An Unforgiving Gaming Experience – Dark Souls: The Board Game

The Dark Souls franchise is one that has accrued a reputation amongst the gaming community for being a franchise with an unforgiving difficulty level. While the majority of the titles in the Dark Souls franchise are video games, a new title was recently released after being funded on Kickstarter: Dark Souls – The Board Game.

The Box:
The most striking aspect of Dark Souls: The Board Game when seeing it for the first time, is the size of the box it comes in. Easily twice the size of the average board game box, its size and weight are impressive. Once the box is opened, it greets you with a phrase familiar to fans of the series, the omnipresent ‘YOU DIED’. Digging deeper you will find two smaller boxes, full of beautifully detailed miniatures of player characters, enemies, and most importantly, bosses. These miniatures include several variations enemies familiar to fans of the Dark Souls franchise, Hollow Soldiers, Silver Knights, even the massive Sentinels. The boss miniatures are significantly larger than any of the other miniatures, and include iconic bosses from the series, such as the Gargoyle, Ornstein and Smough and the Dancer of the Boreal Valley. Deeper in the box are a series of character boards, with representations of statistics, equipment and health levels that belie the complexity of the game rules. At the bottom of the box lay a series of several tiles gorgeously detailed to appear as locations from the franchise.

The Game:
Dark Souls – The Board Game has a ruleset that causes it to play in a way that will feel familiar to players of the video game franchise. Each character has a unique set of starting equipment that causes them to play differently from each other right from the beginning. Each character also has a series of statistics, Strength, Dexterity, Faith and Intelligence, that can be increased as the game progresses to allow the character to utilize the new equipment that they will come across throughout the game. Fighting the enemies in the game is done through an intuitive ‘Behaviour System’ wherein the enemies will always enact certain behaviours, such as moving in a certain way or attacking a certain player. Though the specifics of these behaviours can change based upon numerous factors, such as where each player character is positioned, who entered the room first, and other such factors. This, coupled with the simple dice based combat resolution system make Dark Souls – The Board Game near infinitely replayable, as enemies will not behave precisely the same from game to game.

The Verdict:
Dark Souls – The Board Game is one that stands easily on its own merits, and while drawing heavily from the video game franchise to appeal to fans of the series, does enough differently to entertain those who have no experience with other games in the franchise. This, together with its intuitive, deep ruleset and enemy behaviour system cause Dark Souls – The Board Game to be a masterfully designed game that any fan of the series, or fan of cooperative board games, should check out.

– Alex

Modern Decklists – SCG IQ July 29, 2017

Alex Watt -1st- Bant Eldrazi

4 Eldrazi Temple
4 Windswept Heath
4 Cavern of Souls
3 Brushland
2 Yavimaya Coast
1 Temple Garden
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Breeding Pool
2 Forest
1 Plains
4 Noble Hierarch
1 Birds of Paradise
4 Eldrazi Displacer
4 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Drowner of Hope
4 Path to Exile
4 Ancient Stirrings
3 Matter Reshaper
2 Eldrazi Skyspawner
2 Eternal Witness
1 Engineered Explosives

Sideboard:
2 Stubborn Denial
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Negate
1 Worship
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Rest in Peace
2 Blessed Alliance
2 Natural State
Ryan Chang -2nd- Merfolk

15 Island
4 Mutavault
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Aether Vial
2 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
1 Vendilion Clique
4 Silvergill Adept
4 Cursecatcher
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
4 Lord of Atlantis
3 Harbinger of the Tides
1 Tidebinder Mage
3 Master of Waves
3 Merrow Reejerey
4 Spreading Seas
2 Dismember
1 Echoing Truth

Sideboard:
3 Negate
3 Relic of Progenitus
4 Gut Shot
2 Dispel
2 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Sea’s Claim
Pavo Pejic -3rd- Affinity

2 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Steel Overseer
4 Arcbound Ravager
4 Vault Skirge
1 Spellskite
3 Etched Champion
1 Master of Etherium
4 Signal Pest
3 Galvanic Blast
4 Cranial Plating
1 Welding Jar
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
1 Blood Moon
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Inkmoth Nexus
3 Glimmervoid
1 Mountain

