Red Dragon Inn is a tabletop game that follows RPG adventurers to a tavern for drinking, gambling, and goofing off after completing their quest. It’s filled with hilarity, especially in situations like the wizard’s familiar, a rabbit named Pooky, taking money from the thief, or the bard accidentally overpowering the half-ogre. It plays on the tropes of various classes and species that we have become familiar with in games like Dungeons and Dragons by putting those characters in a different setting and getting drunk. However, Red Dragon Inn is far more than just a silly parody of RPGs. It is its own entity entirely, using strategy, luck, table politics, and mind games.
The way the game works is that each player chooses from the cast of fantasy-based characters and has a mat in front of them that shows their alcohol levels and their fortitude, a stack of gold, a drink deck, and an action deck. Players perform actions such as stealing money from opponents, beating on their foes to cause damage, or messing with the party’s drinks. A player loses when their character is too drunk to stay in the game, is beaten to a pulp, or runs out of money and is therefore tossed out of the bar.
Each character has their own deck of action cards and specialty. For example, Dimli the Dwarf specializes in messing with the group’s alcohol, Eve the Illusionist focuses on avoiding negative effects, and Gerki the Sneak is great at taking gold from others. Therefore, your character choice really matters. It greatly effects what strategy you want to plan for and the gameplay experience you’ll have. The best part of this is that by picking different characters each time you play, the game will never feel repetitive and have even more replay value.
This game has tons of mind games involved. It helps to figure out what your opponents plan on doing so you know how to respond. If they want to buy you an extra drink, be ready to play a card that passes it to them instead. If you think they’re trying to start a round of gambling, make sure to build up gambling cards in your hand. It’s also fun to trick your opponents a little. If you’re playing as a character like Gog the Half-Ogre who is typically meant to deal high damage to others, maybe surprise them with some gambling.
Gambling has its own head games to it. Starting a round of gambling creates a separate minigame within the game. Whoever wins this round of gambling typically takes in a lot of gold and causes the other players to lose their’s. You can get out of gambling early to have less of a risk of losing more gold, but you forfeit the ability to potentially gain a lot more than you had. Players may have “Cheating” cards to gain an advantage in gambling, while others may have cards to stop that. It’s like one big game of fantasy Poker.
The table politics add an entire other level of shenanigans to Red Dragon Inn. Players can team up against another player by having someone focus on giving them more alcohol content while someone else deals massive amounts of damage to them. Two players can even do their best to split all the gold between them by taking it from everyone else. Just remember that there can only be one winner.
There are a lot of elements involved in Red Dragon Inn, from the fun characters, to the intense strategy, and of course the nefarious tricks. There’s drinking, fighting, stealing, and gambling, which is exactly what I’d imagine would happen to a D&D party after their adventure. It’s silly fun that can get suspenseful and competitive. Red Dragon Inn may seem like just a fun RPG parody on the surface, but once you play it, you’ll realize it goes much deeper than that. I highly suggest getting your friends together and partaking in the fantasy-based, alcohol-fueled, money-grubbing antics.