Dragons appear in the legends and folklore of cultures around the world, and the hero’s journey to kill a dragon is widespread. In Western cultures, dragons are most often depicted as gigantic and monstrous creatures, having horns, four legs, wings, and the ability to breathe fire.
Thanks to the many stories from modern literature from Tolkein’s The Hobbit, LeGuin’s A Wizard of Earthsea, McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern, and even Pratchett’s Discworld series, we have a shared and common vision of what makes up a dragon—and what makes up a dragon also makes up an interesting board game.
Here is a sampling of games that feature dragons as essential parts of the game.
Dungeons & Dragons
The basic gaming system of the first game you likely think of when you hear “dragons”.
Use cards to collect resources to earn victory points.
Carcassonne: The Princess and the Dragon
Dragons appear in Carcassonne to eat meeples!
The classic D&D-style game with Adventurers, dungeons, and dragons.
A game for kids (“My First Kindomonino”) where you play as Dragon Riders exploring to find the most dragons.
Trogdor!! The Board Game
A co-operative game where players try to defeat the dragon of consummate V’s.
Dragons have been storing their treasures in volcanoes—volcanoes that are about to erupt. Help them to rescue more loot than your opponents.
Catan: Treasures, Dragons & Adventurers
Dragons come to Catan in this expansion.
Here be Dragons: Into the Unknown
Search an unknown landscape in search of fortune and glory!
You and your fellow dragons will collect all sorts of goodies in this card-based, set collection game by Bruno Faidutti.
Defenders of the Realm
A co-operative game where players take on the roles of heroes trying to defend the lands against Orcs, the Undead, Demons, and, of course, Dragons.
Players are dragon breeders looking for the right matches for their starting dragons.
One of the first collectable card games to follow Magic: The Gathering, Wyvern sees opponents trying to eliminate your opponent’s battlefield of all terrain and dragons.
Collect Adventurer cards to earn dice to roll against your foes throughout an ever-changing landscape.
Reiner Knizia’s take on the J.R.R. Tolkien classic novel, featuring Middle Earth’s own Smaug the Dragon.
Play as Dragon Hunters to gain the riches from dragons—then figure out how to divide the spoils.
A two-player game where you’re trying to control three types of dragon pieces to eliminate your opponent from the board.
A card drafting game where collecting the right sets of cards moves your dragons further down the track.
Players perform blind bidding to cast spells, steal treasure from dragons, and purchase artifacts.
You and your fellow villains slay dragons and grab treasure and, just maybe, you’ll leave the others behind to get killed.
Looney Lab’s game where you’ll play cards to create a connected territory of seven panels from your secret dragon color
Escape from the dragon’s cave with loot, but watch out for the mechanical dragon’s swinging, segmented neck!