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What’s the “Order a Drink” Phase?

Published on August 24, 2016 by in RulesFest

Hello, RDI fans! If you’ve looked at newer RDI characters like Keet and Nitrel, or if you’ve purchased a recent printing of RDI 1 or 2, you’ll notice that a few things have changed. Specifically, we’ve simplified a lot of card wordings. Our goal was to make the game easier to understand by reducing complexity and cognitive dissonance.

Now, to be clear before the internet catches fire: there are no functional changes here. The game is the same as it was before. We’re just simplifying the language we use on cards and elsewhere to make the game more approachable for new players.

So, with that out of the way, what’s changed?

Order a Drink Phase

The “Buy Drinks” Phase was always a bit of a misnomer that sometimes led to confusion when a new player grabbed a gold coin to “buy” the drink they were giving to another player. In fact, every time we taught the game to new players, we had to say “don’t worry, you pay for those drinks later”. Well, now we don’t have to explain that anymore, because “Order a Drink” captures that concept in a much more natural way. So, now you order a drink for a friend, then you drink to end your turn.

Of course, any card that says it works during the Buy Drinks Phase works the same way during the Order a Drink Phase, because they’re the same phase.

Gambling Card Wording

In the early days of RDI, the philosophy of SlugFest Games was “put everything on the cards so players don’t have to refer to the rules during the game”. In some cases, we succeeded at achieving the goals of this philosophy, and in other cases, we didn’t. Gambling cards (especially “Gambling? I’m in!”) are an example of where this philosophy needed to be revisited. Here’s a card from the previous printing:

GII6thEd

Here’s what we explain on this card: if you play it as an Action, you start a Round of Gambling, everyone has to ante, and you’re winning. It also explains that you can’t play it after a Winning Hand (more on that in a bit). Here’s some stuff that isn’t explained on the card: the fact that you go around the table playing Gambling and Cheating Cards or passing and the fact that the last card played wins the pot.

In other words, despite the complex wording, it doesn’t tell you everything, and you therefore still need to know what a Round of Gambling is and how it works (each player antes, proceed in turn order playing cards or passing, last person to play a card wins the pot, etc). To know all of that extra stuff, you need to refer to the section of the rules about gambling. And there’s the rub: as long as you have to read the rules to know how gambling works, then why complicate the cards with a partial explanation?

Here’s the new version:

GIINew

Once we assume that you know the basics of how a Round of Gambling works, the card actually becomes super simple.

A second change we made to Gambling Cards is that we moved the text that tells you that you need to cheat to beat a Winning Hand onto Winning Hand itself.

Winning Hand

For a long time, the restricting was written on the Gambling Cards. This ensured that a player could know the restriction by looking only at the cards at his or her hand, but the downside was that it added two lines of text to every Gambling Card in the game – two lines which were easy to overlook. We like the simplicity of this wording better, and besides, the explanation of “you have to cheat to beat a winning hand” makes thematic sense and is easy to remember.

Note: Three older Gambling Cards can legally be played after Winning Hand: Erin’s “It is not wise to upset a Druid”, Captain Whitehawk’s “That’s a fine hand there, but this one’s got you beat”, and Ozrik’s “I only gamble if it’s a sure thing”. All three of these cards may still be played after Winning Hand, as before, and future printings of these cards will make that clear. Sorry for the confusion, but we feel that the simplicity is worth it.

Drink Icons

Those of you who have played with a Red Dragon Inn 5 drink deck know that we tried something new:

Wine with a Chaser

Those drink icons were such an improvement over the text version of the same effect that we decided to extend them to the rest of the drink decks. I mean, have you ever actually read the text for a chaser card? It’s pretty daunting.

Light Ale with a Chaser

Here’s the better version:

04-2-LightAleChaser

“Ignore a Drink”

Related to chasers, have you ever noticed that previous versions of cards that Ignore a Drink actually say “Ignore a Drink Card”?

Blade Poison

This wording leads to two different problems with new players. First, by saying “Drink Card” instead of “Drink”, it causes confusion when we explain the rule that a Drink plus Chasers all count as a single Drink that you can Ignore all at once. So, “Ignore a Drink” is better, since it makes sense in both the case of a single Drink and the case of a Drink with one or more Chasers.

There’s a second point of confusion on there, too. Have you ever taught RDI to a new player and had to explain to them that they should wait to play their Ignore until after they reveal their Drink because it might be something good like Holy Water? We’ve had to explain that many times. One of the issues is that the reminder text confusingly says “may”. That’s a bit of a problem, since looking isn’t actually optional.

The new wording gets rid of both confusing points, and is shorter and simpler to boot:

Exploding Coaster

(No, “Ignore a Drink” doesn’t mean you can now start Ignoring Drink Events with these cards! Those are still different.)

There are a few other small changes, but that covers the main things. Again, nothing here represents a functional change – we’re just simplifying cards to make sure that new players grok the game as quickly as possible.

If you have any questions about these changes or anything else, please hit us up on Facebook!

Keet and Nitrel Now Available!

Published on August 15, 2016 by in Uncategorized

KeetandNitrelBox

The goblins have arrived!

We’re happy to announce the availability of Keet and Nitrel, our new two-character expansion to The Red Dragon Inn! This is the first Ally double-pack, giving you two brand new characters at one great price. The box contains everything you need to add two fun new characters to any RDI base set. On top of that, the set features player mats and deck dividers that are compatible with  The Red Dragon Inn 5: The Character Trove!

