[info_box]If you want to skip straight to the review and avoid my anecdotes, head on down to the “What It Is” header, thanks![/info_box]
For those of you who have followed my blog or twitter for some time probably know that I’ve been having some troubles getting groups together for D&D lately. Between the move and general business of day-to-day life it has been a tough act to pull off. Luckily that is about to change for me within the next two weeks, but hey that’s a blog post for another day!
Anyway, you might also know my growing dissent for having booze at my gaming table. Nothing makes a DM say “fuck this” like preparing for hours and hours to run a D&D game only to have half or more of your table incoherent and devoid of the ability to posses an attention span beyond that of an 6 year old within half an hour of kicking off a session.
I’ve been wishing there was some sort of way for my group to be able to pick up and play a different kind of RPG session at the drop of a hat, dependent on whether they’d like to game or have drinks. Mind you I do believe that gaming while having drinks is also a possibility, perhaps just not one for my group. Nothing against my group either, they’re all my best friends and the coolest people I know, but I know them a little too well.
Oh if only there were some amazing way to pull off skipping straight to the shenanigans and drinking so I didn’t have to waste my time preparing AND have a great time instead of wanting to reach over my DM screen and face-stab some people. Oh wait…there is!
Boy am I glad I finally got a chance to check out drinking quest. It’s a great game regardless of whether you like the idea of drinking games or not. Hell, play this game with koolaid, or don’t drink at all and it’s still fun. Read on for the full review and for some bonus amateur content I created for it!
What It Is
Drinking quest is a quick, light RPG for 2-4 players. The entire game is played through a series of quests via drawing cards from each of the 4 quest decks and rolling dice. The game is set in a medieval fantasy setting chock full of internet memes and pop culture references that any discerning internet denizen should easily pick up on. All you need to play is a pencil, character sheets (or paper if you’ve ran out of the provided character sheets) 3 standard 6 sided dice and your favorite liquid refreshment – all of which comes with the game except the drinks.
I should also mention that in case you can’t tell, the game is very light hearted and doesn’t take itself very seriously. However for all of its silliness, it holds a solid sense of refinement. You know, like people actually playtested the hell out of it? Who wouldn’t want to playtest a game that involves beer? People who hate fun, that’s who. Oh and in case you’re wondering exactly what’s inside, here’s my video:
What It Isn’t
Drinking quest isn’t a game set up for ongoing campaigns, character development, min/max’ing, critical thinking or anything of the sort. While it truly is an RPG, it’s a very self-contained, brief, and limited one. This isn’t a bad thing by any means, Drinking Quest delivers on its premise in spades – all I’m saying is don’t pick this game up thinking that you’re going to be replacing your D&D game or something. Not that any person in their right mind would think that, but this is the internet after all. Anyway, moving on.
The game is played out through a series of 4 quests, each one is made up of a stack of 12 cards. Each quest has a general theme (pirates, zombies, etc.) and some accompanying flavor text for added laughs and story. On their turn each player character can visit the shop to buy items if they want, and will then draw one card from the current quest pile and resolve the outcome. You’ll either be fighting monsters or resolving encounters via combat die rolls or making the appropriate saving throw for whichever encounter you’re up against. The cards are hilarious and range from battling booze hounds to being hit on by a suave elven hunk, you repeat this until you run out of cards and the quest ends. Each character has its own set of saving throw scores so there’s a good variation in how all this stuff gets resolved.
In between quests players regain full hit points and then set out on their next quest, and repeat doing so until all 4 quests finished and then the game ends. Players tally up their XP and whoever has the most is declared the winner. I’d go into more detail, but I’m not here to teach you the entire game, I’m here to tell you that you should find out for yourself!
Wait, when does the drinking come into play you ask? Well often, and sometimes (rarely) never…depending on your luck. When you lose all of your HP, you can use a “Bellows Ale” to continue fighting by drinking it down and regaining d6 HP – think of it as a beer health potion. If you’ve already chugged once during a quest you can also choose to put the ’3 good swigs’ rule into play and do that instead. The 3 swigs rule keeps things from getting out of hand.
Did your character die? Well, the ale gods smile upon you and you may be resurrected on your next turn, provided you chug the rest of your drink of course! Other cards, and one of the characters (Chuglox) have a special ability that can force players to chug too.
Wait a minute. Character sheets? XP? Gold? Resurrection? How the hell am I supposed to keep track of all this when I’m getting hammered?! Easy. This is all done with a simple 3d6 mechanic that is in fact so simple that no matter how intoxicated you become, you should be able to carry on with ease. Not only that but your character sheet only needs to track a few things: HP, Gold, and Chugs. There are also some static scores like your defenses that don’t change much (unless you gain buffs/items throughout the game) so they are mostly just a quick reference point.
Brew Up Some Fun
The object of the game is to get the most XP, and you do that by killing monsters. However, the event cards don’t normally give XP but do often reward the player with other benefits such as items and gold (to buy more items) which all result in the better slaying of monsters. I suppose this probably evens out, but during our games it seemed that sometimes the shuffle meant certain player(s) would wind up with most of the monster cards and others always wound up with the event cards, so provided they succeed in killing most of the monsters it’s kind of a guaranteed win. Then again, this was probably due to some bad shuffles, luck, and honestly…this isn’t a game you really play to fuss about who wins anyway so who cares?
My only real issue with the game is that I wish it accommodated more players! I have a good group of people who come over to play games and it would be great to get more people involved, everyone who has played Drinking Quest so far loves it. I did receive a complimentary copy of the game, but I’d gladly have paid the $30 to have purchased a copy. The ‘pub green’ dice are a nice touch and the cards are a good quality too, able to take on spills and such without deteriorating. You can grab a copy from their website right now, though I believe they may be sold out at the moment as they are about to get a shipment of brand new “munchkin quality” 2nd edition prints of the game within a week or two. Anyone who orders the game right now and winds up having to wait gets a free Drinking Quest key chain bottle opener and a personal message from Jason Anarchy, the creator of the game.
Brew Up Some Fun!
That basically wraps up my review, if you enjoy light-hearted fun, RPG’s, and also enjoy drinking with your friends you’d be doing you and your group a major disservice not picking up this game. I also couldn’t help but attempt to create my own remedy for my single problem with the game, so I made some ghetto fabulous content. Thanks to Brian Patterson for some of his very in-demand artwork and my love for all things ridiculous, I’ve made up some new gamer-centric characters for the game. I’m also currently working on 2 new quests: “Bowels of The Internet” and “Outer Spaaaace!” (preview) so you can stretch the game out to about 6 players, or keep the remaining 4 and just get more snockered! Cheers!
[download_link link="http://dreadgazebo.net/downloads/DreadGazebo_DrinkingQuestCharacters.pdf" variation="red" target="blank"]Gamer Characters [350kb - PDF][/download_link]
[download_link link="" variation="red" target="blank"]Quest 5: Bowels of the Internet (coming soon)[/download_link]
[download_link link="" variation="red" target="blank"]Quest 6: Outer Spaaaace! (coming soon)[/download_link]