Dark Tower

Dark Tower

A Fantasy Adventure Born of Electronic Wizardry

Milton Bradley - 1981
1-4 Players - Ages 10 to Adult


In Dark Tower the players are noble adventurers in a medieval fantasy world. They must travel through the four kingdoms, collecting followers and gold and searching for keys to the ominous Dark Tower. Along the way they may investigate mysterious ruins and tombs for gold and treasure, stop at sanctuaries for healing and rest, visit bazaars to purchase food and hire scouts and face goblin hordes and even dragons.

When they have found all three keys, they and their forces must journey to the tower, break the code needed to enter and defeat the forces within. The first player to do so wins the game.


By the early 1980s computer chips were becoming more common and several game manufacturers were experimenting with including "electronic" components in their games. Probably the most successful of these was Dark Tower.

As the players moved their tokens (representing their adventurer and followers) about the board they pressed buttons on the Tower to indicate their moves. The Tower would display images indicating what they found in their journeys and, when they encountered opponents, would resolve the conflict. The players had to make a good number of logistical choices while playing; "should I hire a scout to keep from getting lost or should I buy more food?" "Do I have enough troops to assault the tower or should I go to the stronghold for more?"

Once the player reached the tower they had to guess the order in which to use the three keys they had collected. If they guessed wrong they had to wait until the next turn and try again. (Guess wrong too many times and they would run out of food and their followers would desert them.) Once they had the order for the keys the Tower would run a final battle between the player's troops and the defenders of the Tower.

This is one of the few of the electronic games produced where the electronics actually contributes to the game instead of being a simple gimmick. The tower could be rotated so that only the player who's turn it is can see it which keeps each player's moves secret. The fact that it is electronic means that the game can be played solitaire but it is much more fun with the full number of opponents. A really fun game.

38 comments on Dark Tower:

Peter at May 10, 2014 10:42 said:
I still have my game (begged for it after seeing ad on tv). Still works play with my brother and nephews (they love it). Still a lot of fun and a great game!!
Todd at September 30, 2013 16:07 said:
Hey, for what it's worth I agree with Mark, that Dark Tower app on android is excellent!!!
Marco at August 16, 2013 12:59 said:
Mark, these are very good news indeed! I'm about to get an andorid tablet and this app will be one of the very first to be installed! It would be awesome one day if we could play DT online..
mark at May 31, 2013 19:22 said:
Back again.. I just found a dark tower app!! I have the lucid phone by LG. So it is an android operating system. I am sure the app is also available for the IPhone. The game is not only fun but useful if you already own the board game. It can be used as the tower itself along with your board, or it can play the full game. This helps in many ways. I am going to use it to save the life of my actual game tower. I will use the tower on special occasions. Also I no longer have to worry about the tower crapping out on me. Sometimes on eBay, amazon etc... you can get the game without the tower for around $50-$75-. Well I hope this helps someone out there. (*O*) cheers..
Mark at May 29, 2013 22:20 said:
this is a reply to my own comment. I just found out the reason why the game is not made anymore. according to WIKI, Robert Burton and Allen Coleman submitted a game to Milton Bradley entitled "Triumph" that involved an electronic tower as the centerpiece. Milton Bradley rejected the game, but proceeded to release "Dark Tower" some time later. The inventors sued for misappropriation of trade secrets and won a jury verdict for over $700,000. The trial judge, however, vacated the jury's judgement. Despite finding that Milton Bradley had likely "plagiarized the plaintiffs' idea without so much as a by-your-leave" the judge proceeded to issue a directed verdict for the defendant because Burton and Coleman had signed a contract waiving any contractual relationship (which arguably included any duty of confidentiality). The First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed, finding evidence that Milton Bradley entered an implied agreement to keep the game confidential and reinstated the damage award.
The fact that the game went out of print shortly after release due to a lawsuit brought against Milton Bradley for intellectual property theft. So there you have it...
Mark at May 29, 2013 22:03 said:
Had the game when I was young (now I am 48). I told my wife about it, along with my 9 year old daughter. Since she was a potter fan, she was intrigued. I got it for Christmas '2013. My wife paid $250. It was well worth it. We played it a bunch of times. I am just worried that the electronics will someday crap out. And for $250 a shot. Can someone please tell me why MB don't make the game again?? Either a re-issue, or Dark Tower II. With more events to the story. With today's tech, could you imagine what it could be?? The tower would have an LCD display as things happen you would have moving LCD graphics. each player would have a LCD tablet. maybe an app to go with it. MB are you listening????????>>>>>>......
Iseries at March 3, 2013 05:00 said:
My friend got this for Christmas when it came out and me, him, his father, and brother, were up til 2am, looking for the 1st key in our OWN territory! Finally we figured it out and it was a lot of fun, great memories.
Tracy at December 11, 2012 15:04 said:
Got this from a garage sale back when I was a kid. Loved the game so much I usually just played it with just the tower. Wish I still had it. Lost it between a lot of moves.
bob mccoy at October 17, 2012 16:58 said:
I think dark tower is awsome. by the way i am a 10 year old
Jody Connell at August 11, 2012 13:43 said:
My uncle bought this when if first came out- later he gave it to my Dad- as a pre-teen in the late 80's and teen in the 90's, my friends and I would have tournaments-it was so much fun- I still have my game, but the box is now gone after moving so much over the years.
Baron McCausland at July 11, 2012 16:02 said:
LOL!!!! DARK TOWER!!!!! Yes, a blast from the past!!! We played this so much that we didn't even need the board or pieces, we would just pass the Tower back and forth, and visualize where everything was up to the storming of the Tower,.. LOL!! Now THAT is A LOT of play!!
Phil at October 19, 2011 13:55 said:
I have always loved this game. I got mine back in 1981, played it with friends back in the day and now play it occasionally with my three kids. The tower still works like a charm after all these years. The tower still has the original lightbulbs 30 years later. Definitely the first entry in my personal boardgame hall of game.
Tom at October 1, 2011 12:24 said:
Just curious, my DT box has ages 8-Adult on the front. Is this rare? Mine works, just tried it out the other night and the only parts I am missing are the flags- seems I busted the poles on 3 of them long, long, long ago - only have the banners. Checking on buying the flags. One seller has them for $8 a piece. The game was about that cost when new.
Grant at July 26, 2011 12:09 said:
NYGirl,try Ebay or Boardgamegeek.OK? OK. My Gma has a broken down one( Idon't know how she got it in the 1st place.)
Bernie at April 26, 2011 08:17 said:
My boyfriend got DT many many years ago and now plays it with me and my 7 year old son who totally loves this game. It would be great if they re released this game, I would defo get a new one even though the old one stills works perfectly! A really fun family game where kids can use their imagination and it is also good for their maths when buying from the bazaar.
NYGirl April 6, 2011 at April 6, 2011 19:04 said:
My brother would want to play this game EVERY DAY for hours! He won 90% of the time. It would drive me crazy! Beyond love for this game. He is in his forties and has 2 sons. I would like to buy this for his B-day. This would make his year. Does anyone know where to buy (on-line)? I have to get this for him!!!! I like it too!
NYGirl April 6, 2011 at April 6, 2011 19:02 said:
My brother would want to play this game EVERY DAY for hours! He won 90% of the time. It would drive me crazy! Beyond love for this game. He is in his forties and has 2 sons. I would like to buy this for his B-day. This would make his year. Does anyone know where to buy (on-line)? I have to get this for him!!!! I like it too!
Dark Tower Lover at March 25, 2011 01:06 said:
Such a cool and unique game. I got this for Christmas when I was like 7 or 8. Our family got a lot of use out of it. It's genuinely a good board game not just a novelty and the technology was awesome for the time. I can still remember some of the sound effects. That was fun trying to decypher what other players were doing by the sound. You'd know when they found a key. I wish I had kept it. I can't even remember what happened to this game. I had a large collection of board games. At least 25-30 and this was always my favorite.
beez at April 13, 2010 21:11 said:
I got my Dark Tower game when it first came out and there was something wrong with the tower. I sent just the tower back and they sent me a complete new game. There was still something wrong, so the tower went back and... you guessed it - I got a complete game back. I ended up with one tower and 3 complete sets of accessories. We've played it for years and it still works great. My 2 kids each wanted it, so I found just the tower on ebay for about $40 and I now have 2 complete games and an extra set of accessories still in the original packaging for spare parts. We still play it often. Great game!
Big Bad Benny B at February 6, 2010 12:38 said:
This was a fun game, but after playing the sh-- out of it back in the early 80s I realized there was a way to never lose. This required that you recognize a pattern that would develop as the game progressed. The pattern was sophisticated and hardly apparent but it never failed. I'm surprised no one else ever mentions this in the posts. Hard to believe I'm the only one ever to spot it.
Lady Duet Maxwell at January 13, 2010 09:44 said:
My Mom has an old copy that i remember playing when i was a kid with her. the worst part is the fact that the game left such a lasting impression on me that im now 25 and saving up to actually buy one despite the high price it is now. definitely one of my favorite board games of all time.
Jazmom at January 2, 2010 07:52 said:
It is a family tradition at all Holidays for us to play D.T. All of the sites show a different instruction book than I have. Mine only has tha Dragon on it. Has anyone else seen this kind?
Mr. Dungeons and Dragons at June 7, 2009 22:57 said:
I gave it away to goodwill years ago when I started playing Dungeons and Dragons, there was no comparison
kevin biker at April 27, 2009 23:02 said:
had one when i was a kid looked for years 37yrs now and i got one now i am buyind another for parts to keep my tower working> really with they would bring it back out in production but they sold the desighn to a japanesse company after the law suit.
mike at April 4, 2009 15:17 said:
wow. i'm pretty upset that i took it apart when i was younger. i wanted to find out how it worked. i didn't, and it never worked after that. my brother never forgave me.
Alphie at January 27, 2009 09:38 said:
This game sooo kicked ass. My mom bought it for me the Christmas it was released. I saw the commercial for it during Saturday morning cartoons and thought it was really cool. I didnt say another word about it and a few months later, there it was under the tree Christmas morning. What a surprise. I remember removing all the plastic play pieces from the tabs and going over that huge manual at the time. LOL Of course we didnt have batteries for it so I was in agony until the next day. I put it together and played it a few times and absolutely loved it. I invited my friends over across the street and we would play, and play. This game was revolutionary for a board game and believe it or not, still is. The tower gave you just enough information to let your imagination run wild and keep you heading toward your goals.. which of course was to unlock the tower and fight the horde. Remember the dragon! Schreeeeeeeee duh duh duuuunnnnn. LOL Great game!
Troglodad at December 1, 2008 12:02 said:
What a great surprise! I have this game, still working, after all these years. My daughter saw it when I was cleanign up the basement and has been pestering me toplay it. We broke it out last night and it still works after at least 20years of boxed disuse. So I got on the internet today and find out it's a rare game. What good luck, as this is only one of a handful of games that survived my youth! Sure hope it holds up until my daughter tires of it and we can box it back up again.
James Windle at November 29, 2008 15:00 said:
I got it for christmas when I was 12 (1982) I thought it was excellent although i cannt remeber what happen to it (so probably not that excellent.)
Number One Game Ranker in the World at November 29, 2008 11:06 said:
This game has been around for a long time. It is absolutly a fantastic game! You battle your way through the world fighting,bargaining, and conquering. This is a perfect gift for a Board Game lover, this game never gets old and neer gets boring. the prices prove it.
Fantabulously Found at November 23, 2008 10:53 said:
I remember saving all my Christmas money when I was just 8 years old to buy this game at over $40 in 1981....which certainly was a lot of money for someone that age. It was sooooo worth it. It was my favorite game ever and I truly treasured it. Unfortunately my brother lost some of the pieces when I was young and I threw it out. Oh....if I only knew ebay would exist someday! I have been wanting to get one now for years and can never afford one in complete and good condition. I would do almost anything for one of these games!!!!!!
BJ at November 19, 2008 18:01 said:
Wow... I think mine is somewhere in my parents' garage....
Marco at August 22, 2008 19:03 said:
'More than a game, it's an experience'..
That was the slogan of one of the most astonishing and involving boardgames ever created.
I remember the first times I watched the brief but atmospheric and intense tv advert played by Orson Welles (nonetheless) and how it drove me crazy (I was 11 or 12). Just released, its price was really high and definitely unaffordable..but on summer of 2 years later, I came across the showcase of my town toy shop and..yes..Dark Tower stood there, at a much lower price!
As a result of a mad pressing on my relatives, I succeded in convincing them to buy it only a few days after. Every expectation was fulfilled..man, what a fun! The battles with brigands, the dragon, the sword, the curse of wizards, the keys final puzzle..Every game was different from the previous one, too ahead fot those times.. Had been playing with some friends for years. Currently I owe the game, still working and in good conditions.
Really a franchise of my 80's.
james at August 12, 2008 07:05 said:
my fam use to always play this game, and we still have it. it gets dusted off and played at christmas from time to time.
Mike at May 19, 2008 15:01 said:
Hey Dana, You can get about 300 for it I bet.. maybe 400 if you auction it!
Sal at April 23, 2008 01:43 said:
on boardgamegeek there is a link to a site where you can play dark tower, its very easy. you can only play solitaire against the tower, not against other people, but its still good times. hope this was helpful.
dana at April 2, 2008 20:34 said:
My sister bought this game the Christmas it came out for her nerd boyfriend. I think she paid $80.00 for it. Man, it turned out to be a blast to play! When they started to heavily discount them to get them off the market I bought one too. I still have it, still wrapped in cellophane no less. It sat for over 20 years at my mothers house in storage only to be rediscovered when she sold the house. I wonder what it is worth to a collector?
PJ at January 25, 2008 20:38 said:
I got this for Christmas the first year it was out. I asked for it as a joke. Was I surprised!
Kevin at January 8, 2008 17:19 said:
Absolutely fabulous game! Way ahead of its time. Too bad a used copy is impossible to find under $200.

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