These goblin siblings each bring a novel mechanic to the party, leading to interesting game play, fun choices, and zany new situations. Here’s what we posted about the mechanics a few months ago:

 

Keet doesn’t start the game with Gold like other characters do. Instead he is dealt an appropriate number of random cards from his Artifact Deck. Each Artifact counts as a Gold for all card effects, and at the start of the game none of them are revealed. These special cards have a wide variety of powers, some of them good for the owner while others are bad. Sometimes they will give you a great way to make a player lose a LOT of Fortitude. Other times you’ll find yourself stuck with an Artifact that will slowly whittle away at your defenses. Not even Keet knows the significance of his starting pile of Artifacts, so it’s anyone’s guess whether or not it’s safe to steal or gamble with them.

Nitrel adds a new shared deck to the table, the Bomb Deck. As far as this goblin is concerned, there’s no better way to celebrate a successful day’s dungeon delving than by setting off mild explosives in a tavern, and it appears that the rest of the Party is in for a bit of (extremely dangerous) fun!

Many of Nitrel’s cards tell players when they get a bomb. Usually bombs do what you’d expect them to – explode violently and cause a little Fortitude loss. Other times, however, you’ll find them causing all sorts of extra mayhem. You may find yourself pointing the business end of a Goblin Candle at another player or the whole party could be literally burning up their Gold to avoid a massive Pot of Boom!

It’s all fun and games until someone is lit on fire! Then it’s a party!

 

Get the goblins today! You can preorder the product from us, or you can get it from your own Friendly Local Game Store. If your FLGS doesn’t carry it yet, tell them that they should!

Fleck wins the 2016 Doppelganger Tournament!

Published on August 10, 2016 by in SlugNews

We love Gen Con. Tens of thousands of gamers descend on Indianapolis and play every kind of tabletop game you can imagine. 96 of those gamers chose to play in this year’s Red Dragon Inn Doppelganger Tournament. What’s that, you ask? Well, the first round of this elimination tournament consists of people playing against other copies of the same character to determine who is the “real” Fiona, the “real” Lizwick, the “real” Phrenk, etc.

After that, round two was six randomly-assigned tables of adventurers:

Table 1: Chronos the Time Mage used his timey-wimey stuff to great effect.

Winner: Chronos – Mark Walsh
Zakhan – Donald Marter
Sera – Sarah (!) Roby
Zariah – Morgan Rippke
Halden – Erin Leece

Table 2: Tara navigated her way through a tough table.

Winner: Tara – Jesse Leece
Ozrik – Shelby Phelps
Remy – Ryan Kunz
Joran – Mark Morrison
Dimli – Jonathan Cucchiaro

Table 3: Fleck won with his usual flair and panache.

Winner: Fleck – Lacey LaRue
Pooky – Rebecca Barnes
Captain Whitehawk – Patrick Brewington
Bastian – Sabrina Wing
Serena – Ashley Lane

Table 4: Cormac raged his way through the competition.

Winner: Cormac – Andrew Corrington
Bryn – Mariam Ahmad
Deirdre – Nicole McDowell
Nitrel – Matt Griessler
Keet – Ryan Walczyk

Table 5: Fiona won an interesting game that included an EPIC heads-up battle with Wrench!

Winner: Fiona – Denielle Kassan
Gerki – Hans Petersen Phrenk – Eric Barlett
Wizgille – Keith LaRue
Kaylin – Ben Roby
Wrench – Timothy Smith

Table 6: Erin shapeshifted her way out of trouble and advanced.

Winner: Erin – Don Leaman
Gog – Rob Castiello
Eve – Alex Rippke
Lizwick – Thomas Scheu
Natyli – Rhiannon Koch
Zot – Aaron Berg

Finalists

Interesting note: final table competitor Don Leaman also made the final table back in 2014! This guy can play.

Unfortunately, Don (playing Erin) was the first elimination from the final table, running out of gold due to a couple of brutal rounds of gambling. Fiona was next out thanks to some nasty drinks. Chronos and Cormac went out simultaneously next due to yet another round of gambling that they couldn’t defend against. That made it heads-up between Tara and Fleck, with Fleck having a big advantage on Fortitude/AC spread. A couple of drinks later, it was all over!

Congrats to Fleck and Lacey LaRue for taking down our biggest Doppelganger Tournament ever!

1st Place: Fleck – Lacey LaRue
2nd Place: Tara – Jesse Leece
3rd/4th Place: Chronos – Mark Walsh and Cormac – Andrew Corrington
5th Place: Fiona – Denielle Kassan
6th Place: Erin – Don Leaman

Gen Con Promo Card

Published on July 8, 2016 by in Uncategorized

Hey, everyone! Gen Con is coming up, and with it, we’re revealing a new Red Dragon Inn promo drink!

In honor of the upcoming release of our dungeon-delving goblin siblings, Keet and Nitrel, we thought it would be good to have a drink that looks like it came straight from a dungeon’s loot. Presenting…. Pharaoh’s Toast.

Yes, this drink really packs a wallop, but it also gives you extra ways to avoid it. Because it’s a Drink Card, you can use any card that lets you Ignore a Drink. However, you can also prevent the Fortitude loss by playing a card that lets you, for example, Ignore an Action Card that affects your Fortitude. You can even reduce the Fortitude loss with a card like Serena’s “Yes, in fact, this is Holy Paladin Armor!”

To get this card, purchase any item from our booth at Gen Con (booth #1849). May we suggest Keet and Nitrel?

And for those of you who won’t be attending Gen Con, don’t worry – Pharoah’s Toast will very likely be available through other channels in the future. Stay tuned!

Two New Allies, One Sweet Deal

Published on May 5, 2016 by in SlugNews, Uncategorized

KeetandNitrelBox

Look, I’m sure anything of value in here would have been sturdy

enough to survive the vault door blowing in instead of out.

-Nitrel the Sapper

SlugFest Games is excited to announce the upcoming release of The Red Dragon Inn: Allies – Keet and Nitrel, a two-character expansion to The Red Dragon Inn! Meet the goblin siblings Keet and Nitrel, both winners from the 2014 Character design contest (read more here) where their clever designs and exciting mechanics earned them a seat in the tavern. We are also excited to share a brand new format for our Allies line of expansions. This is the first Ally double pack, giving you two brand new characters at one great price. On top of that, the set features Character Trove compatible components!

Goblins who adventure together party together!

Keet

Keet’s illustrious career of tomb raiding has uncovered fantastic artifacts of both magical and cultural significance. It’s a shame that few of them ever end up in a museum! Digging up the past in his homeland has led him to Greyport, where tales of ancient dwarven ruins (and a particularly exciting inn) have peaked his pointy green ears. With his sister in tow, no dungeon vault will be safe from his enthusiastic looting – er – research!

KeetC1

Keet has a very unique mechanic that sets him apart from all other characters, and has the potential to turn gold theft and the gambling meta-game on its head: instead of Gold, Keet has Artifacts.

Keet doesn’t start the game with Gold like other characters do. Instead he is dealt an appropriate number of random cards from his Artifact Deck. Each Artifact counts as a Gold for all card effects, and at the start of the game none of them are revealed. These special cards have a wide variety of powers, some of them good for the owner while others are bad. Sometimes they will give you a great way to make a player lose a LOT of Fortitude. Other times you’ll find yourself stuck with an Artifact that will slowly whittle away at your defenses. Not even Keet knows the significance of his starting pile of Artifacts, so it’s anyone’s guess whether or not it’s safe to steal or gamble with them.

KeetC2

Artifacts don’t stay face down forever, though! Playing Keet will require a lot of clever risk management. One of the safer ways to reveal your Artifacts is to gamble with them. Each time a face down Artifact is used to pay the ante, Keet gets to peek at it, letting him and only him know whether or not he should try to win it or let someone else get stuck with a boogie.

Other players will definitely be paying attention to how Keet plays during a Round of Gambling when an Artifact is on the line. If the Keet player is aggressively trying to win, they can bet on that Artifact being a really good card… unless he was bluffing the whole time!

To add just another wrinkle to gambling, many of Keet’s Artifacts can be used to hold the pot for ransom. If Keet antes a face up Cursed Idol of Doom, for example, how many folks are going to want to keep trying to win the pot? In this way, Keet can sometimes just win a round of gambling without even playing additional cards!

Keet can also slowly reveal Artifacts by using his character cards. The upside is that most of Keet’s character cards guarantee that he keeps the freshly revealed Artifact. This is great, especially if he reveals something like the dreaded Scorpion Brooch. The downside is that most of Keet’s character cards guarantee that he keeps the freshly revealed Artifacts! This is bad, especially if he reveals a Gleaming Gem of Inebriation. Clever players will have ways to get rid of their own negative Artifacts though – such as paying with it to buy additional drinks!

Either way you decide to go about revealing artifacts, keep in mind that it’s a good idea to get some actual Gold in your Stash. Whenever someone with questionable definitions of ownership comes by *cough* Gerki *cough*, you can bet they’ll be looking forward to stealing your Artifacts.

Nitrelt

Like many goblins, Nitrel is an obsessive pointy-eared little fireball. She loves things that go boom! So whether that’s setting off dungeon-busting charges or “perfectly safe” fireworks, you can bet you will find her holding the matches. Fortunately, adventurers usually need someone who can cleverly deconstruct obstacles or blow stubborn doors off their hinges, so Nitrel and her talents seem to be in high demand.

As an added bonus, working with the Party has hooked her up with Phrenk, a very reliable source of regeneration potions – all the better to keep her fingers!

NitrelC1

Nitrel adds a new shared deck to the table, the Bomb Deck. As far as this goblin is concerned, there’s no better way to celebrate a successful day’s dungeon delving than by setting off mild explosives in a tavern, and it appears that the rest of the Party is in for a bit of (extremely dangerous) fun!

Many of Nitrel’s cards tell players when they get a bomb. Usually bombs do what you’d expect them to – explode violently and cause a little Fortitude loss. Other times, however, you’ll find them causing all sorts of extra mayhem. You may find yourself pointing the business end of a Goblin Candle at another player or the whole party could be literally burning up their Gold to avoid a massive Pot of Boom!

It’s all fun and games until someone is lit on fire! Then it’s a party!

NitrelC2

The key to playing Nitrel well is to always be exploding. While many of her bombs don’t care who is setting them off, her years of experience has made her immune to a fair number of her own explosives. So, even though she may have to deal with suffering a little bit of damage from a wayward bomb, she doesn’t have to deal with them exploding in her face as nearly as often as you’d expect.

She can also be a very punishing gambler, with many specialty cards that let her pay with Bombs instead of Gold. It takes some serious grit to play games of chance with a demolitions expert like Nitrel!

The Red Dragon Inn: Allies – Keet and Nitrel is coming this Summer 2016 and will be available for just $24.95. With RDI5-style player mats and deck dividers, they are set to be a great new addition to your Character Trove, and with their ability to turn the game on its head, you’ll be playing Red Dragon Inn in a whole new way.

Components

 

The Red Dragon Inn: Battle For Greyport

Published on March 29, 2016 by in Uncategorized

 

NewBox copy

No, Pooky. Those aren’t our friends. – Zot the Wizard

SlugFest Games is excited to announce the upcoming release of The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport, a new cooperative deckbuilding game set in the fantasy world of The Red Dragon Inn!

You and your friends will be rallying the people against dozens of different monsters as you make your way through the city of Greyport. Recruit powerful heroes to your deck and arm them with a variety of items all while leading the charge with your own unique character cards. Will you methodically eliminate your opponents one by one? Or throw caution to the wind and let fate decide the outcome with a roll of the dice and turn of a card? Either way, it will take the combined effort of each player to save the city… and the tavern!

Starting

I am just that kind of priestess! – Deirdre the Priestess

A Character Among Heroes

Each player begins the game with a deck of fresh-faced heroes as well as a couple of items and their first level character card. On a player’s turn, everyone attempts to slay the monsters attacking that player by playing a hero and equipping them with an item. Each item a hero is equipped with augments their damage and often provide them with new abilities. However, all of the pressure is on when the hero commits to a fight. After a hero starts a fight with another monster, they pick up their damage dice and leave everything to the luck of the roll. Deciding when to play it safe and take out a weaker monster you know you can slay versus shooting the moon and hoping to roll exceptionally will have tremendous consequences on the rest of the party.

A hero can only fight one monster at a time, and in classic heroic fashion, the enemy is numerous and incredibly dangerous. That’s where your friends come in!

One of the most exciting features of The Battle for Greyport is the lack of downtime between turns. Every turn, all of the players in the game get an opportunity to help out the active player in dealing with their group of monsters. Working with the other players and the heroes and items they bring to the table will be key to eliminating the toughest of monsters and reducing the amount of damage you will suffer. The key to victory will rest in how cooperative the players are with one another, because if anyone suffers a lethal attack, then the city is lost and everyone loses!

MonsterLocation

The trick is: I just instinctively aim for the head! – Fiona the Volatile

Worgs and Trolls and Dragons, Oh My!

Each time players defend Greyport, the experience will be different. There are a wide variety of different monsters and bosses to battle as well as locations to visit. With multiple scenario-driven game settings to play, players will be able to play dozens of times and continue to be introduced to new content, ways to win and ways to lose!

Each boss provides a scenario with specific monster variety and challenges for the players. These scenarios take place across multiple encounters at different locations in the city, adding yet another level of intrigue to the game. A player with foresight will be able to make use of not only the advantages provided by the current encounter, but also the ones that are yet to come!

Recruit

Um, guys… I think there was a miscalculation during treasure division… – Gerki the Sneak

To Arms!

To help you battle the forces of evil, you will need to recruit powerful heroes and items to your deck of cards. Each encounter provides each player with a set number and quality of coin tokens. Each of these tokens is exchanged for a new hero or item that gets added directly to your hand.

Many of these new cards will have immediate advantages that will have an immediate, massive impact on the game while others will have a more subtle, long-term effect on your whole game. Do you recruit the wild Barbarian who can slay both of the worgs in front of you, or do you take on the aid of the Collegium Archivist who will methodically improve your deck and dispel the curses you have collected from the nastiest of monsters?

BFGLiveKS

 

Let’s toast the Goddess! – Deirdre the Priestess

Answering the Call to Action

The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport has already successfully funded on Kickstarter. With only two days left in the campaign, many fans of deckbuilding games and The Red Dragon Inn have joined forces to unlock new monsters, bosses, locations, items and heroes. Everything achieved by the success of the Kickstarter campaign improves every copy of the game, with each bonus unlock becoming an “add-in” that is automatically included in the box!

However, we are offering a Collector’s Edition of the game that will only be available through the Kickstarter, a brief post-Kickstarter pre-order period and select retailers while supplies last. You won’t want to miss out on bonus content like the poster, metal components by Campaign Coins, super-sized life counter dice and early access to promo drinks that won’t be available until 2017!

A Community Effort

We at SlugFest Games are thrilled by the success of the Kickstarter campaign and love the feedback we have received from players enjoying the [Preview Print and Play] we have made available. With your help we have made our game even better than we could have hoped for!

PRCampaignLink

 

PRPnP

How to Play Battle for Greyport

Published on March 1, 2016 by in Uncategorized

The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport is a cooperative deckbuilding game that takes place in The Red Dragon Inn universe. You’ll play as one of the adventurers from our wildly successful tavern brawling game as you race through the city to save its various landmarks from monster attack. As you fight, you’ll recruit citizens to join your militia, and arm them with powerful items you scavenge for at each location. Each encounter brings you to a new location in the city, and closer to the final battle. Will you and your friends save the day (yet again) or will the city burn?

The game just launched on Kickstarter (here), but how exactly do you play this it? Glad you asked!

