Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn review - "Kernel of a great idea"

The box, tokens, board tiles, and miniatures of Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn on a wooden table
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

While it has lofty ambitions (and there are some great ideas hidden under the surface), Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn fails to land its promises due to excessive busywork that weighs it all down. For the most part, anyway - you'll get a lot more out of it if you're using the accompanying D&D book Shadow of the Dragon Queen.


  • +

    Novel approach to cooperative games with battle lines acting as a timer

  • +

    Does a great job of giving the players lots of competing priorities to juggle


  • -

    Components are poor quality, especially for the price point

  • -

    Narrative aspects don’t make sense unless it’s played alongside D&D

  • -

    Tiresome administrative overhead in setting up and handling battles

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Dungeons & Dragons hasn’t spawned that many board game spinoffs, especially when you consider the size of the audience and the connections between role-playing and board gaming. But many of those it has are top-notch titles such as Lords of Waterdeep and Tyrants of the Underdark. This latest entry, Warriors of Krynn, is a major new bridge between these two worlds. It can be used to play out the many battle scenes in the Dragonlance adventure Shadow of the Dragon Queen, and continue that storyline. 

Not that it should be ignored as a game in its own right, though. Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn can also be played stand-alone no matter whether you have experience with Dungeons and Dragons books or not, and it credits big-name designer Rob Daviau on the box. That sets expectations pretty high… but promises a check it can never cash. 

Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn - features

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Price$79.99 / £79.99
Players3 - 5
Lasts60+ mins

Warriors of Krynn is an addition to the ever-growing list of cooperative board games where the heroes are working together to achieve a mission-based objective over twelve different scenarios. These tie into events in the Shadow of the Dragon Queen D&D adventure. However, don't worry about being thrown right into the chaos - there’s an additional training scenario to help players learn the ropes. 

In all the scenarios, the heroes must meet win conditions while the armies of good and evil clash in the background, acting as a timer on the player’s quests. You see, this isn't like Warhammer 40,000 or Age of Sigmar where you're directing entire armies; you play as champions who can help turn the tide.

How does it work?

Miniatures of a dwarf, wizard, and archer stand on board tiles amidst tokens and dice from Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn

(Image credit: Future)
  • You play as heroes who go wherever they're needed most
  • It's fun to balance short-term gains vs long-term strategy  
  • Random event cards tell you what the armies will do next

Rather than directing individual squads or whole units of troops, players will be running heroes who might be able to shift the balance in their army's favor. Things start with you taking a random event card from a preconstructed deck, and this has on-board effects whilst dictating how both armies will clash that turn; it'll either turn into a skirmish between units or a full-on fight between all three battle lines - foot, missile, and mounted - and their commanders. To up the tension, this deck also includes a 'pivotal' event card which sends you to read some flavor text before describing its effects, and these are a timer that can lose you the game.

From there, you'll decide how and where you can help best. Your hero is able to take four actions which include moving, fighting enemy champions, using class powers, and interacting with objectives or board tiles (though the details of these change with the scenario). Many of those actions involve trying to get a certain number of successes on the included dice, and you can choose to spend cards or actions to buy extra dice for your roll. This is the meat of the game and there’s a lot of variety on offer, as each of D&D’s 12 classes is represented, all with their own special powers and ability cards.

The unfolding battle is novel, thematic and unpredictable

Those will certainly come in handy. As a general rule, the evil armies of the Dragon Queen outnumber those on the good side, so the bad guys will slowly push their enemies from the field (which is another loss condition). If there are heroes present on the same tile as the fighting, they can stall this inexorable advance by soaking up hits or using their response powers.

Otherwise, it's going to get dicey. Whichever battle line has the majority gets to draw a card, the results of which are inflicted on the opposition. Often this involves another roll of the custom dice, with hits first 'shaking' a unit and another hit removing them from the field. 


A miniature of a dwarf warrior stands on board tiles, looking off at tokens in the distance

(Image credit: Future)
  • Having to juggle competing priorities is great
  • Overabundance of busywork can slow things to a crawl
  • Components are of a poor quality

As soon as you open the box, you’ll be struck by the poor quality of the components on offer in this premium-price board game. All the cardboard components, including the tiles you assemble to make up the play area, are very thin, meaning they chip and wear easily. There are six included miniatures to represent the heroes as well, but the sculpts are muddy so there’s little detail for their ink wash to bring out. Most of the cards are plain too, with no art. The plastic tokens and dice are serviceable enough, on the other hand, but have no special qualities to offset how flimsy the rest of the contents feel.

