How to Play Dragonvault

In Dragonvault, the goal is to survive the adventure deck, and end the game with more treasure than your opponents.

Starting the Game

Each player chooses a champion. Or you can assign them randomly. Everyone begins the game with one Food card, and two Gold Coins cards. These form your starting hand. Roll a d6 (six-sided die) to determine who goes first. The person who rolls the highest begins the game. Then, the turn order goes clockwise from that person.

Turn Structure

At the start of your turn, you may play action or mercenary cards from your hand. There is no limit to the amount of cards you can play. Just keep in mind that you must pay the required treasure before you can play a mercenary. To pay treasure means to place an equal or greater amount of treasure from your hand, into the discard pile. The discard pile is a face-up pile of cards next to the adventure deck.

When you are done playing cards, draw a card from the adventure deck, in the center of the table. If it is an encounter card, such as a dragon or a trap, you must deal with it immediately. If it is any other type of card, put it into your hand. You may play it on your next turn if you wish. Response cards, such as the Invisibility Potion, can be played when a certain thing (specified in the card text) happens, and this may or may not be on your turn.

Looting Another Player

If another champion dies during your turn, from one of your mercenaries for example, you may loot that player's hand. To loot means to pick one card of your choice from their hand, and put it into your own hand.

The Discard Pile

When a card is played, or an encounter is dealt with, it goes into the discard pile. A player can look through the discard pile at any point during their turn, but they must do so before they draw from the adventure deck.

When a champion dies, that player's hand goes into the discard pile (if that champion died during another player's turn, this happens after their hand is looted).

Declaring the Winner

Keep moving clockwise and taking turns until the adventure deck runs out. Then, players reveal their hands. The player with the most treasure wins the game. Gold Coins each count as 1 treasure. Gemstones count as 2 treasure. And the Relic (there is only one in the adventure deck) counts as 3 treasure. If two or more players tie, and one of them possesses the Relic, the player with the Relic wins the game.

Types of Cards

Directly beneath the name of each card is the card type. Here we will outline each type of card in Dragonvault, and what it is used for.


Champion Card

A champion is a playable character in the game. When you choose a champion, that champion represents you for the rest of the game. A champion's toughness, signified by the shield icon, shows how much damage they can take before death. If a champion accumulates damage equal to this number, it dies, and the controlling player is out of the game.

Tip — A d12 works well to track a champion's damage, because no champion has a toughness score of greater than 12.


Action Card

Action cards can be played on your turn, before you draw from the adventure deck. Some examples of action cards are Food, Healing Potion, and Crystal Ball.


Spirit of Retribution

Response cards can be played when a certain thing happens. This may be on your turn, or on someone else's turn. For example, Spirit of Retribution can be played when another player causes your champion to take damage.


Mercenary Card

Mercenary cards are played on your turn, like action cards, but they require you to pay treasure in order to play them. You can play as many mercenaries as you can pay for during your turn.


Encounter Card

Encounter cards must be dealt with as soon as they are drawn from the adventure deck. Dragons, such as Green Dragon, will require you to pay treasure, or they will damage your champion. Trap cards, such as Bear Trap, require you to roll a d6 to see what happens. Other encounters, like the Djinn or the Succubus, may help or hinder you. The Phoenix and Flood cards are encounters which require everyone on the table to participate. When an encounter has been dealt with, it goes into the discard pile.

Adventure Deck Contents

When you begin the game, place the following cards into a face-down pile at the center of the table and shuffle them:

  • 2x Arrow Trap
  • 3x Bear Trap
  • 1x Black Dragon
  • 2x Crystal Ball
  • 1x Djinn
  • 2x Expert Thief
  • 1x Flood
  • 3x Food
  • 3x Gemstones
  • 2x Gluttonous Ogre
  • 3x Goblin Bombers
  • 21x Gold Coins
  • 1x Gold Dragon
  • 3x Green Dragon
  • 2x Healing Potion
  • 3x Hired Muscle
  • 2x Invisibility Potion
  • 2x Lava Trap
  • 1x Phoenix
  • 2x Pitfall Trap
  • 2x Red Dragon
  • 1x Relic
  • 2x Spirit of Retribution
  • 1x Succubus
  • 1x Valkyrie
  • 1x White Dragon

These cards makeup the adventure deck.

Tip — If you are playing a game with more than four players, it is recommended that you put the additional Gluttonous Ogre into the adventure deck.

The Side Deck

Put all other cards that are not in the adventure deck into a separate pile elsewhere. These form the side deck, and are not a part of the game (unless the Djinn adds treasure to your hand. Take these treasure cards from the side deck, and not from the adventure deck.) The side deck should consist of any unused champions, as well as any extra copies of Gold Coins and Food. If you are playing a game with four or less players, there will also be one Gluttonous Ogre in here as well.

For frequently asked questions about the rules for specific scenarios in the game, visit our FAQ page.