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Dark Souls™ - The Board Game is a strategically challenging, deeply immersive combat exploration game for 1-4 players.
Dark Souls™ - The Board Game is a strategically challenging, deeply immersive combat exploration game for 1-4 players.
Dark Souls™ - The Board Game is a strategically challenging, deeply immersive combat exploration game for 1-4 players.
31,178 backers pledged £3,771,474 to help bring this project to life.

Exploration Update

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 Hi Unkindled,

The core of any good dungeon crawl board game is exploration. In Dark Souls: The Board Game, players explore tiles, battle enemies, collect loot, and level up their characters in order to fight increasingly difficult Encounters that culminate in an epic showdown with one of the infamous boss battles of the Dark Souls series. As you may remember, we released an article regarding Exploration while the campaign was running, but a lot has changed since then based on backer feedback, playtesting, and more playtesting. We’ll start with a list of what has changed, then dig into each change in greater detail.

So, the changes:
Encounter Deck Overhaul
The Fog Gate
The Number of Tiles Used During Exploration
Sparks
Player Death
Acquiring Souls
The Bonfire Tile and Spending Souls
Treasure

The Encounter Deck
As we were refining the core rules for the game, we found some rules that simply didn’t feel necessary; using an ‘Encounter Deck’ to explore tiles was one of these changes. Encounter cards are still a key element of the game, but they function in a much more fluid manner now. Previously, Encounter cards were added to a single deck and then drawn as players entered the tile. During playtesting, this immediately caused issues, such as facing difficult Encounters the first time players left the Bonfire tile or being unable to progress.

So what did we change? Encounter cards are now separated into 3 different Encounter Decks, which are sorted by level. So, all level 1 cards in one deck, all level 2 in another, and finally level 3 Encounters in another. These decks are to be placed face down. Boss cards have also been updated and now include information as to which level of Encounters are required to unlock a Boss fight. For example, the lower portion of the Gargoyle’s card shows that 3x level 1 Encounters and 1x level 2 Encounter lead up to this particular Boss fight. These Encounter cards are drawn from the respective decks and placed on the tiles with the difficulty increasing as players roam farther from the bonfire. This gives players a chance to gauge the difficulty of upcoming Encounters, so they can agonize over the decision of when to commit to the next battle and when to rest at the bonfire. Finally, the Fog Gate token is placed on the tile farthest from the Bonfire tile.

The Fog Gate
Once we’d added the possibility to lose the game (discussed later), we wanted to avoid putting players in a position where they could lose because of an unlucky Encounter Deck draw into a Boss. And the concept of the Fog Gate (another backer suggestion) introduced a great solution.

To face the Boss, you simply walk through the Fog Gate to the Boss room. And by placing the Fog Gate at the edge of the tile that’s farthest away from the Bonfire tile, you can explore and choose when to take on the Boss. So instead of randomly stumbling upon a Boss, you now get to plan ahead and choose when to take it on.

Here is an example of one of the many varied tile layouts you could have during a gameplay session.
Here is an example of one of the many varied tile layouts you could have during a gameplay session.

Number of Tiles Used
You may notice that only 4 Encounters were listed in our Gargoyle example, which is another change from what was initially announced. This is a result of our change to tile numbers! In our earliest playtesting, we started with 6 tiles for exploration, and then tried using 5, 4, and 3. As we playtested, we wanted to make sure fighting through Encounters didn’t bog down gameplay, especially when you have to fight back through an Encounter after a defeat. We needed to make sure this balance would be challenging yet fun. In the end, 4 Exploration tiles struck the right balance between exploration and advancement and were unique enough to stand apart from the set-piece Boss Encounters. Another small tile tweak is that you place the tiles when you set up the game rather than placing them as you play through. We recognized the building-as-you-go approach didn’t add to the Dark Souls experience, so we removed it. This was a huge focus of our playtesting; rules and mechanics needed to bring the Dark Souls video game experience to the board. Any that didn’t pull their weight simply had to go.

Sparks
Much like the Fog Gate, ‘Sparks’ were a Backer-suggested mechanic. And in early playtesting, we felt that something was missing: Tension! While losing is just getting too frustrated to continue in the world of Dark Souls, we knew we needed a mechanic to emphasize the importance of player decisions. A case of infinitely trying until you get bored or win just wouldn't cut it. So now when you run out of Sparks, there’s no more safety net. If a character dies at that point, you lose the game. Hello, tension!

In the simplest terms, Sparks function as your party’s lives. They can be used in two ways: either to allow the party to respawn after being defeated or to let the party rest at the bonfire. In either case, after using a Spark, the party gets to refill Estus flasks, regain Heroic Abilities, regain Luck (we’ll cover Luck later), and reset all Encounters.

