Saturday, June 15, 2013

Board Game Review: Red Dragon Inn 3

Most fantasy games out there focus on the quest.  Killing the dragon, finding that one special ring, defeating the forces of evil (or good, depending on your preference...).  This is all well and good but what about when the quest is over?  Well, that's when the real adventure begins!

In Red Dragon Inn by Slugfest Games, each player is a member of an adventuring company freshly returned from the dungeon.  With your coin purses bulging, its time to see who is the real champion as you proceed to drink each other under the table!

What's In The Box?
Before we look inside, the outside of the box needs a nod as well.  The box art is gorgeous, showing all the characters available in the game along with perhaps the most important person in the game, the wench (can't have a drinking game without the wench to bring you drinks!). This is especially nice as there are currently three versions of the game with a fourth that is currently on Kickstarter so you can make sure you grab the motley crew that most captures your eye.

Opening the box, there are the instructions in the full color glossy glory, a player mat and deck for each of the characters, a drink deck, some sturdy "gold" coins, and glass beads to track you alcohol and fortitude.  As an added plus, the tray liner is perfect for keeping all of the components neatly organized between games which is a major plus in my book.

How Do You Win?
You can win the game a couple of different ways.  The most obvious way is to drink your opponents under the table by plying them with drinks while "accidentally" smacking them in the head but you can also force an opponent out by taking all their money as well.  Most of this is tracked on your player mat.  As you get hurt, your fortitude goes down.  As you get drunk, your alcohol content goes up.  If the two even cross... well, lets just way that you character is enjoying a nap on the nice cool floor at that point.  In addition to this, you also have a stack of gold coins but be careful.  If you are out of money then its out to the stables with you!  So does anyone feel like gambling?  I'm in!

How Do You Play?
Each player takes a player mat and puts the red bead on 20 to indicate their health and a clear bead on 0 to indicate their alcohol content.  Then you choose the character you want, shuffle up their deck and place it on the space marked "Deck" on the mat.  Next each player gets ten gold while the drink pile is shuffled and each player is randomly given one drink card which is placed on the "Drink Me!" space on the mat.  Then place the Drink deck in the middle of the table where everyone can reach it.  Each player then draws seven cards for their starting and its time to start the game!

During your turn you first discard any cards you don't want then draw up to seven cards.  If your Deck runs out of cards when you are supposed to draw no worries!  Just shuffle your discard pile and keep on playing.

Next you may play one Action card from your hand.  Read out the title on the card, give the other players a chance to respond, then follow the instructions on the card.  Action cards tend to be the more powerful cards in your deck and this is when you unleash them on your opponents!  Of course you can also skip this phase if you want to, it just means you won't play an Action this turn.

The next phase is one of the most vital in the game.  After all, you can't have a drinking game without drinks!  Take the top card from the Drink Deck and put it on top of one of your other stalwart friends "Drink Me!" piles.  This is a perfect opportunity to share the love with your friends as you help them maintain their inebriated state or even just get revenge on someone that might have done something to you last turn.

Last but not least by a long shot is the Drink phase.  Take the top card from your "Drink Me!" pile and down the hatch it goes!  A word of warning though; if a player doesn't have any cards in their "Drink Me!" pile when they are supposed to drink, they start to sober up (also known as losing one alcohol content) which is why its always important to make sure you spread the booze in the previous phase.

Once you finish off your drink, your turn is over and the player to your left is up but that doesn't mean that you sit idly by while you wait for your turn.  In addition to the aforementioned Action cards, you also have Sometimes and Anytime cards in your hand.  Sometimes cards have certain conditions that need to be meet for them to be played (for example, maybe a card lets you block fortitude damage from another player's action or even smack them back in retaliation) while Anytime cards can be played yet then, anytime, even if they interrupt another action.  This usually won't stop the action but it adds a fun element to the game.  "Oh, Phrenk.  Before you smash Kaylin in the head could you tip the wench?  Thanks ever so much!"

While most this is very self explanatory, a quick mention does have to been given to Gambling.  This is an Action card that you can play on your turn and potentially the easiest way to help reallocate all of your friends gold.  Playing a "Gambling? I'm in!" card starts what is effectively a mini-game of gambling with the winner taking all the gold in the pot.  As an interesting touch, Slugfest Games have even made a separate game by the same name that you can break out to resolve the round.  I've never used this expansion but its sounds like a really interesting twist so I'm sure I'll pick it up eventually.

In addition to this, some of the later versions of the game (such as Red Dragon Inn 3) also add in some mechanics to add flavor to the various characters.  Phrenk the alchemist troll brews a different potion each turn while you never know just what kind of mood Kaylin's wolf while be in.  These add in some different effects on the game but the way that they are handled flows smoothly into the game play and really gives each character their own little flair.

How Does It Measure Up?
Red Dragon Inn 3 is great game that I highly recommend as it is so much fun to play.  In fact I think this is one of the only games where I have actively had a chance to take a player out of the game early and didn't do it because it was more fun to keep them around!  If you haven't had a chance to play this game, go buy it right now and give it a try; I really do think you'll love playing it.

Parting Shot...
I hope you've enjoyed this look at Red Dragon Inn 3 and remember that if you are reading this before June 18th there is still time to hop on over to Kickstarter and back Red Dragon Inn 4, not to mention get a couple of add-ons for a bargain!  If you have any comments or questions about the game I'd love to here them so go ahead and post them right in the comments and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.  Until next time...

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