developer's blog

Dive into Dragoborne

Aug 17, 2017

With the [Rally to War] Booster releasing soon, I am super excited about the booster cards and constructed play. There have been so many deck ideas floating around and I am psyched to finally see them in action. But before heading into constructed play, the basic foundation needs to be set down first.

The main purpose of this article is to highlight and rectify the common mistakes that I see players making during the demo sessions. For those who had the chance to join the Demo Caravan, let me do a shout-out. You guys were awesome and I had a great time!

Choose your allegiance, the Banners

First things first, the banner cards. You can choose any of the 5 combinations and a Nation can be chosen more than once. So for example, your banners can be 2 Standard of Tauris and 1 Shield of Logres. The dice will have to match the color of the banners.

All about the Barrier

When placing the barrier cards at the start of the game, players tend to place the 2 cards next to each other. The barrier cards need to be placed on top of each other if it is at the same fort because the topmost barrier will be put to hand when the fort takes damage.

Barrier cards should be placed like the right fort in the picture

One question that players have been asking ever since Remus, Hunter Adept was revealed. Can you have more than 2 barriers at a fort? Yes. It is possible. With the correct cards, you can even move all your barriers to a fort!

Dice it yourself

The ever changing dice are vital to how you plan out your next move. Hence, many players are afraid of the random factor of the dice. But once I got into the game more, I realized that I have more control over the dice than I thought. The dice are ever changing and will always be rolled during the dice step. This includes Dragoshield, Dragocross, dice in the discard, and unassigned dice. You cannot choose not to roll any of the dice.

Right after rolling, players tend to assign their dice immediately. For some unexplained reason, most players continued to do so even when I explained to set them aside first.

After rolling the dice during the dice step, the dice should be placed into the dice zone first. I often notice that players place the dice on the Dragoshield instead. This is not recommended, because once a die is assigned, it is not able to be assigned again for that turn.

Assigning dice can only be done during the Main Phase and only once for each dice per turn. Players can assign the dice anytime during their main phase. When a die is assigned, it remains there until the next dice step or gets discarded when it is destroyed. Which brings us to the next point – A destroyed die is always placed in discard and not the dice zone.

There are spell cards that reference the value of dice. Here’s 3 common misconceptions about such dice references:

1) Die needs to be rolled again
2) The value of the die is reduced
3) Players can only reference a die that is not assigned.

However, all of the above are false. When a player references a die, they apply the effect if the die value is within the stated value. Also, if multiple effects are fulfilled, players may also choose to use all those effects.

Both effects of Althaine's Blessing can be used.

But there are cards with abilities that change entirely, rather than just being modified, according to the value of your dice. For example, as the damage dealt by Earthcrack is changed by the value of your red dice, even if both conditions for Earthcrack are fulfilled, the latter ability will take effect.

Earthcrack will deal 5 damage.

An army marches on its stomach – Resource

To summon more or bigger creatures, resource cards are vital. During the resource step, always place the card upside down to indicate that it is a resource card. In this position, the nation symbol will be right side up.

Cards in your resource consist of 2 different types: Banners and resources. Therefore, when a card requires a player to choose a resource, they cannot choose a banner. An example will be Chromatic Disturbance. 

On the other hand, if the ability states “card in resource zone”, banner cards are included as well. Redfang, Born Leader’s ability falls under this category.

The Army – Creatures

In Dragoborne, creatures are vital to the outcome of the battle. The summoned creatures are placed on top of the barrier cards to signify them being “stationed” at that fort. The creature does not have to match the color of the fort. For example, a player can summon a non-red creature on a red fort. Also, players are allow to move creatures in between forts during their main phase.

Creatures attack and while they also protect, it is most important that they can attack once they are being played.  Creatures can attack any of the 3 opposing forts as soon as it is played. It does not need to be directly in front of the opposing fort or wait a turn to attack. It is important to note that the creature is always attacking the chosen fort, not the Dragoshield, not the creature, and definitely not the ambush.  Also, only 1 creature can attack, and only 1 blocker can block that attack at a time.

For a fort to be considered “hit”, the creature must have an attack value of 1 or more and should be unblocked. When this happens, the defender will take the top most barrier card and add it to hand. Do note that the player does not have to reveal the card being put to hand.

If a fort is destroyed (no barrier left), players still can summon creatures to that fort. Additionally, if the fort was destroyed during battle, the creatures on that fort remains.

Plan ahead, make the battlefield yours – Ambush

I bet everyone that attended the Demo Caravan had a blast with the demo decks, quite literally in a sense. Pyroblast was 1 of the most talked about cards during the demo sessions and seeing how devastating it is when it goes off in a demo game, I am not surprised.

However, I do like to point out 2 things about Ambush.

1) To activate an Ambush, players will need to have a banner that matches the color of the Ambush card. Resources do not count.

A lesser known fact which I feel should be cleared up as soon as possible before players get their hands on booster cards and start deck building, is that Banner cards are essential to ambush activation


2) You cannot pay 2 to put a non-ambush card into the ambush zone.

You cannot bluff your opponent by resting 2 resource cards and placing down a card without the Ambush ability into the Ambush zone. This constitutes as cheating and I strongly advise against doing so. In addition, at the end of game, or when the card in ambush leaves the ambush zone, each player will have to reveal those cards.

In the case of Plato, Accomplished Scientist, the ability allows any card to be placed into the Ambush. As card text will take precedence, the move is legal. So what happens now? To prevent confusion, I usually put a counter (not a die preferably) on that card to indicate that it was played into the ambush via Plato, Accomplished Scientist’s ability and that it is legal even when the card does not have Ambush when revealed later on.


Knowledge is power

For those who seek to find out more about the game and how it works, the comprehensive rules are available on the Dragoborne official website. It covers more than the basics that I briefly touched upon in this article. You will find yourself wiser after reading the whole 22 pages… probably.

This weekend marks the time when the Dragoborne Booster [Rally to War] is out! I am as hyped and excited as everyone who has been waiting eagerly for the past few months. With the upcoming Launch Tournaments, Dragoborne Championship, Shop Qualifiers, and Monthly Tournaments lined up, players will have much to expect. So, head on down to your local game stores and start your adventure!

Do you have what it takes to wield the power of the Dragon?

By Jonathan Tan

Developer, Dragoborne -Rise to Supremacy-