The amount of Sparks a party has is determined by the number of players, and there is a nice, easy-to-follow table in the rulebook that tells you how many your party starts with. The general rule of thumb is the more players you have, the fewer Sparks you get.


Sparks are replenished upon killing Bosses, and when you down one of these big nasties with Sparks remaining, additional Souls are generated! Each remaining Spark earns the party 1 Soul per player. For example, a party of 3 players that kills a Boss with 2 Sparks remaining would gain 6 Souls in addition to the Boss-specific treasure that it drops.

Player Death
If any member of a party dies, the ENTIRE party is transported back to the Bonfire to rest, and a Spark is consumed. You still refill and regain everything and all Encounters reset.

When a Player Character dies and you’re forced to rest at the Bonfire, all Soul tokens in the Soul Cache are placed on the Node that the fallen Player Character was standing on. These Souls are retrieved when a Player Character moves onto the Node with the Souls. But if you or anyone in your party dies before these Souls have been retrieved, the Souls are discarded.

Acquiring Souls
Every time you defeat an Encounter, you gain 2 Souls per Player Character. In the video game, these numbers tend to go into the hundreds and thousands, but within a board game, those numbers just aren’t practical. These Souls can be spent in a few different ways, as explained below.

The Bonfire Tile
We needed another method for Characters to improve themselves by levelling up and acquiring gear that wasn’t attached directly to the Bonfire, and the additions of Blacksmith Andre and the Firekeeper let us do precisely that.

The Firekeeper is how you level up. Base Stats to Tier 1 costs 2 Souls, Tier 1 to Tier 2 costs 4 Souls… And you guessed it: Tier 2 to Tier 3 costs 8 Souls! Each stat is levelled up independently of each other, which means you could max out Strength for 14 Souls and leave your other stats at Base level. Generally, the stats you choose to level up will change from game to game. These decisions will typically depend on the treasure you’ve obtained, as different treasure will require different amounts of levelling up according to your class.

The Golden Wing Crest Shield requires 26 Strength and 26 Faith to equip. The Herald class (levelling chart shown above) would need to level up to Tier 2 on both Faith and Strength in order to use it. This would cost a total of 12 Souls.
The Golden Wing Crest Shield requires 26 Strength and 26 Faith to equip. The Herald class (levelling chart shown above) would need to level up to Tier 2 on both Faith and Strength in order to use it. This would cost a total of 12 Souls.

  You can also buy ‘Luck’ at the Firekeeper. Luck is a newer mechanic. Each Player gets one Luck token, which can be used to reroll ONE die. Luck can be regained by resting at the Bonfire or it can be purchased from the Firekeeper for 1 Soul in between Encounters. You can only ever have one Luck token so you can’t spend Souls for more than one of them.

Blacksmith Andre is your primary source of loot and equipment upgrades. Rather than Grunts dropping treasure, they drop Souls. These Souls can be used to buy ‘treasure flips’ from Andre, which cost 1 Soul per flip. Andre is also where you change your gear loadout and apply upgrades to equipment.

Treasure
Treasure is gained via ‘treasure flips’ for the most part. Treasure flips come from the treasure deck. This deck is initially formed during set up and consists of 60 ‘Common treasure cards’ ranging from various weapons, armours, spells, and upgrades.

Before you start playing a game, 5 class-specific starting treasure cards are added to this deck for each Character in your party. So, the treasure deck can range from 65 to 80 cards depending on the size of your party. The class-specific treasures focus on the unique flavour of each class. For example, the Knight has a class-specific treasure that will make him a tank that replies on Blocking, rather than Dodging. These class-specific treasure cards can be equipped by anyone, however. So, if you want to be a Block-based Assassin, you 100% can live that dream. It’ll just require taking a different level-up path than what you might usually expect from an Assassin, leaning more towards Strength rather than Dexterity. This is generally how treasure is handled throughout the game; however, some enemies do drop specific treasure, like Bosses. Each Boss in the game has between 2 and 4 unique Boss treasures that can only be obtained by killing a Boss. And after killing a Boss, 5 additional ‘Transposed Class Treasure Cards’ are added to the treasure deck. These generally represent more powerful equipment than what’s seen in the starting treasure cards.

_____

That’s a ‘brief’ rundown of the Exploration basics for Dark Souls: The Board Game! We’ll be streaming a staff play through of the game from Exploration to fighting the Titanite Demon Mini Boss on November 25th at 6PM (GMT) via https://www.twitch.tv/steamforged.