H1

The objective of the game is to, of course, save the City of Greyport from some bad guys. Players do this by working together to defeat monsters across multiple battles taking place at different locations in the city. At each location they will have to fight new monsters and have the opportunity to add new heroes and items to their deck to hopefully increase their power to the point that they can take care of the big bad guy at the last battle.

The players can win in a variety of ways as defined by each scenario, such as by defeating a specific boss enemy or by saving the last location. The players can lose at any point in the game if one of the party members suffers a lethal amount of damage or in a variety of other creative ways the monsters have come up with.

H2

 

BFGMechRecruitsV2

Players will be using Hero and Item cards throughout the game in their fight to defeat monsters. Hero and item cards have a variety of features, but the most important one is their color. Red Physical items may only be used by Physical heroes. In the same vein, blue Magic items can only be used by Magic heroes. Carefully managing the amount of magic and physical cards in your deck will be key to your victory.

To help you along, each player also has a special hero card that represents their Character. Character cards refresh each time their player draws a new hand at the end of their turn, ensuring that they can rely on their character to help out each time around the table. These character cards function exactly like hero cards but are never shuffled into their player’s deck.

BFGMechLocV2

Location and Encounter cards define what sort of mischief the monsters are up to. Location cards have a defense value that determines how long it takes the monsters to destroy it and a reward for the players if they are able to save it. Furthermore, location cards frequently have an ability that helps aid the players in saving it.

Encounter cards (described later) define all of the bad stuff that’s happening to the location. It will tell the players how many monsters are attacking the location, how many are attacking each player, and what happens if the monsters destroy the location.

 

BFGMechMonV2

Monsters and Bosses have a bunch of information, all of which is bad for the players. These cards are fairly self-explanatory, and will primarily be there receiving and dishing out damage, though many of them can do other horrible things to the players – especially the bosses, they don’t play fair and are incredibly hard to kill!

For example, our good Goblin King may be a little squishy, but employs a massive bodyguard named Drog who keeps his liege well-protected with some massive damage reduction. You’ll probably need to defeat Drog before you can even get to the King.

The rest of the game’s components are pretty straightforward:

BFGMechBitsV2

H3

BFGMechEncountersV2
At the start of the game, players will choose a Scenario of typically three battles. Each scenario defines which Monster Decks, Bosses, Locations and Encounters will be used.

Each player then chooses a Character, sets aside their character cards and shuffles their starting deck. A player is chosen to be the starting player and takes the Active Player Marker. Then each player draws a hand of 5 cards and adds their Level 1 Character Card to their hand.

Players start at the first Location and Encounter. These tell the players which Monster Deck to use, how many monster cards are put on the location and how many on each player. Typically this is represented by Threat Values on the encounter card. Monsters are played first to the location one at a time until their Combined Threat Value equals or exceeds the encounter card’s requirement. Then the same is done for each player.

After all Monsters have been dealt out, any Ambush effects on the monsters are resolved (usually all bad stuff that happens to the players or location). After the players have suffered all the ambush effects, the Active Player takes their first turn. Play then proceeds clockwise from there.

Bellow you’ll find a layout for a two player game.

TableLayout

You already know what all the components are, so lets just breakdown the layout for you guys. We have two Reinforcement Rows at (A). Each row has a mix of physical and magic cards in it, but will only have either heroes or items to recruit. That way you will always have your choice between a hero, giving you more things to do each turn, or an item, significantly amplifying the power of your actions. Over on the left (B) we have the next monster deck that will get shuffled in after we defeat the first scenario. In the middle (C) we have the current scenario, location, monster deck and the monsters attacking the location. As you can see, one of the monsters already has some damage on it. Fiona is the active player (D) and has the active player marker as well as two of her own monsters. The monsters here can be fought. Deirdre (E) is not the active player, and her monsters may not be fought directly, but are also not in a position to deal damage to the location or a player this turn.

H4

Each turn, the players will have an opportunity to fight the Active Monsters. The active monsters are the ones in front of the player whose turn it is. If there are no active monsters (i.e. no monsters in front of the active player) then players may fight Location Monsters, monsters attacking the location, directly.

Each player, in whatever order the party wishes, may play a single Hero (including their Character) during the active player’s turn. After a hero is played and any of its immediate abilities have resolved, further heroes may be played by other players, or Items may be equipped to a player’s own heroes.

The active player may also, at any time, use their active player marker to Taunt a monster and move it over to themselves. The taunted monster can be one on the location, or in front of another player. Usually this ability is used to peel monsters off the location, but sometimes it’s used to take the pressure off of another player who’s already suffered a lot of damage.

At any time, a played hero can then be assigned to Fight. That hero’s owner declares which active monster that hero fights for the turn. That hero’s owner rolls Damage Dice equal to the combined dice represented on that hero and any of their equipped items. The result of the damage roll is then applied to the fought monster. If the monster isn’t killed outright by the damage roll, then Damage Tokens are used to mark how much damage that monster has suffered. Any excess damage is lost.

If the last monster attacking the location is killed or moved away from the location, the players immediately benefit from the Reward for saving the location.

There are many ways for the players to cheat all of the rules, of course. Some heroes and items are allowed to fight whomever they please, while others deal a flat amount of damage. Still others can launch powerful splash attacks that deal damage to a whole group of monsters, or summon more heroes to fight on the same turn. Taking advantage of all of the abilities provided by your heroes and items will be key to victory!

For Example:

In a three player game Fiona is the Active Player and has three monsters in front of her.

Zot plays a Temple Archivist first and resolves the Archivist’s instant ability: “Draw a card, then you may retire a card from your hand.” Unfortunately, Zot doesn’t have any Item Cards.

Fiona plays Fleck the Bard and resolves Fleck’s instant ability: “Each player draws 2 cards, then discards a card.”

Gerki plays a Clergyman and resolves the Clergyman’s instant ability: “A player of your choice draws a card.” and chooses Zot.

Zot thanks his allies for the two items he just drew, and equips them to his Temple Archivist (who has the Dual Wield ability): a Scepter of Majesty and a Freezing Staff. He then has his Temple Archivist throw a whole pile of damage at Fiona’s biggest monster, easily dispatching of it in a shower of arcane fury! The party cheers!

Fiona then equips Fleck with another Freezing Staff and has him fight one of the remaining monsters in front of her, leaving it at two hit points.

Gerki doesn’t equip his Clergyman with anything, complaining about how it would be a waste of an item, and has his Clergyman attack the monster with only two hit points left… and rolls a one, leaving the monster there with a single hit point.

The rest of the party groans and moves on to the Monster Damage Step with Fiona staring down two very much still alive monsters in front of her.

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After all players have had an opportunity to play heroes and declare fights, the Active Monsters and Location Monsters attack! This damage is often pretty considerable, so using abilities to prevent the damage, as well as carefully moving monsters around are going to be important things to consider throughout your turn.

As an added wrinkle, many of the more powerful monsters also have special abilities that make things even worse for the players they damage. These monsters are always worth considering when you are prioritizing targets!

When the monsters deal damage, they first deal damage to the active player. As long as no player is eliminated, the monsters on the location then deal their damage. If the location survives, the turn continues as normal. If the location suffers lethal damage, then the Penalty is suffered, then, starting with the active player and proceeding clockwise, players choose Location Monsters to move in front of them one at a time until there are no more Location Monsters.

Any unused Shield Tokens are lost.

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After all monsters have dealt their damage, players enter the Cleanup Phase. During this brief phase, some abilities on heroes, items or monsters may trigger. After that, all played cards go to their owner’s discard pile.

Some cards cause you to Retire itself or another card, which means removing it from the game. Don’t worry! Your special character can never be retired, however they can lose power. If you would have to retire your character, you instead level them down. If they are already level 1, then you don’t need to worry about it!

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After all of the fights happen and monster damage is dished out, you’ll have the opportunity to Recruit a new card. In the middle of the table there are two Recruitment Rows. One row is comprised of only hero cards and the other of only item cards, but both decks are mixed between physical and magic cards. Players will only be able to recruit from the available heroes and items. Sometimes Zot will get lucky and be able to get a Scepter of Majesty and start dishing out massive magic damage. Other times the only available heroes and items will be physical, and he’ll need to choose ones that can still synergize with his deck.

The active player must recruit a card by discarding a Recruitment Token of equal or greater value. The recruited card is added directly to their hand and is available for use the next turn.

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After the active player has recruited a card, they may then discard any cards from their hand they do not wish to keep before drawing up to a new hand of 5 cards (or discard down to a hand of 5 cards if they have more than 5 cards). Then they return their character back to their hand to make a final hand of 6 cards. A player’s character never counts against their hand size and players may have more than 5 cards in their hand between turns (if, for example, they somehow draw extra cards).

Finally, the active player passes the active player marker to the left, starting a new round!

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Once all of the monsters at a location are defeated, the encounter ends (regardless of whether or not the location was saved). As the players make progress (either by saving the location or surviving a battle), they will gain access to more powerful heroes and items and increase the power of their character card. However, the monsters will also become more numerous, more powerful, or both!

If it was not the last encounter of the scenario, players move on to the next location, deploy new monsters, and continue the fight!

And that’s everything you need to know! The print and play rules are available here and the print and play will be available on Board Game Geek soon. If you enjoy the game, you can check it out on Kickstarter where we are hoping to unlock it with tons more content including additional locations and monster decks to add even more variety to the fights!

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Wrench or How I Learned to Punch Gizmos

Published on February 19, 2016 by in RulesFest

Hey SlugFans,

A few weeks ago we launched our customer feedback survey and one trend we noticed was this little monster was terrorizing taverns (and players):

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For those of you who don’t know, this red kobold is Wrench, an Ally expansion for The Red Dragon Inn. We think the poor little guy is getting a bad rap, so today we we decided to share with you a little bit of insight into defeating Wrench and his reign of adorable mechanical terror.

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Wrench’s greatest strength is his unprecedented action economy. All of his actions persist across at least two turns, essentially doubling, tripling or quadrupling their effect! This makes him a surprising and frightening offensive powerhouse, and essentially ensures kobold victory if he’s allowed to get out of hand. So what’s the best way to deal with a clockwork army? Punch them all in the gearbox!

Wrench’s Gizmos may be the target of Fortitude-Loss Action, Sometimes and Anytime Cards. Dealing Fortitude damage to his stuff will seriously reduce the efficiency of or outright destroy his Gizmos. On top of that, anytime a Gizmo meets a tragic early end, it explodes violently, dealing Collateral Damage to Wrench, which is unavoidable Fortitude Loss!

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The majority of Wrench’s Gizmos that you need to worry about (i.e. the ones hit for more than 1 Fortitude) usually have 3 or less Fortitude. That means when one of these guys ticks down, it’s sitting at a juicy 2 Fortitude, which also happens to be the most common amount of Fortitude loss in the game. Nearly every character can deal 2 Fortitude loss with an Action or “hit back” card, meaning nearly every character can one-shot a 3-Fortitude Gizmo that’s ticked once. Heck, a “hit back” card is almost guaranteed to destroy a Gizmo since there’s no way for Wrench to heal it before it suffers lethal damage, and the only way he has to protect it requires sacrificing a different Gizmo!

As an added bonus, many characters also have 1 Fortitude loss cards that normally aren’t all that exciting. These are some of the best cards for dealing with Gizmos that are on the edge of winding down (especially Bear Trap).

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Wrench’s Gizmos are also subject to “each other player loses” effects. A well timed “drunken rampage” or “rowdy drinking song” can spell the end for a whole lot of Gizmos all at once.

Fun Fact: Pooky is Wrench’s worst nightmare. Because Wrench is typically “death by a thousand papercuts” Pooky will basically always be on full tilt, getting the best value out of his Action Cards all of the time. So as long as Pooky avoids the Bear Trap, you better prepare yourself for a very angry furball of teeth and claws!

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We got a lot of comments stating that it felt like a waste spending your action to destroy a Gizmo. Think of it this way:

Every time you successfully destroy a Gizmo, you get to hit Wrench for 1 unavoidable damage.

That’s crazy! Unavoidable damage is a huge problem for Wrench. He has very few defensive options to keep himself safe without sacrificing his Gizmos. Furthermore, he has no ability to recover Fortitude outside of a lucky draw from the Drink Deck. Whatever damage Wrench suffers will stick and slowly wear him down. Furthermore, if you know Wrench will continue to aim his Gizmos at you for the rest of the game (like when it’s down to just the two of you), anytime you destroy one of his Gizmos you can be saving yourself from 1-4 damage later.

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With everyone in the party armed with the knowledge that attacking his Gizmos is a good thing, what’s a little kobold to do? Well, Wrench has a number of powerful tricks up his sleeve, and a clever Wrench player will take advantage of them.

One key thing Wrench needs to do is make sure his Gizmos stick around at 3 Fortitude. Generally speaking, a Gizmo at 3 Fortitude is very safe because your opponent will need to spend a high-powered card to destroy them and some characters simply can’t add up to 3. That means occasionally using your “This would be perfect for oiling the gears!” on someone else’s drink (like Holy Water!). It’s impossible to keep an unlimited number of Gizmos that healthy for too long, so the clever Wrench player will know which Gizmos are important to keep alive, and which ones he can sacrifice.

Speaking of sacrifices, while Wrench doesn’t have many ways to avoid Fortitude loss, he does have two copies of “Noble sacrifice”. These are your magical, super important cards, and you should save these cards for those dreaded “Each other player loses” cards.

Other than the specific mechanics Wrench has available to him and his Gizmos, there’s also simply the way you play him. If you are flooding the table with Gizmos you are going to draw a LOT of attention. It’s like Gerki winning a hugenormous pile of gold. Doing something BIG will paint a huge target on your back, so focus on the little things. Emphasize your defensive Gizmos and trickle feed your offensive ones throughout the game. Of course, dialing it up to 11 and dropping a Lightning Generator and Bear Trap on the same turn is incredibly satisfying, but you just need to be smart about when to do that sort of thing.

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Wrench definitely brings a lot of innovation to the table and wildly changes how players typically approach the game. He’s the most complex Ally we have released to date and we love how he really shakes the game up. Now go forth, party members, and start stomping on some Gizmos!

The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport

Greyport is nestled between ocean to the east and imposing, nearly impassible mountains to the west. The city is on the only pass through the treacherous mountain range, and is the port of call for all traders north and south on the coast (including the illustrious Crimson Drake). Perhaps most important of all, Greyport is home to The Red Dragon Inn.

You and your adventuring companions are headed to the tavern to celebrate your recent exploits when a loud commotion in the distance catches your attention. Suddenly, alarm bells sound out all over the city, and the captain of the guard comes running up to you screaming:

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So, being the heroes that you are, you do the only thing sensible in such a situation. Rally the townsfolk, grab whatever gear is on hand and wade into the…

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The Battle for Greyport is the game of the adventurers after the adventure but before the pints. Maybe the big bad guy’s underlings are seeking revenge, or maybe an even bigger bad guy is coming over to show the city who’s the new boss in town. Whoever they are, you and your comrades in arms must fight them off before they burn down the city… and the tavern!

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This brand new cooperative deckbuilding game takes place in The Red Dragon Inn universe, but is not part of the tavern brawling game we all know and love. Once again you will be taking on the role of a familiar character from the RDI universe but this time you’ll be playing a whole new game! Players will recruit a deck of Greyport’s Heroes and Items and lead them into battle with their own unique Character Cards. Each encounter brings you to a new location in the city, and closer to the final battle. Will you and your friends save the day (yet again) or will the city burn?

Make sure to follow us on Facebook where we will reveal more about the game in the coming weeks!

 

RulesFest: Gambling 102

Published on January 15, 2016 by in RulesFest

Last time on RulesFest we talked about the basic mechanics and game theory of playing and winning a Round of Gambling at the Red Dragon Inn. Today we’re going to cover many of the corner cases that throw a wrench into the game.

