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Epic Tavern is a reverse-RPG game where you’re the Tavenmaster in a wild fantasy land

There isn’t quite anything like this one out there.

Epic Tavern
Image: Epic Tavern

At PAX West this year, Epic Tavern was described to me as “sports management meets fantasy.” In it, you play a bartender/owner in charge of the epic tavern in question. Adventurers wander in, you build relationships with them, and you hear about quests that you can send them off to.

There are systems in place for combining drink and food orders to make customers happier, you get new gear for your patrons, and it’s all in all a pretty fresh take on the fantasy genre.

The hook that had me, however, was actually just the name generator for the tavern, which you use at the start of the game. It feels like almost every name it can possibly come up with is hilarious, a fact that the developers are pretty proud of. Once I stopped laughing and picked something so I could play the rest of the game, I went with “Ye Olde Wet Cow Pub,” because why not?

Here’s a closer look at Epic Tavern in the trailer below

I found that I actually had surprising control over the characters that I ostensibly wasn’t in control of. The game sends you on a tutorial quest that is guaranteed to fail eventually, as it’s the story catalyst of why things in the world are as bad as they are when the game begins. You do control heroes in combat by telling them what kind of roll to make (e.x. Aggressive or Cautious, among several options).

From there it’s all about hedging probabilities. The best way that I can describe the level of control you have is one that goes well with the “sports management meets fantasy” pitch: You’re more of a coach on the sidelines making broad suggestions and less of a player making micro choices.

Still, if I’m playing as the bartender, why do I have any say at all in the quests themselves? It’s mechanically fun – I like the dice rolling and seeing how my adventurers are faring on the quests I told them about – but it’s thematically strange.

Still, there isn’t quite anything like this one out there. If that tickles your fancy, Epic Tavern is in Steam Early Access on Windows right now for $24.99, with full release hopefully in early 2020.

Have any thoughts on this? What do you think about Epic Tavern? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Jake is a writer and game designer in the suburbs of Philadelphia. He loves action, exploration, building, filling bars, and turning numbers into bigger numbers. Someday he'll release a video game.

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