Praise the Sun! \[T]/

 

Nakano, Christopher Lawruk, and 128 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. Lord Crisp on November 14

      Actually... I would REALLY like for you guys to include your "draw tiles as progressed" original rules in the ruleset as an alternative...
      Though I have no doubt that the new way is fun, it would be VERY nice to able to sometimes just have to play by ear, and hope you find the boss room quick.

    2. Rory Cartwright on November 14

      I appreciate going into depth Alex, hopefully you're right and it's not as jarring as I'm imagining.

    3. Leprechaun on November 14

      I still don t know how to get to the pledge manager.
      I didn t get any email.

    4. Jacksukeru on November 14

      Cool post Alex.

      As someone who went into this Kickstarter hard, despite not expecting to ever find people to play with, I'm glad it sounds like something I can just play by myself if I had too. Better than the entirety of my interaction with it being opening it up and looking at the figures : D

    5. Steamforged_Alex on November 13

      I'll start off by saying this isn't just a 'shooting down an idea' post, I genuinely like the idea and it is something we tried out. Negative modifiers are something we explored, but they do come with their own complications. Number one is during production, as a designer production considerations are something you have to be aware of. Components cost money, I wish they didn't... But they do. Anyway, on to the functionality reasons why negative modifiers cause issues. When looking at megatvie modifiers, irrelevant of why they're occuring (damaged equipment, debuffs, penalties upon death etc) they always need to be something that effects you enough to care about avoiding them. In a game where equipment load outs can vary so much getting that perfect number is really hard and can often lead to a system being able to be 'gamed'. A negative modifier with always affect the 'worst' geared person the most, and of course the 'best' geared people the least. And in a death system we don't want to promote snowballing of one character, we want you to be working together to make a strong group.

      Now I'm going to go into a bit fo story time, I know it's hard to explain how the death system works out while your playing without... Y'know playing the game. But I also know it's unfair to say 'wait and find out' or 'trust us'. So here we go, an example from one of my favourite playtest sessions. It was a 3 player game and I was playing as the Knight.

      We'd just downed the Winged Knight and were pressing forward towards Ornstein and Smough. We had an Assassin who was focusing on dodge, and myself and a Warrior who were both heading more towards Block. I REALLY wanted a shield to provide me with some more Magic Resistance, I was currently dual weilding 1-handed swords because I was fortunate to pick up a sword with some Physical block on it that equalled my shield, but Magic damage was becoming a nuisance. As a group we were able to get around this by just focusing down the Grunts that were putting out Magic damage and playing to our strengths by tanking out the Physical damage. The random treasure deck, across all of my playtest games has never left me feeling like 'I can't progress'... You just have to change and adapt to whatever is thrown at you.

      While exploring you don't flip over the Encounter cards for the first time until you have walked onto the tile and chosen which entry Nodes you want to be standing on. So everytime we walked into a new room we had the agony of who is 'Kicking the door open' and taking the aggro for the first wave of Grunt attacks. Crossbow Hollows cause Magic damage (Magic damage is used to represent elemental damage as well as 'actual magic damage'), this represents the Crossbow Hollows with flaming arrows. I was generally 'the best equipped tank'... But these Crossbow Hollows were proving troublesome because of my lack of Magic resistance. So we had to decide when entering a room for the first time, do we hope for no Crossbows in which case I'll kick... Or do we let the Assassin do the kicking because their dodge generally meant they wouldn't get hurt by the Crossbows. Sounds like an easy decision right? Just let the Assassin do it, less risky. Well it would be, had it not been for the possibility of the Silver Knight Swordsmen, because the Silver Knight Swordsmen's attack have a higher dodge value than the Crossbow Hollows and are extremely scary for our Assassin. So yeah, agony of choice... Obviously once we've seen this Encounter once, we know where everything is and can plan accordingly... But that's all part of the learning process that comes with entering a room for the first time.

      Now, the Crossbow Hollows couldn't do enough damage to me to outright kill me and even if they could I still had my Heroic Ability to help me out. But what they were doing was preventing me from going all out with heavy attacks with both of my weapons, because I knew If I spent to much stamina I'd be edging towards the point where they could kill me. And again, this poses more questions to both me as an individual player and my party as a whole. The Crossbow Hollows are an annoyance for me, but the other 2 players were generally ok with having them around. They were more worried about the Silver Knights and Large Hollows, who I was having no real issue with. So each time I activate I have to ask myself the question. What is best for me, and what is best for my group?

