Flights & Flagons
This is the second installment of our recurring Beerploma.com feature: an unholy alliance between craft beer and boardgames! I’ve been into homebrewing and craft beer since I was just a lad (OK 16ish) but have been into roleplaying games, video games, and board games since long before that. Why not combine two of my passions together in a crazy blender of a blogpost and see what happens? Will we get a magical “You got chocolate in my peanut butter!” moment? Or will we get the vomit flavored Bertie Bot’s Every Flavor Bean? You’ll have to decide! Check out our first installment of F&F on the Arkham Horror Card Game HERE. Also we have already posted the A One Pint Stand podcast episode where we spend some time talking about the game so feel free to check it out HERE.
The Red Dragon Inn
I first played SlugFest Games’ The Red Dragon Inn at a party thrown by my friends Nick and Liz, and was instantly in love with the game. I promptly went out and bought the fifth expansion which has a huge box (pictured below) in order to fit all the previous (and future) expansions into it. At this writing, they just put out their 6th large box expansion, along with several smaller character packs to add. In fact, I joined the 6th expansion (Villains) Kickstarter and had just received my fancy collection of new cards and upgraded metal tokens in the mail prior to this gaming event!
After The Dungeon Crawl
The idea of The Red Dragon Inn is to fill in the blanks of what the heroes do after a hard day of fighting monsters and gathering loot in the dungeon. Why go to the Inn and drink and gamble away their cares (and money of course)! As such, this game is filled with cartoon-styled character tropes like dwarf fighters, shifty thieves, wizards with carnivorous rabbit familiars, and many more.
Our F&F playtest on this day takes place at my local Waconia Brewing Company. Bob and Peter DeLange, the co-owners of WBC (along with their fine but less geeky wives Kay and Dee of course) are big gamers of old and have a special place in their hearts for the hobby. In fact, every Wednesday and Sunday a horde of gamers descend upon the brewery bringing bags (of holding) full of board games! Long and sturdy tables provide plenty of space for game boards and resist even the most impassioned bumping. Seriously these tables are made of depleted uranium or something and can not be moved by mortal means. So are the chairs.
Cast of Characters
Bob DeLange: Bob was kind enough to join us for this foray into gaming (and bought me a tasty Waconia Octoberfest to boot). Being of a Neutral Evil nature he chose to play as the new Baron von Vlazlo the vampire. After playing certain of his character cards, he accumulates blood counters which can be spent to purchase bat or wolf buff cards to increase his powers.
Dan Beaubien: My Beerploma counterpart! Dan chose to try out the brawny Dimli the Dwarf, who uses stamina to keep himself in the game.
Mike Lebben: My Beer Dust counterpart! Playing off his chaotic nature, Mike chooses Gerki the Sneak, specializing in misdirection and cheating. Seems appropriate to me.
Sarajo Wentling: My life counterpart! Sj decides to test out her skills of evil (trust me she doesn’t need any more practice) by using Daareka the Mindbreaker to cloud our minds and control the game.
Eric Wentling: Me! I also decided to try my hand at the new villains and chose the goblin king Torglesnarf Duncleton, First of his Name. For Torg, it’s all about the money and being able to pay for extra minions. He even starts the game with two extra counterfeit coins.
The goal of the game is to be the last adventurer standing. Players have a character mat with fortitude and alcohol counters on each end of a 0-20 point spread. When those two overlap the player is unconscious and kicked out of the inn. One can also be kicked out for being completely broke and unable to buy drinks anymore. Each player starts with a hand of 7 cards and then takes one action during their turn. Action cards include events like starting a round of gambling, making another player take fortitude damage, etc. They then “buy” a round of drinks for one of the other players to be placed in their personal Drink Me pile. Once that is done, they are forced to drink a drink from their own Drink Me pile. In addition to this set order, many of the cards in your hand are Anytime (can be played anytime even someone else’s turn) and Sometimes (can be played only in specific circumstances) cards. This keeps it chaotic and interesting, but you only need to learn the details on the cards in your hand so it doesn’t get overwhelming to the new player.
The Black Dragon Depths
With the Villain expansion comes an optional deck of dungeon event cards to make things more…dangerous. In this scenario, the characters are checking out the more shady Black Dragon Depths Inn hidden deep in the dungeons and frequented by evil types. Every few rounds one of the cards is pulled and something happens…
Round One: It’s a Gamble
Just to start out complicated, Sj leads the round’s events with starting a round of gambling. Gambling is basically a mini game within the overall card-based Red Dragon Inn game. When a round of gambling starts, everyone must ante in 1 gold piece (of their starting stash of 10 gold) and then each player has the option of playing a gambling card to take control of the round. In the end, when no one else can play a gambling card, the person in control wins the round and the resulting pile of cash. For this round, once we all chip in, Daareka (Sj) using her telepathic evil powers wins the round easily. However, before she can take the pile of cash, we discover Mike’s Gerki the Sneak has some great skills by talking us into the fact that he won the gold! Mike slaps Sj’s greedy hand away from the pot and cackles with glee as he rakes it into his own stash. In rapid retaliation for stealing her pot, Daareka uses a card to force Gerki to drink a strong draft of booze. Again showing his sneakiness, Gerki manages to “share” his drink with myself and Vlazlo, making us take a portion of the alcohol points. I think we all started to see the evil genius behind Gerki’s plays then!
