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At 38 years old, Jason has been on three continents. He has been a Father for 7 years, a Husband for 12 years, and a Gamer his entire life. He served the Ohio Army National Guard, and the Army in both peace time and war. He was Retired as a Staff Sergeant after 17 years of service. He holds an Associate's Degree in Massage Therapy from Columbus State Community College and a Bachelor's Degree in Geography from The Ohio State University. He started out on Dungeons & Dragons, Risk, and Saturday Morning Cartoons, which he still does to this day!

Drakkar: The Card Game from Spaceballoon Games, reviewed by PaladinElliott Productions

DRAKKAR: The Card Game

Designed by: Spaceballoon Games

Edition: Prototype

Number of Players: 3 -5

Time of Play: 20 to 30 minutes for us

Reviewed by: Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions


The story so far:

Each player is a leader of their own Viking village. You are the Earl who must lead your village in building ships, completing quests, gathering goats, storing beer, readying Vikings, amassing weapons, collecting gold, raiding villages, and boarding other player’s ships. You need to show you are the strongest Viking in the region, and to do this is to have the most points in the end and win!

Each player will use a deck of double sided cards to play during a round. In this you will be building parts of a Knarr (two part ship consisting of bow and stern) or a Drakkar (three part ship with a bow, stern, and mid region that supports a sail). You will store on this ship Viking(s) and they may carry the Spear of Odin (granting additional strength) into battle. You will need to supply these Vikings beer. You will need enough of both to complete quests and gain additional resources, which get counted as victory points in the end.

At the end, each Goat, each Weapon, and each Bag of Gold, count as one victory point. In addition to this, each set (one Goat, one Weapon, and one Bag of Gold) counts as an additional victory point.  (We have had scores that range around 13, 11, and 10 in three player games).


The mechanics of the game:

The game is only three rounds and plays roughly in twenty to thirty minutes. This is a card driven game, and works off of cards consisting of a color (Red, Yellow, or Blue) which determines turn order. A number system on the Red and Blue Cards lets you know in which order they are played, lowest number first. You will be collecting resources to score at the end of the game, and you will be able to attack other players as well as collect from the bank on completed raids and quests.


Our final thoughts on this prototype:

We loved that it plays quickly; thirty minutes included the learning time. The game has a high degree of luck, as you don’t know what most of the cards you will have during a round will be, but then skill comes in as you decide which to play and which to save. You also need to think ahead to determine which side of the various cards in your deck you will use.  In order to be successful, you need to find the right balance of offensive and defensive strategy. There is a high degree of sticking it to other players in this game, by stealing other people’s resources and cards and trying to sabotage their ship and quest.  People who don’t enjoy high luck should probably play this a couple of times first, and if you don’t enjoy sticking it to other players, then this might not be the game for you.

We felt that we really enjoyed the games so far as we have no problem attacking each other in games. We like how it is very portable and plays very quickly. We also love that the learning curve is not very involved, making it a good pickup game when you want something light and fun but with that added bonus of messing with your friends. On the Board Game Geek rating scale I would give this game a 8, it is quick, fun to play and is a perfect pick-up game for 3-5 players.


Components of the game:

-I rule book

-50 Double sided cards that cover equipment, fights, and special actions

-15 Double sided cards that cover quests, or that your Vikings and Beer our up for sale

-60 Loot tokens made up of 20 Goats, 20 Weapons, and 20 Bags of Gold

-1 Viking Meeple to denote the first player of a round

-The game box


Game Setup:

You have to adjust for the amount of players. You use cards that say 3+ on them for three player games. Add the 4+ cards for four player games. Play with all the cards in a five player game. You will find these designations on the top right of the card on a Viking shield. Separate the Quest cards into their own deck. You will know these cards as one side will have Viking group at a table, the other side will list how many Vikings and how much beer you need on your ship to go on a successful Quest.

Shuffle the other cards into equal decks for the number of players. For example, if there are three players there will be three decks of ten cards each (all saying 3+). Have the loot divided into their respective piles, and have all of this out on the game table within reach of everyone. Deal a Quest card to each player. This card is private knowledge, and won’t be public until the Quest phase of a round (part 3 of a round).

Now you are ready to play.


How to play:

Each round is going to be in 3 phases. The first phase is the Brawl, where all of you have one hand behind your back, the starting player of the round calls out “BY ODIN!” and each player takes that hand from behind their back, and points to the deck you want. You will not know what is in that deck, so you are making your best guess based off of the top card that you see.