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Many of the cheaters in The Red Dragon Inn have a special Cheating Card called “What’s that up your sleeve?”. This powerful card not only gives you control of the Round of Gambling, but it also forces another player out of the Round.

There are three major uses for this card:

    1. Eliminating the Competition: If you are in a Round of Gambling against another very strong Gambler, using this card to kick them out of the Round will significantly increase your chances of taking all of that sweet Gold for yourself!
    2. Winning the “Game after the Game”: Another great way to use this card is to kick out the player who needs the Gold most! Characters who are strong with Gold frequently find themselves in positions where it really isn’t important whether or not they win a Round of Gambling. Rather, it’s more important that one specific player doesn’t win the Round (like the fighter with only 2 Gold left). Kicking that player out of the Round guarantees that they don’t get that Gold they so desperately need!
    3. Auto-Winning a Head-to-Head Round: If you find yourself playing against only one other player, playing this card against them almost guarantees that you win!

There are a handful of other characters that have Gambling and Cheating cards similar to “What’s that up your sleeve?”. For example, Erin has a special non-Cheating variant of the card (“It’s not wise to upset a Druid…”) and Pooky has a version that allows the targeted player to pay a blood tax to stay in (Pooky won’t give up without a fight.)

Strategically taking advantage of this kind of card may not just win you a pile of Gold, but also set up one of the other players for elimination!

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With all of the advantages that cheating characters have, you’d think that the deck would be stacked against non-cheaters. However, almost all of the non-cheaters are equipped with a magic bullet of their own to help deal with runaway Rounds of Gambling. These special Sometimes Cards are played in response to another player playing a Cheating Card, and can win you the Round of Gambling right then and there!

These “catch a cheater” cards are very powerful when they are played at the right time, and can save you from disaster and completely flip the game on its head! They can’t protect you forever, though, and can also be negated by “I don’t think so!” cards. Plus, they come with the drawback of being VERY situational, which means you are sacrificing a spot in your hand to deal with something that may never come up! Do you keep it to protect yourself, or discard it so you can draw more Fortitude loss Action Cards? Making the right call at the right time can define the game!

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The card to the left is perhaps the most spiteful card in the game, and one of the ones that gets misplayed most frequently. “Oh, I guess the Wench thought that was her tip…” is the ultimate “Back at you!” response to getting kicked out of the Round, or your opponent playing an unexpected Winning Hand! that you can’t beat. This card abruptly ends the Round and gives all of the Gold to the Inn. This is one of the best ways to beat your opponents on Gold, as it completely eliminates a LOT of Gold from the game in one fell swoop.

However, this card isn’t the end-all be-all and has VERY important restrictions (listed on the card in more recent editions of the RDI games):

You may not play this card if the Round has already ended. You may not play it in response to a card that would make players ante or would end the Round when it resolves.

Some specific examples of how “Wench thought…” is used and misused:

    • You may not play this card in response to Gerki playing “Um… I know you think you won, but…” because that card will end the Round when it resolves.
    • You may play this card in response to Dimli playing “Best two out of three?” because the Round is not over yet, just restarting.
    • You may not play this card in response to someone starting a Round of Gambling with ”Gambling? I’m in!” or forcing more Gold into the pot with “I raise!”. You have to wait until each player has finished paying the ante or getting out of the Round first. You can’t use this card to get out of paying!
    • You may play this card in response to someone forcing you out of the Round, even if only two of you are left in the round (and therefore the Round would end if you leave).
    • You may not play this card in response to another player playing one of the “catch a cheater” cards. Those cards always end the Round. Besides, the Wench is smart enough to avoid a table with adventurers shouting and swinging their swords.
    • You may not play this card after the last player passes. As soon as that player passes, the Round ends and the last player who played a Gambling or Cheating Card wins! No fair playing this card as the winner is reaching for the pot!

All that being said, this is a favorite card for characters who get an early Gold lead and don’t necessarily need to win Rounds of Gambling anymore. Remember: at a certain point, you really don’t need more Gold. You just need your opponents to have less of it!

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Character-specific Gambling, Cheating and Sometimes Cards define who’s really good at gambling, and who’s just an amateur. Cards like Gerki’s “Um… I know you think you won, but…” which guarantees you the win and Dimli’s “Best two out of three?” which lets him restart the Round (usually after he did nothing the previous Round!) make stripping these players of their Gold almost impossible. There are too many character-specific cards to go into here, but one of the upcoming characters joining the party later this year is all about having a brand new approach to Gambling:

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Keet changes the way players approach gambling in one very interesting way. Instead of Gold, Keet pays for things with powerful Artifact Cards! At the start of the game, Keet is dealt 10 random Artifact Cards face down, and will be revealing them one by one whenever his cards let him finish his research. Many of these Artifacts are good for the adventurer, giving them a unique bonus or special power, but others can be very bad. Worst of all, Keet will probably just ante with face-down Artifacts – after peeking, of course! It will be up to the other players to decide if taking a Cursed Idol of Doom is worth winning the Round of Gambling, or if Keet will be successful in scaring players out of the Round with his most dangerous Artifacts.

Keet is available now as the SlugCrew Major Reward and you can find out how to earn him here.

That wraps up this week! Armed with all of this knowledge, maybe it’s time to try out one of these Gambling-centric characters. Just make sure you don’t win too much, or you may end up getting dogpiled by all of your less “fortunate” friends!

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