This pandemic meant that, for a while, I wasn’t able to play regular board and card games with my friends. There was a lot of uncertainty, as we all know, about what was happening in the world around us. Desperate for something familiar, I bought and downloaded For the King on Steam.
For the King combines all the best parts of D&D, traditional dungeon crawler games, and tabletop simulation. There are five campaigns in the game, with the first one being also named For the King. The game takes place in Fahrul, a kingdom with many realms to it, and a king who has suddenly died and his vizier disappeared. The Queen has put out an open call to a group of adventurers to take over the quest of finding out who was responsible for the death of the King, and to find out why Chaos is brewing in the Kingdom.
The game is best played with three characters, which are all controlled by the player. Your small party can be a mixture of classes, with the starting classes in the game being Minstrel (Bard), Scholar (Wizard), Hunter (Ranger) and Blacksmith (Fighter). More classes can be unlocked the more you play, including classes like Monk, Herbalist, Busker, Woodcutter, and Hobo. Each class brings its own set of starting equipment and gold to the game and their own perks and stats that are part and parcel of the class.
The gameplay is simple enough – each character has a limited number of moves that they can make in a turn on the board, with the board being split up into hexes. ‘Dice rolls’ are random and affect anything from movement to battle. Movement is affected by the weather on the board, which is a randomly generated board for each new game that you start. As the characters move across the board, they might find random encounters such as a friendly traveler who will let you use his campfire, or a sword lodged deep into a stone, or even a deep cavern with an unknown outcome if you explore it. Some of these random encounters can result in a fight, while others can simply have you lose turns, find new items, or even die (but that’s always a very low chance with that outcome).
As the game progresses, you start to battle more and more enemies. Battle is turn-based, with characters using a turn to either switch weapons, run away, or use an attack or spell. Characters can use one item per turn, with items usually being herbs that can heal HP or cure poison, or even stave off death. The outcome of a successful attack is usually decided by randomly generated ‘dice rolls’ once again, with the player’s stats being used to find out how likely it is that a character will get a good hit in. For example, a Hunter using a crossbow will use his Awareness stat (which is high for Hunters) to aim and shoot, but that same Hunter would not do well using a sword which uses his Strength stat, as that is quite weak in Hunters. Blacksmiths, however, have very high Strength compared to the rest of the party.
As battles are won, loot is gained. Loot can range from the traditional gold pieces and sometimes armour and weapons, to rare unlockable items that provide passive skills in combat.
What I particularly liked about this game is that there is no such thing as Mana – magic casters can cast spells without having to worry about Mana being depleted. Mana, in fact, has been replaced by Focus. Characters have a Focus Pool, usually a minimum of 3, that allows characters to ensure that some rolls are guaranteed. For example, a Scholar with an attack that has a 75% chance of failing can use Focus points to raise that chance to a 25% chance of failing, making his odds better. Focus can be regained by resting at safe camps or inns, or even by consuming certain herbs.
While the story is predictable, it’s incredibly fun to play. The game landscape changes every time you play it, making it a new map to be explored, and that really adds a nice touch to it. The mini encounters are great, and the game also has an in-game store where you can use Lore points (gained by completing main story quests) to buy more items for the game such as rare loot drops, more mini encounters, and skins for your characters.
The other campaigns in For the King are just as fun (I should know, I beat the game last week!) – there’s an adventure that takes place solely on the high seas, another that takes place in ice-cold mountains, and another that’s just a pure long Dungeon Crawler. Whatever your fancy, this game is incredibly fun if you’re into board games, strategy, and need a D&D fix.