player aids must always show the same range".
I've got more comments, but it's better to wait for more play testing first.

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Derek and Roberto,

Thanks for your swift feedback - all good points. I'll incorporate them in the next version when it appears.

Three PIPs for Derek's thoroughness and two for Roberto :-)



Konrad said...

Since your player aid card is double sided, it would be wise to print the "playable at short range" cards on the short range side, and the long range cards on the lond range side only.

That gives you a larger font, and should make it even easier for beginners.

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Konrad,

Yes, that's what I've done - great minds think alike! Each side includes all the cards playable at that range (including those playable at both ranges).


P.S. Have a PIP for making me look clever.

GamesBook said...

Could you combine front and backs into 1 file? If I do double-sided printing, then I will get odd-page:front and even-page:back.

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Derek,

You can get the interleaved single file here: