Dwarven Smithy has a few game mechanics you will quickly recognize. At its core, Dwarven Smithy uses set collection as the primary game mechanic. Resource management is a secondary game mechanic where players balance and wisely choose how to use the various in-game resources to achieve their goals. Another mechanic used is a combination of hand/table/area management, where players decide the best use of randomly drawn cards, played to a limited number of spaces on the table from a limited hand size. Player must choose when and where to play cards from their hand. There are a few other mechanisms in the game that keep the game fun, such as achievements, bonuses and hidden information. Risk, reward and time play a big part in player decisions.
Dwarven Smithy has a Euro-game feel. The game puts emphasis on simple rules and actions, keeping all players in the game until the end, indirect player interaction, less direct conflict and more strategy. There is an element of luck when drawing cards but this also makes each game different.
Before explaining any more, I need to give a short overview so you can visualize the game. The center of the table contains two draw decks of Order cards and Resource cards. Orders represent customers, and the King, asking for handcrafted items, but there are also special tools or abilities. Resources represent your mining suppliers, magical runes and players don’t control what resources are available. A player’s workshop card sits on the table in front of each player that reserves spaces for cards played to the table. The space above the workshop card is called the ‘Shop’ area and it contains 4 places for played cards. The space below the workshop card is called the ‘Work’ area and it contains 6 places for played cards.
Player’s Turn (4 Phases)
- Refine Resources (Work)
- Complete Orders (Work)
- Actions (repeatable)
- Play a card (to Work or Shop)
- Craft an Order (Work)
- Purchase (from other player’s Shop or warehouse)
- Move card (between Work and Shop)
- Discard Order (from Shop to discard pile)
- Sell Resource(from Shop to warehouse)
- Draw three cards (Any three - chosen between Order or Resource decks)
Game Downtime/Adding Value to Cards
Dwarven Smithy simulates working in a smithy shop where time is valuable and there are only so many things one dwarf can do! In designing the game, we carefully picked the order of phases on a player's turn, used player downtime to generate value (gold) and risk is rewarded. To win the game, you must have the most gold. If you look at the phases of a turn, you will notice Actions are taken on the 3rd phase and cards are drawn on the 4th phase. Dwarven Smithy makes you wait. Waiting adds value.
Every gold piece you earn has either risk or time invested in it. You must get the resource you need, possibly refine it, collect all the usable resources needed to craft the Order then you have to wait to complete the order. When you receive gold from selling an Order, you definitely feel you have worked for it.
Lastly, players cannot discard cards from their hand. This restriction actually glues many gameplay dynamics together. Players can choose to keep the cards in their hand however; players can only play cards to either their Shop or Work areas. Any card moved or played to the Shop on the player's turn has to remain there until the player's next turn (wait mechanic). This means any card moved or played to the Shop is at risk of being purchased by another player. If another player didn’t purchase a card from you, then resource cards in the Shop area can be sold for half their value to a warehouse or Orders can be discarded. With limited spaces on the table and a limited hand size, players have to make meaningful choices on how to play each card in their hand.
That’s all for this week and thank you.
~ Mike Warth
Begin with the end in mind ~ Stephen R. Covey’s second habit of highly effective people