For longer than I can recall I’ve wanted to play the Red Dragon Inn. For one reason or another it was on my short list, but something else always came out or was the new hotness and I never got around to buying a copy. Also, I was skeptical about the theme. My gaming group includes my teenage kids and a drinking themed game might encourage or desensitize them to bad choices.
Red Dragon Inn #4 is pirate themed so that was the hook that got me. I grabbed a copy and Louis and I spent an evening testing it out.
The basic idea is that each player is a member of an adventuring party and they are in the inn after their day of adventure. They are “relaxing” by enjoying libation and gamble their loot for “fun”.
Each player gets a board and a fortitude counter and an alcohol counter. When your alcohol level exceeds your fortitude you pass out and lose the game. You start the game with a sum of money. If you run out of cash you’re out.
There are two decks. A drinks deck that everyone shares and a player deck.
When a player takes her turn, she plays a card from her player deck. These cards help the player take money from other people, hurt other people (reduce their fortitude), force others to drink more, or start a round of gambling. After you play your card you then buy a drink for someone else. Finally you have to take the top card off your drink pile.
Some of the player cards are defensive in nature and can be played out of turn to help you thwart another player’s attempt to take your money or make you drink.
This game will be a great deal of fun with the right group. It has a Munchkin feel of silly mixed with screw your neighbor. Over-competitive players are going to get ganged up on by the group and tossed out early. There is enough randomness between the strength of the drinks that come out of the drink deck and the cards you draw from your deck so I don’t see a specific strategy that will win every time. Of course I’ve only played twice and against Louis, who cheats, a lot.