The Red Dragon Inn

The Red Dragon Inn: A Guide to Victory, Rules & Strategy


The Red Dragon Inn is all about having a good time with your friends after a long day of adventuring. You play as a group of fantasy characters who are trying to party without passing out or running out of gold. The last person standing, or the last one with gold, wins the game.

The Red Dragon Inn first hit the shelves in 2007. Since then, it’s become a favorite for many gamers. I find it to be an interesting departure, and a lot more light-hearted, than the typical fantasy-based games. It’s not just about luck; there’s a fair bit of strategy involved too. You’ve got to manage your cards, keep an eye on your gold, and mess with your friends’ plans. It’s a blast!

Quick Tip for The Red Dragon Inn

Always keep an eye on your drink deck and try to have cards that let you avoid the really nasty drinks. It can save your game!

Rules for playing The Red Dragon Inn

Let’s talk about the rules. The Red Dragon Inn is for 2-4 players, but with expansions, you can add more. Each player picks a character, who has a unique deck of cards. These cards represent your character’s abilities, like special attacks or magic spells.

Each player starts with 10 gold and a player mat that shows two important tracks: alcohol content and fortitude. Your fortitude starts at 20 and your alcohol content at 0. If your alcohol content meets or exceeds your fortitude, you’re out of the game. If you lose all your gold, you’re also out.

The game goes in turns. On your turn, you draw up to seven cards, play an action card, buy drinks for your friends by putting cards from the drink deck onto their drink me pile, and then drink the top card of your own drink me pile. Some drinks have effects that can change the game, so watch out!

If you can’t or don’t want to play an action card, that’s okay. But you must always buy a drink for someone and drink from your own pile. There are sometimes when you can play other types of cards, like anytime cards or sometimes cards, which can be played when their conditions are met.

That’s the basics, but there’s more to it. You’ve got to know when to play your cards and how to mess with your opponents’ plans. It’s all about balance and timing.

Equipment and Setup for The Red Dragon Inn

For equipment, you need the game box. It comes with decks for each character, player mats, gold coin tokens, drink deck cards, and fortitude and alcohol content markers. If you don’t have the game, you could make your own cards and use coins for gold, but it’s a lot easier to just get the box.

Setup is simple. Each player picks a character and takes their deck, mat, and a marker for fortitude and alcohol content. Shuffle your character deck and draw seven cards. Put the gold in the middle of the table, and each player takes 10 gold. Shuffle the drink deck and put it in the middle too. Now you’re ready to start!

How to Play The Red Dragon Inn and Game Mechanics

Here’s how a turn goes:

  1. Draw: Draw until you have seven cards in hand.
  2. Action: Play one action card.
  3. Buy Drinks: Give one drink card to another player’s drink me pile.
  4. Drink: Reveal and drink the top card of your drink me pile.

Remember, there are also sometimes cards and anytime cards that you can play outside of your turn. Keep an eye on what’s happening so you can use them at the right time.

How to Win at The Red Dragon Inn

Winning is about keeping your gold and staying sober enough to stay in the game. You’ve got to play your cards right to mess with other players’ fortitude and alcohol content while protecting your own. Pay attention to what cards you have and what your opponents are doing. It’s a balance of offense and defense.

Also, manage your gold well. Don’t spend too much on gambling or you might run out. And try to win some gold from other players when you can. It’s all about staying in the game longer than everyone else.

Best Strategies for playing The Red Dragon Inn game

Here are some strategies:

  • Keep a balance between attacking others and defending yourself.
  • Hold onto cards that let you ignore drinks or reduce alcohol content.
  • Try to get other players to fight among themselves while you stay out of trouble.
  • Watch your gold and try to win more in gambling rounds.

And don’t forget to have fun! It’s a game about having a good time, after all.


Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a tough spot, like if you’re low on gold or have a high alcohol content. When that happens, try to use your cards to reduce damage or avoid paying gold. And if you see someone else in trouble, that’s your chance to go after them!

But if you’re doing well, don’t get too cocky. The game can change fast, and other players will see you as a target. Keep a low profile and strike when the time is right.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing The Red Dragon Inn game

Here are some common questions:

Q: What if I run out of cards? A: If you run out, just shuffle your discard pile and keep going.

Q: Can I choose not to play an action card? A: Yes, but you still have to buy a drink and drink from your pile.

Q: What happens if I can’t pay gold? A: If you can’t pay, you’re out of the game. Keep an eye on your gold!

Q: Can I play anytime cards on someone else’s turn? A: Yes, that’s what they’re for!

Q: What if my alcohol content and fortitude meet in the middle? A: Then you’re out. Try to avoid that!

For more info, check out the official rules and other resources:

And that’s it! With these tips and strategies, you’re well on your way to becoming a Red Dragon Inn champion. Just remember to play smart, watch your back, and most importantly, have fun!