Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Blackguards Game Poster Image
Tough but rewarding tactical RPG with realistic violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Promotes strategic thought and planning but also glamorizes bloody medieval-style combat.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Playable characters consist largely of criminals, including a convicted killer. They work together, but their methods rely on violence.  

Ease of Play

A grueling challenge. Players must master complex battle and character-customization systems to succeed. Battles with limited turns are very difficult.


Characters attack in turn-based combat with axes, swords, bows, and magic. Strikes cause yelps of pain and splashes of blood that stain the ground. Cut scenes show extra violence, including a scene in which a woman is hanged.


Some female characters wear outfits accentuating breasts, cleavage. Dialogue includes some sexual references.


"S--t," "damn," and "hell" used occasionally.


Based on The Dark Eye, a German pen-and-paper role-playing game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bottles of alcohol appear in some environments.  

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blackguards is a downloadable tactical fantasy RPG with realistic violence involving blades, bows, axes, and magic. Battles are methodical, turn-based affairs. When characters move in to attack, their slashes and chops result in cries of pain and blood splashing from their enemies. Mild language and women in provocative clothing occasionally appear in narrative sequences. The main characters are rogues and misfits -- even a purported murderer -- but they work together. Parents should keep in mind that this is a complex and exceptionally challenging game that demands patience and strategic thinking. Players likely will encounter defeat more often than victory as they work out tactics for each battle.

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What's it about?

BLACKGUARDS begins with a prison escape with the player in control of the escapees. It's a sign of things to come in a game that shuns traditional heroes. Your characters range from being a little rough around the edges to being verifiable scoundrels, all with their own motives and objectives. It all takes place in a fantasy setting just gritty enough that it could almost be mistaken for our world's history -- if it weren't for the existence of magic, mages, and dwarves (it's based on a German pen-and-paper role-playing game called The Dark Eye). Play shifts among story sequences set in towns and combat maps with floors divided into hexagonal patterns. Fights play out in turns, with battles serving to advance the story. There are nearly 200 combat maps through the campaign, making for very lengthy play.

Is it any good?

Blackguards isn't for the easily frustrated. Those used to more forgiving turn-based strategy games will quickly run into a wall here as they encounter maps that require well-considered decisions. The smart computer-controlled enemies are only too happy to take advantage of even the smallest player-made mistakes. It often comes down to finding the proper mix of conservative tactics and aggressive actions. Some missions require hasty movement across maps overcoming enemies and traps along the way as a turn timer counts down, while others reward players who inch their parties forward and draw out their enemies one or two at a time. Regardless of the tactics required, success is most often found in lessons learned from previous defeats -- and a bit of luck, since not all attacks are guaranteed to find their marks.

It can be frustrating, and at times it borders on unfair. However, as the game progresses and you come to better understand your characters' strengths and weaknesses -- which you help shape over time -- you may be surprised at how rewarding this lengthy and challenging role-playing game can be.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games. Are there any situations where violence is ever justified? What are the real-world consequences of violent behavior?

  • Discuss strategic thinking. What does it mean to be strategic? What sorts of strategies do you create, consciously or not, to deal with problems you encounter on a daily basis?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love RPGs

Themes & Topics

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