The game: Dragi Drache, by Christoph Cantzler and Anja Wrede, published by Ravensburger in 2012.
Elevator pitch: A ball floats in an air jet, and the goal is to blow it so it falls in the right place on the board. Most accurate blower wins.
What’s in the box? The tall box contains a large battery-operated air jet, a small light-weight ball and some cardboard scenery and tiles. The air jet is placed in the box, and the board is built around it. It looks nice, but it’s nothing spectacular. Batteries are not included.
What do you do in the game? There are two versions of the game. In the simple version, you put the ball in the air jet and try to blow it so that it lands on the board. If it does, you get the score your dragon fruit tile from that section of the board. In the more complicated version, the air jet has a 40-second timer and the tiles are face down on the board. You have 40 seconds to blow the ball, flip a tile, take it if it’s yours, then repeat. You must know when to stop, because if you don’t stop before the air jet ends, you lose everything you’ve collected on that turn. In both versions, the first player to collect all her dragon fruit tiles wins the game.
Lucky or skillful? In the basic version, there’s actually no luck elements. I’m not saying the game isn’t random – it is, because the controlling your blowing and the way the ball behaves in the air stream is not simple. The more complicated version has some luck element in it, but good memory helps there. In both versions, skilled blower will prevail.
Abstract or thematic? The dragon theme is funny and the art is nice. The theme doesn’t make much sense and doesn’t really matter – it could be just about anything.
Solitaire or interactive? There’s no interaction, everybody just takes their turn and the first to goal wins.
Players: 2–4, works with any number of players.
Who can play? Publisher age recommendation is 4+. That’s a good recommendation, and I would think the maximum age is about 8–10 or so – there’s very little in this game for older kids. That said, this is not torture for parents, and can be good whole-family fun. You’d like to have kids playing the game, though, this is not one of those rare children’s games adults can enjoy without children. Children, on the other hand, should be able to play this game just fine without adults, especially the basic version.
Length: At least the basic version is not very long, maybe 15–20 minutes most. The more complicated version might take a little longer.
What’s to like: The air stream gimmick is fun, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome.
What’s not to like: There’s not much game excluding the gimmick, once the novelty wears off there’s little reason to come back.
My verdict: Dragi Drache should charm children with the air jet gimmick – that’s something the kids probably haven’t seen before. Once the gimmick gets old, I’m not sure this game has lots of replay value. So, I’d say this might be a good, if you get a decent deal and pass the game on, once it gets old. It’s not a staple game for anybody’s collection of children’s games, but a fun little diversion and quite decent for a electrical gimmick game.
On the scale of Enthusiastic, Suggest, Indifferent or Avoid, Dragi Drache gets Indifferent.