Look at that, I made a rhyme!
Red Dragon Inn is a game where adventurers (the playable characters in the game) stop at …go on guess… yupp, an Inn, have a few drinks together, and maybe gamble a bit. You want to keep up your strength, and keep down your drunkenness, all while weakening others and making them drink, a lot.
This is not only one of my favorite games, but also a game I tend to dominant at. No really, I’ve only lost this game twice, and I’ve played over forty times. Some would probably argue that it’s dumb luck and there’s no real strategy to winning this simple game, but I care to disagree. So here are a few tips I tend to follow which may help you win a few rounds of Red Dragon Inn too.
1. Pick a Character you Like and Understand – I have to admit, I’m often guilty of picking my character based on who looks the coolest, but I learned in this game, that’s not the best choice. All of the playable characters have their own individual deck of cards, which means they all have abilities and powers specific to them. Some are better at cheating during gambling, some are so strong they make their opponents lose fortitude (what your strength is called in the game), and others have magic that allows them to avoid drinking.
So sure, choose someone you like to look at, (you’ll have to stare at their mug the whole game between your cards and your player mat) but also try out different characters until you find one or two whose powers you like and can use expertly (like by combining cards and chaining their effects to wreck your opponent).
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time – Don’t get distracted by how many things are going on. Players can lose by running out of money, losing too much fortitude, or gaining too much alcohol content. I recommend in a 2-player game, focusing on one aspect of your opponent to continuously hit rather than trying to space out blows over all three areas (which is what most amateurs like to try). With more players, focus on one player at a time. Keeping your eye on one player potentially avoids the risk of everyone attacking you (since you aren’t hurting them) and will let you slide by while they start to eliminate each other. (Being sneaky can definitely be smart).
3. Use Gambling Cards Effectively – I tend not to bother with these in a 2-player round because 2-person gambling in this game is anticlimactic and doesn’t last long. There are cards that start a round of gambling, let you raise, let you win, or help you cheat (don’t worry, it’s totally allowed in this game). If you only have one or two gambling cards, don’t bother starting a round, because you’ll likely end up losing money. But, if you happen to draw a ton of gambling cards in one hand, go for it. You’re opponents will be down money and cards, increasing your odds at winning. (Just like in life, you gotta be smart with your gambles).
4. Be Willing to Let Cards Go – At the start of every turn you are able to discard any number of cards in your hand and redraw to 7 cards. Now, you’re going to read a bunch of cards and think “Wow, that’s a really cool ability!” and you’ll probably be right, but if the cards are too specific (for instance if you have to wait for another player to do a certain action to you) then discard and try out a new hand. There’s no sense in holding onto cards that you may never get to use. Don’t be afraid to use your cards that say “ignore a drink” either, because anything that can help your stats remain untouched is good.
There you have it. Those are the tricks of the trade I like to employ while playing the wonderful Red Dragon Inn, and you’re welcome to try them too. I think these are smart strategies which really make a difference in your game play. And hey, I would know since I hardly ever lose!