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Seven Dragons from Looney Labs

By Tim Kidwell
Published: May 26, 2011

Product: Seven Dragons is the newest game from Looney Labs. It features all-new illustrations by renowned fantasy artist Larry Elmore on 72 cards. The game is intended for 2-5 players, ages 6 and up.

Gameplay: There was always something unsettling about playing Aquarius (another Looney Labs game), with its hippie theme and bright happy art, and you’re out to trick, steal, and connive your way to victory. It’s a great game, but the dichotomy is profound. Well, maybe not.

With Seven Dragons, Looney Labs uses the basic rules from Aquarius and matches them to the sort of creatures who are used to duking it out with each other, using trickery, stealth and the occasional brutal fiery fusillade to the face. In it, players attempt to create a chain of seven dragons of the same color: black, red, blue, gold, or green. The rainbow dragon card is a wild card and can be used to represent any color.

There are two major differences from Aquarius. The first is the silver dragon. This card is used to begin the game (rather than randomly drawing the first card from the draw deck) and is “colorless” — meaning you can place any color of dragon next to it. The second difference comes with the action cards. Each action card has a dragon color associated with it. When an action is played, not only does the action listed on the card happen, but the color of the silver dragon changes to the color of the last action played.

For example, the Trade Hands action card is a black card. When it is played, the player who placed the card swaps hands with another player of his or her choice and also changes the color of the silver dragon to black.

There is the option of forgoing one effect or the other. Place the card on the bottom of the discard pile, and the action happens but the color remains the same as the top card. Or you can play the card on top of the pile, change the color but forfeit the action.

These small changes really make Seven Dragons into a completely different game and add a new level of “screw your neighbor.” During our review games, we started hosing each other right away with action cards, madly changing the color of the silver dragon to use ourselves or keep an opponent from using.

Marketing: One word: dragons. They’ve been huge for ten years, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to let up any time soon. “How to Tame Your Dragon 2” is coming to theaters soon. Authors like Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and many other fantasy authors, have made names for themselves with dragons. They’re popular with women, men, and children.

Larry Elmore’s art is astounding — as always. His name should be a draw for fans inside the fantasy gaming community.

Seven Dragons’ theme and “you can’t get it wrong” gameplay can appeal to casual gamers too. The six-box display (No. LOO-039-D) is designed to fit easily into your impulse-buy items near checkout.

Finally, Looney Labs is offering a Seven Dragons “Shuffle Hands” promo card (No. LOO-814-19; includes 25 cards) that retailers can sell for $1 that can be used with the game. To help cross-promote Aquarius, they are also offering a new “Aquarius Dragon” promo card (No. LOO-814-21; includes 25 cards), also with a $1 retail price.

Advance demo kits for Seven Dragons are available direct from Looney Labs and include a demo copy of the game, a poster, playmat, 25 pack of “Shuffle Hands” promo cards and one sample “Aquarius Dragon.”

Reminder: The six-box display with free demo pack (No. LOO-039-X) is available only on pre-order from distributors until May 27, 2011.

Product: Seven Dragons
Publisher: Looney Labs
Stock No.: LOO-039
MSRP: $15
Availability: Check with your favorite game distributor, Great Planes, or Looney Labs

New variation on a known seller
Huge name recognition among fantasy gamers
Lots of company support

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