      Anyway, we push on and get to Ornstein and Smough. This whole fight I've been wary of Magic Attacks, and have spent my Heroic to reduce the damage upon being hit by one. We reach a point where it is my activation, Smough is pretty beat up and I have an opening where I MIGHT be able to take him down. Now, the important part here is that we know the next card coming out of Ornstein is a ranged Magic attack that targets the aggro. If I kill Smough, Ornsteins Heat Up deck comes into play which is shuffled meaning I might take some Lightning to the face... Or I might not. I go for it, heavy attacks with both weapons which cost me a total of 6 stamina. I should probably say at this point we'd discussed the maths and it was unlikely I killed him... But I was petrified of the Lightning attack from Ornstein, I'd already used my Estus and knew I'd be taking damage from it if I got hit by it.

      I roll the dice, and come up just short. I then get zapped by Ornstein which I just survived, and finished off by Smough's Bonzai Drop (which was physical, for shame). The smart play was to take my free attacks on Smough, and ride the wave on the Magic damage... But I got obsessed with my pore Magic resistance and it caused me to make a poor decision.

      Still my favourite moment from playtesting to this day, did the group of players with hold it against me that I decided to go for the 'yolo' because it felt right? No, because we were all having fun... And that's what playing co-operative games is all about.

      Hopefully this all makes some sense, and is at least moderately entertaining... Sorry it's such a wall of text, I got carried away!

    6. Missing avatar

      Jhonatan Eduardo do Nascimento on November 13

      Even thoug you have add this new fog gate i think you should keep the original Random Boss rule as a variant and optional rule on the rule book !!

    7. Nakano on November 13

      I like the idea of Despair Dice by Rory more than immediately going to Bonfire when 1 character dies. If not dice, then actual modifier of -1 token to result per character death effecting on the full group. Characters respawn/(auto heals?) if at least 1 hero survived the fight, but tokens remain until resting on bonfire.

    8. Missing avatar

      Jefferson on November 12

      Hi, I have a question about the bonfire that may affect the tile layout: Are there bonfires with a different number of exits?

    9. Missing avatar

      Matthew B. on November 12

      The increase in shipping cost is due to the fact that they have a higher volume of add on sales than expected at start of kickstarter. They knew what the sales were at the end, could have let us know the shipping would be so much. They waited till now to tell us, then ignore most of the valid questions posed to them. I can only assume that part of the increase in price is to cover the cost of shipping all those add ons. Which means all backers are paying to cover that cost. Like many have said, how can shipping 1 core cost the same as shipping 5, or a core with a ton of add ons. It is not the same, so everyone pays more so that those with add ons get cheaper shipping.

    10. Missing avatar

      Freyaldo on November 12

      I also wonder if the perma death rule is very dark soul-ish.
      I might check out something like, mobs only re-spawn 2 times (only at rest/death), similair as in ds2, where you could farm a zone up to 10-15 times or so and mobs stopped spawning.

      This will prevent over-leveling stuff, while gives you more shots at the boss, if the bosses are close as difficult/annoying as in the video-game, I expect the chances of actual death's to be high.
      (Basically I use the sparks= the amount of resets you get, so you can get stronger loot/attribute-wise, so you can fight that boss more than x times)

      Unsure about the 1 player death= wipe too, but might consider death= no loot/reward. (if at boss, it means you can't even recover dropped souls) Tbh this feels tension wise to be better, might add even boss regains x-y% hp.

      But I will try with core rules first, house rules could always be tweaked.

      In retrospect I might have been one of the poorer dark souls player, but seeing how easy you can die in the video-game, I'd rather don't see the same difficulty with only a few group-wide lifes, makes me wonder if I would ever be able to get to the (mega)boss

    11. Missing avatar

      Johan Selin on November 12

      @Antoine Jones
      Read my comment again, properly this time, instead of zoning in on something that fits your narrative and ignoring everything else.

    12. Missing avatar

      Freyaldo on November 12

      @matthew if you bought the core game you get all the core game expensions later.
      So you're not paying for other peoples addons as well, you do get the addons for no additional shipping charge along-side your core game expensions shipment.

      yeah some countries were tripled the cost, others were between double-triple. (based on highest predicted cost)
      the list they showed was only for the core game, all the core game expansions was never intended to be free shipping.

      I do agree with the fact of no chooice, do you a want evrything in late shipment for X cost or split shipment (only core game first) with Y cost.

    13. Yoeri Goldewijk #TeamPrissy \[J]/
      Superbacker
      on November 12

      @Matthew: Most of those didn't/don't even happen.

      There was never an actual cost, only a speculated one, which is quite normal to change up or down. The split shipments wasn't planned, true. The payment for the shipping of the second half isn't done by all the backers, they said that THEY are paying for it, so its in a sense free for those getting addons and everyone is getting the second half (while this may make the shipping be more expensive for some, it does not burden the backers, only the creators). They've been communicating quite a lot with the backers, more than a fair few kickstarters I've been at.

