Dragon Bones: Adventures in the Gobi Desert by Richard A. Johnson (2005)

DragonBonesCover blurb

The time and place is Mongolia of the 1920s. Warlords and freeroaming bandits battle for control of the countryside. Your team of researchers and explorers must race against time to recover the fossils and get them out of the dangerous warzone and back to the safety of the International Zone in Shanghai.

The scenarios in this book are designed for 2 to 6 players. There are four chapters (scenarios), each is capable of being played in a single evening or several can be played at one session.

This book also introduces nine new archetypes to .45 Adventure; including Professors, Bandits, and the Dragon Lady. There are new rules for Mounted models and eight new skills you can add to provide even more diversification for your figures.

So put on your campaign hat, strap on your .45 and get ready for Dragon Bones: Adventures in the Gobi Desert!

My thoughts

Dragon Bones is a campaign supplement for the .45 Adventure tabletop miniatures rules system, which is explained in greater detail in my review of Thrilling Adventures: Valley of the Thunder Lizard. For the purposes of this review, it should be noted that Dragon Bones is not a stand-alone product. Rather, it is a series of linked game scenarios involving a fossil hunting expedition in the Gobi Desert in the 1920s.

The inspiration for Dragon Bones was the Central Asiatic Expeditions, led by famed explorer Roy Chapman Andrews. Among the discoveries made by Andrews’ team were the first scientifically documented fossilized dinosaur eggs. While paleontology was not the only reason for the expeditions – Andrews was a zoologist, not a paleontologist – it takes center stage in Dragon Bones. One player plays a team of well-armed scientists seeking to transport a cache of fossils out of Mongolia. The other player plays as a gang of Mongolian bandits wanting to steal the fossils. Each scenario has certain number of goals each player must attain to be victorious.

Dragon Bones is a fairly short supplement with only four scenarios, and one of them is only played if the expedition gets captured in the course of the other three. It does contain a few new rules for .45 Adventure, but those may have been made obsolete with the release of the second edition of the ruleset. There is no background about the setting except a short opening story setting up the adventures. You may find many of the provided character stats useful if you still play with the first edition of the rules, but otherwise there is nothing here gamers couldn’t come up with on their own.


  • For any players interested in playing out the Central Asiatic Expeditions on their tabletops, the U.K.-based miniatures manufacture Copplestone Castings sells some appropriate figures. Check out the site’s “Back of Beyond” section.


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