"Barbarian Prince" is a single player board game designed by Arnold Hendrick and published by Reaper Miniatures in 1981. The player takes control of barbarian prince Cal Arath, after his throne is stolen by an invading kingdom. In order to win, the player must accrue 500 gold pieces before the usurpers' allies can arrive in 10 weeks.
It's up to the player to find a way to acquire that gold. Each game begins with Cal Arath penniless on the Northern edge of the 400 hex fantasy world.
The heart of the game is the 48 page events booklet, filled with all sorts of random encounters that make each play-through unique. Most events have a random set of outcomes based on the player's choice, so even previously encountered events can have unexpected twists.
"Barbarian Prince" is also incredibly difficult.
The game is available for free here.
This game provides examples of:
- Always Chaotic Evil: Most monsters, from goblins to dragons cannot be bargained with. Orcs are the only exception, as they will accept surrender, only to execute you.
- Anti-Grinding: While you can earn small bits of money from killing random guards and travelers, the time limit makes using this as your sole strategy inefficient.
- Anti-Hero: Cal Arath can be this, stealing the gold he needs to reclaim his throne.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted. While the companion board only has space for six followers, you may have as many as you can find and afford.
- Barbarian Hero: Cal Arath starts with a combat skill of 8, making him the strongest human in the game.
- Black-and-Gray Morality: Between the monsters, undead, corrupt guards, theives' guilds and slave markets, the Southlands are not a very friendly place. Cal Arath himself is a barbarian who may not be above pillaging to make some money for himself.
- Captain Ersatz: Count Drogat is a fairly obvious homage to Count Dracula.
- Critical Existence Failure: Averted. Wounded creatures take penalties to their combat rolls, this makes repeated combats dangerous for the Prince.
- Dirty Cop: The constabulary is very likely to either attack you or extort you, even if you've done nothing wrong. (Though you do get a bonus to the roll if you haven't had to flee from a nearby city.)
- Early Game Hell: With no money, followers, or items, it is very easy to die in the first few turns if you're reckless or unlucky.
- Elves Versus Dwarves: Having a dwarf in your party will make elves less likely to grant you entrance to their cities, and vice versa.
- Glass Cannon: Enemy Wizards have very low combat skills and endurance, but they can use fireball spells, which deal huge damage to your entire party.
- Guile Hero: Cal Arath can be one, charming followers and convincing lords to aid him in his quest. How well he does these things is determined by his Wit&Wiles stat.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: The Prince starts with his broadsword Backbiter, and can find a magic sword during his adventure.
- Hidden Elf Village: Elven villages are random encounters in forest hexes, once encountered, they remain on the map permanently. There are hidden Dwarven mines in the mountains as well.
- Love Triangle: If you somehow get multiple true loves at the same time, you lose the benefits of true love until all but one leave your party.
- Luck-Based Mission: Basically the entire game. The encounters and treasures you receive are random. Your influence in combat is limited to who attacks what and when to run away.
- Made a Slave: Rogue wizards are able to take control of you and your party. You have several chances to escape before you're worked to death.
- The Many Deaths of You: While combat is the most common way to die, some events can kill you outright if things go poorly.
- Morale Mechanic: Works both for you and against you. Every time you kill one member of an enemy group, there's a chance the rest of the group will flee. And every time one of your companions dies, there's a chance your other companions will desert.
- Non Standard Game Over: Certain events can have outcomes that end the game outright.
- Nintendo Hard: The game is notorious for its difficulty. See Early Game Hell, Luck-Based Mission, and The Many Deaths of You.
- One True Love: The prince can find his true love during his adventure. Your true love will never leave by choice, and has a chance of reuniting with you if forcefully separated.
- Our Elves Are Different: Because Elven settlements use the same rules as human settlements, they behave identically, except for living in secret forest homes instead of cities.
- Random Event: The heart of the game, most turns there's a chance for at least one random event to occur.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: You can raid farms and villages to earn gold, although doing so has a good chance of putting you on the wrong side of an angry mob.
- Rightful King Returns: The goal of the game is to raise an army and retake your homeland. You can also put the true heir of Huldra on the throne, instantly winning the game with their help.
- Weaksauce Weakness: It's possible to learn that Count Drogat is undead, and therefore weak to the foulbane herb. If you acquire some, you can use it for an advantage on your roll to coerce him.