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Dark Souls: The Board Game» Forums » General

Subject: Analysis of game elements rss

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anthony
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Preamble
Something about this game seems ‘off’; the game length, the grind, pulling item after item that needs big stat investments, all doesn’t sit quite right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the core gameplay and think it is compelling enough to try this analysis of the game elements to try to see what it is that leaves me feeling that it could be better/different.

My analysis does not include the campaign mode (which, as someone pointed out, can be exploited for infinite souls as you can buy sparks).

Item deck stats
I had a look through the item deck to see how it breaks down and the chances of getting certain types of items from the random draw and what stats the items favour (if any). These are the basic items only and not the class items (either normal or transposed) and no legendaries.

Here is what I found:
4 Ember
4 Titanite
4 Upgrade for +1black attack (1 for each stat @25)
4 ‘Other’ upgrade (1 for each stat @15)
1 Armour upgrade (cloranthy ring, all stats)
11 Armour (7str, 6dex, 6int, 5faith)
6 Shields (4str, 2dex, 1int, 2faith)
8 Spells (1dex, 6int, 3 faith)
7 two-handers (7str, 3dex, 1int, 3faith)
11 one-handers (6str, 7dex, 6int, 4faith)

The total number of items that include each stat:
Str 27 items
Dex 22 items
Int 23 items
Faith 20 items

Armour, 1 handers and Strength are represented more than others. Faith is under represented in the item deck.
Most items require 2 stats, meaning a greater soul investment needed for each item. This increases the need for the grind early game to be able to equip some upgrades.
Many items that are clearly Str or Dex items have Int or Faith as a secondary attribute; my guess is to make Int and Faith more relevant (as there are only 8 spells in the core set).
Of the spells, there is an uneven split, favouring Int over Faith (both Magic and Pyromancy requires Int). Most of the spells are just weapons under another name, but some do unique things (the miracles).
Strangely, Force is an Int spell when the graphic on the card (and the lore in the video game) suggest it should be Faith. If it was a Faith spell then it would help even up the split somewhat. Is this a typo?

Class-specific items
I analysed each class’ items as if that class would be equipping them. I know that any class can equip any item (making this analysis less useful), but the class-specific items mostly seem appropriate for that class.
I looked at the stat investment needed for each set of items (basic and transposed) and the souls needed for that investment.
Here is what I found:

Knight basic Str T2, Dex T2, Int T2, Faith T2 = 28 souls
Knight transposed Str T3, Dex T3, Int T2, Faith T3 = 48 souls

Assassin basic Str T1, Dex T3, Int T2, Faith T2 = 28 souls
Assassin transposed Str T2, Dex T3, Int T3, Faith T2 = 40 souls

Warrior basic Str T2, Dex T2, Int T1, Faith T2 = 20 souls
Warrior transposed Str T3, Dex T3, Int T2, Faith T2 = 40 souls

Herald basic Str T2, Dex base, Int T2, Faith T2 = 18 souls
Herald transposed Str T3, Dex T1, Int T2, Faith T3 = 36 souls

Interestingly, every class can equip all items from their class sets except the warrior; he has several 2-handed weapons and a ring with no armour to equip it to. Again, I know that it is because every class can equip any item, but I found it interesting nonetheless.
The Herald set has the smallest soul investment for the Herald of all the sets (18/36 souls), the Knight is the highest (28/48 souls).

General findings/comments
Soul requirements are front-loaded; you need a heavy investment of souls early on to both a) cycle through the item deck to get the items and b) invest in stats to equip the items.
Characters generally need to be investing in all 4 stats up to T2 (with some at T3); T2 upgrades to 4 stats costs 24 souls per character.

Gameplay, souls and items
Upgrading your character with better items to be able to beat the bosses is, essentially, the point of the game (I know, I play for fun too…).
The hardest run you will make in the game is the first run with only starter equipment (followed by the first run to the main boss). If you can beat this run reliably, without dying, then each subsequent run will be easier (as you get more equipment).
If you accept this premise then the gameplay flow for 4 players might look like this:
4 players = 2 sparks
Run the 4 encounters = 32 souls
Buy upgrades and Reset (-1 spark)
Run the 4 encounters = 32 souls (64 souls)
Buy upgrades and Reset (-1 spark)
Run the 4 encounters = 32 souls (96 souls)
Buy upgrades
Miniboss (0 souls gained as no sparks left)
Reset game back to 2 sparks
Run 4 encounters = 32 souls
Buy upgrades and Reset (-1 spark)
Run 4 encounters = 32 souls (64 souls)
Buy upgrades (leaving 1 spark for main boss)
Main boss

Souls before Miniboss = 96
Souls before Main boss = 64
Total Souls = 160
(add 32 more souls if you want to try main boss with 0 sparks)

You may want to fight the miniboss with 1 spark; adjust souls by -28 (-32+4 for miniboss). In this instance the spark is essentially lost if you don’t use it (as you reset sparks to 2 after miniboss).

