In the world of dragons and knights, you are the villain of the story. It is your duty as a dragon to feed your greed by destroying and raiding as many villages as possible to create a treasure cave King Arthur himself would envy. But be wary of the black and white knights, for they hinder your ability to collect and pillage.
Of the three games resulting from last semester, Pillage the Village was the most successful design. It should have been, as it was the largest team. As the other two teams, they did a great job theming the game through the artwork and game pieces. What set them apart was that their game was the only one of the three that provided enough complexity for emergent behaviors.
Each player takes the role of a dragon: gold, red, black, blue, green, or white. Each dragon starts at its own, color-coded cave in one of the corners of the board. On their turn, a player will roll the die and move that number of grid squares in any horizontal and vertical combination. The darker squares represent villages. Villages in the outer ring are smaller, and thus have less potential for wealth. The village in the center of the board always has the most treasure. To pillage a village, a dragon must traverse every square of the village. Markers are placed on each square that has already been devastated, but treasure only goes to the dragon that pillages the last square of the village. When that happens, the player draws a card to see their spoils.
The dragon must carry the treasure with them as they continue to move around the board, but they are at risk of being attacked. Their are several knights on the board as well, some white and some black. White knights only move diagonally and will take half of the gold a dragon is carrying if they land on the same space. Black knights move as dragons do. They will take all of the gold a dragon is carrying and send the dragon back to its cave with its tail between its legs. Every turn, after moving their dragon, a player also moves one of the knights. Any gold retrieved by a knight is placed in the village at the center of the board.
Dragons can also attack each other by landing on the same space. Both players roll, and the player with the higher number takes the other player’s treasure. A player’s goal, then is to get the treasure they have pillaged back to their cave, from which it may no longer be stolen. The player must find a balance between pillaging villages and making the trip home to secure their hoard.
Each dragon has a that it may use once a game. For example, Licinius, the gold dragon, is capable of stealing double gold due to his gluttony and overly large hands, while Terra, the green dragon, has the ability to restore a previously pillaged village due to its natural healing qualities.
The game ends when all villages have been pillaged. The player with the most treasure in their cave wins. As you can see, the players have many choices to make. Should I try to hit the smaller, outlying villages or go for the center? How long should I take my chances before returning my stolen gold to my cave? Black Knight or White Knight? Move knights away from me or attack someone else? Head for a village or take a chance attacking another player? When can I use my special power to greatest effect? Because their are so many decisions to be made, there is a lot of room for different strategies to emerge, and that is a strong signifier of a good game.