Geoff Bottone &
Colleen Skadl &
Cliff Bohm


G@mebox Star



The end of a long day in the Dungeon: seven slayed Sorcerers and a great heap of golden guineas. All was really hard work, and now the worthy group of adventurers is heading for a well-earned rest at the famous "Red Dragon Inn"...

The Red Dragon Inn is a cardgame by SLUGFEST GAMES in which up to four players take the roles of fantasy characters: Fiona the Swordmaiden, Deirdre the Priestess, Gerki the Halfling-Thief and Zot the Wizard. Each of the players is equipped with his own Character Deck of about 40 playing cards, with each of the cards showing his character and describing an action which may be performed while the players have a "chill-out party" at the Inn to celebrate their feats in the dungeon. Overall, each player starts the game with a purse of 10 Gold, and a player mat on which he can mark his current Fortitude (starting at "20") and his current Alcohol Level (starting at "0"). Also, a Drink Deck (containing different kinds of drinks and some events) is shuffled and one card from this deck is placed face down on the "Drink me!" space of each player's character sheet. Finally, each player is dealt a starting hand of seven cards which were drawn from his own Character deck.

The winner of the game will be the player who has the last remaining character in the game, meaning the his character neither has run out of Gold nor that his Fortitude marker has dropped below his current Alcohol Level. A party indeed!

During his turn, a player first has the option to discard any cards he might not want at the moment before he is allowed to re-fill his hand to a maximum of seven cards from his Character deck. Looking at his hand of cards, the player then may play one of his cards and perform the action described on his card. Afterwards, he draws one card from the Drink deck which he places on an other player's "Drink me!"-pile without looking at the card. Finally, the player ends his turn by revealing the top card of his own "Drink me!" pile and acting on the instructions on the card.

As you can see, the central part of a player's turn is the use of one card from his hand, and these cards can have some quite different effects on the game. Thus, some cards cause a minor brawl between the player's character and another character, causing the other character to loose some Fortitude. Other cards have influence on the Alcohol Level or the dealing out of cards from the Drink deck, while even other cards mean the loss of Gold or perhaps the start of a gambling round.

Usually, the player's action ends with the playing of one card, but when the circumstances are right other players may be in possession of response-cards which might turn the intended damage back onto the original player or which might remove their character before the damage is inflicted. However, there is also the start of a gambling round, which causes a little interlude to the normal course of the game. For a gambling round, each player has to ante a coin to the pot, and then in turn each player can play a card which might put him into the position of the current winner of the round. At the beginning, the initiator of the gambling round is in the winning position, but as the other players play either fitting "Gambling" or "Cheating" cards the position of the current winner changes around the table. When no player can (or wants to) play a gambling card any more, the round of gambling ends and the pot may be claimed by the last player in the position of the current winner.

Afterwards, the game resumes with the player who had initiated the gambling round being allowed to deal out a card from the Drink deck and then turning over the top card of his own "Drink me!" pile. In most cases, the Drink cards show various kinds of brews, usually causing an increase of the player's Alcohol level by 1 to 4 steps. However, there are also cards included like "Coffee" which have a sobering effect and thus lower the Alcohol level or unswallowable "Troll Brew" which leads to a loss of Fortitude. Also available are "Chaser" cards, forcing the player to gulp down just another card from his "Drink me!" pile as a chaser to his current drink. Finally, some special Drink-events like a "Drinking contest" are included in the drink as well, and these cards may lead to another small interlude which causes the players to ante Gold and draw Drink cards.

As said, the last conscious player in possession of some Gold is the winner of the game, and although my short description given above may not sound too spectacular I consider this game to be an absolute MUST HAVE! If played with a round of four talkative players with a weak spot for role-play, the basic setting with four different fantasy characters drinking their way deep into the night offers a marvellous starting position for a great, fast-paced gaming experience.

First off, the Character deck of each player is beautifully illustrated with images showing his character in different poses, and even better is the fact that the actions available to each character have been developed in regard to his unique characteristics. Thus, Fiona the Swordmaiden can stand a good load of drinking and nicely deals out damage, while Gerki the Halfling-Thief has nice options for cheating in gambling rounds and hiding in the shadows when the situation gets dangerous. Deirdre the Priestess on the other hand has nice Healing Powers (making up for her poor alcoholic constitution), while Zot the Wizard makes spectacular moves whenever he looses control over Pooky, his Rabbit familiar.

The fact that each player possesses numerous cards which allows him to react to different challenges during the game leads to many hillarious situations in which a fantasy inclined group of players is howling with laughter, and the although the duration of a round of playing with only 15 to 30 minutes makes the game a nice entree before a heavy strategy game, the addiction factor is so high that 30 minutes quickly become an hour or two.

Be aware: like Ca$h'n Guns from REPOS PRODUCTION this game is probably not suitable for gloomy strategist gamers who prefer a peaceful atmosphere of silence when plotting out their next 36 moves, but the game cannot be recommended highly enough for any gaming group who loves easy going, highly entertaining and interactive cardgames. Just the right game after a long day in the dungeon!

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2007 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany