Catch A Dragon By The Tail

Catch a Dragon by the Tail banner
Release Date: 
Saturday, February 20, 2021
Package icon catch_a_dragon_sticker_images.zip332.56 KB
Setup Time: 
Play Duration (new players): 
Play Duration (experienced): 
Minimum number of players: 
Maximum number of players: 
Minimum Age: 

by Jonathan Leistiko


You’re a dragon breeder at a market, selecting eggs that are ready to hatch to add to your next batch of hatchlings. Dragons are finicky about who they’re raised with; brood mates strongly influence a dragon’s final quality. It takes luck and nerve to be the best…


Earn fame by hatching identical or completely diverse sets of dragon eggs.

You Need

  • Four six-sided “eggs” (Each die is an egg. Ideally you’d make custom dice by printing these dragon stickers out and putting them on dice, but you can also use normal dice if you treat green as 1, etc etc etc (see picture).)
  • A fame tracker with markers for each player. (You can just keep score with paper and pencil.)


Play takes place in rounds. The youngest player goes first.

On your turn:
Roll the eggs.
Collect one or more hatchlings of identical or different colors.
Continue hatching or stop.

– If you stop, examine your hatchlings.

* If they’re all different and do not form a linked chain (match colors of tails and claws on die faces), score one per hatchling.

* If they’re all different and form a linked chain, score the number of hatchlings, times two (2 hatchlings = 4 points; 3 hatchlings = 6 points, 4 hatchlings = 8 points)

* If they’re all identical, score the number of hatchlings, squared (2 hatchlings = 4 points; 3 hatchlings = 9 points, 4 hatchlings = 16 points)

Scoring Example: I have blue and red collected. I roll the remaining two dice and get gray and gold. Gold-blue-red is a three dragon chain, so I decide to collect the gray and gold, score, and end my turn. The three-dragon run (gold-blue-red) is worth 6 points and the gray "odd one out" is worth one point, for a total of 7 points.

– If you continue hatching, roll the uncollected eggs.

* If you’re gathering identical hatchlings and do not roll a match, your turn ends and you score nothing.

* If you’re gathering different hatchlings and one or more are duplicates of ones you already have, your turn ends and you score nothing.

* Otherwise, collect one or more hatchlings that fit your set.

Repeat this process until you run out of dice to roll, choose to stop, or are forced to stop. When you’re done, pass all eggs to your left. When all players have had a turn, that’s the end of a round.

Play four complete rounds. The player with the highest score at the end of round four wins. If tied, all players play another round.

Origin and Credits

I don't really recall when I made this game. I think it was in response to a prompt on the Board Game Designers' Forum back in March of 2012. I think the challenge was to design a game that only used four six-sided dice.

Odds are good it would have stayed unpublished if I hadn't gotten back on a "one game a month kick" on 2021. It needs some player interaction. I'm thinking unique player powers, or a consolation prize deck that you draw from when you bust, or special rules for the four rounds (say each round represents a day at the market, or a season) representing something special about the environment.