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Dark Souls: The Board Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: First Playthrough/Review from a Hardcore DS fan rss

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Andy Vanderbilt
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So first full disclosure, I'm a huge fan of the Dark Souls franchise. Played them since Demon Soul's and loved every single one of them including Bloodborne. So basically I was in the right demographic to be incredibly excited about Steamforged Games' making a board game based off of it. I will do my best though to look at the game as objectively as possible for those who have never had interest in the game series.
After unboxing it and getting everything organized, which didn't take too long thankfully outside of punching a lot of little cardboard pieces and assembling a few dials, I set up a four player game at my FLGS and quickly acquired 3 other undead to take the journey with me. Setting up the decks for the different items didn't take too long and it's definitely one of those "once you know how it goes" it's much faster to get a game going.

Needless to say we had a blast. It was myself, a fellow DS fan, someone who had a basic idea of the game just from hearing about it and someone who enjoyed the universe but didn't really like playing the games. We all enjoyed the game due to it's mechanics and how flat out fun it was when an encounter began. It all moves very dynamically and once you get a feel for reading the symbols on an enemy's card and how the movement works it moves quickly. Starting an encounter by deciding who will lead the charge, who will go where and how to deal with the various threats added a quick level of strategy and combat is tense with dice rolls determining the outcome of attacks and defense. It all just flows really well and makes for exciting moments much like in the games series. You have to balance risk vs reward a lot due to your stamina (which dictates extra movement and stronger attacks) and your health sharing the same bar and this makes for some clutch decision making. Is it worth it to push yourself and strike at the enemy? If you miss you leave yourself open for what could be a killing blow, but if you succeed you prevent damage from possibly happening. As I said, really exciting stuff especially when an encounter goes bad and you have to make that call.
The boss battle was a whole different level of intensity. While it took a few moments to understand how the arc's work on boss characters, since they have four different quadrants that determine where their attacks hit and even where their weak spot will be to do some extra damage, once it clicks it creates that sense of awe and unease that fighting a boss in the games gave you. It definitely helps that the mini's are gorgeous and help set the tone due to the difference in size between the bosses and the hero mini's.

We got taken out by the boss and that was the end of our game since we made some bad decisions earlier but it was an incredibly fun time. If you are looking for a different take on dungeon crawling this is something to look out for. The game even has a campaign mode for those who want something more long term and the plethora of class expansions and enemies coming out are just going to add to it. I know I can't wait to get this on the table again!
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