Heroes of Barcadia from Rollacrit gives a unique twist on tabletop gaming by combining it with drinking game mechanics. Rather than having a traditional hit point counter, players take drinks from their glasses to denote how much damage they have taken. This physical action adds a new level of experience for each roll of the dice. While drinking games are usually associated with alcoholic beverages, this is not a requirement. A player’s health counter could be their favorite soda, iced tea, or plain water for those looking to get maximum hydration, though the character glasses should not be used for hot beverages despite sipping potential.
The aesthetics of Heroes of Barcadia give a hilarious parody twist on the classic dungeon crawl. The “board” is a series of hexagonal coasters, and the player’s cup represents their character rather than a plastic mini. Puns start with the players such as Sir Drankalot the Inebriated, Intoxica the Necromixer, and the roguish Flaskian the Concealed. They face off against monsters like the Booze Ooze, Hopgoblin, Hangogre, and of course the Green Fairy. Even the power-up items are puntastic from the Cloak of Ginvinsibility to the India Pale Flail.
Gameplay in Heroes of Barcadia follows the dungeon crawling mechanics well. Players build the dungeon by laying tiles out in any direction, creating a labyrinth that the characters must explore from their central location. They journey through the rooms, revealing monsters to battle by rolling dice and gathering loot to grow more powerful. Eventually the Drink Hoard is revealed, and the first player to defeat the Grand Drink Guardian wins the game.
The real strategy in Heroes of Barcadia comes from outmaneuvering the other players. While the characters’ actions are fairly light with moving and rolling dice to battle monsters, winning is all about using the loot cards. Players may lay traps ahead of others, power up monsters that opponents are facing, or outright “attack” with cards like Waterfall, where every other character takes damage. Being in the lead with the least amount of damage or having an impressive collection of power-ups makes that player a target. Since zeroing out on life means simply discarding most of the power-ups and refilling on life back at the starting tile, attacking each other is all in good fun. Once the Drink Hoard is revealed, the game has a last-stage mad dash for victory, made all the more fun by the Dueling rules in which players on the same tile can battle each other to swap positions.
Heroes of Barcadia is a tabletop drinking game for two to six players, running about half an hour or more depending on the number of players and how quickly players take their actions. With its player-interaction strategy and silliness, it best suits players aged twelve and up who like more social gaming to straight rules. The gaming is light with ties re-rolled and plenty of opportunities to get on top, tumble into last place, and then make an epic comeback that will have everyone saying, “Cheers!”