You Died – Now come play some Dark Souls: The Board Game.
Dark Souls is brutal and so naturally our friends at Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy brought it over to check out on this Tabletop Spotlight:
The makers of Guild Ball, Steamforged Games has another hit on their hands. Dark Souls takes a the vibe from the popular video game franchise and manages to distill it down to it’s core for the board game. But even if you’ve never played a Dark Souls game this board game has some great mechanics and combat to keep you coming back for more. I recently got to play through a dungeon and I can say with first hand knowledge that this game is difficult but rewarding.
At the heart of Dark Souls is a dungeon crawling adventure game. The Players take the role of a hero and you’re partying up to try to explore and eliminate the boss at the end. You start at your camp fire tile and you can choose the rooms that you travel to next. If you’ve played Dark Souls, this is where things start to cross over because the first time you enter an area, the monsters spawn and you have to defeat them. If you happen to take them all out, you’ll get rewarded with souls – those are your XP/Currency that you spend to upgrade your character(s). You can purchase new gear and things in between encounters by “traveling” back to the camp fire. As long as you don’t rest, the monsters stay dead – but if you DO rest (or are defeated) then ALL the monsters come back and you have to re-clear the rooms.
The encounters are based on a tier system and a random encounter deck. Once you explore a room and get a random encounter card – that is the encounter now tied to the room. So at least you’ll know what you’re facing and form a plan before you re-enter (this actually helps tremendously). For my party, clearing out a room a second time was MUCH easier once we had spent the souls on gear and upgrades – plus knowing what was coming made it easier to know how to position and counter it, just like the video game. Funny how that works…
Steamforged has done an excellent job on this as the randomness keeps the game fresh and doesn’t make you frustrated – even the boss fights have that element of learning and randomness. Speaking of randomness, the damage dealt by players is rolled using the custom dice, but the damage done by mobs and bosses is done automatically based on their attack. Players can choose to attempt to dodge an attack or roll their armor dice to try to absorb it. As you take damage, you add red cubes to your damage track. As you attack and dodge, you build-up stamina cubes on the opposite side of the damage tracker. If those two meet (your damage track fills) YOU DIE – or rather you respawn back at the campfire and spend one of your sparks. If you run out of sparks, then you’re completely done.
Really, I could continue gushing about this game – it’s really good. The only issue my party and I ran into was understanding Boss movement. But we eventually figured it out – it just takes a few more steps, understanding how things trigger, and in what order. So it’s very similar to regular monster combat as everything is based on a card-AI system. The bosses cards are just randomized and have more complex instructions.
Aside from the fun game play, the models themselves are really cool. They look like they were ripped right from the video game in terms of style – which is what you want from a board game based on a video game, right?!
If you want to take a closer look at the rules, you can find them from Steamforged Games HERE. Also, if you do manage to pick this one up and defeat it’s dark heart, you’ll be glad to know future expansions are planned – get ready for more heroes, monsters, tiles and of course those boss fights!
Overall, I’m digging Dark Souls The Board Game and would gladly play it again. If you get a chance to try this one out do it! Dark Souls The Board Game is out and in stores now – prepare to DIE!
Dark Souls™ – The Board Game is a strategically challenging, deeply immersive combat exploration game for 1-4 players set in the Dark Souls™ universe. Players choose from a number of core character classes and explore dangerous locations full of monsters, treasures, and deadly boss fights.
Designed specifically for the Dark Souls™ universe and introducing a number of innovative gameplay mechanics, with world-class miniatures faithful to the rich universe, this game delivers an experience that captures the very essence of the original video games.
Playable in either Solo or Co-op modes, players choose their role from a number of core Dark Souls™ character classes. Each class has a distinct role to play in the game, with a unique set of strengths and abilities.
To triumph, players must explore dangerous locations, discover and defeat enemies, and collect equipment and treasures before ultimately facing the boss in an epic fight to the death.