The Red Dragon Inn Board Game Rules

In most fantasy-driven games, you get to be the hero fighting monsters in exchange for rewards and fame. In these Red Dragon Inn rules, you will learn what the hero does in between quests: gamble and get drunk in the tavern!

The Red Dragon Inn, by Slugfest Games, has come a long way since its release back in 2007. The board game currently has 24 expansions and more than 50 different character decks to play with! 

Fans of fantasy and card games will enjoy this fun yet competitive game. You can even make it into your own drinking game (if you dare!).

Will your adventurer stay sober enough to last through the entire game? Or will you lose all of your money gambling? Make sure your adventurer doesn’t do either to win the game!

This Red Dragon Inn rules guide will cover the following:

  • What is The Red Dragon Inn?
  • What you’ll need to play The Red Dragon Inn.
  • The Red Dragon Inn game rules
  • How to win The Red Dragon Inn
  • Video Tutorial
  • FAQ
  • Similar game guides

Learn how to play The Red Dragon Inn below!

What is The Red Dragon Inn?

The Red Dragon Inn Board Game Info image

The Red Dragon Inn is a competitive game of drinking and gambling. Try being the last player at the table by holding on to your gold and liquor as long as possible!

 Number of players: 2-4 

Ages: 13+

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Length of play: 30-60min

Category: Fantasy, Card Game, Party Game, Variable Player Powers, Betting

Similar to: The Taverns of Tiefenthal, Sheriff of Nottingham, Cavern Tavern

Main Objective: Be the last player remaining in the game. Don’t lose all of your gold or get too drunk; otherwise, you lose!

Why We Love It: Each character has their own unique abilities to play with, which makes the game fun and interesting each time you play with a different character.

What You’ll Need to Play The Red Dragon Inn

Everything you need to play The Red Dragon Inn can be found in the box:

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Slugfest Games The Red Dragon Inn Strategy Boxed Board Game Ages 13 & Up (SFG004)
$37.99 $32.60
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The following components can be found inside each game:

  • 4 Character Decks (40 cards per character)
    • Deirdre, Fiona, Gerki, and Zot
  • 30 Card Drink Deck
  • 4 Player Mats
  • 4 Fortitude Markers (red)
  • 4 Alcohol Content Markers (clear)
  • 50 Gold Pieces
  • 1 Rulebook

The Red Dragon Inn Rules

Game Setup

Follow these simple instructions for the setup of the game:

  1. Provide each player with 1 player mat, 1 fortitude marker (red), 1 alcohol content marker (clear). On your player mat, place the red marker on the 20 and the clear marker on the 0.
  2. Each player is provided 10 gold. If playing with only 2 players, each player will start with 8 gold instead. The remaining gold gets placed to the side and is owned by the Inn.
  3. Each player chooses a character deck to use throughout the game. The character decks may be chosen randomly if desired.
  4. Players now shuffle their character deck, then place it on the designated spot on their player mat labeled “Deck.”
  5. Shuffle the Drink Deck and place it face-down in the middle of your play area within reach of all players. Leave some room to the side for discards.
  6. Each player takes a card from the Drink Deck and places it face down on the “Drink me!” space on their player mats without looking at the card.
  7. Draw 7 cards from your character deck. These cards are now considered your “hand.”
  8. Choose a player to go first and get ready to play!
Player Mat Image

How to Play The Red Dragon Inn

The game’s object is to be the last remaining player at the table. There are two ways you can be eliminated from the game:

  • Run out of Gold – You can lose money from gambling.
  • Pass out from drinking too much – If your alcohol content ever becomes equal to or greater than your fortitude, you pass out and can no longer play the game.

On Your Turn

Each turn has four phases that must be played in order:

  1. Discard and Draw

At the start of your turn, review the cards in your hand. If there are any cards you don’t want to use this turn, you may discard them.

You may discard any number of cards or your entire hand if desired. Then, draw new cards from your character deck until you have 7 cards in total.

If you draw the last card available in your character deck and still need more cards, shuffle its discard pile, then return the cards face-down on the “deck” space and keep drawing cards.

