We have all heard the story, and we all know how it goes. The brave heroes go off and have wild and exciting adventures all over the world and beyond! But what happens to them after they have successfully completed their mission? Or after they have slayed the mighty dragon and plundered his hoard? They get the gold, the fame, the glory…and then what? In Red Dragon Inn 2, we join our group of quirky adventures right after they have saved the day and received their rewards. They now have retired to the local drinking establishment, the Red Dragon Inn, for a well-deserved pint. And that’s where our story begins. – with rounds of drinks and cards with friends.
How to Play
The object of Red Dragon Inn 2 is to keep your gold in your pocket and to stay upright and conscious. A turn consists of four phases and must be played in the following order; Discard and draw, action, buy drinks and drink. After your turn is over, play proceeds to the person on your left.
Discard and draw plays exactly how it sounds. You may discard any amount of cards from your hand and then draw back up to a total of seven.
Once you have seven cards in your hand, you may play an action card. When it is played, you opponents are allowed to respond. If they don’t then you follow the instructions on the card. Actions can involve affecting other player’s fortitude or alcohol content, stealing gold, or starting a round of gambling. Other card types include a “sometimes” card (it can only be played under certain conditions), or an “anytime” card (these can be played at anytime even if they interrupt another action). The “sometimes” and “anytime” cards affect play by negating or ignoring other cards or other player’s actions.
When a player starts a round of gambling, normal play is suspended and every player must ante one gold. The person who played the “Gambling? I’m in!” card is considered to be winning, or in control of the round. The other players can then either play a gambling or cheating card to gain control, or pass to the next player. If you are in control and everyone else at the table passes, then you have won and you get all the gold!
To buy drinks, you take the top card of the drink deck and place it face down on any of your opponent’s Drink Me! pile. You have now bought them a drink! In order to drink yourself, you will reveal the top card of your Drink Me! pile and follow the instructions and apply the effects. The drinks vary in range and include Elven Wine (which will increase your alcohol content), ogre brew(it will increase your alcohol content and decrease your fortitude), and Holy Water (that actually helps you out by increasing your fortitude).
If you run out of gold or if your alcohol content is higher than your fortitude, you are out of the game. The last person standing is the winner!
Bottoms Up or You Can’t Sleep Here
Red Dragon Inn 2 is a light weight “take that” style game that plays quickly and is filled with humour. It isn’t really about the strategy, it is more about the experience. This is the second installment of the Red Dragon Inn series, and all four current editions are compatible with one another. This means you can increase your player count as high as you wish to go. You don’t have to get the first one first, as each is a stand alone game. Just pick the four unique characters you like the most! All four editions play the same, but the fourth edition integrates a sea event deck that throws random events into the game.
From the card titles to the artwork itself, this game oozes humour and theme. There are times when I haven’t even been able to make it through looking at my opening hand, I have been laughing so hard at the text. One of the cards is called “Gog crush beer stein on head”, and since you “impress and frighten the others” each player pays you a gold! Half the fun of playing this game is reading all the text in your best impression of your character. It really encourages role-playing and makes a game that doesn’t have a lot of tactical depth to it, infinitely more fun.
Mood for the game is set by the artwork, although it is a bit on the cartoony side. How your character reacts to the goings on at the table and at the inn is very well portrayed, and it can help with the role-playing experience. You feel as though you are looking across to them and seeing what they are up to. I always get a giggle out of some of the situations the heroes find themselves in.
Dimli is the dwarf of the party and can drink a lot; the amount of liquor he can hold is mind-boggling. Eve the Illusionist controls the state of the game with a lot of cards that can manipulate the way it plays. Gog the half ogre is great at…well…smashing stuff. He can make you lose a lot of fortitude and lose it quickly. Lastly is Fleck the bard. He gets a lot of gold, and gambling is his speciality. Personally, I love playing as Gog. For some reason I can never win with him, but I absolutely adore all of his flavor text and have a lot of fun roleplaying his character.
The cast of characters feel like they have come straight out of a Dungeons and Dragons adventure. It is great fun to role-play. All of them have distinctive play styles that reflect who the characters are, which gives the game a lot of variety. None of the characters feel like they are advantageous to play with, although there have been times where I am sure Dimli must have been cheating. It was like he could never lose!
Player elimination is a big part of the game, and some may not like being left out while everyone else plays. This was never an issue for us. The game is so fast, so you are never left out for too long. Plus the game is a blast to watch! You can even role-play that your character can’t drink anymore, but is still part of the group, making observations and having a great time.
The only real issue I had with the game play is the gambling. Not the act itself, but it felt as though it broke the flow of the game. There aren’t a lot of ways to win, and it feels a bit disjointed with the rest of the game play. There is a specific gambling expansion that is supposed to address these issues and make the gambling more fun – it is almost like a mini game within the game, but I have yet to play it.
Two player games can feel one-sided as you only have one option on who to play all your cards on, but I still enjoyed playing it that way. You just have to make sure there won’t be any hurt feelings afterwards. However, to get the full experience, you really need a full complement of players.
Regarding components, this game delivers. The player mats are sturdy and won’t bend easily. They are easily read and everything is spelled out for you, so it eliminates going back and forth to the rule book. The coins are also heavy-duty cardboard, and feel great in your hand. I often find myself absent-mindedly playing with them like they are poker chips! Perhaps the only issue I have is with the cards themselves; they look great, but do feel a bit on the thin side.
Although the game looks cartoony and whimsical it may not be suited for children. It involves heaving drinking, gambling, and the bar wench. She isn’t too scantily clad, which is nice, but the words wench are on a lot of the cards.
Red Dragon Inn is a fun little filler game. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is perfect for the end of the evening or between heavier games. It gets everyone laughing and having a good time without too much thinking involved. Everything looks great right out of the box and you are able to quickly explain to someone the rules and dive right into play. Another fantastic thing about this game is that it can be combined with all the other sets to give you a higher player count, and lots more interesting cards and variations of play. If you are into role-playing, or just having a good time with friends, there is nothing better than Red Dragon Inn…2!