Theme Hospital-like inn sim Tavern Keeper puts you in charge of a pub for fantasy adventurers straight out of D&D

Tavern Keeper has been kicking around for a good number of years now, as Game Dev Tycoon developers Greenheart Games polished up their charming mixture of Dungeons & Dragons fantasy bartending with Theme Hospital-style sim management. Almost a decade from Game Dev Tycoon’s release, Tavern Keeper is now finally approaching its early access release later this year.

Tavern Keeper pops you in the beer-splashed boots of publican orcs, who as you’d imagine must juggle keeping locals happy with the business of running and expanding their enterprise. That includes laying out the tavern’s rooms themselves, filling them with furniture, ensuring that stock levels are kept up and hiring more staff – who you must also keep happy – to help you out with cooking meals (such as flambé swamp rat), cleaning and meeting the demands of patrons.

The game’s campaign throws up both some fun simulation-sandbox events – whether fires caused by errant fireplace ashes or an outbreak of the plague – and more crafted dialogue options with characters that help form its story. The simulation layer certainly seems to run deep, taking into account everything from the brightness of your torchlit cabin and filth levels to the unique environments and local cultures surrounding taverns in different locations. If you prefer to just decorate, there’ll be a design mode too.

Tavern Keeper is somewhat unbelievably only Greenheart Games’ second game after Game Dev Tycoon, which came out way back in 2012 and won over folks including Nate (RPS in Peace) for its charming and comical trip through the history of video game development.

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Tavern Keeper looks to keep that same charm and lightheartedness at its core, going by the first gameplay trailer, which immediately had me dreaming up my ideal pub like that episode of Peep Show. (You can even christen your fantasy tavern, though I’d personally recommend not following the naming conventions of Super Hans.) If there’s higher praise than that, I can’t think of it.

Tavern Keeper will pull its first pints in Q4 this year, when it throws open its doors on Steam early access. See you at the bar.

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