Dark Souls (2017) is a cooperative fantasy board game based on the popular computer and console game of the same name. In Dark Souls, players take on character roles, fight minions for souls, level up and collect new equipment, trying to get powerful enough to defeat a giant boss. The game was noteworthy for having beautifully large, detailed miniatures, a detailed and programmed boss A.I., and, like its namesake, for being hard. Characters will die, and if too many succumb, the players will lose.
Steamforged Games has
announced 3 new expansions for Dark Souls, each expanding a specific area of
the game. The Characters
Expansion introduces 6 new character types to the game, each with new
equipment, actions and stat progressions. The Characters Expansion comes with
16 new miniatures, cards and boards to support the new characters. Vordt
of the Boreal Valley is a new boss, originally tasked with standing
sentinel over the gates that lead from the Undead Settlement to the Castle of
Lothric. Now a savage and mindless beast, the boss Vordt comes with two
behavior decks, one for movement and one for battle. The Vordt expansion also comes
with a new boss board, and new level 4 encounters, making it a difficult
challenge for experienced players. Finally, The Darkroot
Basin and Iron
Keep expansions come with 9 new double sided tiles for use in any game.
All three new expansions to Dark Souls are expected
to deliver to retail on November 22, 2019. For more details on Dark Souls the
Board Game, and its previous expansions, check out the Steamforged website
It will be a cooperative deck evolution card game for 1 to 4 players which follows a similar theme and progression system as the video game on which it is based.
Players explore Encounters around them to defeat a variety of enemies, and gain Souls and Treasure. A player’s deck represents their health and their tactical options in combat. Health, and the deck, is only restored when a player rests at a bonfire. Adapting to enemy behaviour and memorizing their attacks is key towards defeating them and progressing towards the Final Boss battle.
In the core game there are four bosses who each have their own deck of 8 devastating attacks:
Vordt of the Boreal Valley
High Lord Wolnir
Players can also choose between four classes including the Herald, Knight, Assassin, and Sorcerer. Each of these have a powerful in-game ability.
The core game includes:
Over 400+ cards (Starting Deck Cards, Equipment Cards, Stamina Cards, Enemy Cards, Boss Cards)
Playing Boards (Player Board, Encounter Board, Enemy Board)
Steamforged Games also developed the board game version of Dark Souls which is currently available.
The UK Games Expo (UKGE) released it’s attendance numbers for this year, and with a total of 16,383 attendees, they have increased their attendance from last year by around 30%. This pushes the UKGE up on the list of gaming conventions to be the 3rd largest gaming convention in the world. Another interesting number is that they showcased 320 different exhibitors, and the attendees attended an average of 2 days with entry numbers over the whole convention being 30,743. Also announced were the winners of the UKGE Awards for 2017, and they are:
New releases continue to be announced, and this time around we have a game that everyone is looking forward to. That game is the latest in the legacy style games, Charterstone, from Stonemaier Games and set for release in September of this year. Charterstone aims to take the legacy system and use it as a way to fashion a truly unique game that once you are done can be played over and over. Another interesting aspect to this game is that there is no rulebook, you just start playing the game and it will teach you the rules as you go along. I am very much looking forward to this game, although with tempered enthusiasm after Seafall failed to live up to expectations.
Next is the reprint and update to 5th edition of Alien Frontiers, the dice worker placement game that put Kickstarter on the board game map. Not much was said about what has changed, but I imagine little errors and updates were made to create this new edition. Also being released will be the Factions expansion as well as all 7 of the mini expansions for the game. Look for all of these on store shelves at the end of the year in December.
Another new release to retail is the notoriously difficult video game become board game, Dark Souls. Currently it’s only the base game getting a release date right now but if you missed the Kickstarter, you will be able to start your Dark Souls collection in April. I have no doubt that as time goes on, all the expansions sets and such that were unlocked in the Kickstarter will hit retail so we will have to be patient for those.
Next is a much needed reprint, and that is the second edition of Amun-Re, a classic game from well known board game designer, Reiner Knizia. Tasty Minstrel Games will be publishing this edition and will feature updated art and tweaks/revisions to rules and board from the first edition. Look for this game to hit store shelves in March, so brush up on those pyramid building skills in the mean time.
