Parents' Guide to


By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Game based on book is a bit like an animal sim with dragons.

Dragonology Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

An attractive, terrible game

This game looks nice, but the thought that went into it is inadequate and the design is sorely lacking. The pieces are well molded but don't sit on the board squares well enough to prevent knocking them all over the place as you move other pieces around. The board is creased, which also upsets pieces from time to time. One of the intricate and unhelpfully over-sized dragon pieces fell apart within a week or two, and putting all of the game pieces back into the form-fitting plastic mold they came in is tiresome. The game board is unnecessarily hard to re-fold. If you can look past the wobbly pieces and lack of thought put into the design of the board, you won't be able to escape the dull nature of the game itself. A turn frequently consists of rolling a 12-sided die (which is the same color as the board, so it is continually hard to find again), then ponderously counting up to 12 squares in a number of directions to see if you can land your dragonologist on a valuable tile. You don't really travel meaningfully around the board so much as you zig-zag to and fro trying to hit special tiles without any real destination. You're rescued from having to use the die if you play a travel ticket card, in which case you can make illogically lengthy or absurdly short trips between special tiles. Don't try to think too hard about the board navigation system or why there are redundant land travel cards (Elephant and Stagecoach and Camel). There's no logic there. The Bit of Knowledge cards have an irregular shape which makes them hell to shuffle, gather, and hold. The instructions in the manual and on the cards are incomplete. leading players to have to make judgment calls on how the game should be played. Some of the special action cards are absurdly powerful and can wreck the balance of play instantly, while others are the more usual steal-a-card type. The basic upshot of play is that you repeatedly roll a die and count squares, then you draw cards trying to make a book of dragons before other players do. Whether those dragon cards in the book are still considered in your hand is anyone's guess, as the rules don't say. We play with books no longer in your hands and shown on the table. When you have enough dragons you move across a real map of Earth to a fictitious island, then you have to roll an exact number to reach the Dragon's Eye and win. What happens if you roll a 7 but need a 6 is not covered in the rules-- perhaps you should move backwards 7? Simply skip your turn? Who knows? This is an attractive game that is a pointless headache to play.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Kids who love dragons (and especially the Dragonology books) will likely love this fun little game, which actually feels a bit like an animal simulation or zoo game, thanks to its focus on collecting information, taking pictures, and caring for dragons. The evidence analysis games -- which include activities such as brushing away leaves to get a better look at scales and teeth, analyzing animal droppings by engaging in a rhythm challenge, and inspecting bones and tree stumps with a magnifying glass for animal marks -- are quick and varied enough so as not to become tedious. Plus, the various items players can buy to help them in their quest to find dragons -- such as an armoured top hat and a dragon horn that mimics a mating call -- help keep the hunt interesting. It’s by no means revolutionary, but it’s good clean fun for dragon-loving kids.

Game Details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • Available online?: Not available online
  • Publisher: Codemasters
  • Release date: November 16, 2009
  • Genre: Adventure
  • ESRB rating: E for Comic Mischief, Mild Cartoon Violence
  • Last updated: August 31, 2016

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