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Tabletop Game Review – Heroes of Barcadia

Heroes of Barcadia

Heroes of Barcadia by Rollacrit
Price: $~60.00
Players:
2 to 6 (up to 8 with an expansion)
Playtime:
~30 to 90 minutes
Perfect for:
Players seeking an entertaining party game that focuses on dungeon crawling and dice rolling.

Heroes of Barcadia is a game of monster battling! Foul beasts have absconded with all the drinks in the land and now it’s up to a bunch of adventurers to right this egregious wrong. But this is no party. Monster-slayers will be racing against each other to find the prized Drink Hoard, so that only one may stand victorious. Along the way, the ambitious heroes will collect power-ups to assist their deeds, and lay traps to hinder opponents.

To begin a game of Heroes of Barcadia two to six players (eight with an expansion) collect a character card and associated plastic cup. Players fill their cups up with a liquid of their choosing. This represents the characters’ health, and players will drink from it when taking damage. Meanwhile, the group builds the play area using randomly placed facedown tiles to construct a dungeon. On a turn, players will reveal and enter a tile, resolving its effects. Typically, these include collecting loot cards which will be useful in questing or fighting a monster. To battle a beast, players will roll a 20-sided die attempting to get a value higher than the monster. Once defeated, enemies will often drop Power-Ups—cards that grant permanent abilities to players. When a player has three Power-Ups, and they have discovered the Drink Hoard, they can attempt to reclaim the treasure and win the game.

What works in Heroes of Barcadia is the entertainment and engagement value as a unique entry into the party game genre. Many group games have recognizable mindless mechanics such as luck-pressing, hidden roles, or response judging. With Heroes of Barcadia, the excitement comes from the unpredictability of dice-rolling and exploration. With light RPG elements and a humorous theme (bar/drink related puns grafted onto fantasy adventure staples), the game feels incredibly fresh and interactive. Players quickly become invested in everyone else’s dice rolls and the implications they have. As such, playing Heroes of Barcadia results in a lot of cheering and laughter as players drink away their hit points and scramble to outpace/out-roll their opponents. Finally, all the components are waterproof so no need to worry about spilling!

Players who don’t enjoy games almost entirely predicated on luck, and/or thwarting the competition, may not enjoy Heroes of Barcadia as much as others. While Loot Cards and Power-Ups can sway and influence outcomes, a roll of the dice determines whether a player wins or loses. Additionally, part of the strategy is to hinder others, and some players may get frustrated if/when they get targeted with attacks or traps.

A quick note about Heroes of Barcadia’s theme, which clearly focuses on drinking. While the game is marketed to an adult audience (the suggested age is 21+), no one HAS to drink alcohol in order to play and enjoy the game. Players can very easily substitute the beverage of their choosing as their health, and still get the same entertaining experience. Younger players may not understand all the cocktail-related references, but there is nothing inherently inappropriate about Heroes of Barcadia that prevents anyone from participating and having fun.

Heroes of Barcadia is a very refreshing party game. For players seeking something geeky as a warm-up to game night, or a silly late evening addition, Heroes of Barcadia is great because of its simplicity, engagement, and high player count. Finally, its unique spin on the genre makes it a very fine addition to any game collection. Highly recommended.  

Recommended if you like: Arcadia Quest, Saboteur, Claustrophobia  

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