Red Dragon Inn is a newly released board game from SlugFest that takes place after the adventuring party has returned after a hard day’s questing. We broke out the game earlier today and this is obviously an initial review.
Appearance: Great. The pieces are good, the cards made of decent material and the illustrations are cartoonish and hilarious. The obvious winner was Pooky, who looks oh-so-innocent on the box cover and oh-so-deranged on the cards. Since the game is literally made up of 5 decks and 50 or so gold pieces, I’m not sure the playing mats were at all necessary as you could keep track of your fortitude and alcohol content with a pair of 20 sided dice. My only other complaint was the size of packaging, for very little content, it was bigger than necessary. Otherwise, it looked great.
Rules / Ease of Learning: Literally – 5 minutes. This is not a complicated game, and it was really easy to get into. The Rules were pretty clear and all the cards have the important information written on them, so there was little debate. Cards are named quite simply and clearly from ‘Sometimes’ to ‘Anytimes’ to ‘Action’ cards which are almost self-explanatory. Definitely well designed.
Actual Gameplay – fun, fun, fun. Since we are all role-players and either have played, or at least have passing familiarity with D&D roleplaying, we got the references easily. As a friend pointed out, it might not be the best game for those who aren’t into the genre as they’ll miss some jokes, but many are so wide open, it isn’t a huge minus.
Gameplay is simple – each turn you have a discard & draw phase, you play an Action card, you buy someone a drink from the drink pile and you drink from your drink pile. At each point a card is played, you follow the rules on the card, from drinking additional ‘chaser’ shots to loosing a ravening bunny on the party. A minor twist is added in the addition of ‘gambling’, but the rules here too are very simple.
Winning conditions are last person standing – either because everyone else has fallen unconscious from too much alcohol or have been thrown out of the bar because of lack of gold.
Gameplay seemed very balanced with each character having different strategies to win. Fiona the Vicious focus is knocking her other party members unconcious, through physical violence and drinking them under the table. Deidre the Priest’s goal is really to ignore all the damage and drinks coming at her, making others lose their fortitude and falling over drunk. Gerki the Thief – well, he’s all about the money. And Zot’s just a little about everything, with probably the most balanced deck, but not being really good at anything.
Overall, we found the comments and titles on the cards hilarious and the game-play well balanced in the Red Dragon Inn. It was certainly more of a ‘filler’ game with very little in long-term strategy since your goal was to run your cards down as much as possible each turn as you always refilled to maximum. Definitely a game to play if you enjoy things like Munchkin but want something slightly lighter or with a different feel.
Edit: An expansion, the Red Dragon Inn 2 has been released that plays a stand-alone and combined card game.