Designed by Mat Nicholas with art by Rodolpho Langhi, and published by Flaming Troll, Drunkgeon is most assuredly a drinking game. So much so that your drinking glasses (or goblets in our Board’s Eye View photo) are your playing pieces and downing ‘fingers’ (ie: finger width quantities) of booze constitutes the currency and forfeit in the game.
Inside the box is a set of printed beer mats. The use of beer mats sounds like an appropriate choice for a playing board but there is a downside: they don’t just look like beer mats, they are made of the same matt semi-absorbent card as any regular beer mat. You are bound to find players spilling drinks or putting down glasses with wet bottoms so you can be almost guaranteed that the mats will get marked. If they don’t get too soggy then that’s not a disaster: none of the mats are at any point concealed, so if rings appear on some of them it won’t prevent you from continuing to use them.
The beer mats are randomly laid out in a 6 x 6 grid. Players are each moving their glasses around the grid to collect a set of coloured keys that will enable them to enter the Treasure Room to try to win the game.
The grid will of course differ with every play but it changes within each game too. This is because players will each turn push a tile into a row or column to move all the mats up one space (and push the end mat out of the grid). Savvy and sober players will use this strategically alongside their movement to nab the requisite keys. In addition players can ‘buy’ single-use spell cards for their one-off special effects. These ‘magic’ cards each cost two ‘fingers’ of drink. You’ll also have to take ‘fingers’ of drink if you fall foul of monsters or traps…
Perhaps unusually for a drinking game, Drunkgeon incorporates a dexterity element. In place of six-sided dice, players are invited to flip a special ‘event’ beer mat then take for their movement or combat/save the value shown on the mat that corresponds to the player’s leftmost finger. If this turns out to be too fiddly, or if and when the 'event' mat gets too soggy or worn to use, you can of course just substitute a conventional die.
If you fear that Drunkgeon is a game that encourages players to get drunk you are probably only half right. The title notwithstanding, the publishers explain rather defensively that ‘the game is designed to be a fun first drink management game’, and certainly to win you will need to stretch out your drink: when your glass is empty then you are ‘dead’ (ie: out of the game). That said, the continued sobriety of the players will depend on the beverage being drunk, the size of the glasses used and the number of immediate rematches you stage. Play a single game with pint glasses of beer and all should be well; if you play using fat tumblers of spirit then you should certainly not be driving home. :-)