FSG: Dragon Rapid Fire
Heads up: the box says crystals, but for whatever reason, gems caught on as the term in our house, so we're going to use gems.
Look at how happy those dragons are. So cute. Yes, they are.
Pitch: Dragons, wind, gems.
As the heading says, the game has dragons, wind, and gems. Dragon Rapid Fire is probably the most popular Haba Usa game in our home. Our four year old and our soon-to-be seven year old both love the game.
And what's not to love?
Haba always has excellent components and beautiful artwork. Look at those cute little dragons, and all of those beautiful, orange gems. The river working its way across the board, the foliage, and the stepping stones make for a fantastic board, and the volcano at the end of the board/race is a favorite feature of our younger son.
On top of the quality components, the gameplay is fun as well. Everyone loves landing on a space that gives them more crystals, and you never know when the wind will blow you off the main track, but thankfully, the long route can lead to gaining even more gems!
This is a classic first-one-to-the-finish-line-gains-a-mountain-of-gems game, and while coming in first does offer bonus gems, that doesn't guarantee a win.
After finishing the game, flip over the board and every player counts out their gems to see who the ultimate winner is. It's not always who you expect.
Overview: It's really not that complicated.
Dragon Rapid Fire is a game for 2-4 players that takes about 15-30 minutes to play (depends mostly on attention span of the players).
The active player will roll the die and move 1, 2, or 3 spaces, or if a whirlwind was rolled, they will change the direction of all the whirlwind arrows. These arrows will either keep the racing dragons on the quickest route or will divert them to the long route that has more opportunities to collect gems.
If a dragon lands on a space with 1, 2, or 3 gems, they collect that number from the supply and then proceed to bathe themselves in all of their gems.
The first player to reach the volcano at the end earns four gems.
The game ends when a dragon reaches the volcano, and then, all of the players count up their gems.
The back of the board has spaces for players to count up their gems, and it can be helpful for players who may not be super great at counting.
Hopefully, roll, move, change whirlwind, collect gems isn't too much to handle.
Daniel's Thoughts: The kids love it, but it's not perfect.
Okay, that headline may sound like a bit of a downer, but it really isn't. In general, this is a great game, a fantastic game, and I'm so glad I picked it up at Gen Con in 2017.
It's quite easy to learn to play, and the kids often ask to play it. For that reason alone, I'd buy it again*.
The only issue I have with the game is the design of the race track. The kids often struggle to know which way to go when they come back on to the main race track from a detour. It's not immediately clear which way to go.
Now, as an adult, I know that I should–of course–head towards the finish line, but the board doesn't provide good hints to young players. I think adding arrows to the end of each detour pointing the dragons towards the volcano would be an improvement the board design.
That's really my only complaint, though. Otherwise, I love everything about the game because it never gets old for the kids.
*As of this writing, Amazon does not seem to have the game in stock, but I didn't do a ton of digging to see if it is available elsewhere.
Asher's Thoughts: It's all about the gems.
I like playing Dragon Rapid Fire because of all the gems you get to collect. The color of orange looks really cool, and the gems look like real gems, which makes it even more fun.
The little dragons are really cute, too, and it's always fun to play.
The only thing I don't like about playing the game is that sometimes, you roll the whirlwind over and over and over, and that's not fun because you don't get to move forward when you roll a whirlwind.
But that's it. I'll play this whenever my brother wants to, and I still have fun with it, even though I'm a bit older.
Can you introduce this game to your kids?
Being able to count helps a lot, but it is not necessary. Counting comes in handy for moving forward spaces, collecting gems, and determining a winner at the end of the game.
Following the direction the wind points helps as well, but if your kids can't quite grasp that yet, don't worry. A quick redirection to go this way or that way is all that's needed.
Yes, introduce it, unless your kids will eat the gems.