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Age of Wonders 4: Dragon Dawn Review

Age of Wonders 4: Dragon Dawn Review


Dragon Dawn is a rather small expansion for Age of Wonders 4 but still features some pretty game-changing additions to the game, including the ability to be an actual whole-ass dragon. It also adds two new tomes with new spells and units, a new lizardfolk body type for your factions, and a dragon-focused realm option to take on.

You can find a video version of this review on my YouTube Channel.

A Dragon Lord on a greenery filled overworld map
Step aside champions and wizard kings, It’s dragon time!

Dragon Dawn is the first of four planned expansions for Age of Wonders 4, and while I can’t stop myself from wishing for more, it’s a solid start on the path of evolution for Age of Wonders 4 post-launch.

Gideon’s BiasDragon Dawn Information
Review Copy Used: NoPublisher: Paradox Interactive
Hours Played: 20+Type: DLC
Reviewed On: Xbox Series XPlatforms: PC, Xbox X/S & PlayStation 5
Fan of Genre: YesGenre: 4X, Turn-Based Strategy
Mode Played: Normal & HardPrice: $9.99

Here Be Dragons

Dragon Dawn’s most defining feature is the ability to create Dragon Lord rulers in addition to Champions and Wizard Kings. Creating a Dragon Lord comes with a full suite of visual customization options to make your Dragon Lord look unique, and it pairs well with the options available to the other types of rulers. However, it’s how a Dragon Lord plays that really captures the spirit of being a two-ton ancient lizard of myth and legend.

As a unit, Dragon Lords are exceptionally powerful compared to the other ruler types. Early in the game, they can take on most neutral armies surrounding your capital, alone, which has the added effect of leveling them up quickly.

The dragon lord character menu
Dragon Lords are uniquely powerful and have a variety of abilities they can learn as they level up.

Dragon Lords have unique abilities and traits they can choose as they level. As well as transformations that correspond to the various aspects such as Astral and Nature. Each one makes your Dragon Lord even more powerful but also allows for just as much freedom in developing your Dragon Lord’s playstyle as you would have with any other hero.

Such power does come at a cost. Dragon Lords can’t use most hero items, and they have an initial upkeep of 30 gold, which is nothing to sneeze at early on. However, they also have a dragon’s hoard trait, that grants you gold income for every item you collect and hoard.

Dragon Lords are a great addition with a uniqueness that fully embodies the Age of Wonders’ 4 principles of playing your own way. While Dragon Lords are a distinct departure from Champions and Wizard Kings, they remain every bit as customizable.

They are also simply fun to play. You start a game with a unit that feels distinctly powerful and much closer to something you would usually only have access to many turns later. It’s an absolute joy to wield them in battle with smashing tails, and deathly breath attacks.

A dragon unleashes a breath attack on an enemy army
The type of damage a breath attack deals depends on the type of Dragon Lord you make.

That said, I feel there is a slight tilting of the scales when it comes to balance. By choosing a Dragon Lord, the biggest thing you are giving up is the bonuses that a Wizard King or Champion imparts. However, the sheer power that a Dragon Lord wields completely dwarves the other two. The steep upkeep cost of a Dragon Lord is less of a problem than it first appears, mainly because you don’t require an army to clear early resource nodes, you can just use the Dragon Lord.

As the game goes on, the dragon horde mechanism more than makes up for it, as the gold you earn for collecting items outpaces that upkeep fairly quickly. It’s not to the extent that you will never want to play a Champion or Wizard King again. But you will always miss a Dragon’s destructive power when you aren’t playing one.

Dragon Evolution

Dragon Dawn adds two new tomes to the game, a tier one Tome of Evolution and a Tier three Tome of Dragons. Unlike other tomes, both of the new additions have split aspects of chaos and nature. The Tome of Dragons is obviously more flashy, as it grants you the ability to train young dragons and transform your faction with draconic attributes. However, I think the Tome of Evolution is much more special because it makes certain playstyles much more viable.

The Tome of Dragons research menu
A tome of all of your dragon needs

The tome of Evolution has a couple of units that evolve into bigger creatures if they survive long enough. However, it features spells and enchantments that specifically target ALL units that can evolve. There are a lot of those units in the base game, from young beasts to lesser elementals.

Those spells make those units stronger, increase the experience they gain, and overall focus on making those creatures evolve. The Tome of Evolution single-handedly makes it viable to forge a playstyle focused on evolving those creatures and has great synergy with plenty of other tomes, including the Tome of Dragons.

The Tome of Evolution research menu
The Tome of Evolution greatly boosts the effectiveness and viability of creatures with the evolve trait.

Beyond the tomes, the Lizardfolk body type is interesting with plenty of visual customization. But like all other body types, it has no mechanical impact beyond visuals. The new Ashen War realm option is certainly a doozy. It pits you in the middle of a war between two factions of powerful elder dragons. Age of Wonders 4 is all about options, and Dragon Dawn’s additions increase those options, and that’s simply a great thing.


At just ten bucks Dragon Dawn adds a small but meaningful amount of content. The Dragon Lords and new tomes are great new additions that further elevate an already great game. Any complaints I might have mostly boil down to wanting the DLC to be bigger. I want more Ancient Wonders, Cultures, and Tomes, but that desire is simply too ambitious for such a small content pack.

A lizardfolk faction in Dargon Dawn
The lizardfolk body type allows you to make anything from croc folk, and snake people to creatures that resemble the Shakarn from Planetfall

That said, more expansions are ahead, and Triumph Studios also has a nifty roadmap of free patches ahead. In fact, Dragon Dawn launched alongside the Wyvern patch, and I really want to note that while these updates include much-needed balancing and fixes, they often include new content. That was the case with Triumph Studios’ previous game, Age of Wonders: Planetfall, and it seems to be the case here since the Wyvern patch added a new Poisionus body trait and Artifact Horder society trait separate from the DLC.

In the end, Dragon Dawn completely justifies its ticket price with its powerful new Dragon Lords and option-expanding tomes that add greater variety to a game that thrives on player choice.

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  • Dragon Lord rulers are super cool and very powerful
  • The two new tomes further expand your playstyle options
  • Lizardfolk look great and another great visual choice you can make for your factions


  • Dragon Lords feel a little too strong because the negative factors of choosing them feel inconsequential.