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Dark Souls: The Board Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: House Rule to counter repetition: Grinding rss

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Jonathan Stark

Oregon
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While it is very "video game," I've noticed a lot of reviewers do not enjoy the grind aspect of the Dark Souls board game, where you have to keep reseting the encounters and fighting the same enemies in order to build up your power for the boss. My group felt similarly, partially because the game was taking too long, when the real fun is in finding and fighting those bosses.

For my group, and for anyone else who is finding it hard to make it through the more mundane opening of the game, I came up with a house rule that has nicely solved the problem without lowering the difficulty of the game (the difficulty we all enjoy, we are sadists).

Quote:
HOUSE RULE: GRIND
At any time outside of an encounter (so not during combat), the group can spend one spark to "Grind." Doing so resets all of their tokens (estus flasks, luck tokens, heroic action) and gives the group experience again for all DEFEATED encounters. Doing this does NOT reset defeated encounters. Aside from spending sparks, there is no limit to the number of times you may subsequently Grind. Boss rooms are never affected by Grinding.

Note: You could argue (legitimately) there is a slight decrease in challenge due to the luck factor of just making bad rolls, but after several games, we found that during our reset grinds we very rarely died on a second attempt at an encounter. Just having the preknowledge of what was coming and being better equipped the second time around meant that mostly we were just do routine die rolling. And the few times where bad treasure draws meant we WEREN'T better equipped pretty much ended our games anyway... this meant that we were able to circumvent that a little and get to the fun part: getting our asses kicked by the bosses.

There is a nice tactical addition to this as well, in that you have to decide when it is time to "push it." The longer you wait without grinding, the bigger your reward, but the risk is higher, too, as you are heading deeper into the dungeon without better treasure.
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George Aristides
United Kingdom
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I did something like that as well. What i'd do is once I defeated an encounter twice without using any "once per spark" abilities, I'd consider that encounter is easy enough to "skip" in subsequent sparks. (and essentially get its "souls" for free).

This also encourages good tactics to try and beat easy encounters without spending your special abilities/luck/estus, which makes them more challenging and arguably more interesting.
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Jonathan Stark

Oregon
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nobody82b wrote:
I did something like that as well. What i'd do is once I defeated an encounter twice without using any "once per spark" abilities, I'd consider that encounter is easy enough to "skip" in subsequent sparks. (and essentially get its "souls" for free).

This also encourages good tactics to try and beat easy encounters without spending your special abilities/luck/estus, which makes them more challenging and arguably more interesting.


That is a good idea! For our group, fighting the same encounter twice was considered too much of a chore, if we had already defeated it (and hadn't died since), so the Grinding rule helps us avoid even that second fight.

We've also debated whether or not to switch up the encounters by drawing new ones when we die, just to keep the game fresh. But the downside there is that you lose the preknowledge of what you are fighting, which is an integral part of the strategy of the game, and you'd have to reset your terrain as well, which could be detrimental if you've drawn treasure chests or gravestones (the barrels are pointless, I think. There are never enough of them to truly block movement, so they should have contained some random gain, like souls or treasure or a refill of your tokens).
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United States
Connecticut
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Interesting as it looks, it's not a rule I would use, because I never decide to rest without attempting to kill the boss first. You might be onto something though, I wonder whether it could be adapted to allow a boss fight attempt.
Also, a minor balance issue, more for main bosses because of the really tough level 3 encounters: imagine you clear a path to the boss using most of your consumables, then grind, then attack the boss. You are in an ideal position that you might not have been able to achieve without grind. Maybe the "once per spark" and luck tokens shouldn't be replenished on a Grind?
 
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Scott Arnone
United States
Parkville
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nobody82b wrote:
I did something like that as well. What i'd do is once I defeated an encounter twice without using any "once per spark" abilities, I'd consider that encounter is easy enough to "skip" in subsequent sparks. (and essentially get its "souls" for free).

This also encourages good tactics to try and beat easy encounters without spending your special abilities/luck/estus, which makes them more challenging and arguably more interesting.


I actually really like that as an option, as it still forces you to have to beat the room effectively.
 