This shoddiness extends to the rules. A close reading will reveal that everything you need is there, but it had better be a very close reading, because many details are not clear. 

Nonetheless, and in spite of the barriers that the game puts in the way of your enjoyment via tiresome setup, terrible rules, and third-rate components, the gameplay itself is novel and challenging. As with most co-op board games for adults, there are a ton of competing priorities. The assembled map is dotted with enemy champions who must generally be defeated in one on one fights for you to advance your quest, necessitating dice rolls.

Further adventures

A collection of warriors and dragons loom in the cover of Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen

(Image credit: Wizards of the Coast)

While it does function as an independent game, Warriors of Krynn is supposed to be used with the accompanying D&D adventure Shadow of the Dragon Queen - the consequences of success or failure in one impact the other. As I said in my Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen review, "all these soldierly shenanigans give the adventure scope to vary the pace and size of combat encounters, and it grabs this opportunity with both hands."

This is always an interesting moment because you’re torn between keeping your cards and actions to try and progress towards your scenario goals, while also wanting to pool enough dice to guarantee success. Sometimes you have to do the latter and it’s always a thrilling moment. However, despite a range of difficulties, these challenges are disappointingly faceless and repetitive, with little to differentiate between some Goblin Poisoners and a Red Dragon other than the stat and successes required. 

Still, the unfolding battle is novel, thematic and unpredictable, offering a real sense of the heroes desperately rushing to fulfill a quest while titanic events beyond their control transpire in the background. It gives heroes another priority to juggle as it’s often essential they get involved somehow, even if only as a damage sponge, to slow the inexorable advance of the clock. And because the classes are not equal in their ability to impact the battle, each player is given a sense of specialization which, along with the random nature of events, helps prevent an experienced one from bossing the others around.

The core concepts of a cooperative quest driven by an external battle mini-game work very well

Unfortunately, the need to pause, draw cards from up to three decks, and make associated dice rolls adds yet more administrative overhead and further frustration to an already slow game. It’s a similar story for events, which are keyed to a set of narrative paragraphs in the rulebook, and there’s further narration to introduce each scenario. Not only do these add more pauses for little gain, but they also won’t make much sense unless you’re playing the board game alongside the D&D module.

Should you buy Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn?

Cards and board tiles from Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn on a white surface

(Image credit: Future)

It’s hard to escape a sense that Warriors of Krynn had a rushed or underfunded development cycle. The weak components suggest that, as does the gameplay which contains some truly great ideas but falls apart around the edges with excessive busywork and faceless opponents. 

That’s a shame, because the core concepts of a cooperative quest driven by an external battle mini-game work very well, providing plenty of challenges with an unusual thematic standpoint. It works better as an accompaniment to the Shadow of the Dragon Queen module than it does stand-alone and, hopefully, that’ll be enough exposure for that kernel of a great idea to survive and develop elsewhere.

Buy it if...

You want to use it with your D&D campaign
Because it's so closely tied to Shadow of the Dragon Queen and directly impacts that story, you'll get the most out of this game if you're also playing the D&D adventure. 

You're a Dragonlance fan
Because it takes place in the beloved setting of Dragonlance (and puts you in the middle of its biggest conflict), this is worth a look for any fans of the series. 

Don't buy it if...

You aren't interested in the D&D campaign
Because this game was designed to tie in with Shadow of the Dragon Queen, it doesn't make as much sense if you're not also playing through that book.

Lots of admin annoys you
There is a lot of admin overhead overhead for Warriors of Krynn - extensive setup, organizing cards, and a lot of dice rolls kill the game's momentum. 

How we tested Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn

I played multiple sessions of Dragonlance: Warriors of Krynn to get a sense for its mechanics and longevity. Because I was also reviewing the accompanying Shadow of the Dragon Queen book, I could better see how they interacted with one another. 

For more information on our process, see how we test products.

This copy of the game was provided by Asmodee. 

For more recommendations, check out the best board games, essential board games for 2 players, and the best tabletop RPGs.

More info

Available platformsTabletop Gaming
Matt Thrower

Matt is a freelance writer specialising in board games and tabletop. With over a decade of reviews under his belt, he has racked up credits including IGN, Dicebreaker, T3, and The Guardian.