Review: Dragonbond – Lords of Vaala (Draco Studios) – English

For more than a thousand years, Valerna has been ravaged by dragons. Once every 27 years, during the Red Moon, the dragons plunder the lands of Valerna. The humans are fed up and instead of going to war with each other, they attack the dragons. The peace between humanity may be short-lived since there is a lot of power to be gained during a war … and there may also be a brawl between the dragons. Will you earn the most power in Lords of Vaala – Dragonbond?


Lords of Vaala is set in the world of Dragonbond, a popular RPG series and miniatures line. The setting of Dragonbond is the world of Valerna with all its conflicts, but cooperation with dragons is also the focus: a so-called Dragonbond. Lords of Vaala is an asymmetrical board game with wargame influences for four people. By the way, don’t be afraid if you have less than three friends, because basically speaking you can replace each player with a so-called “faceless”: a kind of auto-player.

So every time I mention a player, it can also be a Faceless. Each player board has two sides, one of which is the side for the Faceless. Actions are adapted to the fact that there is no human player behind the Faceless and every time the Faceless player is given a choice, it is outsourced to another player or by chance.

Two players take the role of a general and two players take the role of a dragon. Each general and each dragon is unique, but in terms of gameplay, there is some similarity between the different roles.

One player takes on the role of an Elyse, a general of Allaria. Allaria, or kingdom of dragons, is one of the most powerful empires in Valernia. Rich, elite, prestigious, proud and honorable is how one would describe Allaria, but one must conform to these ideals. The other general is Adrael of Tyveria, the empire of blood. This empire revolves around military power and fear. Tyveria has a constant drive to push its boundaries, literally and figuratively, by conquering pieces of land.

We can now talk about dragons. One of the oldest breeds of dragon is the Fulgen. Ferellon is a dragon of this brood. Because of their metal scales and their ability to spit molten gold, they are feared, but even more feared because of their diplomatic skills and their centuries of wisdom. In contrast, the Magnifex are cunning, arrogant and beautiful. They are after a world that meets their standard of beauty. Nagasha stems from the Magnifex lineage and is in fact the last playable character.

Each player assumes the role of one of these characters and the game ends once one of three requirements is met. Once a player has collected 10 power, that player is the winner. Should a player be eliminated during the game or if there are no more event cards available, the game also ends and the player with the most power wins.


Each player receives a player board, a stack of cards corresponding to their character and a beautiful miniature. The generals also get an army with different types of groups of soldiers. On the game board, players place their miniature, and in the case of a general their starting army, at their starting location and players also receive a card belonging to this region. Next to the board are cards with inhabitants, the event cards and region cards. Within easy reach of all players are the dice and some different tokens including the power tokens.


Lords of Vaala is a combination area control game, where players collectively program the possible actions of a round by adding cards to the action pile. During the game, players run through the stack of actions and engage in combat with each other by rolling dice similar to a wargame, among other things. The composition of a general’s army determines, among other things, that player’s combat power during such a battle. In addition to battles, covenants are just as relevant. Every time a general or a dragon who have not yet made a pact peacefully share a location with each other, they have ability to enter into a Dragon pact which suddenly makes the game semi-cooperative for the relevant players.

During a round, players first start planning. Starting with the starting player, each player places a card from their hand on the action pile. Each action pile always starts with a closed event card. If no event card remains, the game ends. Players can add action cards to the pile, as well as region cards. If a player controls a region, this pile receives the relevant region card.

Once all players, to their own discretion, have added enough cards to the action pile, they are ready to move on the next phase: performing actions. The pile of action cards is turned over and events, region actions and personal actions are performed in the order of the cards in the pile. Action cards show symbols that are played by the relevant player. Region cards are performed by the player currently in control of the region, so that can be a different player than the player who added card to the pile!

With the various actions, players will move their characters and troops and gather power to achieve victory. Have you concluded a Dragonbond? Then both players in such an affiliation win.


Dragonbond is an interesting world that Lords of Vaala manages to turn into an interesting but accessible board game. The rulebook uses many different terms, but in the end, both the course of the game and the different roles are quickly clear. Planning with the cards in a common action pile, makes the game fairly innovative, but also surprisingly unpredictable. Players plan their actions ahead of time, but have to adapt to others’ actions. By the way, the miniatures and design is very nicely done.