The Bard’s Tale is a fantasy role-playing game similar to Wizardry games, with first-person exploration of pseudo-3D maze-like environments, and turn-based combat against randomly appearing enemies. Unlike early Wizardry installments, the town can be explored physically, and parts of the overworld are accessible as well. Several dungeons must be explored before the player can tackle the final quest.
The original Dungeons and Dragons board game heralded the rise of the role playing genre and captured the public imagination. However, RPG board games involved a lot of calculating, making notes, rolling dice and collecting cards. With the rise of computer RPG games, this changed. The computer took care of all the complex calculations, all the variables – and the most important thing: you didn’t have to worry that it would try to cheat.
The Bard’s Tale is one of the great RPG games that people simply loved to play. Although they’re classical RPGs, they’re somewhat different from the rest: you don’t get to customize your characters. You need a party to go on a quest, as in every classical RPG, but you only get to select the race and the position of the party members. There are no skills, wisdom, magic, or any other points you may distribute either randomly or intentionally; you can only create characters and choose a party to go on the quest.
That quest is to overthrow the evil wizard Mangar, who has seized control of the city of Skara Brae. This may sound very easy, but bear in mind that Mangar is helped by all sorts of monsters, which you’ll have to fight on the streets, in dungeons, in sewers, and in the very towers of Skara Brae, where the evil one hides.