Okay, so your party of brave adventurers have wandered the dungeon, battled monsters, thwarted traps, and reaped the rewards of your epic deeds. What now? Time to hit the inn for some downtime! The Red Dragon Inn and The Red Dragon Inn 2, from Slugfest Games, follow the medieval fantasy party to their next activities: drinking and gambling.

Each of these games provides players with a choice of character. (In fact, the different characters are the sole difference between the two games.) The original game contains Dierdre the Priestess, Fiona the Volatile, Gerki the Sneak, and Zot the Wizard. The second game gives you Gog the Half Ogre, Fleck the Bard, Eve the Illusionist and Dimli the Dwarf. The different characters have their strengths and weaknesses, but they're quite balanced against each other.

Each player has a card to keep track on their Fortitude, Alcohol Content, plus slots for their deck, discards, and Drink Me! for their face-down drinks. Each player starts with 20 Fortitude, 0 Alcohol Content, and 10 gold. During a player's turn they follow the same four phases: discard and draw up to 7 cards, perform one action, buy drinks (putting a card from the Drink deck on another player's Drink Me! slot), then drink (by turning over the top card off their Drink Me! slot) and increasing their Alcohol Content. If a player's Fortutide ever meets their Alcohol Level, the player is out of the game.

One of the actions a player can do is start gambling. Players ante one gold, then use cards from their hand to take control of the round (by raising, using a Winning Hand, or cheating), and the last one with control wins the pot. And if a player loses all their gold, they're out!

Players can use Sometime cards at specific times (such as avoiding a Fortitude loss or making someone else's drink more potent) or Anytime cards (to steal gold or gain Fortitude).

The Red Dragon Inn and The Red Dragon Inn 2 are terrific party games. The rules are very easy to learn and each turn goes by very fast. There is some strategy in terms of what cards to keep or discard (offense, defense, or gambling) but the basic goal is easy: hurting other players while protecting yourself. Turns go by very quickly, there's a lot of humor in the cards, and even with only one possible winner this game will cause more laughs than hurt feelings. If you're looking for a quick, simple, and fun game spend the evening at The Red Dragon Inn or The Red Dragon Inn 2 -- or get both and have up to eight players unwinding with booze and cards!

Overall grade: B+
Reviewed by James Lynch

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