Dark Souls Board Game Review

Contents of the box (It’s a rather large box)

  • 27 Highly Detailed Plastic Miniatures
  • 9 Double-sided Tiles
  • 4 Character Boards
  • 64 Health and Stamina
  • 15 Dice
  • 121 Tokens
  • 252 Cards
  • 8 Tracker Dials
  • 1 Rulebook

As a nice touch to the game when you open the box the first thing you seen are the words “You Died”

First things first I want to make it clear that I am a HUGE Dark Souls fan and I was very excited to get my hands on the game.

I regret I passed on the kickstarter, as at the time I wasn’t really sure how it worked and I didn’t want to pledge £70, fast forward and the base game with no extras cost me £100! However Steamforged don’t seem to be having much luck and they haven’t actually released any of the add-ons yet even people that backed it are still waiting.

One thing that really drew me to Dark Souls apart from the theme is you can play solo which for me is a huge strong point, I have managed to get my wife, some friends and my brother Andy @mmaontheblog.Com and my soon to be sister in law Emma @1oclockhalfstruck.wordpress.com into the hobby but I don’t think the brutal world of Lodran is quite for them with the exception of maybe Andy.

The other thing I need to mention is this game is a table hog and takes a lot of time I have played 4 times now and failed each time before calling it a day and each time the session has been over 2 hours, but don’t get me wrong I loved every second of it!

Now on with the show! I’ll give a brief rundown of how the game flows.

The game has excellent re-playability as you shuffle the dungeon tiles so this gives a different layout each game.

  • Shuffle the tiles to assemble the dungeon
  • Pick your character, place them on the bonfire and take there tracker and starting equipment
  • Take the number of souls equal to the number of players (Refer to the rule box)
  • Pick a mini boss and boss to fight
  • Set out the dungeons based on the boss you picked by placing the encounter tokens

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Now your ready to begin, you can decide to spend the starting souls which I recommend you do, you can either level up your stats or buy equipment, equipment is bought by drawing the top card from the draw pile you can either keep it yourself or give it to another player, this is also where your stats come in as you may need to level them up to use new items.

Once you have done that it’s time to enter the first room, you can choice amongst yourself who goes in first and where you all stand then once everyone is in the room you flip over the encounter cards (These are random so they will vary each time) then place the enemies as instructed and combat can begin.

Combat is resolved via dice rolls, your equipment and skills decide what you roll, and the enemies have there actions on the cards which helps the flow of the game as the card also has instuctions for who they are going to attack so you don’t get to pick the strongest player to take the hits, there movements are also listed, they will move to the closest player , move to the player with the agro token (This changes player each room), ranged fighters will move back and so on.

Each player has a tracker which you fill with black cubes if you use an ability these are stamina or red cubes if you take damage if the bar fills with either colour you die! You can also spend stamina for additional movement.

Each player will also have a special ability which they can use once per rest, along with a healing item and luck which allows a re-roll. You can only get these back if you choice to rest OR someone dies, if one person dies you all go back to the bonfire and all unspent souls are dropped on there square, if you die again before getting them back just like the videogame they’re gone. Also in line with the videogame all enemies respawn on a rest.

You can only allowed a set number of deaths or rests before game over, this number is decided by the number of players.

If you defeat an encounter you get souls which you can keep or spend but as above hoarding souls can be a risk and you reset your hp / stamina.

Once you have succuessfully reached the mini boss door (You can rest if you like to repeat combat to level up more) you enter the mini boss fight, what makes these interesting are these enemies have a deck of ability cards that you shuffle to form there attack actions once they are used you simply redraw in the same order. That means you know there attack patterns and can stand in safe spots right? Wrong once they get below a certain level of HP, they get burn cards shuffled in which totally change there tactics and power them up!

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Show down with the Gargoyle!

Now if you are lucky and defeat them the good news is you get access to your characters upgraded equipment the bad news? You have to go through a tougher dungeon to reach the boss. The flow of the game is pretty much the same as before expect harder.

Pros

  • The component quality is excellent
  • Combat mechanic is nicely balanced
  • Fluid gameplay
  • Loads of replayability
  • Artwork matches the game
  • Boss fights are a highlight

Cons

  • Buying equipment is to random you might never get anything that you can use
  • Dying at a boss, sometimes fighting back there feels long winded
  • High cost
  • Getting everything back in the box (You can’t if you want it to be organised!!!!!)
  • It’s not a quick game
  • This won’t appeal to a lot of people

My solution to the storage issue was to buy a case typically used for screws, nails, etc from a local hardware store you could stick everything back into the Dark Souls box but you’d need 40 minutes to sort everything out to start the game! I just arranged the compartments into tockets that are a similiar type like souls, item cards, elite item cards and so on.

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Overal this game will appeal to you a lot more if you’re a fan of the source material or even if you like high quality miniatures to paint you get alot in this box! I personally cannot wait until the add-ons are realeased and I plan to purchase them especially Sif as they are my favourite character from the games.

But if you’re on the fence and have the spare cash i’d say take a gamble and buy it! You can typically find a copy on various facebook gaming groups for £70 often with people sending on the additonal content when they receive it.

Ain’t no party like a D&D party

So this blog is just a recap basically of last nights D&D game if there’s interest I will pop a sort of highlight reel of my other characters and general D&D.

It’s worth pointing out that this campaign it a custom world written by my DM.

So my Character Dorin the Drow Gloomstalker is travelling with a mix of races and we approached the city of Silvery Moon, and in typical Human fashion they make us all pay a toll and surprise surprise mine is the highest purely because i’m a Drow and I refused to pay so I have to put up with insults like “Shit pixie”

The rest of the party tell me to just brush it off and pay and words are exchanged with the gatekeeper and the toll goes up and up with each exchange! I am now alone outside of the city looking up at the stars, having already inspected the freshly dug graves, having discovered that the dead are possible victims of a recent Vampire attack and there was also a LOT of fresh graves within the city! So maybe outside is the best place to be eh?