Then we have another Kickstarter game hitting retail and that is the wonderfully blue (color not mood) game called Lisboa. In Lisboa you are the nobles of the city trying to rebuild after getting hit by multiple disasters at once, effectively leveling the city. You will be building buildings, restarting commerce, and influencing others to re-open the new Lisboa. Look for this game from Eagle – Gryphon Games on store shelves later this year in June.
After that we have a new expansion for the Tasty Minstrel game Flip City, called Flip City: Wildness. This expansion takes you out of the city into the great outdoors, where you can further develop your city and offer your residents a way to get away from it all. This expansion come with 78 new cards, enough that you can play with this expansion by itself, or combine it with the standard game for even more variety. Look for this on store shelves in March of this year.
And finally, we have a new entry from IDW in the 8-bit inspired Random Encounter series of games called Random Encounter: Seas of the Sea Chicken. The game is billed as “part poker, part tactical combat” and features all new cards and even some new mechanics compared to the previous game. However, even with these new changes, the game is still fully compatible with the first game so you will be able to play with one or both of them at the same time. Look for this game on store shelves in May.
[UPDATE: Lisboa was listed as releasing this month when actual date is in June]
Board games and Kickstarter have been inseparable since the first board game was successfully Kickstarted, and that relationship has only grown. Kickstarted games from major companies like Massive Darkness, Dark Souls, and Arcadia Quest Inferno have hit their goal and soared past it into the millions of dollars range. Now that the numbers for the first half of the year have been released by ICO Partners, board game fundraising is so far outpacing video games by a 6 to 1 margin. In a summarizing report from Polygon, they note that board game Kickstarters are funding more often and at higher numbers than their video game counterparts. What’s interesting is that while video games from small publishers are still funding as often at they did last year, the lack of a couple big name projects is most likely the reason for the marked decline in value. But either way the board game market on Kickstarter is thriving and is on track to log a record breaking year.
Available now on Kickstarter from Steamforged Games is Dark Souls the Board Game.
“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.”
For those of you that have never played a Dark Souls video game before, let me try and give you a feel for it with this short roleplay:
Reawakening in the same dark cave, this time you have learned your lesson and quickly turn to find a skeleton charging towards you. You dodge out of the way and find a chest! You hope to open it and find a weapon. Nope, it’s a mimic.
Trying once more, you dodge out of the way and avoid the trapped chest. You find a corpse laying nearby and finally find a weapon. Choose an option:
What makes Dark Souls the video game so popular is not so much it’s difficulty, but the feeling of actually learning something. Restarting the game later really does feel a lot easier because you have actually learned what to do. It rewards patience and strategy, forcing you to study your enemy and, as the saying goes, “Git Gud”.
The board game seeks to create this same atmosphere by making the game have a modular setup and a difficulty that forces you to rethink your plans each time you fail. Players can “learn” what challenge a monster will present but never fully know exactly how to react.
The game comes with gorgeous looking miniatures that reflect their video game counterparts as well as other components that reflect the atmosphere of the game.
This game is nothing but a risk, but reviews seem positive. This writer is definitely hopeful. You can check out the project yourself by following the link: HERE.
Dark Souls has become well known as one of the most punishing games currently out, and so of course with that kind of notoriety someone has to turn it into an equally tough game. Steamforged games will be publishing the Dark Souls game and have said it will be a brutally hard exploration game for 1 to 4 players. The game will focus on fast set-up with a long reveal, which translates to a small initial setup with a board you explore and expand similar to Escape: The Curse of the Temple, so you don’t know what is coming before it’s right on top of you. They hint at an innovative behavior mechanic to control the monsters which will force players to play strategically and manage their stamina in order to survive. The minis are also shaping up to be high quality and they have said the base game will include a good amount of content with Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough being two of the bosses being included. Plus with tons of already created content from the Dark Souls video games, they won’t being running out of ideas they can add for a while.
Needless to say, they are doing good so far hyping the game and we won’t have to wait long for more information as the Kickstarter campaign launches on the 19th of April. You can head over to the Facebook post to read all the info and you can also Like the Steamforged page to get more updates.