Now to the second phase, where you play all of your cards one by one, simultaneously revealed, and then resolved in game order. The resolve order is Red cards first (lowest number goes first), then Yellow cards (they never have a number), and then Blue cards (lowest number goes first). You will be allowed to choose which side of these cards you want to play, so in essence you have twenty choices that are on ten cards.

This phase you will choose a card, which could be laying a part of a ship, storing a Viking or a Barrel on a ship card (being stored in that part). You could be playing a card to attack someone else,  you can swap out a card that you have played on the ship for a more powerful version (the card that is leaving must be discarded), or you may have no choice other than to discard a card. Every player will have 10 plays in a round. Three rounds and the game will be over, and you count of your total points.

Red Cards will denote Loki (the Lord of Deceit), where you will steal a token from another player, (your choice of player, and your choice of token). Red cards can also be the Thief where you can steal another Yellow card in play, the card chosen cannot be covered by another card (and I will explain that shortly).

Yellow Cards will be the equipment and Vikings you need. You will have Bow Cards (front of the ship), Stern Cards (back of the ship), the Deck (middle region with a sail and deck), Viking cards (their personal strength is listed in helmets at the bottom of the card), Barrel cards (the amount of beer is listed at the bottom of the card), Bardl the Brewer card ( he counts as one Viking and one barrel of Beer), Odin’s Spear (place on top of a Viking card to give that Viking +2 Strength that round), and the Yggdrasil Ship Card (where it has a Bow and Stern and be played as either because of the wood it uses from the World Tree).

The Blue Cards will have Raids where you need to have a higher Viking strength then the opponent you have chosen to attack. You do not have to have a ship complete in doing this, only Vikings that you have played on a part of a ship. If a player loses in a Raid they must get rid of one Viking card in play or an Odin’s Spear card in play. The winning player chooses one resource of their choice from the losing player.  You could play a Boarding card where you must have a complete ship and attack a player with a complete ship, and if your strength is higher you receive the rewards on the card. Whether you win or lose, you must discard a Viking card in play, as that Viking has died in glorious battle. Finally there is Sabotage, and this card will have a big red x on it. This will allow you to destroy one Bow or Stern card of another player (so long as they have not stored something on that card).

Thank you for reading my review of:

Drakkar: The Card Game

I hope you will check out my PaladinElliott Blog at:

check out some of my videos at:

and check out my Ready To Game Podcast at Soundcloud and/or Itunes:

and remember I am always….READY TO GAME!!!

RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)

Please feel free to reach out to SpaceBalloongames at:

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Mageling: The Journey to the Cloud Chamber Begins Review

Mageling: The Journey to the Cloud Chamber Begins

Designed by: Joseph Butler

Produced by: Familiar Games

Reviewed by: Jason Elliott from PaladinElliott Productions


The back story:


This is all taken from the Rulebook for the game…

“There have been whispers from the Great Evertree, of a deep magic that pulls like talons toward the darkness. It echoed in wizards dreams, as shadows rose from the nexus. Now the clocks have all but stopped ticking, broken by the ancient arcanum, and even goblins point to Ae’ruim, the sacred Sky Tower of the north. You must go! Leave all that you have learned behind and let five runes guide your path, into the forests of Grimthorn and onward toward the light of Rune City. Don’t forget to gather scrolls along the way…for this, my young mystic, is deep magic.”

The Oracle of the Purple Dawn

When the Evertree falls under a mysterious curse, the elders fear that without a rare potion it will surely die. Now an unlikely group of fledgling Mages must journey to the Sky Tower of Ae’ruim to recover the potion and heal the Evertree. In order to accomplish this seemingly impossible task, they must test their magic against four increasingly difficult locations before facing the evil that awaits within Ae’ruim’s spiraling chambers, in a final battle of arcane sorcery!

Thank you to Joseph Butler for this background.



Game Review:

This is my review of Mageling: The Journey to the Cloud Chamber Begins. One of the things we liked most about playing Mageling was that there is a really solid mechanism for keeping the game balanced.  For example, when a player is falling behind, they can get additional bonuses for successfully clearing a location. Psionic Vines, which is at location 1, is a good example of this.  It allows the player to gain one additional Mana for each location further on that has been revealed.  This benefits the last player who clears the location and helps them catch up to the other players and keep the game close and competitive.

We have played the game several times, and all of them have been close, including one come-from-behind victory by one of my opponents, Kyle. All the players report that every session has felt very close and no one ever so far behind that there was no point in playing.  This is a sign of a very well balanced game that will have good repeatability, as it will make it hard to predict early on who will win.  Players also think this game has solid mechanics and a great theme, it is clear that it was frequently playtested and well thought out.  Several of our games were so close that the players who didn’t win were one turn away, which keeps everyone engaged and invested in the game.

