The game is The Red Dragon Inn by SlugFest Games. The conceit: you are a party of adventurers coming back to the inn after a successful foray against monsters, evil wizards, or whatever your latest quest was. Now it’s time to drink and make merry. The last person sober enough to keep their seat at the table wins. Plus they get to take all of their passed out companions’ loot.
On a newsy note, SlugFest Games just put out two more single character expansion packs, and their third expansion game, the pirate-themed The Red Dragon Inn 4, is expected out in November. The original game and the first three expansions each came with four characters. Now you can pick up individual character packs and tack them onto whatever game or expansion you have. I personally have the original game and The Red Dragon Inn 3. I was able to combine both games into the one box you see below.
One of the great things about the game is there’s a pretty equal distribution of male and female characters. Besides that, the characters are not just your run-of-the mill DnD mix. Sure, there’s a cleric (they call her a priestess), a warrior (volatile), rouge (sneak), and a wizard, with his rabbit familiar. They get a lot more creative with classes and races in their expansions – they bring a bard, an illusionist, a tinkerer, a brewmaster, and many more into the mix. They combine races, classes, and gender for a diverse batch of options for their players.
On top of that, the game is really fun! There are lots of “attack” cards, all aimed at either making a character lose fortitude or get more drunk (when fortitude and level of drunk meet, the character passes out, pictured below). There are also defense cards, which help a player negate effects or lessen the effects of either a normal drink card or an attack card. What makes the game really enjoyable is that all of the attack cards are clever and character specific. All of the characters have their own distinct personalities, which really adds to the experience.
There’s also a gambling mechanic built into the game. If a character is ever out of gold, they’re out of the game (though that’s never happened in a game I’ve played in). Most players have cheating cards, which help win a round of gambling and the pot of gold, and most players also have anti-cheating cards. The catch is that players have a hand limit of seven, so if someone plays a cheating card and you don’t have your anti-cheating card in your hand, you might be out of luck.
There are a few problematic things in the game. For instance, Deirdre the Priestess’s character art is, woah, all about her boobs. They are large and out there. I feel that the card art unnecessarily emphasizes her breasts. Her dress definitely does not need to be cut that low. On top of that, one of her defense cards also has the text “Not now! These men are interested in my religion.” If it had said people instead of men, I would not immediately think the card was a joke about her boobs. But it probably is.
Another thing that bothers me a little about the game is Gerki the Sneak’s card that says “Slip a mickey.” The card definitely comes off as insensitive to people who have had their drink drugged. I know that all of the characters have cards that increase the alcohol content of another player’s drink, but it could have been worded differently.
On the other hand, the sexual jokes in the game also target men. For instance, Zot the Wizard has an attack card that says “How many times have I told you? Keep your hands off my wand!” At least when I’ve played, we’ve all interpreted that as a dick joke.
All-in-all, the game is pretty fun, despite the fact that there are a few things that are a little off-putting. The ladies in the cast of characters can hold their own. They are forces to be reckoned with in all kinds of different ways. The Volatile has a lot of brute force, the Priestess can heal or damage you through magic, and the druid can turn into a tree. I mean, have you ever tried to out-drink a tree? Well, have you? Oh, and she can turn into a bear. A bear. That’s pretty kick-ass.
For a genre that normally gives women big boobs, a teensy-tiny waist, and ridiculously skimpy armor, this game does really well to not further most of those ridiculous stereotypes. Most of the women are not wearing skimpy, sexualized outfits, and they can kick ass in a variety of different ways.
So if you want a fun game about drinking that can be turned into an actual drinking game, if you’re so inclined, this game is worth buying.