The world and characters from Netflix's hit animated fantasy series The Dragon Prince come to tabletops in The Dragon Prince: Battlecharged from Brotherwise Games. Brotherwise describes Battlecharged as "a fast-paced battling game" in which players each choose two of the eight characters from the show to form a team and go head-to-head and skirmish-style combat. The available characters include Ezran, Callum, Rayla, Amaya, Janai, Claudia, Soren, and Viren, and each comes with a different miniature and a unique deck of cards. Brotherwise Games sent ComicBook.com a copy of the game to check out, and, having played it, it seems like something The Dragon Prince fans will enjoy.
The basics of The Dragon Prince may be familiar to some players. The two-on-two combat scenario reminded me of the Funkoverse board game, as did the game's approach to including three or four players. To keep combat small, such games team players up to share control of a team of two heroes rather than adding additional units to the skirmish. Battles take place on one of six maps with 10x10 grids, clearly optimized for close-quarters combat (there are variant rules for playing with up to six players, which involves two teams of three characters each).
Where Battlecharged distinguishes itself most is through its use of cards and energy to create the fast-paced play. On each turn, each character can move once and attack once but can play any number of other cards as they want, provided they have the energy to support such plays. Since players only discard cards of their choosing at the end of each turn, they can construct powerful turns by saving up their best abilities for when they've accrued more energy. Alternatively, there's almost always the opportunity to do something interesting on any given turn if they want to go for a more aggressive approach.
The rules of engagement are pretty simple. Attacks are assumed to hit unless the defending player has a block card they can play. The attacker can then respond by boosting its character's attack. Combat then goes back and forth until someone winds up playing more boosts or more blocks than their opponent, no dice rolling necessary.
Players can move through and fire through other characters. These rules make the game great for young or inexperienced players, and there are advanced rules variants in the rulebook for more complex combat, with zones of control and stricter limits on lines of sight.
How characters generate energy is part of what makes each character unique. Rayla, for example, is a nimble, agile fighter in the TV show. Thus, her deck includes a lot of hit-and-run-style attacks, long movements, and react cards (played on an opponent's turn) that allow her to break away from combat. To back all of this up, she gains energy any time she ends a turn without an opposing character adjacent.
And that's where the game shines brightest. Those looking to go deep into the world of The Dragon Prince should probably turn towards the full-on tabletop RPG Tales of Xadia as Battlecharged doesn't offer any out-of-the-box campaign-style play. The maps are also pretty straightforward, but that's likely to keep the quick combat from getting bogged down by special terrain rules and the like (there's only blocking terrain and hazardous terrain). But those invested in the characters of The Dragon Prince will find that each is brought to life admirably here, playing in a way that feels special.
I did find myself wishing for a little more complexity from Battlecharged, but the game is based on a kids' show and aims at players as young as 10 years old. The simplicity is not accidental, and it keeps combat fast and fun. Still, I did start to wonder how the game would stand up to house rules allowing for more than two teams, larger maps, and maybe even some alternate victory goals beyond knocking your opponent's characters down three times.0comments
Out of the box, The Dragon Prince: Battlehcharged is likely to delight anyone who is a fan of the series, particularly those who are particularly fond of the game's playable characters. I don't know if Brotherwise has any plans to expand Battlecharged with additional sets. As is, this is a solid game that only stands to benefit from more characters and maps to choose from (and we know from talking to them that the show's creators have big plans still to come for the world of Xadia). In the meantime, The Dragon Prince: Battlecharged offers a fun opportunity for fans to engage with these characters while they wait for the next season of the series to debut.
The Dragon Prince: Battlecharged is available now.