As a child, I spent many hours attacking the Dark Tower. Back in 1981, this game was an incredible technological feat. Now, it seems rather simple, but I would kill to get my hands on one.
Game play was simple, up to four players adventured from their home citadel to find 3 keys to unlock the final battle at for the Dark Tower. Keys and three other treasures, The Sword, The Wizard and The Pegasus could be found in the 8 tombs and ruins around the map. At the Bazaar, players could purchase warriors, food, a Scout, a Healer and a Beast.
Warriors fight but could also carry gold for you, up to 6 bags each. If you ended a battle with more gold than you had warriors can carry it, you lose the surplus. Warriors also ate food. Up to 15 warriors ate 1 food per move, 16-30 ate 2 food, 31-45 ate three and so on. Moving without food caused the loss of one Warrior per turn.
On your adventures, you could make a safe move with no event occurring, get lost, encounter a plague, a dragon or engage in battle with Brigands. Battles were the most common event. In combat, if you won a round the Brigands would lose half of their force. If you lose a round, you lost one warrior. Winning or losing a battle could increase your gold, but if you didn't have enough warriors to carry the gold, you lost it. A Beast could carry 50 bags of gold, on top of what your warriors could carry. Getting lost caused you to lose a turn but if you had a scout, you could move again. When struck by a plague, you lost 2 warriors and possibly some gold due to carrying capacity being reduced. If a healer was purchased, you received two warriors instead of losing them. The dragon could wipe out 25% of your warriors and gold in one swoop. Having The Sword drove the dragon off and awarded gold and warriors.
The Wizard curse was a special event controlled by other players. When The Wizard was awarded to player, they could curse one other player. The curse transferred 25% of the other player's Warriors and gold to the cursing player. There was no defense and the effect was immediate.
The Pegasus allowed a player to advance anywhere within the kingdom they were in. They could not use The Pegasus to leap over the Frontier. Any attempt to do so would result in a lost of the turn AND The Pegasus.
Once the player had all 3 keys, found in the other three kingdoms, they could advance on the Dark Tower but only from their home kingdom. Going to your home citadel with 16 or less Warriors would double your troops. You could repeat this, but only if you went to one of the other special places such a tombs or ruins before returning.
The assault on the Tower required the player to guess the correct order for the keys. The riddle showed a random key and the player would guess if it was correct. If it was, they had to guess the next key until the correct order was input. The game would display a random key, but the order was fixed in the system so that it would not change, making the process less painful than it sounds.
In the final battle, the number of Brigands was based on which of the three levels they players selected at the outset. Level 1 had up to 32 Brigands while 2 and 3 had 64. You could approach with up to 99 Warriors, but there was little point in doing so.