Players are laying out cards to create their individual tableaus. The objective is to create complete drinks (ie: glasses or tankards with all four quarters in place) but, domino-like, each card has two quarter glasses on it and every card you play to your tableau has to fit in with those already in place, so it's not quite as simple and easy as it might look on first sight.
It's a hand management game. You start with a hand of five cards and you draw back up to five at the start of each turn. When playing a card to your tableau you'll ideally want to be able to keep a card in hand that gives you a future play. There will almost inevitably be turns tho' where you are unable to legally place out any of the cards in your hand. In that case, you'll just have to discard. That doesn't just mean missing out on a card play, it could also risk giving an advantage to your opponent as when players draw a card at the start of their turn, they can choose to draw from the face-up discard pile instead of the face-down draw pile.
In the main, Drinkers Duel! is a game where each of the two players are focused on their own individual tableaus; so, in effect, dual-player solitaire. There are, however, a few 'take that' cards. If you play one of the three 'drunk' cards on your opponent, they are unable to score completed drinks of the type indicated on the card. They can only remedy this by playing a 'sober' card to counter the 'drunk' card effect. In addition, some of the drink cards have a water icon on them: play one of those and your opponent must 'take a break to hydrate'. That just means they miss a turn (ie: you immediately take another turn).
Drinkers Duel! is a light two-player game, tho' you can increase the player count to four if you buy two packs. You may consider the theme unsuitable as a family game but the game play itself is simple enough for children to play. Designer Brian Rauch evidently had in mind, however, that this is a game to play at a bar or pub; the idea being that the loser has to buy a drink for the winner. It's a thematically sound idea but the tableaus grow to take up quite a lot of table space, so you may well find you need more play space than your bar provides. We'd also want to sleeve the cards before taking them to the pub but, when sleeved, the cards won't fit back into the tuckbox. Best then to play and drink at home.
The 'Classic' version of Drinkers Duel! depicts draft beer, red wine, martini, tequila shots and Moscow mule, and there's a a Beer version due out that will feature as an alternative five different types of beer. You can order Drinkers Duel! now through Amazon.