Red Dragon Inn
Submitted by Alex Kincheloe
Number of Players: 2-4 (without expansions)
Playing Time: 60 minutes
Cost: $30 on Amazon
Ease of Play:
The Red Dragon Inn versions 1-3 created by Slugfest Games This game has been a favorite of mine for years. I’m a big fan of games that make you cooperate only as much as you need to while preparing to stab your allies in the back. In Slugfest Game’s “The Red Dragon Inn”, said backstab is usually the result of a drunken bar brawl. Players take control of a fantastical character like Gog the Half-Ogre, Wizgille the Gnome Artificer, or Zot the Wizard and his psychotic rabbit familiar Pooky. Each player is given a turn to play cards from his character’s deck to hurt the other players, wager some gold in games of gambling, and take a drink from the Inn’s selection of ales and wines that would make even the most brave of liquor lovers’ guts cringe in horror. Cards affect individual Fortitude (health), Alchol Content (how drunk your character is), and Gold possessed. The game continues until only one player is left conscious and with gold.
The character art is both detailed and comical. I personally love going through each new character and look at the artwork along with what their cards can do. The same can be said for the images of the various drinks the game provides. The player mats are sturdy and the cards are of typical strength.
GameplayThe rules are quite explicit on the order card effects resolve and provide numerous examples to help clarify tricky situations. This is appreciated as this helps prevent future brawls between “rules lawyers” and assists GM’s in running the game. This game is suited for 2-4 players, though I have been able to run successful games up to six. I recommend no more than this as this can lead to players losing the game early due to an intense round of gambling. The duration of gameplay is usually an hour for full games, more if players become difficult to take down from playing the right cards. There is one issue that some players might not care for. As a “last man standing” style game, any player who loses will either have to wait for the remaining players to finish or go find another game to play. While most people I’ve encountered don’t mind watching a close brawl between the last players, some get bored. Keep this in mind when suggesting this game to friends.
It has a decent replay value, especially with so many different characters you can try to play each game. The thief, Gerki, might focus more on gambling to snatch all the gold from opponents whereas Serena the Orc Paladin will have to balance her Piety level accordingly to use certain cards to full effect. Characters released recently have more variety and supplementary decks to give each a different flavor.
Getting into character and playing some traditional pub music or Flogging Molly helps set the mood. Adding rules to make this a drinking game is also a blast (remember, 21+ kiddos). I recommend four players, though three isn’t bad. A two player game is possible, but gambling isn’t as fun. Each addition to the series can be played on its own, except the Allies individual character sets which require a core set to play. Each core set runs around $40, which is a decent price for the value.
I’m sure you’ll love this game of drunken bets and bar blunders as much as I have in The Red Dragon Inn.