      As the shipping was perhaps above than expected, there was never anything set in stone. They've only made a rough estimation as you can clearly read on the page. We're paying for the shipping of the core game and while perhaps the shipping costs we're paying might include some of the second half even when not indicated, everyone is getting something during that and I'm not sure how much it'd differ between backers, most of the costs are taken by them and they're even giving us vouchers for the future that lowers shipping costs of future buys.

      I hope that explains and helps you somewhat.

    14. Missing avatar

      Matthew B. on November 12

      I am referring to the 3x increase in cost, the split shipments, the fact that they are forcing all the backers to pay for the shipping of those who got add ons, their lack of communication, waiting till it was too late to get a refund without penalties, so that we are pretty much screwed no matter what we choose. And totally ignoring most of the backlash that came with it. Few KS campaigns have rubbed me as wrong as this one has.

    15. Michael Andrew Plait on November 12

      Looking forward to March, gentlemen.

    16. Missing avatar

      Antoine Jones on November 12

      @Johan Except you forget that the "amount of free shit we get with the core game" Also wont be available at core game launch. Also I wouldnt call waiting half a year "a few months later"

    17. Missing avatar

      Johan Selin on November 12

      @Matthew B.
      What "shipping debacle" are you referring to? The add-ons not being available at core-game launch sucks, but given the amount of free shit we get on top of the core game, getting it a few months later for no additional cost seems fair enough to me.

      It's a shame it can't be sooner, but delays happen and it's better than having the whole thing moved back several months (And it will give me time to paint the core stuff before the new stuff arrives...).

      Despite what they've said, I always go into a kickstarter expecting A) Massive delays or B) Nothing. :P

    18. Missing avatar

      Cameron Dodd on November 12

      I don't like the 1 player die rule, sparks, and perma death. But like others said I'll just not implement them in my games. We'll decide at the start who is the host. If the host dies then we'll reset. If one of the "phantoms" dies then we'll continue. I'm not sure if summoned people get half flasks but I'll throw that in there too. I'll just adjust my own rules. I will not ever include perma death though.

      Thanks for the continued work.

    19. Missing avatar

      Matthew B. on November 12

      Am I the only one who is pissed that this update does not address so many of the questions and issues people are having with this shipping debacle. Just going to stick your head in the sand steamforged? Hope that if you ignore the problem long enough it will go away?

    20. Torrence Sunbear on November 12

      I don't get why there's people wanting a refund this close to finally getting it just cause a couple rules changed a bit. If you want the build as you go mechanic just do it? These guys are trying their hardest to make this game as good as possible and its sad to see a few people crapping on that. For me this game just keeps getting cooler and cooler!

    21. Justin Boehm
      Superbacker
      on November 12

      @SFG and other backers: personally I think the sparks should be for bosses only and that respawn should be free (minus souls dropped and enemies respawned) for regular encounters, this would keep tension as you can still get a "game over" from a boss but still provide freedom for exploring and leveling your party. What do you think? Makes for a middle of the road option that keeps the dread of boss battles but avoid issues with getting screwed before even reaching a boss.

    22. Christopher Wood on November 11

      I mulled over the Player Death = Party Death rule, and what struck me was how awful it would be if I died (a likely occurrence) and had to run back to the boss fight (all while dealing with the reset encounters on my own) while the rest of the party took on the boss. Yes, it does open the door to certain personalities trying to run the table, but no more so than a game like "Pandemic."

    23. Missing avatar

      Tyler Oates on November 11

      @Alex The game sounds great so far, Im loving the changes. But I did have an Idea for boss fights: What about adding a "heal" mechanic per player death. If a player dies, the boss is healed by a certain amount instead of completely resetting the fight. Not very "Dark Souls" but could be a way to negate cheesing the boss, while continuing the boss fight even with player deaths. Thoughts?

    24. Yig, The Frogdog Whisperer on November 11

      I wish a Blacksmith Andre miniature was a thing.

    25. Nicholas Aaron Granich on November 11

      I think this looks great and am looking forward to playing it in the (hopefully) near future.

      To all those who are upset about the reveled locations or 1 party member death rules I say this: You have to look at it from a board game perspective. Just because it works in the video game does not mean it can translate into the board game realm. If the death rule or the known tile location rule bother you so much, then play it differently. These rules are not all mighty and unable to be changed. Simply house rule it.

