Game Night:  The Red Dragon Inn

I recently got into a game of The Red Dragon Inn while at my Dad’s house.  There were four people playing and we had a lot of fun.  This review describes the game play, whether you should play it as a real drinking game (we did not), and how many people are best for the game.

Game Night: The Red Dragon Inn

What is The Red Dragon Inn?

The Red Dragon Inn is a drinking game in the form of a board game.  The scenario is that a group of fantasy adventurers just returned from a dungeon or a quest and have some money to spend and steam to blow off.  

There are four characters with asymmetric abilities that show up in their decks.  There is a Wizard of course, a thief, a fighter, and a priestess.  

Gameplay is simplified with player mats.  On the mat you have a space for the player decks, which are different for each character.  Next to that is the discard space, and next to that is the “Drink Me” space, where you store drinks people give you.  The mats also include the turn order and the Fortitude versus Alcohol content chart.

The game is simple!  To win, you just have to avoid two things, being drunk or being broke.  If your fortitude and alcohol content are ever equal, you are drunk and out of the game.  If you are ever out of money, you are kicked out of the bar, which is another way to lose.  

Turn order is simple also.  You start with seven cards, of which many are unique to your character, and others can have the same effect, but will look different in art and description.  First you decide if you want to discard any cards.  Perhaps some are not useful at that moment.  Then you draw until you have seven cards in your hand.  You plan an action card.  Then you buy drinks, which means you take a drink from the drink deck and place one on somebody’s “Drink Me” pile.  Finally, you have to turn over one card on your own “Drink Me” pile to see what the effects are.

In addition to action cards, which could be offensive or defensive, there are “sometimes” cards, and “anytime” cards.  Sometimes cards can be played in response to something else that happens, while anytime cards…pretty obvious!

The Red Dragon Inn

Is the Red Dragon Inn a fun game?

The game is simple and fun, since everyone gangs up on whoever is in the lead, or whoever has no drinks on their Drink Me pile.  The lead changes often and the asymmetric classes make this mostly random game more fun.  

If you are looking for a lot of strategy, this isn’t the game.  However, there is a chance to do some thinking and planning.  

Red Dragon Inn is a simple, yet fun game that also does not take long to play.  There are cards that can reduce your alcohol content for example, but in the end all characters are on an inescapable path towards insobriety. 

It is probably not an appropriate game for minors, but it is funny for all ages!

Could you play The Red Dragon Inn as a Drinking Game?

You absolutely could play this as a drinking game, although we do not recommend it!  There are a variety of drinks that you could have available or simulate.  Some would be easier than others.  For example there is ale, beer, and wine, but there is also elven wine, troll swill, wizard brew, and holy water.  Those would be harder to simulate.  Also, you would have to decide whether to actually drink the coffee, dirty dishwater, and orcish rotgut.

During the game, you can magically lower and raise your fortitude, which is how much liquor you can handle.  It would be harder to simulate that in a drinking game.

Also, the game has rounds for everyone to drink, built-in drinking games, and cards that necessitate taking one or more chasers.  In fact, you could potentially have to drink more than five drinks at a time.  The chaser cards could have you follow up on elven wine with a beer or with Dragonbreath Ale. 

In short, unless you used mini shot glasses, running this as a real drinking game could kill people!

The game says 2-4 players on the box, what is best?

If you’ve read any of my game reviews, you might know that Cally and I are always looking for games that are good in 2-player mode, since that is most common for us.  This is one that says 2-4 on the box, but it is really better with more players.  In fact, we played it once with six people using an expansion and that was even better.  

If there are only two people, it is hard to gang up on the leader.  More people also give you the chance to read the small print on the cards.  Finally, when you read the card titles in a big group, it is more fun, since the titles are what each character says in that situation and brings some role playing back into the game.  

So bring this game out with a rowdy group and preferably four (or more with expansions)!

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

  1. Have you played The Red Dragon Inn?
  2. If you have played with expansions, did they make the game better?
  3. Is this game really just a mindless diversion for D&D players between campaigns?

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