In the world of board games, Wyrmspan is the talk of the town right now. The Wingspan spin-off, which replaces its avian theme with an army of dragons – has seen plenty of buzz since its announcement on January 3. Some about how glad they are to see the back of birds, others about the proposed mechanic changes, and others about the different meme game ideas the announcement has spawned.
This got us thinking about dragon spin-offs, and we’ve picked the best board games that’d suit a Wyrmspan-style dragon adaptation. Below you’ll find our top picks – chosen largely for how well their mechanics blend with dragon lore, but mostly because we thought the idea of a dragon version sounded fun.
Here are the board games we’d love to see with a dragon theme, à la Wyrmspan:
1. Ark Nova
Ark Nova may come with a heavy focus on science, but we think this zoo-based board game would do well with some dragons in it. It’s easy to imagine a group of adventurers who want to study and display the different kinds of scaly beast they’ve come across. There are many kinds of dragons in myths and legends, and we reckon they’d each have very specific enclosure requirements.
The idea of dragon conferences and conservation projects perhaps doesn’t fit as neatly into your typical idea of a Medieval fantasy board game. But scholars exist in fantasy too – and a canny designer could surely find a place for all Ark Nova’s mechanics in a compelling dragon eurogame.
Azul is a beautiful tile game series where you craft anything from mosaics to gardens to stained glass windows. Given how gorgeous, tactile and plentiful Azul’s tiles are, we think they could perfectly represent a dragon’s treasure hoard.
In this version of Azul, you’d become a dragon that’s keen to organize its collection. Often depicted as jealous creatures, we can see a dragon wanting to show off and outdo any other neighboring wyrms in the area. Tiles could represent gems, gold, and other valuable items – some of which come with magical properties that boost your score in certain arrangements.
If we wanted to lean really hard into the dragon’s hoard theme, now might be the time to introduce a bit of extra sabotage to Azul. While we love how soothing a drafting game of Azul can be, we also like the idea of greedy dragons swiping gems from under each other’s noses.
3. Flamme Rouge
We love the idea of a racing game where, instead of trying to win a cup or title, you’re trying to escape a hungry dragon. The tactical racing in Flamme Rouge is a strong contender for such an adaptation. So many car and horse racing board games use the same themes – we think it’s time to think outside the box.
Different positions in the race make you more or less susceptible to dragon attack. First place gets you nearer to safety first, but perhaps you’re also vulnerable to a stream of fire. And maybe, after a certain point, players in last place are at risk of being gobbled up.
4. Spirit Island
Dragons usually have something to defend – be it a tower, a cave, or a captive princess. Because guarding is in their nature, we think dragons are a great match for a strategy board game like Spirit Island. Replace the spirits with dragons defending their territory from overzealous adventurers, and you’ve got a fantasy board game we’d be keen to try.
Spirit Island has such a strong (and politically powerful) theme that it’d take some serious creativity to overhaul it in favor of dragons. It wouldn’t be enough to simply replace the game’s spirits with dragons of various color and abilities. Nevertheless, we think the mechanics are a match made in heaven for any dragon-based reskin.
In many stories, dragons are intelligent creatures with centuries of knowledge at their disposal. They’re also often involved in some kind of war (DnD Dragonlance, anyone?). With this in mind, we think a heavy strategic game about battle is ripe for a dragon re-skin. Our choice is Root – and not just because we’d love to see dragons drawn in the game’s signature style.
Set in a forest where animal factions fight for control, Root already has something of a Medieval fantasy feel to it. A dragon-based spin-off would slot in fairly naturally – though we may need to give the dragons some minions to battle on their behalf (it’s rare to see them working together).