      However looking at it from an experienced board gamer these rules make sense to me. The death mechanic requires a lot more team work to properly execute a boss fight or a difficult encounter. If you are playing with 4 people bosses will die that much easier if there are no real consequences to the party if a member is killed. As for the revealed tiles I think they are a good idea. In the end who cares what the enviorment looks like, the encounter sets the tone. Imagine playing a game and when ready to go to the next area you have to wait because of the set up. Although its not much time to flip the tile and place it to the proper position it does slow down the momentum of the game. In games that do employ this game mechanic the tiles play a major role in the encounter.

      At the end of the day you can change or do whatever you want with his game. Hell you can simply use it as a D&D expansion. They made these changes for a reason, trust the professionals to do what they are paid to do.

    26. Missing avatar

      Johan Selin on November 11

      @Scott Arnone
      Many backers have commented on their dismay for the mechanic, no one has said "Do that thing you've already playtested that didn't work", what we've done is suggest alternatives to the current system, without any actual response to if those mechanics have been tried out or not.

      All we've heard is that "no punishment for death" caused gaming the system, so we've suggested ways to incentivice not doing that while keeping it closer to the Souls formula. I'm not saying my suggestions or those of someone else are better than the developers, I just would like to voice my opinion on the matter.

      You know, feedback and all that, kinda the point of these updates?

    27. Scott Arnone
      Superbacker
      on November 11

      The fact that you have people in these comments going "I don't care if it makes the game worse! I want these features that playtesting has proven as bad or give me a refund!" Is kind of blowing my mind.

      They blatantly said that individual deaths caused people to game the bosses. Why would you want that? But I mean, if you do, you can house rule in a broken rule easily enough, so why ask for a refund? Same with exploration. Have you guys ever played a game with random tiles? It adds NOTHING in Shadows of Brimstone--it's all about the encounter cards, which, in Darksouls, are going to be hidden.

      Wtf does it matter if you can see the tiles art? You won't know what the encounter card is until you get there.

    28. sabata2 on November 11

      A few things worry me with this update.
      First is the random treasure. What if my Cleric rolls a 2 handed Ultra greatsword? Will I be able to give that to my Barbarian friend?

      As to Acquiring Souls, does this mean that a level 3 encounter will still only give 2 souls despite the difficulty? In the game the harder the monster the more souls you'd get. So sometimes you'd just blow past the common enemies in the early rooms to clear out the harder enemies near the boss door and that was it.

    29. Daniel Thorpe
      Superbacker
      on November 11

      I'm gonna pitch in with my hate for the explore tiles and death mechanic. Unknown tiles is much more fun. You never know if you should risk a new tile or turn back. So you risk it and boom you found a boss. In the video game you don't know a fog door exists until you have triggered a boss fight. You also have no idea what's around the next corner the first time.

      As for death, I think in the spirit of a fun board game then sure shards could be used to resurrect a fallen friend on route to a boss fight. But once in a boss fight you should be able to win it with all but one ally lost, they wouldn't get the winning bonus like you would, but they get something. The reset on a single death I really hate.

      As it stands if this game has changed to include the those two changes I'll be asking for a refund too.

    30. Rohan Viajar on November 11

      All in all the game seems too "safe" for the lack of a better word

    31. Rohan Viajar on November 11

      Kind of disappointed by the the new exploration. Sure it makes for a better board game but it feels less dark souls.

      I feel like the playtesting was more catered to boardgaming rather than sticking closer to the spirit of dark souls.

      Exploratoon is always blind in dark souls. You dont know what is coming next or where the boss is until you actually get there.

      Dark souls is less about a standard progression of difficulty of 1 to 3 but rather a pretty constant level of oppression where skill mitigates death.

    32. Rory Cartwright on November 11

      A bunch of typos- was trying to hammer it out before I head off.

    33. Rory Cartwright on November 11

      "Put simply, it's easy to read and shoot something down having never played the game. It's not like we've just plucked an idea out of nowhere and said 'that'll do', we playtest tirelessly to ensure everything works as intended."

      I understand that, and I didn't simply say "I don't like it". I gave specific clearly foreseeable problems with the mechanic because those problems exist in other games that share similar mechanics.

      I could foresee a number of other possible solutions that don't completely remove the tension of players, one after another being killed. Imagine the scenario where 3 players have been fighting the boss and the boss is on low life- if one player happens to just whiff a block roll and die, that its, the game is over. What this means is that tension is flat- during any action one player could die and thats it, reset the board.

      Games shouldn't have a constant level of tension, it should rise and fall as the tempo of the game increases and decreases.

      In most cases, even punishing players heavily for player death is much better than simple binary game resets because you've give the players a slim, non-zero chance at turning it around (even if the game mechanics stack it against the players when they begin to fail).

