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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!