  1. Action

Play an action card from your hand! Action cards can be found in your character deck with the word “Action” labeled under the card’s title. 

When playing an action card, read the card’s title to the other players. Allow your playmates some time to look through their cards to see if they would like to play any cards against it.

If you can still play the card, follow its instructions, then place it in your “discard” space on your playmat when completed.

NOTE: This step is optional. You do not need to play an action card if you do not want to or do not have one to play from your hand.

  1. Order a Drink

Draw the top card of the drink deck (without looking at it), and place it face down on another player’s mat in their “Drink me!” pile.

  1. Drink

Flip over the top card of your “Drink me!” pile. Drink cards will show the name and picture of a drink with symbols shown on the bottom of the card.

These symbols will represent the following:

Mug with a Number: Gain that many points of alcohol content on your tracker. Some have a “-” symbol before the number, which allows you to lower your alcohol content by that amount.

Mugs with a Number and +: Add a chaser to this drink

Heart with +X: Gain X amount of fortitude on your tracker

Heart with -X: Lose X amount of fortitude on your tracker

There are 3 types of Drink cards. Regular drinks, drinks with a chaser, and drink events.

If you draw a drink card with a chaser, you must draw another card from the same pile you pulled the first drink from and add those effects to your tracker. You must continue this until you stop drawing chasers!

If you were to draw a Drink Event card as a chaser, you stop drawing cards and add all of the effects to your tracker that you have gained so far. In general, whenever you draw a drink event card, immediately follow its instructions!

Once the Drink phase is over for this player, the turn passes to the player on their left and continues clockwise.

NOTE: If you do not have any cards in your “Drink me!” pile when it’s time to drink, you sober up and lower your alcohol content by 1!

Also, if you have a card that allows you to ignore a drink, you can ignore that drink, and all of its chasers.

Drink Cards Image


During the Action phase, one of the action cards you can play is called “Gambling? I’m in!”. This card will immediately start a game of gambling between all players while suspending normal gameplay.

The player who initiated this card is currently “in control” of the gambling round. To win a round of gambling, you must be the last player “in control.” To do so, you must play cards that allow you to “take control.”

Each player must ante 1 gold at the start of the gambling round unless they have a card that lets them skip this gambling session. Depending on which cards are played, players can raise, cheat, and/or take control of the gambling round. 

NOTE: There are some cards that allow you to leave a round of gambling. If you leave a round, you cannot play any cheating or gambling cards to affect other players. 

Losing the Game

If you run out of gold or pass out from drinking too much, you lose the game and have to sit out while the other player’s finish.

However, before you leave, you must finish resolving any cards you may have played prior to losing. If you have any “Sometimes” or “Anytime” cards to play that can save you from losing, you may play them at this time! 

If you lose from passing out, you split your gold in half. The larger half, rounded up, will be given to the Inn’s gold pile. The remaining half will be split evenly amongst the players still in the game. Still, if there is any leftover that cannot be distributed evenly, it goes to the Inn.

Other Important Rules

Sometimes and Anytime Cards

Some cards in your deck are labeled as “sometimes” and “anytime.” They can be played sometimes and/or anytime depending on what the card description says, so pay close attention!

Ignore vs. Negate

Some cards in your deck allow you to ignore or negate other cards. To negate a card, it means that you do not have to resolve it, and that card can be discarded.

To ignore a card, it means that the card can still be resolved, but it will not have an effect on you (but likely the other players).

How to Win The Red Dragon Inn

To win a game of The Red Dragon Inn, you must be the last remaining player! To stay in the game, you must keep close track of your gold and your fortitude/alcohol content levels.

Video Tutorial for The Red Dragon Inn

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Red Dragon Inn a drinking game?

Technically, it was not made to be an actual drinking game. You could turn it into one if you desire, but you must use caution. Instead of having a full drink per drink card, have only a sip or two, instead! 

Can you play with more than 4 players?

Yes, but you will need to purchase extra character decks or expansions to do so. There are currently over 50 extra characters made for the game! Find them all here.

How many expansions are there?

There are a total of 24 expansions available, including stand-alone games and character add ons. Check them all out here!

Similar Games to The Red Dragon Inn (Our Guides) 

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