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Drinking Quest: Old Habits

We've been saving this game through the long months of Covid lockdown. As the title suggests, Drinking Quest is at heart a drinking game and it's one primarily designed to take with you down the pub to play with your friends over a few drinks.

Designer Jason Anarchy belies his surname. He's a responsible chap and the rules for the game discourage players from irresponsible consumption of alcohol and advise players to organise their plans for getting home safely afterwards. So with the caveat that players should only drink within their tolerance, how does this game work?

Drinking Quest: Old Habits is a card-driven fantasy role-playing game. It adopts, or rather adapts, familiar fantasy RPG tropes to add a light-hearted booze-themed spin. The 2-4 players each take one of the eight hero cards. These give initial flavour text and set out your character's basic statistics, including maximum hit points, starting attack roll (eg: d4 + 1), tolerance and sexual prowess (yes, it's that sort of game - but, don't worry, none of the cards make this game NSFW). Players also take a matching 'signature drink' card which sets out their unique 'once per quest' special ability. Players each have a small character sheet on which to record and track their stats and any equipment/modifiers they collect during the course of play. The sheets also mean you can continue where you left off if you play through, for example, just one Quest and, on another night, want to tackle another Quest with the same characters.

The game comes with four Quests plus two 'Bonus Quests'. Each takes the form of a discrete deck of 12 cards (tho' you use just eight cards if you're playing with just two heroes). To play, you draw a Quest card from the shuffled deck. If it's a Monster, you have to fight it by rolling dice (the game comes with a d4, d6 and d8). Win and your character earns experience points and coins that can be spent at the end of each Quest to buy equipment and buff your character up (the game incorporates a helpful shop price list). Lose and you have to chug your drink. If you draw an Event card, you have to make a saving throw against a specified attribute (so that's where the sexual prowess can come into play). The penalties vary but typically they reduce one of your attributes.

This all makes for an easy-going ultra-light game to play as a fun chatty pub pastime rather than as a serious contest. You're not investing the time or concentration on your characters that you would in an actual fantasy RPG, but the fact that you can add items to your character to, in effect, level up helps to keep things interesting and encourage a return for another Quest. There's the option to play with a 'games master': giving a fifth player something to do by having them read out the card text and rolling for the monsters. And if your friends get really caught up in the game, Jason Anarchy Games and Wiseman Innovation have a barrel of other titles to chug your way through.

Drinking Quest: Old Habits comes in a highly portable compact box, designed so that you can probably slip it into your pocket. Just remember to add a couple of pencils to take with you because players will need to keep track of things on their individual character sheets.

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