For The King is hard to define for an audience that has never played it, I’m not going to lie. If I were to describe the experience I would say it’s a strategic, team based adventure which leads the players through hilarious misfortune to triumphant victory. It plays like a boardgame with underlying pen and paper mechanics but it is punishing like a rogue-like. It keeps you in a calculating mindset like a strategy game would but it takes you on an epic adventure like any good role-playing game. It’s designed to be a re-playable puzzle that you piece together over multiple playthroughs, either on your own or with friends. You win together and you die together.
It is an open, procedural world, every time you visit Fahrul it’s not the same as it was before. Traveling the world is done by rolling actions points and carefully spending them across the hex based world. Players can travel by land, or purchase a boat and take their chances at sea.
You’ll recognize familiar landmarks and slowly collect lore over time. Lore is a persistent mechanic of the game, in a way you are leveling up your version of Fahrul. Another player playing with you in the same game might have a different set of options available to them depending on what they experienced in previous game sessions. The town library is your skill tree and your past experiences are what you use to upgrade.
Combat plays like any classic Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest game but it can be played solo or online cooperative.
Players and enemies alike take turns attacking, and planning strategic strikes against each other. Combat is fast and furious, one slip up or even some bad luck can mean death. Watching a party member get impaled by a Beastman’s spear is both funny and horrifying when you are repeatedly failing your own flee attempts. For The King takes no prisoners so buckle up and be prepared to get beaten down.
The overworld is filled with much to explore, strange towns, a gladiator arena that will test your might, an old blacksmith who crafts mystical weapons, or perhaps a traveling carnival with supernatural origins. Each realm is vastly different and home to it’s own assortment of oddities that will keep you guessing.
Fahrul is filled with great mystery and while the overworld is fantastic fun, the dungeons are their own monster which will lead the players on a dark, nightmarish descent into the underworld. Progressing through the underworld is a mandatory part of the game if you are looking to avenge Fahrul’s fallen king so there is no bypassing these terrible places.
A big part of what makes FTK such a fun system is that it is constantly tempting the player.
The underworld contains great fortune, powerful magic items and also undead abominations that will cut you down but the player doesn’t know which order those are going to come in. Maybe just a few more steps? Or will you run back to daylight with your tail between your legs?
Fahrul features a wide array of Sanctums, each home to different gods. Players can devote themselves to these gods and get boosts in combat, or protection from ailments. The gods are not alone though, for every holy deity looking to aid the players, a powerful scourge lurks in Fahrul. Once a scourge is active in Fahrul it has devastating global effects on different game mechanics. One scourge increases the passage of time while the Bandit King raises shop prices across the land.
We have put great emphasis on keeping each game experience random. I’m constantly amazed at the wonderful worlds our procedural system creates. You never know what’s in store for you each time you visit. It will keep you coming back.