The Price of Freedom (role-playing game)

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The Price of Freedom is a role-playing game published by West End Games in 1986.


The Price of Freedom is a modern military system in which characters are part of an American resistance battling Soviet invaders.[1] The modern-weapons combat system employs maps and counters.[1] The game includes a "Player Book" (32 pages), "Gamemaster Book" (64 pages), miniscenarios, and maps.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The Price of Freedom was designed by Greg Costikyan, and was published by West End Games in 1986 as a boxed set including a 64-page book, a 32-page book, four 4-page pamphlets, two color maps, counters, a counter tray, and dice.[1]


Two French articles[2][3] criticized the way the Soviets are depicted, and espcecially the fact that only American resistants have Hero Points, and only Soviets and collaborationists endure panic. In an interview to Juhana Pettersson (fi) (a Finnish novelist, TV producer, journalist and game designer), Greg Costikyan admitted:

My political views are not those of The Price of Freedom; at the time, I considered myself a ‘left libertarian'.

[…] Some of my more liberal friends were intrigued by the idea, but repulsed by the heavy-handed nature of its political message […] But in general, you know, it was a flop. We had quite a lot of interest from the distributors pre-publication, but in the event, it did not sell particularly well. Keep in mind that this was the Gorbachev era, US-Soviet relations were improving, and the scenario was viewed as pretty implausible. […] [I'm] A tad embarrassed by the game.

— Greg Costikyan to Juhana Pettersson, Non-Digital: Better Dead Than Red[4]

According to Petterson, "[The Price of Freedom is] a conservative game designed by a non-conservative designer wishing to sell games to conservatives. [... it] is clearly and explicitly meant to be played by conservative U.S. players living in 1986."[4] Contrarily, James Maliszewski consider that "This isn't exactly a game that takes itself too seriously. […] like Paranoia, The Price of Freedom is actually a well-designed little game."[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 256. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. 
  2. ^ Rosenthal, Pierre; Vitale, Duccio (April 1987). "Price of Freedom". Casus Belli (in French). Excelsior. p. 28. 
  3. ^ "Vitrine : Price of Freedom". Chroniques d'outre-monde (in French) (7). Les Tentacules associées. May 1987. pp. 7–8. ISSN 0764-8197. 
  4. ^ a b Juhana Pettersson (April 13, 2015). "Non-Digital: Better Dead Than Red". 
  5. ^ James Maliszewski (November 24, 2010). "Retrospective: The Price of Freedom". Grognardia.