Adjust numbers for differing number of players. For 1 player:
Souls before miniboss = 16+40 (5 sparks@8 each) = 56 souls

Some other numbers to consider
To fully upgrade a character = 14x4 = 56 souls
To fully upgrade 4 characters = 56x4 = 224 souls
To buy all items = 80+30 = 110 souls (minus any chest draws)
Therefore, to buy everything in the game = 334 souls (minus chests)
Maximum number of souls you can gain (4 players) = 192 souls

It is obviously not possible to purchase everything during a run, which is a good thing; you have to prioritise/make do with what you do have.

Closing comments/opinion
Again, I want to state (for the record) that, in general, I like this game. But I want to temper that with pointing out that I am a huge Dark Souls fan (I could not even hazard a guess at how many hours I have invested in the video games; all aspects of playing and lore).

As for the board game, some people (myself included) have criticised the game length and the repetitive grind for souls. My analysis has presented some figures for souls gained per spark and that it is impossible to fully upgrade and see all the items in a game.

If you want a shorter game length then you can cut out the grind completely (4 players):
Run the encounters up to the miniboss once, reward group with 96 souls.
Fight the miniboss with 0 sparks.
Run the encounters up to main boss once, reward group with 64 souls.
Fight the main boss with 1 spark.

This accepts that if you can defeat the encounters on the first run with weak equipment then you can defeat them again after you have upgraded. You will run the encounters multiple times anyway, so it assumes that is what you have done and you should just claim the souls instead of running the encounters over-and-over.
It cuts out the busy work, shortens the game but still has you making choices about what stats and items to use.

Thanks for taking the time to read. Please help me to correct anything that is incorrect and I hope you find something useful here.
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Jeff C
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Interestingly I did some quick math to try and find out how you could reward 96 souls by relating the soul reward to the encounter level and the simplest I came up with was this:

(2.5 souls per encounter + 1 soul per encounter level) * player count = soul reward
or simply for 4 players 10 souls per encounter + 4 * encounter level

Now the caveat is that there would be no soul rewards for grinding encounters repeatedly, if they reset due to a party wipe/rest then having to clear the room again is the price of the wipe/rest. However, you would probably want to reduce spark count by 1 or two to put the pressure on your overall playthrough.

for 4 players fand the Mini Boss Stage:
1] 10 + 1 * 4 = 14
2] 10 + 2 * 4 = 18
3] 10 + 2 * 4 = 18
4] 10 + 3 * 4 = 22
5] 10 + 4 * 4 = 26 (Miniboss considered a level 4 encounter)
Total for the stage 98 souls

For 4 players and the Main Boss stage:
1] 10 + 2 * 4 = 18
2] 10 + 2 * 4 = 18
3] 10 + 3 * 4 = 22
4] 10 + 3 * 4 = 22
5] Congratulations on beating the main boss, no reward for you!
Total for the stage is 80 souls which is higher than what you were suggesting, but I couldn't get around that unless I went to more annoying fractions for both the per encounter and per level factors.

It would be easier to simply double the rewards per encounter and halve the sparks but the lack of scaling bugs me for some reason. Also I don't have the game yet so I'm just putting some numbers out there for discussion purposes.
 
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Darren Tanner
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I've had a couple of play throughs and buying treasure just feels wrong. You can end up with a massive stack of useless items.

I think a shop (made up of, for example a dozen treasure cards), where it costs four souls for a basic item, 6 for an advanced one might work, and would be thematically better.

I'd also be tempted to add more treasure into encounters - barrels possibly, or even just roll a dodge die to see if you find one each encounter.

I'm also not convinced by having a limit on sparks - in the video game, there's no such limit, it's just been added to encourage people along. If people are struggling early game because they can't find items then a bit of grinding makes sense. I like the idea of it if I show decent progression by doing it. Grinding for no reward is not much fun though

If you want to remove infinite xp, you could take a leaf out of DS2, and prevent the individual encounters from resetting after four completions.
 
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Yan Bertrand
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With regards to treasures, would there be an easy way to "sort" them into finer-grain groups, to have first weapons with lower stats requirements show up? (That shouldn't be done with a single class in mind, so you have to keep some variety still, which in turn means there would still be quite a few items you get and cannot use. On the other hand, it slows down your development compared to official rules when you are lucky and get a slightly higher tier item that happens to better suit your character's current profile.)
I haven't got the game, so I cannot test / estimate the usefulness of this house rule.
 
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anthony
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Sorting treasures into grades of early and late game is something I considered. However, the stat requirements for most basic items is so high that it is almost not worth it (not including transposed and legendary here).

Cycling through more cards is a better solution.
 
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Steven Becker
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CardboardAnt wrote:

Knight basic Str T2, Dex T2, Int T2, Faith T2 = 28 souls


Have not read the rest just yet, but here is one error:

Knight basic Str T2, Dex T2, Int T2, Faith T2 = 24 souls
 
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anthony
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6x4 is, of course, 24. Hooray for maths.
 
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