Sideboard:

1 Spell Pierce
1 Stubborn Denial
1 Dispatch
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Blood Moon
1 Spellskite
2 Whipflare
1 Chalice of the Void
2 Luminesce
2 Nature’s Claim
1 Relic of Progenitus
Will Chanphakeo -4th- U/W Control

2 Plains
1 Mystic Gate
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Temple of Enlightenment
4 Flooded Strand
5 Island
3 Glacial Fortress
4 Celestial Colonnade
2 Tectonic Edge
2 Ghost Quarter
2 Snapcaster Mage
2 Gideon of the Trials
2 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Negate
1 Sphinx’s Revelation
2 Detention Sphere
1 Think Twice
4 Path to Exile
3 Cryptic Command
1 Gideon Jura
3 Supreme Verdict
4 Spreading Seas
3 Mana Leak
4 Serum Visions
2 Wall of Omens

Sideboard:

2 Negate
1 Dispel
1 Crucible Of Worlds
1 Geist of Saint Traft
2 Rest in Peace
2 Surgical Extraction
2 Stony Silence
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Condemn
1 Timely Reinforcements
1 Supreme Verdict
Adrian Malushaj-5th-Burn

1 Shard Volley
4 Boros Charm
4 Skullcrack
4 Searing Blaze
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lava Spike
4 Rift Bolt
4 Lightning Helix
4 Inspiring Vantage
3 Arid Mesa
2 Sacred Foundry
1 Stomping Ground
3 Bloodstained Mire
2 Mountain
4 Wooded Foothills
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Goblin Guide
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel

Sideboard:
2 Atarka’s Command
1 Stony Silence
1 Molten Rain
2 Deflecting Palm
1 Rest in Peace
3 Path to Exile
2 Kor Firewalker
3 Destructive Revelry
Jon Fine -6th- Bant Eldrazi

4 Path to Exile
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Noble Hierarch
2 Talisman of Progress
2 Blessed Alliance
2 Engineered Explosives
4 Eldrazi Displacer
4 Eldrazi Skyspawner
1 Eternal Witness
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Reality Smasher
2 Drowner of Hope
1 Elder Deep-Fiend
4 Windswept Heath
1 Forest
1 Plains
1 Wastes
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Temple Garden
1 Breeding Pool
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Aether Hub
4 Eldrazi Temple
3 Cavern of Souls

Sideboard:

1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Thragtusk
2 Rest in Peace
2 Disenchant
2 Pithing Needle
2 Stony Silence
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Worship
2 Stubborn Denial

Cody McCowell -7th- Storm

1 Noxious Revival
2 Thought Scour
2 Past in Flames
2 Grapeshot
3 Remand
4 Serum Visions
4 Pyretic Ritual
4 Gifts Ungiven
4 Desperate Ritual
4 Manamorphose
4 Sleight of Hand
4 Baral, Chief of Compliance
4 Goblin Electromancer
4 Polluted Delta
1 Mountain
3 Island
4 Steam Vents
2 Shivan Reef
4 Spirebluff Canal

Sideboard:

1 Platinum Emperion
1 Empty the Warrens
1 Repeal
1 Wipe Away
1 Echoing Truth
1 Swan Song
1 Apostle’s Blessing
1 Ricochet Trap
2 Pieces of the Puzzle
2 Blood Moon
3 Madcap Experiment
Randall Barber -8th-Merfolk

4 Cursecatcher
4 Silvergill Adept
4 Lord of Atlantis
4 Master of the Pearl Trident
3 Harbinger of the Tides
3 Merrow Reejerey
2 Vendilion Clique
3 Master of Waves
4 Spreading Seas
4 Aether Vial
2 Smuggler’s Copter
2 Vapor Snag
1 Dismember
4 Mutavault
1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Cavern of Souls
13 Island

Sideboard:
3 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Dispel
1 Negate
1 Unified Will
3 Gut Shot
1 Dismember
4 Relic of Progenitus