Thursday, December 5, 2013
Red Dragon Inn is one of my favorite current beer-and-pretzels games. You can play in an hour, and it's a load of fun. Now we have the third expansion to the game, which is essentially more of the same. Which is a good thing. New characters, new drink cards. There are a few new rules, but they're mostly connected to the new characters, which is fine. I also got two of the extra characters - Cormac the Mighty and Witchdoctor Natyli. There were also a few Kickstarter-only drink cards that seem to be pretty potent.
Game play is essentially unaltered. Players are adventurers in a tavern (or, in this case, a ship) buying drinks for one another, gambling, and essentially trying to be the last person standing. When your alcohol level and your health level meet, you're out cold (and out of the game). The brilliance of the game is in the balance of the decks - some characters will have more gambling cards, some will have cards that deal out more damage (good-naturedly) to other players, and others will have impacts on drinks. Some of the expansions have characters with new powers which require some additional rules, but it's nothing earth-shaking.
The new expansion's conceit is that it takes place on a ship, so there are some new rules for sea events (Kraken, rough seas, pirates, etc.), but the game should work just fine without them. The new characters are Bryn the Boatswain (a burly woman who looks like something out of a Phil Foglio cartoon, no new cards that I could tell, heavy on the damage-dealing), First Mate Remy (gets to "mark" other players when he plays certain cards, once marked, a target suffers different/enhanced effects from subsequent cards played on him by Remy), Tara the Navigator (lots of cards to avoid ill effects from other players' actions), and Captain Whitehawk (some neat cards that do damage to her and a target, as well as forcing someone to ante more gold to gambling and not allowing them to beg out). Again, nothing earth-shattering, but a nice expansion that should add a little variety. It also comes with extra gold tokens, player mats, and health/alcohol markers to allow for really huge games.
The two "allies" I got both seem to be heavy on the new rules. Cormac has a "rage pool"; as he gets more enraged, he gets drunker quicker, but does more damage. Natyli has "debuffs" which her cards allow her to play on other players, which have different one-time effects (such as reduce the numerical effect of any card by 1). She also seems to have a boatload of gambling cards.
All in all, I'm very pleased with RDI4. Looking forward to breaking it in this weekend.