In many adventure games there comes a time after a quest has been completed in which the main characters, weary from their adventures, rest their souls at a local tavern. Red Dragon Inn is, in one sense, a physical representation of that moment; however, only if you replace the mighty heroes with a bunch of drunken imbeciles who are all trying to get the one up one on each other. It’s a silly game about a group of adventurers getting drunk at a tavern, gambling away their money, and trying to be the last adventurer sober enough to watch in triumph as all the others have to retire to their rooms for the night; be it from lack of money or inebriation.
The rules are simple; the objective is to be that last adventurer left at the table. To accomplish your goal you either have get all the other players to lose all of their gold, or get them drunk enough that they have to retire. How drunk you are is measured by a score sheet each player has with numbers ranging from 0 to 20. At the start of the game you get two marbles and place the red one on the 20 and the white one on the 0. The white marble represents how sober you are and the red one represents your fortitude. You lose once one of the marbles passes the other. Once the score sheets have been arranged, each player picks a character. Each character has a deck of cards to use with a gimmick related to their character that might help them stay in the game the longest. For example, the rouge is very good at stealing money while the wizard can use magic to help against getting drunk. Once everyone has their deck shuffled and their score sheet settled, they grab ten gold coins and a drink card and the game begins!
Each player has a hand of seven, and on their turn they can choose any number of cards and discard them; then afterwards they draw up to seven cards. Once a player has drawn, they are able to play one action card; these cards will normally cause other players to lose some fortitude, give others a drink card, or start a round of gambling. Once they have performed their action, they give one person a drink card, then have a drink themselves and end their turn. Each drink card has a number and possibly an effect when drinking players lose sobriety equal to the number on the drink card, then must do any of the additional effects stated. The drink cards add an interesting element of surprise to the game. It’s possible that a drink card could make you lose no sobriety, or it’s possible that a drink could hit you for over 6 points and through all of this drinking you still have to be careful about the money you have. I stated before that an action you could take is to start a round of gambling, when a player does start a round of gambling each player must put one gold into the pot unless they have a card which lets them opt out. After everyone has either opted out or thrown a coin in the pot, the players then go around in a circle playing cards which lets them become king of the pot. Once a full rotation has been made with no other players taking actions, the current king wins and takes all the money.
These two stats you have to take care of and maintain make for an interesting dynamic. With players both forming alliances and making enemies. This dynamic and the overall goofy feeling the game has, makes for a load of fun. It’s casual and a great way to spend your afternoon with friends. (and hey, if you really want to push the game to the next level you could always play with real drinks as well.)