The Red Dragon Inn

Like Villainy, this is another game that is just sheer fun. More random/luck-based and less strategy than Villainy, but equally fun in flavour. (This is another game JimmyTheGeek introduced me to; he’s all about the awesome flavour text. If you want more fun games (specifically unique RPGs), check out his and Bea Bravo ‘s new podcast, Have You Roleplayed.)

For those of you unfamiliar, this game is about the adventure after the adventure. You’re a band of DnD-style adventurers–you’ve got a wizard, a warrior, a rogue, and a cleric. The adventure is over for the day, presumably successfully, and now you’re at the pub unwinding by drinking to excess, gambling away your earning, and giving your teammates shit (real-world drinking and gambling not required; talking shit heavily encouraged). The aim of the game is simple: be the last person standing after all of your friends have been kicked out of the pub for being too drunk or out of gold. 

This is the first in a series of five variants; we’re only looking at the original today.

Also: POOKIE! Hands-down, my favourite part of this game is Pookie, my drunk rabbit. Well, okay, technically he belongs to the character I always play and not to me, personally, but a girl can dream.

Picture of the box of Red Dragon In, showing the five characters discussed below

I genuinely love this game. It’s not at all heavy or particularly strategic, but I always have a riot playing. I’ve left this game *feeling* drunk on nonsense and laughter, having not touched a drop of actual booze myself. It’s…. got a few problems, though. (Content note: references to date-rape drugs.)

Race/Nationality

But first, let’s look at its race-related problems. All of the playable characters are white, but the serving wench is a woman of colour. (She is the only non-playable character in the artwork; she has multiple cards that refer to her, playable by all of the other characters.)

So it meets the “people of colour exist!” test… but not in a way I feel very good about. I am glad she is in the game at all, but if a non-playable servant is the only non-white character in your entire game, ima side-eye you a little bit.

I’m giving it:

1 star

Gender

This is the category this game does reasonably well in. 2 of the 4 playable characters are women; 2 are men. Plus the only NPC, the serving wench, is a woman. No evidence of gender-diverse characters, however.

Fiona the Volatile is pretty badass. It’s nice to have the warrior character be female, and she takes zero shit.

The rulebook uses gender neutral pronouns throughout, except when giving examples of play. Then it uses the character’s gender, which is obviously fine.

Overall:

2 stars

Sexuality

There’s a wee bit of innuendo in cards that can be played against other characters/players of any gender;  I guess you could argue that this is a mechanism that allows choices that implicitly identify sexuality and nothing prevents a player from queering those choices?

But it ultimately doesn’t matter because I am giving this game an automatic fail and some Serious Side-Eye in the Sexuality category because of the following card, which is in Gerki The Sneak’s deck:

A Gerki The Sneak's card reading "Slip a Mickey"

I prefer my board games without jokes about dosing people with date-rape drugs, thanks. 1

0 stars

Body

All the women all have pretty identical body types–slender with a few curves and nice breasts; the dudes get a little more diversity with a scrawny, short, buck-toothed thief and a tall, old wizard. (Plus a cute chubby bunny!) So a little but not a lot.

Also, while the women aren’t particularly scantily clad in most of the cards, there is an absurd over-focus on all of their boobs and more than a little gratuitous boob art. Now I like boobs as much as the next person really into ladies, but this over-sexualisation of these characters was pretty unnecessary, felt pretty out of place with the rest of the game, and made me a bit uncomfortable.

Three cards showing the gratuitous boob art. Also my fingernails, which are painted blue with purple spots.
I didn’t fully crop my hand out of this picture because my silly nail art game was on point last week.

1 star

Overall

Overall, a fun game in the ‘somewhat problematic fav’ category. I want to check out some of the future games in the series and see if they capture the same vibe without some of the grossness. 

Race ★☆☆
Gender ★★☆
Sexuality ☆☆☆
Body ★☆☆
Overall Average 1

Notes:

  1. There is an argument to be made that historically, ‘slip a mickey’ meant to drug someone for the purpose of robbing them, not assaulting them, but that’s no longer the common usage and it’s pretty gross and unnecessary regardless.

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