      Now this is completely off the top of my head, but consider instead a mechanic where a player dying gives all players a 'Despair' dice on all of their actions- for each PC that's died. That despair dice would be a negative modifer- the results of it are subtracted from their other rolls. Now, you've eliminated the incentive to suicide into the boss because theirs a constant negative modifier that has drastically eliminated their ability to fight- HOWEVER, if a PC dies late into a fight theirs still the possibility that the players might power their way through the Despair modifer.

      Now obiously I don't have the specific details of the game- it could be a dice with a random modifer, it could be a token with a flat modifier, but what I'm trying to illustrate is that there are methods out there that eliminate suiciding as a mechanic without encouraging other forms of poor play patterns (like captaining and turtling).

      A player can now throw themselves away if it means getting over the line- but if they fail they might have doomed everyone. As more PC's die, the chances get slimmer and slimmer as more Despair is piled on- tension builds as every player watches on to see if the remaining players can manage to get through the final points of the boss. Contrast that with- oh crap, I whiffed the roll and have no Luck left- sorry guys.

    34. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      I'll cover those I've missed next week so check back, sorry to dash out. It's been a VERY long week!

    35. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      Right, actually off to bed now! Night ladies and gents!

    36. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      @Anthony - Incorrect, leveling up and buying treasure isn't linked to the Bonfire. We're more than aware of what issues come up when linking progression to the 'lose mechanic'. Sparks are linked to resting, which can be done optionally or by dying. Say I'm in a 3 player game, and we've just successfully completed the final encounter before the Boss room. We have 6 Souls to spend from this encounter, but we've all used our Luck, 2 of the 3 have used their Estus and only 1 of the 3 has their Heroic Ability (formerly Once Per Spark Ability). One member of the group wants a Tier 3 upgrade to equip something they looted earlier and have been working towards. Now you have to make the decision, do we try the Boss and risk dropping these Souls or just return to the Bonfire, refresh everything and return to an Encounter that's just spawned to get the extra Souls needed to level up. In terms of a decision, it is far more complicated than just 'It's better to try and die'.

    37. Missing avatar

      Kikizosan on November 11

      Trading treasure - only at bonfires, presumably?

      I don't recall, but is any sort of campaign progression being considered across multiple games (not mini-boss -> boss -> mega boss)? I don't think this was in the plan, but maybe it is now?

    38. Craig Belcher
      Superbacker
      on November 11

      @SFG_Alex Without having played the game, I do agree with @Rory that the current death system promotes captaining. Can you speak to how captaining is mitigated given that even a single death ends the battle for everyone?

    39. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      @Rory - Tiles are drawn randomly, and placed so they join up. You could just use one of the doorways off the Bonfire and do them in a straight line if you want, that's entirely down to the player. The Boss determines the levels of the Encounters used, and that amount of cards is drawn from the deck matching those levels. So for the Dancer who is 2 level 2's and 2 level 3's (I think, I don't have the spreadsheet handy) you would drawn 2 cards from the level 2 deck, and 2 cards from the level 3 deck. Each deck has 12 cards in it for the Core game.

      In terms of feedback on the death system, the system has been in used for 40+ playtest games across staff and playtest groups and has seen by far the best yield in enjoyable games that provide the amount of tension we want in the game. Put simply, it's easy to read and shoot something down having never played the game. It's not like we've just plucked an idea out of nowhere and said 'that'll do', we playtest tirelessly to ensure everything works as intended.

      Sparks is one we also weren't sure about at first, but again it adds so much more to the game than just never having a reason to care about dying. If you want to ditch mechanics in favour of your own, that's fine... That's the beauty of board games over other media. But these are the mechanics we have in place, and have balanced the game around.

    40. Craig Belcher
      Superbacker
      on November 11

      @Rory If you don't like the Sparks then you should be able to play the game without them since they aren't tied to any mechanic except bonus souls. You would still refill Estus flasks, regain Heroic Abilities, regain Luck, and reset all Encounters when visiting the bonfire and or dying. Only difference is you wouldn't get the bonus souls upon defeating a boss, but that wouldn't matter since you would just keep doing runs until you beat the boss.

    41. Missing avatar

      Chris Heywood on November 11

      The only thing I'm not feeling is the Trajan typeface. Looks good if it's two words and it's nice and big, but when it's stats and shield names crammed onto a card it looks really squished. Not sure it's the most legible font for the task given you always have to use it in all caps. Have you considered the font both Bloodborne and DS3 used in their menu screens? Sentence case will give you so much more room to breathe and be a lot easier to read. Everything else is looking brilliant, it's the Trajan typeface I want to backstab.

