‘The Red Dragon Inn’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
You know what’s a lot of fun? Going on a classic dungeon crawl full of danger and treasure. But you know what’s even more fun? Going to the inn afterwards and drinking your friends under the table.
The Red Dragon Inn is a medieval fantasy card game for two to four players designed and published in 2007 by SlugFest Games. There are four different box sets with four characters each, and six solo characters allowing the game to accommodate up to 22 players at once with all the expansions.
In the game, players take turns playing cards that force others to drink, get hurt, or gamble away their treasure. A player is eliminated once their character’s body gives out due to drinking or damage, or if they don’t have enough money left to pay for their drinks. The game includes two very unique and fun mechanics: damage and drunkenness are measured on the same bar, one starting at 20 and the other at 0, and when they meet you are out. The gambling mechanic was so well-received that SlugFest Games released it as its own game called Gambling? I’m in!
This game is ideal for role-players, not just due to the pedigree of the medieval fantasy, but because the characters are well-developed and each one responds in a way that leads to characterization. My clumsy Gog the Half-Ogre is a personal favourite among my gaming group.
The downside of game is the elimination mechanic. I really hate elimination games as it makes for an unbalanced experience for all the players. And though the basic rules are simple enough, the third and fourth box sets and solo characters add new mechanics to the game that can make play too complex for first-time players.
The Red Dragon Inn is a great party game for a lot of players. I usually pull it out at the end of a long night, where the elimination aspect isn’t such a big factor and the craziness of the game is amplified by the exhaustion.