Koen Hendrix is not your typical game designer. His first public release was In Security, a dice game that he created at a game Jam. The game itself is an awesome light game of blackmailing in a corporate environment. You can read my full review deeper in the bowels of our website. Koen designs his games by himself, releases them out of his flat in the UK, and is one of the nicest individuals in the community. When he reached out for a review of his newest game Dragon Punch I was excited to see what his brain created this time. And boy was I surprised.
Dragon Punch is a PvP fighting game that involves cards but is more a bluffing game than a card game. The fact that both players start with the same hand of cards save for one is an interesting concept in gaming. We have seen it before, typically in deckbuilders, where each player starts with relatively the same hand and has no direct advantage at the start of the game over their opponent(s). Dragon Punch spikes that notion in the face. Yes, both players have the same opportunities in hand but what is done with those cards changes the state of the game blow by blow. When you take damage you flip your card around and upside down revealing a new fighting technique. Some cards allow you to turn the cards back to your hand to be used again. Basically, as you get punched you get stronger. The other interesting part of this game is that the cards never actually leave your hand. A table is optional. We played a few rounds immediately after receiving the game and we were standing the whole time. The game itself provides interesting decisions and hand management options but overall is fairly light and a few plays will satisfy your appetite for the game. A disappointment if you were looking for tons of replayability at your table. However, this game shines in the outside world. We always joke that we are looking for the next great game to play on a bus and I think we have found it. Set up is instant, gameplay is easy enough that you can learn first round, all you need is a hand and a brain. We have tried to play love letter or lost legacy at a restaurant and it always seems to fizzle when the food or drinks arrive. With Dragon Punch there is no interruptions. The game is truly perfect as an out of pocket five minute game. Koen Hendrix is a smart young lad that continues to innovate tabletop gaming in his own way. Keep an eye on him as he is one of the greats in this golden age of gaming.