    42. Ashraam
      Superbacker
      on November 11

      @SFG_Alex I see I just missed you, but I wanted to echo the thanks for considering color-blind players. As one of them myself, I appreciate when a designer accounts for that in their product. It's still far too uncommon!

    43. Missing avatar

      Ant on November 11

      @Steamforged_Alex
      So you level up via the bonfire, not the fire keeper, thus expending a spark?

      If that's the case there is no margin for error with 4 players. Level up twice to use both sparks and then you have one chance on the boss.

    44. Rory Cartwright on November 11

      I don't entirely understand how the layout being pre-generated works exactly. Is this determined by the players at their whim, or by the boss card? Is the example layout (I presume for The Dancer) the layout one would always use for this boss? Are the tiles themselves always the same for that boss and only the encounters change? What is defined and what is random?

      Also, your going to get a lot of poor feedback about a single player death forcing a reset. I understand what you're saying regarding players just suiciding themselves into the boss for maximum damage, but I feel like this mechanic has its own problems.

      Firstly, now rather than just getting to play my character I have to be responsible for how the rest of the tables plays- if someone decides to go overly aggressive and dies, I'm now punished, abruptly being taken out of the encounter. This is a frustrating feeling and it promotes captaining. I now have a vested interest in the specifics of how another player uses his turn, because I can be punished for his misplays or over aggression.

      Secondly, it promotes really boring playstyles from players who get unlucky and take damage. They're now having to spend their entire turns running away from the boss to prevent a wipe, while they watch the rest of the group try to actually fight it. This just seems like a really boring way to force passive play and it just seems like its going to really dampen the tempo of the game.

      Finally... I'm not a fan of sparks. I was never a fan of the complaints about having no loss condition. That's Dark Souls. The entire premise of 'Learn to Die' seems lost if I'm now limited in not just my deaths but all others players. I'm not entirely against fail conditions- even just having it so Sparks are only lost when you die against a Boss, for example, but the idea that deaths are capped is just so against everything that the IP is I'm actually having difficulty accepting it.

    45. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      @All - That's me off for the weekend guys and gals! It's been lovely taking all of your questions, catch you Monday! Enjoy your weekends!

    46. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      @Anthony - The Boss deck is shuffled every time you enter the room, so doing this doesn't actually gain you a huge amount of information. In playtest for example I've had games where I know I'm not geared enough to take on a Boss, so resting at the Bonfire is a quicker alternative to walking into a fight I know I can't win. Granted I wrote all of the Boss cards, and have played the game lord knows how many times at this point. So this isn't knowledge everyone has. And of course, if you have a lot of Souls in your cache because you're saving up for a Tier 3 upgrade dying and dropping them isn't necessarily ideal!

    47. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      @Christiano - Due to the scaling of the difficulty randomly drawing a card you have close to zero chance of being able to complete straight of the Bonfire isn't something we wanted to include I'm afraid. As for having someone turn up at your house, we have no rules to cover this for the standard game. But we do have rules to cover this in Campaign Play, and I'm sure you could just follow the same rule in standard play. Put simply, if a player joins, you lose a Spark... If a player leaves, you gain a Spark :)

    48. Missing avatar

      Ant on November 11

      Correct me if I'm wrong but if I'm reading this right there is no reason to rest at a bonfire anymore. If you die you return to the bonfire with full health and life a spark. If you just rest you also use a spark. Even if you only have 1 HP left is better to just go into the boss room and die on the first hit then you know what the first attack is.

      Ideally you would start with twice as many sparks and lose 1 on a rest 2 on a death.

    49. Steamforged_Alex on November 11

      @Jared - Upgrades have stat requirements, so as long as you have the required stats and the equipment has upgrade slots you just slap them on. Weapon upgrades (Gems and Titanite) are permanent. Armour Upgrades (Rings) can be moved at any time :)

    50. Cristiano Monjardim on November 11

      @Steamforged_Alex - I just had a thought regarding the Encounter Deck. I don't know if is a good idea or if you can still make changes on it. but I was reading about the 3 tipes of dificult decks. I'm used to play Zombicide a lot, and I really like the idea of one card with different dificulties.
      It was considered to do something like this with D.S.T.B.G?
      Do you know what I'm talking about?
      I think this might save you space on the box and from us to carry too many deck cards.
      Another thing is about the play with friends.
      Imagine if I'm playing solo and a Friend just arive at my house, and he want to join me.
      Can I add some kind of summon sign (randomly on the map) and spend a turn to summon my friend (just like on the videogame) and we change the sparks to as we summon the extra player.
      Feel free to answer in different mesages.