Number of Players: 2 - 4 (up to 8 with the original)
Length of Game: 30 - 45 minutes
Difficulty of Game:
Popularity at local game night:
Imagine a party of adventurers. They just completed an epic quest and have returned to town safely and loaded down with loot. Of course, they do what any good adventuring party would do - and they decide to go drinking. They head to the Red Dragon Inn where they spent their hard-earned gains in an attempt to drink each other into oblivion, often with quite humorous results. The last person sitting at the table will get all the gold that remains.
Note - I recently (last week) reviewed Red Dragon Inn here: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/415660. Pretty much everything that is not character-specific in that review applies here. That link should get you to that review. If you are new to Red Dragon Inn, I recommend you read that review first. Otherwise, let's talk about what is different in Red Dragon Inn 2.
First of all, this game got slightly lower scores in the fun category and the popularity category. The game is exactly identical except for two things - the characters and the drinks. The drinks really don't enter into it much - save for some variety if you have played the first one to death. However, the characters are the bread and butter of the expansion. And in a short, light hearted game like Red Dragon Inn, the characters and sense of humor are definitely what sells the game and what keeps you coming back for more. And that is where the sequel is not QUITE as good as the original. Now, this game is wonderful in its own right; however, if you have to decide between the two, you should definitely get the original.
This version adds four new characters - Eve the Illusionist, Fleck the Bard, Dimli the Dwarf, and Gog the Half Ogre. In terms of play style, these characters have very strong comparisons to the original four characters. You have your tank who is good at taking and dealing damage (the Half Ogre compared to the Fighter), you have your money person (Dimli versus the Rogue), you have your character who often turns things around (Eve versus the Priestess), and you have your random character who is a little bit of everything (Fleck versus the Wizard and his psychotic rabbit). Granted these are gross over-generalizations, but the comparisons can still be made. When you start playing the characters they do feel very similar.
But that is okay, because intense strategy is not what Red Dragon Inn is about - it's about the quick and easy fun factor. And this game has it - it's just that the characters don't feel as entertaining. I have found that with both versions available, a player picks one of the original four characters about 80% of the time. And when someone does pick one of the expansions characters it is almost always Eve or Gog. These two are highly amusing character decks. But, it just feels like Dimli and Fleck fall short.
This expansion is a much more important acquisition if you already have the first game and could get more than five people around the table playing at once. Even in an eight player game, the turns are fast enough that you are not spending a lot of time waiting for your move. Not to mention - it's fun to watch the antics that ensue. Red Dragon Inn and it's expansion definitely seem to fall into the category where the more people you can get playing, the more fun the game is. The only problem you need to be prepared for is that one or two people could be knocked out early and waiting for the others to finish. However, in our experience, we've found that to be a worthwhile price to pay for the absolute madness that happens when cards start piling on top of cards.
As I said before - this game is still TONS of fun. If this is available and you can't get the first one (or you have already played it and want some new flavors), definitely pick it up. I just think that if you see the two versions staring at you on the shelves and you are debating which one to get, get the original. The sequel is still tons of fun, but two of the characters have fallen into the "very rarely used" pile with our gaming group.