Drinking Quest Review: Trilogy Edition!
This may be the first game I've ever picked up that has multiple warnings that the game makers are not responsible if I get completely trashed. Considering the way my boss smiled when he showed me the box had arrived, and his insistence that we play that afternoon (I had planned to check the rules beforehand, rather than testing it out in a trial by fire first), that is probably wise of them!
The box has three separate games: The Original Drinking Quest is an in-character drinking contest, Yeddy Vedder's Yeti Adventure has the players recovering Yeti eggs, and Nectar of the Gods has a divine drinking contest. There are rules for either playing them separately or merging them all together in one huge free-for-all that can support up to twelve players.
First of all, I'm lucky that I got to review the game at all: my boss didn't realize that the copy was coming in for me, so it almost went home with him! I'm not entirely sure he's forgiven me yet, but he'll get over it. I hope. A few beers should loosen him up.
The box and rules both highlight that drinking is not required to play Drinking Quest. If you so choose, you can house rule in some other activity for the parts that force you to drink: they offer a few alternatives to chugging and sipping if sobriety is more your cup of tea. The creators even specify that people who do not want to drink should not be ridiculed for their life choices. So while we opted to follow the spirit of the game, it is not required.
The good news on that front is that the goal of the game is not to get completely hammered. Going over the rules, it feels more like sitting back with friends at the gaming table and knocking back a few brews, not a hardcore drinkathon where your liver cries in the morning.
The rules are straightforward and easy to read, without being overly simplistic. The only quirk I did notice rulewise was that they don't specify which type of die the players should roll to go first - since the box comes with a four-sided, six-sided and eight-sided die, it wasn't immediately clear... but we opted to roll the d8 to make sure everything was fair. (That's what I rolled, at least. Everyone else may have rolled the d6...)
Overall, though, the rules have been streamlined so that they are easily understood, even when you've had a couple drinks. And true to a good review process, our team at the office made sure to test that... thoroughly.
The core rules are designed with four players in mind, but the Trilogy Edition also outlines options to combine the quest cards and characters for up to twelve people (thirteen if you use the optional DM rule to make things go smoothly). The office went for the free-for-all option.
The Office Playthrough
While the entire office didn't get the opportunity to play, a few of us hung out in the conference room for an hour or so with our favorite brews to give the game a good, solid playthrough.
We decided to go for the free-for-all game, where players combine the cards from all three games into epic mega-quests. While Stephen sorted the cards and everyone picked their characters, I read the rules aloud so that all could know and understand.
From Left to Right: Legend Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stoli Vodka, Dogfish Head 60 Minute and Corona.
Each player had their own particular drink of choice and chose characters:
- I, Slater, drank Legend Lager (Richmond Represent!) and played Malty;
- Stephen, drinking Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, played Bartlebut;
- Rachael, drinking Stoli and Tonic, played as Halthor, God of Fists;
- Brian, drinking Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, insisted on playing Ermagerd the Unicern;
- Richard, drinking Corona, played Norad the All-Knowing.
Having announced the rules to the entirety of the group, and having reannounced them once it was clear people had been more focused on cracking open their first drinks and getting the basic prepwork done, we were ready to go.
From Left to Right: Rachael, Brian and Stephen. Richard and I are not pictured.
The game plays smoothly. If you fight a monster in one of the quests, the person to your right rolls for it, so people interact even if it isn't their turn and get to learn the mechanics for when their character needs to fight.
The first quest took a little under an hour while we got everything organized, which includes prep time for cracking open our tasty beverages, reading the rules, rereading the rules and sorting the cards. At the end of the first quest, Rachael and Richard tied (despite my best efforts, killing Rachael's character two out of three chances), so we kept going to the second quest.
Quest two ran more quickly now since we had a better grasp of the game's flow, running about half an hour. Rachael ended up winning (again, despite my best efforts by killing her with a hydra and my one-shot with Mascot dog to kill the Negativity Train) and is the office champion.
At first no one paid much attention to the shop: the cards we drew for the quests didn't provide much gold, and there was only one Shop Card to pass around, so initially the players overlooked it. Once people started getting gold, though (and saw Stephen and I buying some handy dandy armor to get our defense up), it saw a lot more play.
Quest Two became vicious quickly, so the rest of the crew started picking up Bellow Ales and all the pieces of pretty they could afford as soon as possible. Based on how Quest Two went, and from the cards for the later quests, gearing up is crucial to avoiding horrible, chugging death.
From the initial reaction of the office to the playthrough and aftermath of Drinking Quest, the office had a blast! The game is a little cheeky but good-natured, with humor reminiscent of Chez Geek or Munchkin. (Note: it plays very differently! That's just a reference about the feel of the cards, not the mechanics.)
As mentioned before, this is not a liver-crushing event: no one at the office had more than two drinks during the first two quests. I ended up playing it with some friends later to continue thoroughly making sure that it was well-constructed, and even then we weren't completely trashed by the end of it.
Overall, the game has solid mechanics and an approachable feel that makes for a fun time. I strongly recommend it!
Editor's Note: This game was provided as a review copy by the publisher.