For the King Hands-on Preview – Tongue-in-Cheek Board Game Tomfoolery

I had the pleasure of getting my hands on For the King at this year’s Game Developers Conference, and it was a pretty good time.

It’s a procedural turn-based RPG that plays a lot like a board game with roguelike mechanics. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but upon loading up the game and creating my party of characters, I realized what I was in for.

My group of stalwart adventurers consisted of a herbalist with a bucket on her head, a hunter who was a literal skeleton wearing a backpack taller than he was, and a kitty cat with a lute as a weapon. Clearly, this game is meant to be taken very seriously.

You travel around the in-game map one character at a time, engaging enemies and working toward completing quests. Combat plays out in a standard turn-based affair, though with a few interesting tweaks. During fights, you can expend Focus Points to make your attacks have a greater chance to hit, as well as use abilities and items to your advantage.

The different classes have unique abilites, from the Herbalist’s party heal to the Minstrel’s stun attack, and it seems like they’re all pretty useful. In my time playing, I got to complete a few quests and participate in my fair share of battles. Combat doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but there’s enough depth to it to keep things interesting.

There are also plenty of cool items you can find throughout your adventures that really mix things up. Weapons, armor, and even random trinkets can buff your characters significantly, as well as change up your playstyle. In my playthrough, I managed to find a magical staff [which was just a book on the end of a stick] and a hat that made me more sneaky.

Being sneaky, as it turns out, is pretty helpful. If enemies are adjacent to one another on the map, they’ll all engage you when you initiate combat. If you ambush one of them successfully, however, you can pick him off without the aid of his comrades. Stealth is also useful for sneaking past enemies entirely when you want to avoid a scuffle altogether.

For the King also features online co-op, which I’m sure is a blast to play.

I was only able to try out single-player, but playing this with your buddies strikes me as the optimal way to experience this game. Still, it was a silly, fun time, and I’m glad I got to get some hands-on experience with it before its full release.

For the King has been in Early Access via Steam for about a year, but is planning on coming out sometime this year. We’ll keep you posted as any news on a potential release date surfaces, and will likely be doing a full review when that day comes.

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