In the Year of the Dragon (2007)

Overview: A management game with a Chinese theme. Players try to prepare and provide throughout twelve months in the year of the dragon.


In this game I would make a move, and then only to find that the move was almost useless because of things that I didn't take into account.


Josh bought a two dragon privilege immediately. This added up to 24 points by the end of the game.

Close-up of End Game (20100109)

I decided this game that I would try Josh's strategy of buying a two dragon privilege as soon as possible. I also valued the warrior higher than the monk as Josh suggested last game, at least for starting people. As such, I choose the warrior and the tax collector.

Unfortunately, the block containing the privilege was taken (I was third after the setup phase). Luckily, I was able to get free money: 5 yuan. Next turn, even though privilege was taken, I paid 3 yuan to use the spot and 6 yuan to get the six privilege. In part, I was able to do this because I decided to ignore the first event: festival. At some point soon, I didn't have money to choose an action and so I used my 2 yuan to buy a small dragon privilege. Then at some point I was consistently getting eight points, four palaces, a court lady, and three dragons.

While a benefit to going first during setup phase is choice, the benefit to going last is the ability to choose just enough to go first. This allows an immediate buying of privilege.

End game (20100111 Game 1)

How should a player react to different events on the third round? Festival - ignore, Contagion - Get a two healer on the second round and a healer on the third round, Mongol invasion - Get a military dude with helmets depending on the other player setups, Taxes - Go up to three coin, Drought - have as part of your setup a rice person then either choose rice as an action or get up to three coin so that at the start of round three you can get the rice.

You want to build if possible. Assuming the lead player is able to get six people at the end of the game and you have twelve (say you lost one man), then you catch up by 12 points.

From this game, I observed it's good to try and not fall too far behind. Otherwise, you give the player(s) in front of you on the person track a lot of leeway in choosing people. Being clumped at least removes some of the advantage of that person being able to go first.

The game probably favors a more balanced choice of play, even though I ignored festival in this game.

[20100111][20211227 Edit]
My pagodas (20100111 Game 1)

Today Josh and I played twice. First with Steph, Daniel, and Kevin (I won), and then head-to-head (Josh won).

With more games under our belt, we're learning how to catch up or close in on the player earning points from privileges. First, we know we shouldn't let it get out of hand. With a two-player game, one has to compete more to stay in the game. For example, I bought a two dragon privilege, so Josh needed a one dragon privilege. As another example, I let a festival go during the game, but I should have tried harder to not let it go.

On a different note, going first is often a burden. It's almost better to allow the other player to switch back and forth with you. As Kevin had mentioned, and something I thought about a bit, was that playing defense can be detrimental when it comes to this game, as it does in some other games.

[20100111][20211227 Edit]
Final scoring completed, close-up (20110101)

While looking online for the translation of various symbols, I saw various strategies and information posted on BoardGameGeek. Here's the summary of them:
[To block a double privilege strategy, first block build, and then block rice. Taxes aren't a big deal for a double privilege player, because they can refill to three yuan, without worrying about taxes.]
- Try to be first to buy that double favor.
- Gain 5 Yuan (1 or 2 tax collectors).
- Grow Rice.
- Fireworks for a possible 12 vps and sometimes you get 9.
- Research to block other people using Research.
- Build New Palace: A first turn palace is generally worth about 12 VPs.
- It can be lost, but it room for losing less people.
- March only once and only if you need to get ahead on the Person Track.
- Initial person choices: Generally it is a Monk+(Soldier/Pyro). This gives me a starting 11 on the Person Track. If both of these are taken, I will choose Soldier+Pyro and look to either March or make Fireworks first turn (because the other two players will almost certainly choose Favor and Build. If these are still unavailable, I will choose Monk + Taxman and hope for a turn 1 gain 5 yuan. In all regards, your recruiting efforts must support you trying to take the lead on the PP track. You are doing it right if you are swapping first choice by landing on the first player's marker on the PP chart.

Everyone is standing... (20100108)

[You only keep people in order to have options of people to throw away. Don't keep people for the sake of keeping them or for their value of 2 vp at the end of the game.]
[Single builder seems less useful than Double builder. In any case, best to build two-story palaces until games end for monk+three-story palaces.]
[As clarification, a player asked the creator, Stefan Feld, about tie breakers, and the response was, "the player on top wins!" That is, if two players are tied on the scoring track, "furthest ahead" on the person track is done just like during the game. A marker on top of another is further along the track.]

[20100115][20211227 Edit]
[blue] 友 means friends
[pple] 运 means luck
[red-] 未 means not
[gren] 平 means safe
[yllw] 足 means rich
[evnt] 生 means living

My pagoda (20101229)

Not having played In the Year of the Dragon in a long time, I had forgotten the strategies. The game was further made difficult (for me) by the inclusion of a new expansion, The Great Wall of China.

In any case, I tried to gain a double privilege early on, but somehow I miscalculated my yuan and couldn't afford it; I settled with the single privilege. Unfortunately, this might have been a waste of an action or a decision that was made too late in the game. I deduce from having the lowest score that I made plenty of other errors.

Starting turn order and persons: Kevin (Pyro+Tax), me (Pyro+Monk), Michael (Conc+Tax), Josh (Farmer+Monk). I recall getting the double dragon privilege first. The current numbers would mean that Kevin started with 8=5+3, I started with 11=5+6, Michael started with 4=1+3, and Josh started with 10=4+6.

The Super Event: Tornado (20110101)

Played 20100108 Josh (G:81) Kevin (R:79) Phuong (Y:71) Me (B:59). Me first. Josh won. [Pic]
Played 20100109 Josh (G:94) Stephanie (R: 74) Steve (P:64) Me (B:83). Me first. Josh won. [Pic]
Played 20100110 Josh (P:93) Daniel (Y:85) Stephanie (R:77) Me (B:102). Daniel first. I won. [NoPic]
Played 20100111 Game 1 Stephanie (R:75) Daniel (G:88) Josh (P:77) Kevin (Y:79) Me (B:90). Stephanie first. I won. [Pic]
Played 20100111 Game 2 Josh (G:89) Me (B:86). Josh first. Josh won. [Pic]
Played 20100115 Me (100) AI (83) AI (79) AI (69) AI (46). I won. [NoPic]
Played 20101229 Kevin (R:81) Josh (G:103) Steve (P:87) Me (B:73). Josh won. [The Great Wall of China] [Pic]
Played 20110101 Michael (P:71) Josh (G:97) Kevin (R:91) Me (B:114). Kevin first. I won. [The Great Wall of China][The Super Events: Tornado] 2227-2408PST 1hr41min. [Pic]
In the Year of the Dragon

Relevant Links:
In the Year of the Dragon (
Play online against AI
Treasure Chest (
Treasure Chest (

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