The Adventure’s over, but the party’s just getting started!
Red Dragon Inn is one of those games that’s great fun, and perfect for the end of a gaming night. The premise of the game is that four adventurers have finished their escapades, and have gathered at the Red Dragon Inn, where all manner of fun and frolics are just about to begin!
Like Runebound, Red Dragon Inn is one of those games that I first encountered with the ex-girlfriend about six years ago, and was immediately hooked. It’s pretty straightforward – each player takes a character to play, and tries to either take everyone else’s money, or get everyone else drunk.
You start the game at 20 fortitude (the red jewel) and 0 alcohol content (the clear jewel), and play cards to force other players to either lose fortitude or gain alcohol content: if a player’s jewels meet, then they lose. It’s really that simple!
All the action cards have got hilarious titles, which you’re meant to read aloud as you play them – such as Deidre the Priestess‘ “My goddess made me do it!” (pick another player to lose 2 fortitude); Gerki the Sneak‘s “Have you seen my poison? I left it in a mug right here…” (pick another player to lose 3 fortitude); Zot the Wizard‘s “Oh no! Not again! Pooky’s on a drunken rampage!” (each other player loses 1 fortitude), and Fiona the Volatile‘s “Hey guys…Can I borrow some gold? Armor repair isn’t cheap, ya know!” (each other player pays you 1 gold).
There’s also the option to start a round of gambling with your action.
Gambling is a way to get other player’s to part with their money – if a player loses all of his money, he’s out of the game. When playing a round of gambling, play goes round the table with each player taking a turn to play a card, which can give you the chance to take control of the round, raise the ante, etc. If nobody else can play a card, the last player to take control wins the gold.
After the action phase, it’s time for a drink!
For me, this is possibly the most hilarious part of the game. During this phase, the active player “buys a drink” by giving the top card of the drinks deck to a player of his choice, before then “drinking” the top card of his “drink me” pile. Turning it over, you gain (or, perhaps, lose) alcohol as per the card’s text. However, some cards in your deck might be able to counteract the effects of drinking:
All the drinks have a bit of text at the bottom of them that always makes me chuckle, such as Light Ale (“less filling!“), Elven Wine (“The elves drink it, so it must be good!“) and Dragon Breath Ale (“Brewed under the direct supervision of Real Fire-Breathing Dragons!™“).
Play continues as the players lose (and gain) fortitude, lose (and gain) gold, and gain (or lose) alcohol content. The last person left standing wins!
It’s a really fun game, not requiring an awful lot of thought or strategy. After a game day that involves something like the aforementioned Runebound or something adventure-y, it’s perfect! Definitely something that you want to just throw yourself into and have a good time playing!
But wait! There’s more!
Slugfest Games have released three additional sets for the game, each with four heroes, a drinks deck, and all the other bits and pieces you need to play. Also, four “allies” packs have been released, which bring a new character and all the bumph needed to play. As the game line has increased, some of these heroes have become a bit unwieldy with all the additional game mechanics they introduce. Don’t get me wrong, of course, I really do enjoy all these guys, but sometimes it’s just a bit too distracting. Anyway. Finally, there’s a box called “Gambling? I’m in!” that has a selection of actual in-universe gambling games you can use to play instead of the basic mechanics of gambling described above.
All these gambling games are fairly basic card games, though of course you get a special card deck to use for them. It’s a nice idea, though I haven’t actually used them personally. Gambling is something that I tend not to focus on when playing this game, instead just trying to get my opponents either drunk or lose their fortitude.
But anyway, it’s a really fun game, and as I keep saying, perfect for the end of a game day. It’s perhaps slightly disingenuous of me to suggest that it’s simple, or there’s not much to it or whatever, because I’m not trying to imply that it’s “not serious” or whatever. I enjoy it in very much the same way as I enjoy Smash Up – gaming is about getting together with friends and having a good time, whether that’s trying to stop Cthulhu from destroying the world, or trying to get everyone really drunk.
The implications of the latter are also perhaps something to mention here: I don’t drink, and I’m not trying to condone some sort of alcohol-fuelled orgy or something. But the mechanics of the game are such that it is just really fun, it’s not meant to have any designs on morality or whatever. It’s a really fun game, and it’s not meant to be anything more than that.
Just get it!
Buy it from amazon:
Red Dragon Inn
Red Dragon Inn 2
Red Dragon Inn 3
Red Dragon Inn 4
Allies: Erin the Ever-Changing
Allies: Witchdoctor Natyli
Allies: Cormac the Mighty
Gambling? I’m in!