Inn-Fighting is a dice game by Wizards of the Coast, akin to their card game Three Dragon Ante in that it’s a stand alone game that ties into the D&D franchise. The game is all about every adventurer’s favorite passtime outside of the delves and saving the world: drunken bar fights. The object of the game is to pummel your opponents (and their bystanders) and be the first player to achieve twenty or more victory points.
The game comes two seperate card decks, a twenty sided die and six custom six sided dice, as well as the rulebook. The golden card deck is a selection of Adventurer cards; these are the character tropes the players will take on in the course of the game and the combatants of the bar fight. You’ll have everything from the drunken Dwarven Clerics, powerful Elven Wizards, nameless Warforged and even Vampire Assassins. There’s even a Beholder in the mix to liven things up.
The more orangish-brown deck is the Action deck and consists of two types of cards: Bystanders and Actions. Bystanders are additional, weaker character cards that assist the Adventurers and get put into play. The action cards are kept face-down (we kept them in hands though, like regular playing cards) and can be played anytime the player wants to use them (as long the situation meets the requirements of the card.)
The six dice are the brawl dice; five of them gold/yellowish colored and one red die. Each side bares the symbols of Fist, Chair, Power, Luck and Ale. The different symbols represent different attacks or abilities that can be played during the game. The twenty sided die is your standard d20, and is used for attack rolls and determining who goes first. It should be noted what the game doesn’t include, and that’s counters for Victory Points/Hit Points. Each character has a pool of hitpoints, and as they take hits those points are rewarded to the attackers as Victory Points. Remember the goal of the game is to acquire 20+ Victory Points. Figure your average Adventurer/Bystander start up has about 10 Hitpoints total, and then figure the game is for 2-6 players. Pennies, poker chips, little chits of paper….whatever you can come up with, come up with a lot. Luckily, we had access to a massive pool of red counters one of my buds’ keeps on hand for when we play Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.
The Game In Play
The game starts with all players rolling the twenty sided die, and determining who gets to go first. All players draw an Adventurer and place them face up infront of them. Then, they each get two cards from the action deck. Bystanders and played next to the adventurers, action cards are kept until the players want to use them. Counters are distributed to each card for their hit points, and then play begins.
The starting player rolls all six dice. The dice rolled determine the options a player has for his attack. Fists are attacks aimed at the players on the left; chairs are attacks aimed at players to the right. Power attacks (lightening bolt symbols) are aimed at the opponent with the most Victory Points. You get to choose only one attack on your turn. The number of a particular set of dice determines two things: A pair or more of dice allows a player to decide if he attacks his opponent’s Adventurer or Bystander. A single die means the attack is on a Bystander first, unless the opponent has none in which case it goes directly to their adventurer.
Once the attack is determined, the player rolls a twenty sided die, adds a bonus equal to the number of dice rolled for that attack, and tries to beat his opponents Skill Rating. Each adventurer has Low and High damage values related to their attacks; rolling over indicates a high roll and thus more damage. Rolling under still manages to score a hit though. It should be noted that adventurers have different bonus effects that come into play based on their particular attack type and whether they rolled high or low. Also, 1’s are considered Fumbles and 20’s are considered critical hits, with special bonuses/penalties involved.
The amount of damage given to a character is then removed from that character’s Hit Point tokens, and those tokens are handed to the attacker and kept in a pool as Victory Points. If the player manages to knock out the opponent’s character, he gains bonus Victory Points (Bystanders award a bonus two, Adventurers actually award a “VP Bonus” that is rated on the card.)
So what the hell do the Ale, Luck and Red dice mean?
When a player rolls the brawl dice, the Ale & Luck dies are moved off to the side. When his or her turn ends, they pass the dice to the opponent to the left. The catch is the Ale and Luck dice REMAIN as is, untouched and unrolled for the time being when transfered to the next player. The player cannot roll those dice in their brawl roll. When three or more Ale or Luck dice are in played, and handed over to a player, they may choose to spend them.
Ale dice reward health, by stealing a number of Victory Points from the currently winning player equal to the number of Ale dice in play. The player can only heal his character up to their max hitpoints; so all remaining Victory Points stolen go back to the bank pile. You may not gain VP this way, but it is a fun way to screw over the guy in the lead. Also, if you’re the lead player, you may opt to spend the Ale to heal your own cards. It’ll take away from your pool still, but it ensures your guys are still fighting and nobody else is taking your VP away for their characters.
Luck Dice are used to draw more Action cards, thus supplying (or re-supplying) more Bystanders or Actions to assist you. The Red Die is a special die: The Defense Die. If a player makes an attack on you, and the Red Die wasn’t used in the attack (or isn’t in the Ale/Luck piles) you can choose to roll the die to defend yourself. All characters have a defensive ability based on particular symbols being rolled on the defensive die.
Production and Gameplay:
Overall the production of the game is pretty good, like you would expect from a Wizards of the Coast product. The artwork on the cards and dice are really nice and definitely keep things in a Lampoonish mood. My gripe really is with the rule book, as there appears to be some situations and scenarios that come up and aren’t answered by the rules. I’ve spent a decent part of the morning looking at some forum discussion over the matter, and it seems like some little things are disputed and, in the end, may need to be left up to each indvidual group how to handle things.
Aside from the tiny quirks, the game picks up after a round or two and everyone eases in. It feels like a lot to take in at first, but it’s really a simple dice game and keeps a very good pace. Although, depending on the amount of players involved, it can get very long especially as people keep targeting the lead players with Ale dice and stealing their points. We ended our session last night with me coming to the defense of one of my compadres who was in the lead and transfering a nasty critical attack on him to another player, allowing him to make an awesome final play for the win.
- Design: Overall presentation and rules were well written; the included rules summary cards worked well.
- However, it did suffer from a few vague rules descriptions that leaves it open to dispute and slow down initial game play.
- Artwork: What you would expect from a Wizards of the Coast product; more lavish than Three Dragon Ante.
- Gameplay: Took a couple test rounds to learn it, but once we had it figured out it was fast and fun.
- The Verdict: B+, fun as hell and highly recommended. Just give it a good couple readings and test runs to make sure you understand it though.