Jun 30

Thoughts on playing Dawn of Worlds

I’ve spoken about Dawn of Worlds before, and I’ve finally managed to play a couple of games.  And I’ve had some thoughts on how to make it run a little smoother.


First, as it’s a PDF, print out pages 7-10.  These are the pages that contain the Table Of Powers that tells you how much each power costs in each Age, and also explanations of what the powers actually do.  You’ll be consulting this a lot, and having a physical copy to hand around is going to be invaluable.

In fact, next time I’m tempted to create three separate tables, one for each Age, so that you can show just the costs that you’re paying right now.  Print them out in nice big type, and display the relevant sheet when you start a new Age.

The Map

The game says you need a Big Piece Of Paper to create your map on, but let me tell you, the Noteboard is fantastic for this.  We had different coloured whiteboard markers that we used for different features (blue for coastline, black for mountains, red for lava/fire, green for vegetation).  Being able to quickly erase things as they were changed by Events and the occasional Catastrophe was brilliant.

Also, the hexes on the gridded side are just the right size!

If I use the hex grid next time, I’d like to find a standard set of terrain and climate symbols (like the ones you get in Hexographer, for example) that I could print out for people to use.  We had to improvise a couple of times, and it could have led to confusion.

If there’s a criticism of the Noteboard as a map board it’s that it’s very wide and short – or narrow or tall, depending on how you position it.  That kind of limits the shape of maps you’ll create, if you want to use the whole area (and why wouldn’t you!).  If there was a more square version, that might be a nice variant.

Power Tokens

The most fiddly rule of the game is where you get extra Power Points if you end your turn with less than 5 Power.  In the midst of trying explain this to new players, I realised there’s an easy way to keep track of this – tokens.  If you end your turn on less than 5 power, you get a token.  When you’re rolling for your Power at the start of your next turn, you get +1 per token.  You can have up to three tokens, and you lose them all if you ever end a turn with 5 power or more.

I happen to have some glass beads, but you could use dice, poker chips, or anything else.


We also used different coloured beads to represent armies on the map.  That may have contributed to something that seemed to happen in each of the games I’ve played thus far.  Each of us had races we adopted, and the final phase sort of ended up as a very basic war game.

We kind of lost sight of the fact that this was a collaborative game, and the Evil Fire Dragons weren’t actually Craig’s, and the Good Gold Dragons weren’t actually mine, and we weren’t actually pitting the two factions against each other.  I think we noticed this and corrected, but I think it’s something I may have to consciously look out for when I play again.


Dawn of Worlds is fantastic fun!

A foldable whiteboard - the Noteboard - is laid on a table.  On it is a map drawn in a variety of colours.  Some whiteboard pens and dice are scattered around the edge.

The map from our Dawn of Worlds game!

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  1. Roberta Barnhart

    I can think of two ways to work around the dimensional awkwardness of the Noteboard:
    1) Put two of them together (tape the back so they stay together)
    2) Use it to create an entire globe. The left and right edges wrap around, and the top and bottom are the polar regions.

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    […] another recent purchase and which Liz reviewed for the podcast (and put to good use for the War of the Dragons game). Although the noteboard really falls into the GM kit category it’s simply far too useful an […]

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