Monthly Archives: December 2012

Merry Christmas from the Carcassonne Dragon!

The holiday season is a busy one, but for my family, part of that busyness is game time.

My family is into games of every sort–word games, computer games, strategy games, card games–if it can be played, we’ll try it. One of those games is Carcassonne, the always-changing game in which you build the countryside out of cardboard tiles. Players take turns drawing and playing a square tile on the board, staking their claim with little wooden men until they can complete and score their cities, roads, cloisters, and farms. Naturally, one of the expansions showed up for Christmas. The theme? “The Princess and the Dragon.”  This completely disrupts all serious strategy as the dragon, pictured below, moves around the board gobbling up everyone’s markers. Who can save you? Only the fairy. In a game whose previous expansions included wagons, bridges, cathedrals, mayors, inns, and other more serious aids for an intent builder, the dragon is very different, very not serious, and very fun.

The perfect dragon to end a long day of celebrations.

dragon marker

The Carcassonne dragon eats an unsuspecting farmer. Image copyright Dragon’s Crossing, 2012.


If you celebrated Christmas today, what was the quirkiest present you gave or received? If you have played Carcassonne, which expansion is your favorite?

Baby dragon

Dragons come from volcano tiles–is this a baby dragon? Image copyright Dragon’s Crossing, 2012.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Unicorn or Dragon? North Korea’s Mystery Lair

I just found this article online, reporting that the unicorn lair discovered in North Korea actually belonged to a creature with the body of a deer, the tail of a cow, and the head of a dragon—the “unicorn” idea was just an error of translation.

No, you didn’t read that wrong—the report of a unicorn’s den, resting place of ancient nobility’s special mount, really went out last week from the North Korean press (read the Fox news article here), only to have Korean scholars confess this week that they were mistaken—the inscription really gives the word for the mythical kirin beast.

So are they serious? The author of the Fox article calls the unicorn “symbolic,” saying that North Korea is gradually losing its “outlandish myths” that she accuses of being mere propaganda. Fewer people bothered to mention the correction to make it a dragon-headed creature. The Huffington Post dutifully reported the new facts and scholarly reports, but gives nothing but a final “Hmm” as a commentary.


Narwhals exist–are unicorns that much less likely? Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons.

As interesting as it is to see North Korea claim the existence of strange creatures, I find it just as interesting that most of the world claims the opposite—that dragons, unicorns, and strange combinations thereof can’t have existed. I would like to know the why’s of either side—so, Korea, you found a lair… who says the legends are true and that a crazy combination like dragon-deer-cow could even be biologically possible? Did you find any physical evidence? Or you, skeptics—just because you have never seen a unicorn or a dragon doesn’t mean you ought to mock those who think they could have existed (Narwhals exist; why can’t unicorns?). On my part, I think the kirin is a far stretch, but I haven’t fully dismissed dragons and unicorns—I would just need a lot of good evidence instead of a lone rumor.

What do you think? Do North Korea’s findings come from delusions of old glory days of lore, or could the idea of unicorns be based in old reality? Is the kirin too much to believe? In your opinion, are dragons or unicorns more difficult to consider possible?

Categories: Eastern Tradition, Real Dragons | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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