Moving on, now in Mike’s turn, Gerki triesto lay a trap for Dimli, but luckily he is wearing his grandfather’s helmet and resists the damage. At this time a dungeon event is triggered making us all have a contest of wills in which Daareka chooses to take 3 alcohol points in order to draw more cards. Vlazlo takes a turn and gives Daareka another drink–prompting this precious response of “Sure, take advantage of the drunk girl Bob!” On my turn I get to drink a Chieftain’s boot full of booze which would have put me down a whopping 5 alcohol points–but I manage to redirect this drink to Vlazlo at the cost of paying him some of my precious gold. Next Dimli, being the thrifty dwarf that he is takes a second round of gambling. Fresh off of exhausting all our gambling cards, a random event of a Blood Money gambling round begins and is quickly taken by (fittingly) the vampire! That first round was a doozy with tons of gambling and sneaky shenanigans.
Round 2: Mostly Drinkng
Rounds go more swiftly now that everyone knows the drill. The first few turns are quick, finishing in Gerki drinking a light ale. Fittingly as this happens, Mike is currently enjoying the suitably light and refreshing Waconia Kolsch…just trying to stay in character right? Moving to Dimli he “continues the frat-boy behavior” by giving Daareka more drinks.
Round 3: Who let all the kobold’s in?
After Gerki again cheats, Daareka boldly looses another round of gambling, taking her down to only 2 gold. “Who Let All the Kobolds In?” causes all of us to lose some of our drinks as the little monsters invade the inn and drink them all. Dimli tries to “axe” Daareka a question and is promptly hexed to knock it off.
Round 4: Get That Lady A Cab
After witnessing Vlazlo’s amazing feats of acro-BAT-ics we all pay him a gold and Daareka is kicked out of the inn for not having enough to pay her tab. One down! Pushing my luck, Torg tries to start another round of gambling using my extra counterfeit coins and promptly lose even more money to the ever triumphant vampire. My cash is dwindling quickly. I chug some Wizard’s Bane, increasing my alcohol content but improving my fortitude…when Dimli decides to roofie me by adding Dwarven Fire Water to the mix! The dungeon conspires to make us all have a drink with “friends” leading Vlazlo to surpass his alcohol tolerance and pass out on the blood-stained flagstones. Vlazlo’s gold is split between The House and the remaining players and we fall upon the spoils like ravenous ghouls! Torgelsnarf fondles his newfound riches and cackles maniacally!
Round 5: Gambling The Night Away
This round pits Torg and Gerki in a battle royale of gambling and cheating with Gerki eventually taking the pot after playing his “Does this mean I win?” cheater-cheater-McCheaterson card. Not to go into the empty dungeon on this note, I take advantage of “You don’t need a winning hand if you have enough goons” to take to pot anyway. Bwah Ha Ha!
Round 6: Get That Drunken Thief Out of Here!
Rounds come fast and furious now that only a few reeling contenders remain. I switch my actual drinking to Waconia’s Peanut Butter Porter to keep me in line with my character’s apparent love of Troll Swill. Dimli shows off his impressive war belt to us and makes us pay him for the privilege. He then redirects his Seriously Strong Spirits to Gerki and knocks him down a peg.
Round 7: That Dirty Thief
Another random Blood Money round of gambling starts up and Torg wins the whole pot! Until that dirty stinking thief Gerki cheats and takes the money. Again!!! Not to make it a total loss I note, “That’s some nice gold you got there…” and take a few coins back.
Round 8: You Want Ice With That?
Dimli finally takes out Gerki by making him take a Gelatinous Cube Shot, which takes him over the edge. His dragon’s hoard of gold gets split up again and Dimli and Torg are evenly matched.
In the interests of time, Dimli and Torg battle back and forth, stealing money, buying extra drinks and various chicanery and it appears that the two will be able to keep this up long past where their human counterparts will be able to stay sober. Dan and I shake hands and call it a draw: Beerploma for the win!
This game is perfect for larger groups and doesn’t require a ton of table space. However, if the game goes on a long time, the folks who got kicked out early can get a little antsy.
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