The game is light on offensive play, as there is not a lot of opportunity to attack other players and damage their grimoires.  If you are the kind of a player who likes to undermine your opponent more than you like building up your own resources, you might find this game a little light on the opportunities to mess with your opponent. The one offensive mechanism we did really like was that when you are doing damage to another player’s grimoire, you can determine where that damage is applied, so this does bring some ability to strategize on how to undermine your opponent.  However, the game is still primarily focused on determining an independent strategy for successful use of resources to achieve your goals.

There are only a few minor points of critique for this game.  The playtesting copy had a few minor spelling errors that we are confident will be corrected in the final printing.There are a few places where the instructions could be clearer.  There was some confusion with the cheat sheet for the Wizard and the use of the Spirit Crystal.  There was also some discussion of the Doomweaver card being too easy to acquire and use.  In addition, it could be made clearer that when you vanquish a spawn, you remove it from the game.



We here at PaladinElliott Productions strongly support Mageling and are excited about this game reaching its funding goal.  It is definitely worth backing as it is a solid game with great mechanics and theming.  The game works of combos with its spells and will remind players of games like Magic the Gathering and Ascension.  If you like planning on how to be the most efficient and effective in acquiring spells and tapping resources for greatest effect, you will like this game.  The mechanics are well thought out and keep the game close and competitive, keeping all players engaged until the very end. Mageling will make a great addition too many people’s existing collections as you race against the other players to be the first to beat the fifth location. You will need to use your mana and energy as efficiently as possible so as not to waste any time achieving your goals.




Mageling: The Journey to the Cloud Chamber begins! is being released by Familiar Games which can be contacted at If you have questions or comments about the game you can reach Joseph at


What Comes in the Game and How to Play:

There are five, six-sided, rune dice.  Five of the sides represent different schools of magic and the sixth is a focus.  The five schools of magic are Hedge, Dreams, Divination, Aether and Death. The hand symbol represents Focus.  You get a maximum of two dice rolls, unless you have a spell in your grimoire to override that. After you have finished rolling, you then use the dice results to assist you in performing actions.  You have a variety of actions to choose from, including: gaining energy, drawing Mana, activitate spirit, convert mana into energy, buy a scroll from the Nexus, activate a scroll, heal a scroll, spend energy to defeat the current location, spend Mana to reset the fice Nexus cards, or remove a small token from your area to gain energy. When you have taken these actions as many times as you can and/or want your turn ends.

The Spirit Crystal is basically your main playing area.  The top half is where you keep track of how much energy you have with a token to flip if you go over 20 energy. The next section down is Mana.  You must place two dice with matching magic symbols to get 1 Mana and you can do this a maximum of two times on a turn. The bottom area is for Focus.  You can place as many of the hand symbols as you want in this area and you can place multiple dice of any one additional magic symbol. For example, you could place two hands and 1 spiral, one hand and three crescent moons, 5 hands, or 5 aether. You can never exceed more than 2 icons being placed in Focus, and you can never have multiple schools of magic there. Depending on what you roll, it is possible to place all 5 of the rune dice in Focus.

Because Mana and energy can be carried over from one turn to the next, the energy tracking token has a single side and a + 20  side. There is no maximum for Mana and energy. This can be important in the game as a strategy that you hold back while other people move ahead and then expend large amounts of energy to catch up. There are crystals to represent different denominations of energy and mana to help you keep track.

There are four types of cards in the game, Spirit cards, Event cards, Scroll cards, and Location cards. Spirit cards can be activated by having the correct symbol on your turn in your focus area. This is an automatic, free action and you gain whatever ability or benefit is listed on that Spirit card. Event cards go into effect as soon as they are drawn and must be resolved immediately.  The only exception to this is if an Event card is drawn during the first turn of the game, at which time the card is immediately discarded. The Scroll cards match the five magical schools.  Green is Hedge, blue is Dream, yellow is Divination, orange is Aether and the red is Death. The top right corner of the scroll cards is how much energy it costs to acquire the card. The top left corner indicates the type of rune die you have to assign to the spell in order to activate it. If the top left is a yellow coin, that means you need energy to activate that spell and if it is a blue coin that indicates Mana that must be spent. Keep in mind that Mana can be converted to energy at any time as a 1 for 1 trade. However, you have to be careful about trading too much Mana as there can be certain game effects that will cause you setbacks if you don’t have enough Mana. The bottom right of the Scroll card tells you what type of spell it is and this is important because there are some combos where the type of spell you cast can give you bonuses or effect your energy or Mana. The final type of card is the Location cards. These cards represent the levels and bosses you must defeat. Each location has a title and a location number. On the middle right side of the card there is the amount of energy needed to beat the level.  Some cards will also have actions you must perform upon entering the location.  Location cards will also have actions to be completed once you have defeated the location.

