While we were at Origins, we were lucky enough to try this new US release, Dragon’s Breath. Dragon’s Breath, otherwise known as Funkelschatz in German. It was announced as this years winner of the Kinderspiel des Jahres, or Children’s Game of the Year on June 11th, 2018. Here is the link to the announcement.
Designed by: Günter Burkhardt, Lena Burkhardt a father-daughter team
Artist: Daniel Döbner
Published by: HABA – Habermaaß GmbH
Player Count: 2 to 4
Main Mechanisms: (Children’s Game) Turn Taking, Dexterity, Set Collection
Game Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Unboxing and Description: In this dexterity game, you are playing as dragon children, who happen upon an ice tower filled with sparkling gems. But as dragon children, your own breath can’t melt the ice tower, you need the help of Daddy Dragon. With his help, you want to get your gems into your cave.
Here are all the components as you open the box. Daddy Dragon is in the lower right corner; he acts as an active player piece. It is your turn if you have Daddy Dragon to help you melt the ice tower. Next to Daddy Dragon are the sparkly, shiny gems that everyone is trying to collect. They come in five colors. The shower ring looking things are how you build the ice tower.
One really neat aspect of this HABA game is that you get to construct the game board. In the next handful of photos, I will show you how to construct the play area.
First, you clear all of the components out of the box to have the bottom of the cave ready.
Second, you insert the dividers like so. For the players, the most important area is their individual corner cave, where all the gems of their color(s) will go.
Third, you place the board with the ice flow over top of the cave. Note that the ice flow tile goes on before the ice tower is built. You may put the dragon children on each corner of the board at any time within these last few steps.
Next, the rulebook recommends that you place the gem tiles over the holes in the board when you construct the ice tower. That way, the gems don’t accidentally fall into the cave before gameplay has begun. You stack the ice rings to build the ice tower and then carefully pour the gems in. The rulebook also notes that any gems that may not fit or fall out of the ice tower can be dropped into the holes in the board and removed from the game. Once you remove the cardboard gems from the board and distribute them to the players so that everyone knows what color gem they are trying to collect, you are ready for the game.
Now that the game is set up, it’s time to play! The players take turns “melting” the ice tower, by taking one of the rings off. You collect the gems that have fallen off the tower in are the color that you were distributed at the beginning of the game and you put them in the player corner you chose. Then, at the end of the round, Daddy Dragon gets passed and one of two things can happen:
- If you have older players, you can switch what gem color that you’re collecting every round. You should do a blind draft if this is how you go about it. You just need to remember what corner is yours.
- If you have younger players, you all can keep the same gem color throughout the entire game. When we played with a mixed age group, the adults kept switching colors while the little one got to keep hers through the game so she didn’t get confused.
Any gem colors that haven’t been drafted go into the holes in the middle of the board, as do any gems that just happen to fall in there when you’re taking off the “ice rings.” When the last ring is taken off, any gems on the ice flow chit also get put into those holes.
When you are done, everyone counts their collected gems and the player with the most gems in their color(s) wins. Above is an example of how the cave may look at the end of a two player game (in a two player game, each player has 2 colors that they collect). The middle section is Daddy Dragon’s collection, which will include gems that fall down into his hold on their own and the one color of them no one is collecting. The corner section are each players’ haul of gems.
This is how all the components fit back in the box and, as you can see, you do not have to take down the cave dividers. Everything fits perfectly and has space to spare.
Review: This game is a hit with our friends’ little one – she loves the colors and the sparkly and she gets really excited about collecting the gems that are her color. She has been using “Daddy Dragon” as a toy as well so, like many HABA games, it has multiple uses! It’s a game that she’s going to be able to play with her older cousins, too.
Everything that goes into this game makes for a wonderful table presence that draws you towards the game. It is very colorful. It works on turn taking, hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, color recognition, and counting at the end of the game. If counting is difficult you can also have each player make a line with their gems and whoever has the longest line is the winner.
People that struggle with color blindness or hand-eye coordination may not be able to play this game to the best of their abilities, but can do so with some help, since all of the information is public.
Although the story in the rulebook specifies that Daddy Dragon is the one helping the dragon children, there is nothing on the player piece that necessarily indicates the adult dragons’ gender so you don’t have to frame it that way with children. If you’re in a family that has 2 moms, or you’re in a single parent household, or anything else, there is nothing stopping you from calling that “Mommy Dragon” or the gender-neutral “Big Dragon,” which is what we usually call it.
Try, Buy, Deny: If you want a game for little ones that could use some help with some of the skills listed above or that like shiny things and/or dragons, this is definitely a buy. There are variants in the box for older kids and adult players to spice things up and keep the game from getting too samey. We have a lot of fun playing it with our friend’s daughter and it will likely be a game she cherishes and that we all enjoy together for years to come!
Overall, I believe that Dragon’s Breath is an interesting and attractive childrens game that will be well loved and well received, and it definitely earned its Kinderspiel des Jahres win!
Sarah – The Confuzzld Meeple