Dragonwood Card Game Rules

Do you dare to enter the Dragonwood? If so, then our Dragonwood card game rules guide will teach you a great way to introduce your kids to the world of fantasy games.

Games of Dragonwood are often decided on having the correct card at the right time, but players also need good strategy to win in this one.

Dragonwood is widely seen somewhat as a kid friendly cross between Dungeons and Dragons and easier versions of Rummy like Conquian

So if you and your friends are up for the challenge of Dragonwood, continue reading to learn how to play the Dragonwood card game. 

What is the Dragonwood Card Game?

Dragonwood Card Game Info Image

Dragonwood is a game where players compete to use their cards to capture and defeat enemies which earns them victory points accumulated throughout the game. 

The creator of Dragonwood, Darren Kisgen, has gone on record to say that he created the game as an easier, nonviolent alternative to fantasy games for his kids.

The game was an unexpected success, selling 20,000 copies in the summer of 2014 and winning a prize from Mensa as well. 

Number of Players Required: 2 – 4 players. 

Who Can Play It:  Recommended for ages 8+. 

Difficulty: Medium difficulty. 

Length of Play: 30 – 60 minutes. 

Similar to: Sleeping Queens; Forbidden Island; Catan

Main Objective: Capture creatures to score points and ultimately defeat the 2 dragons. 

Why We Love It: Often fantasy games make the best setting for both card games and board games, and Dragonwood is no exception. A challenging game, different situations arise every time you play which will make you and your pals want to play over and over again. 

Cards and Dice Image

Playing Dragonwood – What You’ll Need

To play Dragonwood you’ll need to buy a Dragonwood card game set which has all the cards you’ll need to play.

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Gamewright Dragonwood A Game of Dice & Daring Board Game Multi-colored, 5″
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The set includes:

  • 108 cards, divided in the following way
  • 64 Adventure cards
  • 42 Dragonwood cards
  • 2 Turn Summary cards
  • 6 custom dice for gameplay

And if you love Dragonwood, you can also get the sequel to the game as well, called Dragonrealm

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Gamewright Dragonrealm – A Strategy Card and Dice Game of Goblins & Gold
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How To Set Up Dragonwood

Start the set-up of Dragonwood by removing the 2 turn summary cards and then organize the rest of the Adventure cards and Dragonwood cards into separate decks. .

Go through the Dragonwood deck, there will be 3 different colored backs to these cards: Green (Creatures); Purple (Enhancements); Orange (Events). Find the 2 dragons and remove these from the deck too.

Put all the cards together minus the 2 dragon cards and shuffle them. If playing with 2 players, remove 12 cards at random, 3 players remove 10 cards and 4 players remove 8 cards.

Split the deck in half and shuffle the 2 dragon cards into 1 of the decks. Place the decks together with the one with the dragon cards on the bottom half.

Take the top 5 cards from the Dragonwood deck and leave them face up to form the Landscape. Any event cards draw, add them back into the deck and redraw. 

Place the remaining cards face down next to the Landscape as the draw pile.

Now shuffle the red Adventurer deck and deal each player 5 cards each, make sure these are secret from your opponents. Stack the remaining Adventurer cards next to the Dragonwood deck.

Leave a space next to both decks for a discard pile, and make sure the dice are in easy reach for both players. 

Dragonwood Card Game Rules

The Dragonwood rules are slightly involved when you first approach the game, but they are not as complicated as they first seem.

Starting the Game

Choose a player to begin the game, a good way to decide is by picking the player who last went on a walk in the woods or who has a reptile as a pet.

Players take their turns 1 at a time and from the starting player goes left around the circle.

Adventure cards are not only colored differently, they are also numbered too and both of these are important for Dragonwood gameplay.

As long as you have properly set up the cards then there’s nothing more that you’ll need to do to begin playing.

How to Play Dragonwood

Unlike other similar card games, all players start with 0 cards in their hands and they build up their hands throughout the game.

When a player takes their turn, they choose to either Reload so that they can draw 1 Adventure Card to add to their hand or to Capture where players use the cards they have in their hand to attempt to capture a card in the Landscape. 


If you choose to Reload, add a card to your hand and signal to the rest of the group your turn is over by saying ‘Reload’.

There is also a 9 card limit for players to abide by, if they have 9 cards then a player must add a card to the discard pile before a new one gets picked up.

If a player draws the ‘Lucky Ladybug’ card, they add it to the discard pile and draw 2 cards from the Adventure Pile.

If the Adventure Deck runs out at any point, simply reshuffle the cards in the discard pile and reuse them to continue the game.


If a player would like to capture a card from the Landscape, players can do this in 1 of 3 ways. These are Strike, Stomp and Scream. Players can Strike when they have 3 cards that are numerically in a row, for example 4, 5 and 6.

Stomp is where players play cards that are all the same number to capture an enemy from the Landscape.

Players use Scream when they have cards that are all the same color.

Announce to the group which Creature or Enhancement you are planning to capture and show the group the cards that you are planning to use to capture.

Take one die per card you are using (so 3 cards would mean 3 dice get used) and roll them to determine if you are successful.

Each card in the Dragonwood deck has 3 numbers which represent their Strike, Stomp and Scream values. If the dice roll is equal or greater than the relevant value, the creature or enhancement gets captured.
Once a player captures a creature they can place it on the Victory pile next to them. Players can use the enhancement card at any point if they manage to get one.

If unsuccessful, a card from the player’s hand must get discarded as a penalty.

All the adventure cards used in that turn get placed onto the discard pile as well regardless if the capture was successful or not.

The Landscape must always have 5 cards in it, unless there are less than 5 cards left in the Dragonwood pile. 

Cards Image

Scoring in Dragonwood

At some point, the 2 Dragon cards will get added onto the Landscape for players to capture. Once the second one of these gets captured, the game ends at this point.

Players add up the total number of victory points displayed on each creature that they managed to capture, with 3 bonus points going to the player with the most captured creatures. 

The player with the highest score wins, in the event of a tie the player who captured the Orange Dragon 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Dragonwood a cooperative game?

You can play Dragonwood cooperatively with other players, but it is fundamentally a game where players compete against one another for victory.

However, there isn’t anything in the Dragonwood card game rules that state cooperation isn’t allowed. 

What are the Dragonwood rules if players use both Adventure decks before they defeat the 2 Dragons?

In this scenario, the game ends without players defeating the dragons. The method of victory with victory points still stays the same, however.

Alternative Games to Dragonwood

If you’re looking for games similar to Dragonwood, then we have some more guides to games you’ll enjoy.

Check out guides to the Saboteur rules, Hanabi rules, Red Dragon Inn rules, Camel Up rules and the 5 minute dungeon rules for more card games that have a medieval fantasy spin.

Or if card games that are set in a dystopian future are more your thing, be sure to take a look at how to play Resistance or Coup too. 

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