Anyway I stick a trap down on the graves, manage to make “friends” with a non human guard called Malik and then decide to have a nap as you would. As time passes i’m awoken by screams coming from the graves and I look over and see two fresh Vampires.

I then gesture to the racist gatekeeper and say something along the lines of “O look Vampires are you going to deal with that?” And I got back “Umm no it’s not my problem it’s yours”

At which point I reply “Nope i’m not fighting for you” I cast rope trick, and disappear and watch from my extra dimensional plaine as the 4 guards outside fight the Vampires. I was willing to drop down into the fight if Malik was in danger.

The best part of this was the DMs face as I basically walked away from the fight he had clearly setup for me leaving him to roll against himself as he was controlling both the Vampires and the guards 😀

So the fight ends Malik and one other guard survive I then drop down and advise that they stake the bodies and also dig up the graves and stake those bodies as well.

Additional words are exchanged with the gatekeeper and my toll goes up again!

I saw such things as “Why would I want to pay to gain entry to a city full of racists that will probably be overran with Vampires soon?” and get back “Shut up shit pixie”.

At this point the rest of the party of happily getting on with there own thing within the city as they have various tasks they wish to complete.

Near the end of the session the guards taunt me “Ha he can’t even fight Konrad would kill him” a heated exchange takes place and I agree to fight Konrad in a duel if I win I get free entry into the city if I loose well I ummm die! I’m told I still have to pay to enter the city to have the duel so I refuse again and agree to be taken as a prisoner to get “free” entry as I am taking away I take great delight in taunting the gatekeeper by pointing out a “shit pixie” has just gotten into his city for free.

This guy totally has big man syndrome as the jailer basically shut him up and said it was now no longer any of his business.

So now Dorin is in jail awaiting a duel to the death with an unknown opponent I don’t even know his race, and apprently the racist gatekeep gets to set the terms, so next week will be interesting.

Could this be the end of Dorin? Or will he survive and gain free entry to the city! Stay tuned to find out!

What’s old is new lets party like it’s 92!

So growing up videogames had always been a part of my life starting with the Commodore 64, that was the system that started it all for me! But there was a system that made me go WOW that just blew everything out of the water before it and that system was the Super Nintendo!

The gameboy was my first Nintendo system and after that I was mainly Sega until one Xmas I got a Super Nintendo bundled with Super Mario All-Stars + World.

Now i’m not one to pick a side and boycott the other systems I play what I think is fun and the system I enjoy at that moment in time, but overall I would say for me that the Super Nintendo came out the champion of the 16bit war.

Now let’s fast forward to the modern age where we have consoles that are 4k and can do VR, allow us to play online with friends and people that we have never met before and in some cases may even become friends.

In this age does a system like the Mini Snes have a place? In an age where you can play these games on pretty much any device via emulation or purchase on Nintendo systems such as the Wii / Wii U and in some cases these devices cost less. A simple answer YES it does have a place and you should welcome it with open arms.

What the mini SNES offers is a full scale controller modelled on the original if you hold it you’d think you were holding an original controller the quality is that good which you come to expect from Nintendo products.  The biggest thing that puts me off emulation or Nintendo’s own VC is I like to play old games using the controller they were made for I don’t know why it just feels wrong using anything else, I guess it’s the fond memories I have attached to the originals.

Next you have the system it’s self every detail have been recreated but in mini form and it looks stunning and I hope that Nintendo continue to make these systems I will happily purchase them to line them up infront of my TV.

Going back to the time when this system and the megadrive were battling it out for the top spot the thing I miss most from that era is local multiplayer there was nothing better than sitting down with someone and beating them in a game of Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat for me. The thrill of just one more game (it never was just one more game) and the victor is the overall winner, even if you’d lost several games in a row it was all on the line in that final match! Or playing Mario Kart for the first time and shooting your opponent, yes we can do this online but it’s not the same you don’t get the same level of interaction and most importantly you don’t get to see the look on the other players face as you defeat them.

I have played games online with close friends and realised we haven’t even spoken during the play time, sometimes in Mario Kart 8 it can feel like a solo event even though it’s online multiplayer, one big miss for me is the ability to peek at the other players’ screen so I can see where they are on the course, or if they’re winning give them a nudge to put them off.

But you plug in the mini Snes hand your friend a controller and it’s go time, you can’t help but talk to them when playing a selection of the excellent included games especially to brag as you defeat them in the Street Fighter II or if you are really good lap them in Mario Kart you just don’t get that sense of statisfaction online.

I took great pleasure in battering my brother in Street Fighter II, he’s not bad at the newer ones but he was totally useless when he played on the mini SNES but he still enjoyed it all the same and it felt like an overall better experience than when we played Street Fighter V online.

It really does feel like a throwback in time, if you’re a younger reader there’s a chance you might not of even experienced a local multiplayer game and if so I pity you because you’ve really missed out so grab a friend an extra controller and invite them round and game on!

I also had a load of fun showing this to my 5 year old son, he instantly wanted to try Super Mario World and asked why he couldn’t throw “Cappy” at the enemies but he enjoying the game all the same and I saw the same amazement in his eyes that I probably felt when I played this system for the first time.

I had actually intended to review the system in this first blog post but I think I will leave this for another time and go play some of the excellent single player games on offer on the mini SNES, even though Secret of Mana has just been remastered the SNES is still the best way to experience this game in my eyes.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this, and more content will follow in the next day or so.