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Szymon Dwojacki
United Kingdom
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Zippdementia wrote:
There are never enough of them [barrels] to truly block movement, so they should have contained some random gain, like souls or treasure or a refill of your tokens).


I haven't thought about it. That's actually great idea. And we can also incorporate it in battle. If you manage to destroy the barrel DURING an encounter, you get two souls. After the battle you roll dodge die to determine if it contains any souls. Thank you kind sir for an idea.
 
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Pat Spinello
United States
North Carolina
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We have done something similar to reduce grind time. We have house rules that resetting Encounters does not burn a Spark, and only dying does. We did this because we knew we could always grind out the souls to reset the Spark in campaign mode, so why needlessly extend the games length by having to constantly funnel souls into the Sparks when we could be using it for equipment and levelling. We felt this didn't diminsh the challenge or fun factor at all.
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Matej Dolenc
Slovenia
Škofja Loka
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Has anyone tried just straight up getting more souls from defeated encounters. The base is 2 souls per player if I am correct. Has anyone tried 3 souls per player or maybe 4?

 
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George Aristides
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ranma wrote:
Has anyone tried just straight up getting more souls from defeated encounters. The base is 2 souls per player if I am correct. Has anyone tried 3 souls per player or maybe 4?



See, I don't want to make the game easier. I want to make it shorter by not having to spend time fighting encounters that are too easy. I want to keep fighting the encounters that are hard, as I like the challenge of trying to beat them...
 
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It's not such a silly idea. Decreasing the amount of sparks and increasing the souls per encounter solves most grinding problems, and doesn't make the game easier.
Just played a 2 player game with 2 sparks and 8 souls per encounter. Barely defeated the gargoyle, then got my ass thoroughly spanked by O+S.

If you count the total amount of souls people receive per boss/mini boss assuming all rooms are cleared:
1 player: 64
2 players: 80
3 players: 96
4 players: 96

Which means you can easily make the game less grindy by giving the party a single spark and 12 souls per encounter. Do the math, and the total amount of souls is still... 96.
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Robert Marney
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ranma wrote:
Has anyone tried just straight up getting more souls from defeated encounters. The base is 2 souls per player if I am correct. Has anyone tried 3 souls per player or maybe 4?


Yes. The most common variant rule is "Double souls, half sparks" (4 souls per player per encounter). I've played a few games with this rule, and it really speeds up the pace of play. You only fight each encounter once before engaging the boss, but you don't have a perfect build by the time you get there either.
 
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Dan D
United States
Minnesota
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Cha0s_lord wrote:
It's not such a silly idea. Decreasing the amount of sparks and increasing the souls per encounter solves most grinding problems, and doesn't make the game easier.


I considered doing this, but the method I want to try it to instead give players incentive to beat the boss as early as possible. The game attempts to do this by having the boss give 1 soul per spark per player, but you would gain more souls redoing encounters, thus giving players an incentive to spend all (or all but one) spark grinding before killing the boss.

To give players incentive to kill the boss faster, I think the boss should award 2 souls per non-boss tile per remaining spark per player in addition to the normal amount of souls. In this way, you always get souls as though you had spent every spark clearing all the rooms, plus any bonus from the boss. Technically this means you would end up with more souls than normal, though not too many I think.

My only concern is that it may trivialize the next phase, but perhaps that could be balanced out by having fewer sparks for the next phase, using campaign rules for sparks, or simply not getting more sparks at all.
 
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Trent Y.
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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nobody82b wrote:
I did something like that as well. What i'd do is once I defeated an encounter twice without using any "once per spark" abilities, I'd consider that encounter is easy enough to "skip" in subsequent sparks. (and essentially get its "souls" for free).

This also encourages good tactics to try and beat easy encounters without spending your special abilities/luck/estus, which makes them more challenging and arguably more interesting.


I too like this idea.

We found that repeating a room did not get boring. By the 2nd time we played a room, we did get efficient and could soundly beat it, making the room quite acedemic for further playthroughs. So I think it's fair to say that if you've beaten it in the above fashion, you can set that room's status to 'grind' or whatever.
 
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