The goal of the game is to be the first one to defeat all 5 locations. The moment this happens the game is over and the person who has done this is immediately the winner; you will not resolve the round.

For game set up, shuffle all cards together except the Location cards.  You will draw all five of those to the right of that deck and that will be the Nexus from which players can buy cards with energy. Once one of those cards are bought it is immediately replaced with another card from the deck. You then go to the Location deck and separate it into 5 mini decks (4 cards for each location #). Shuffle each of these mini decks and draw one card from each deck to represent your locations for each level. These will be the only locations used in your game and the rest you may put back in the game box; this is nice because it means subsequent games will be different based on possible locations. You will want to make sure your Mana crystals are nearby along with your Spawn/Damage tokens (flip to the appropriate side as needed). These tokens represent enemies that must be defeated before you can claim a location as defeated.You can spend two energy to remove one Spawn token. Damage tokens go on your grimoire when it is damaged by your opponent(s).  Any spell with a damage token on it is immediately inactive until it is healed.  Also, if you take damage on your turn, your turn ends immediately.  Your grimoire is also limited to 8 spell cards and can never exceed that number.  There are a couple of ways to heal spells.  One is to assign a die with the same symbol as the spell or to use a different spell that has the ability to heal.    The five locations will be above the Nexus.




The game also comes with a Cooperative mode allowing 1 to 4 players. Consult the rulebook for the changes  necessary to play this mode..

The game came with the following:

  1. The box
  2. The rule book (which did a great job of explaining terms, how to play, etc.)
  3. 20 Location cards (4 each per level 1-5)
  4. 40 crystals
  5. 4 Spirit Crystal Cards (your “playmat”)
  6. 4 Energy tokens
  7. 5 Rune Dice
  8. 4 Player Markers
  9. 32 Damage/Spawn tokens
  10. 84 Nexus cards (Scrolls, Events, Spirits)


Mageling is listed as a 1 to 4 player game, at ages 12 and up, and runs from 30 to 90 minutes. We finished most of our games around 60 minutes. That takes into account that at that point all the players knew how to play the game.



You can find the kickstarter here :


Thanks for reading my review of:

Mageling: The Journey to the Cloud Chamber begins!


I hope you will check out my PaladinElliott Blog at:

check out some of my videos at:

and check out my Ready To Game Podcast at Soundcloud and/or Itunes:

and remember I am always….READY TO GAME!!!

RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)

Welcome to The home of PaladinElliott Productions. Let me introduce myself!

Hello everyone out there!

My name is Jason Elliott, and some of you are aware that on April 1st, 2016 I created PaladinElliott Productions. A company that would cover all things gaming. This would include Reviews, Teaching games, Demos, coverage of the Gaming Conventions I managed to attend, and much more.

I lost some friendships early on, as I was told that I was insane for even attempting this. I was told I wouldn’t last more than 1 month, I was told my friends were nothing more than playtesters. Well, 5 months later I have reached the point where I needed to have my own website, due to the amount of work that I have produced, which has been no small feat.

The name PaladinElliott came from my handle on Paladins were pretty much my go to class in games that included them. The Holy Knight that sets out to right wrongs, and deliver Justice. You all can guess the Elliott part of the name.

Whether is was board games, card games, dice games, live action roleplay, cartoons, books, etc. I always have loved all things Science Fiction and Fantasy. Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Battle Beyond the Stars, yep! A Wrinkle in Time, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, yep! The Legend of Zelda, Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, Castlevania, Mega Man, Super Mario Bros., yep! Ticket To Ride, The Settlers of Catan, Risk, Axis & Allies, Yahtzee, yep! Ultima Underworld, King’s Quest, Baldur’s Gate, Colonization, Civilization, yep!

You have found a safe haven, one that welcomes Geekyness, Nerdyness, Cosplay, and a love of all points in between. You have found a person who gets to share this with his wife and kids, and now you!

It is dangerous to go alone! Take this knowledge with you!


RET. SSG Jason L. Elliott (PaladinElliott)