Once again, you find yourselves the victors of another successful quest. All's well in the realm through your stupendous acts of selflessness! Princesses are no longer in peril, treasure was found in a trove, warlocks have been whacked, and all the kittens in trees are completely safe. You deserve a drink. It's what any good hero deserves! And thus begins the insanity that is Red Dragon Inn 2, a sequel come expansion to Slugfest Games' excellent Red Dragon Inn.
This time, you'll be playing as four new additions to the bar, all of whom integrate easily into the core game as alternative characters!
The characters in Red Dragon Inn 2 are both very different and very similar to those in the core. You have some very heavy hitters and some very good tricksters, but you're never overpowered by them. For every strength they'll have a balanced weakness which demonstrates how well the newcomers integrate with the originals.
On top of the newcomers, there are an endless amount of new drinks and drinking events! Some will tip the balance in your favour, some will wreck your character! Some even help! (Don't expect that to happen often though!)
Gog the Half-Ogre
Gog hits hard and can get hit harder. He's not the best character for gambling, nor will he be turning any drinks down, but if you hit him you'll get it back twice over! The classic Ogre way; take the punch and pass it on! There is also no messing around with Gog in gambling; he'll call you out for cheating and claim the win or, should he not fancy it, will outright refuse to play!
When we've played with him, he is often the first out as he's heavily targeted by everyone for drinks, and there is a reason! Anytime we haven't got him drunk, he has absolutely demolished us!
Dimli the Dwarf
Like any stereotyped Dwarf, Dimli is always on the defensive. There is very little messing about from this character; if he's not punching someone, he's blocking someone else's punch! Dimli isn't much of a gambler and will refuse, much like Gog, however when he gets gambling he can keep gambling and increase the cash going around.
The most notable thing about him, other than his reluctance to share coin, is that he is the most likely to share or say no to a drink through a sometimes card, often having cards played that stack and reduce effects or buff his fortitude!
Fleck the Bard
Fleck is very good at controlling the flow of the game and affecting all characters through his charming musical talents. He orders more drinks than most, encourages others to keep drinking, isn't likely to be paying for much, is good at avoiding drinks, and is great at changing how things affect others!
Fleck doesn't hit very hard at all, he's not much of a fighter, but he can manage a pretty incredible solo on his lute if you're willing to pay to hear it!
Eve the Illusionist
Eve is fantastic at avoiding things. She is very unlikely to pay to gamble but will happily cheat her way to pocket others' money! Out of the core and this addition, Eve is my absolute favourite. She is capable of dishing out some pain but can also block a fair few blows too.
On top of that, she's a good thief and will happily increase the strength of an opponent's beverage. And! She's fantastic at redirection; if she's going to get hurt, she can split the pain or send it to some other unfortunate soul!
Engagement and Player Interaction
Red Dragon Inn 2 is a constant engagement within its own playtime. Taking your eye off the ball is an immediate risk and will often be the reason incredible cards aren't played. Knowing what is being played and how your own cards can be played however is a surefire way to get the edge, especially with these new characters having different strengths and weaknesses to the originals!
With a whole new batch of drinks on offer at the bar, the game will spice up a whole lot more. Dimli in particular is excellent at ensuring you're interacting with every other player in the worst possible way; making them drunker!
Component Quality and Replay-ability
The component quality is on par with that of the original, with the coins having a different design on them and the cards being numbered in the bottom corner to make it easier to separate them should you wish.
That being said, the components can easily fit in one box if you wanted them to, stacking nicely on top of the core's. The game is endlessly replay-able in the first place, and the addition of new drinks and new characters ensures this game is never the same!
Final Thoughts on Red Dragon Inn 2
I already thoroughly enjoyed Red Dragon Inn, and this expansion come extension to the game is a fantastic addition. It requires no new knowledge of rules and allows players to quickly add it into the core. The characters are different enough to keep play interesting, but not so powerful that playing with them feels overly advantageous!
Could I enjoy the core game without Red Dragon Inn 2 now? Yes. Would I enjoy it as much? Probably not! Even the additional drinks are only slightly different, but enough so to give you a feel of an expanding game! So, don't get caught cheating, down your mead, and don't forget to tip the wench!