This chapter in the saga of Red Dragon Inn goes out to sea, with four playable characters and a cool new event deck to simulate life on the open ocean.
|Red Dragon Inn 4||Slugfest Games||Card Game|
In The Box
Slugfest Games never fail to make a good impression with their packaging, so the unboxing of Red Dragon Inn 4 is every bit as nice as Red Dragon Inn 3. Things are arguably a bit more simple this time around since you don’t have quite as many cards to manage. There are four character decks that can be used interchangeably with previous Red Dragon Inn titles, along with a deck of drink cards called–wait for it–the Drink Deck. As in previous games from the series, you’ll find sturdy cardboard gold tokens ready to be punched out along with red and white glass markers representing each player’s fortitude and alcohol content.
All but one of the four new characters in Red Dragon Inn 4 have just a single deck to manage. The exception is Remy, a fighter of the Drence race, or so we’re told. Remy comes with a set of small, rectangular cardboard markers decorated with nothing but his piercing gaze. These markers are given to other players during the game to let them know that Remy is keeping an eye on them. Other accessories in the box include four player mats crafted durably in cardboard, and a set of oversized (approx. 4″x6″) cards labelled as the Sea Event Deck. This deck is accompanied by a small number of round markers showing an illustration of the good ship Crimson Drake, where the card playing action takes place this time around.
How It Plays
If this is your first Red Dragon Inn game, you’re jumping on in a good place. The series is really a platform for quick and social gameplay, with interchangeable character decks offering almost unlimited expansion possibilities. You can easily bring a character deck from a previous game along for a ride on the Crimson Drake, or grab one of your new favorites from Red Dragon Inn 4 to use in an earlier release.
Red Dragon Inn 4 does feel a bit more conservative than the last game in the series, in the sense that only Remy wields some type of additional power with his markers. About his ability: Marked characters generally become more susceptible to some of the effects of Remy’s cards. Perhaps it’s because the others are human that they are more straightforward, but over time you’ll find the subtle differences from character to character. A perfect example is Tara the Navigator, a blind prophet who happens to be quite a card shark, with a nasty supply of cheating cards that can disrupt the game’s gambling sessions. Your end goal is still the game: The last player to hang onto his fortune and avoid getting blackout drunk is declared the winner. This is harder than it sounds thanks to gambling and an almost constant consumption of alcohol.
The Sea Event Deck is optional but something you’ll end up loving. This deck is initially shuffled and placed face down with two tokens on top. Each player removes a token in turn and then reveals the top card once the last token is removed. That card resolves, usually in some form of mortal peril or Devil’s bargain that affects all players. The severity of the card dictates how many tokens will be placed on the Sea Event Deck before play continues, so cards like Calm Seas (“No effect”) rate a paltry two tokens while Leviathan! (“Look at the size of that thing!”) lets you place a whopping six tokens on the deck to offset the intense battle that ensues. The new mechanic is nice, but is really just icing on the cake. Whether you’re jumping in for the first time or a loyal fan of the series, rest assured that drinking and fighting with your friends is just as much fun by sea as it is by land.
I was worried at first that these new characters didn’t have enough flair. While it’s true that Remy is the only one with special rules, the Sea Event Deck throws the occasional curve at everyone. A perfect starting point for new players and a great way to allow for four more players around the table, if you’ve collected previous RDI games.
You should play this game. Cards like Tara’s “Blind Girl! Darts! What could possibly go wrong?” are hilarious. It takes a little of everything we liked about the last game and introduces new elements that improve things. The Sea Event Deck adds suspense and is so cool.