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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.
31,178 backers pledged £3,771,474 to help bring this project to life.

Happy Halloween - Developer Blog, Classic Dungeon Crawl

Posted by Steamforged Games Ltd (Creator)

Hi Unkindled,

We met with our manufacturing partners at SPIEL to lock down some of the final parts of the big Wave 2 timeline update. We nearly have all we need to do our full update - thank you, everyone, again for your patience while we gather the most accurate estimate and realistic timelines we can for Wave 2. The armour sets are going through the second round of approval right now, but we can show you the re-modeled Havel Set as an early preview.

Havel Armour Set with Dragon Tooth...
Havel Armour Set with Dragon Tooth...

Developer Blog

A recurring theme in the Kickstarter comments as well as on our Dark Souls™: The Board Game forums is that many of you are coming up with creative alternate rules to enhance your group’s Dark Souls™ gaming experience. Every group is different, so it makes sense to tweak the core game rules to suit their specific needs. Some groups don’t have as much time as others. Others prefer greater control over character progression. And some groups want the game to be more difficult while others want it to be easier! 

To avoid confusion, we chose not to weigh down the core rulebook for Dark Souls™: The Board Game with pages upon pages of potential options and house rules, but we certainly want to encourage you to play in the way that will allow your gaming group to gain the most enjoyment from the game! 

Today, we’re going to present the rules for the Classic Dungeon Crawl variant for playing Dark Souls™: The Board Game. Within the game development, we often talk about ‘turning the dial’ for complexity or power or some other element of a game. In this particular case, we’ll be turning the dial for ‘Dark Souls-i-ness’ down a bit, but we’ll be also be turning the dial for ‘Game Length’ down substantially. If your group wants a faster way to play, then the Classic Dungeon Crawl might be for you.

Alternative Play Rules.
Alternative Play Rules.

The Classic Dungeon Crawl variant doesn’t change many game rules, but it changes the experience of playing Dark Souls™: The Board Game quite a bit! The core element of gameplay in this variant is that the players have just one chance to defeat the encounters that lie before them. 

• Remove all references to the Spark dial 

• If a character dies, the players immediately lose the game 

• Characters’ Estus Flask tokens and Heroic Action tokens only refresh after they defeat a boss 

• Each player gains bonus souls for each encounter they defeat (including boss encounters) – award +9 souls per encounter for solo play, +7 per encounter for two players, +5 per encounter for three players, or +3 per encounter for four players 

Rather than repeating the same encounters each time the party uses a bonfire spark, in the Classic Dungeon Crawl variant, players will get just one shot at each encounter, but their character progression in terms of stats and equipment is also vastly accelerated compared to a standard playthrough. 

It’s also very easy to increase or decrease the difficulty of this variant. 

• For easy mode, change the bonus souls to +15 for solo, +10 for two players, +7 for three players, and +5 for four players 

• For challenge mode, change the bonus souls to +6 for solo, +4 for two players, +3 for three players, and +2 for four players 

• And if you’d like to brave a nearly impossible mode, feel free to skip the bonus souls altogether 

Which Boss will you Bash?
Which Boss will you Bash?

A fun and challenging variant of this variant is the Boss Bash. In addition to the previous changes to the core rules, replace all of the encounters after the mini boss (that lead up to your selected main boss) with a mini boss or main boss you haven’t faced yet. 

Note that the intricacies of boss encounters turn the dial for game length back up a bit, but defeating this gauntlet can make for a truly memorable Dark Souls™: The Board Game game night! 

During the next development update, we’ll take a look at another one of the mega boss expansions, but we’ll return to looking at variant game modes in the future. 

Praise the Sun! \[T]/

BeardArthur, Tor Harald Brenne, and 80 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Roland Wilke

      Please make an update of the rulebook with this as a official variant inside :)

    2. Matteo "Zaress" Chiarion

      I want concrete answers on the expedition many backers are tired of playing and I do not know when I can have it.

    3. Michael Curry on

      So. You send me a mail asking me to make additional purchases 2/3 months ago. Knowing it would be delayed past October. Then you refuse to issue a refund because my order has been "part shipped" even though my original order was well over a year ago and delivered ages ago and the fact I only ordered additional bits because of your mail 2/3 months ago...

      Oh well... referred to Trading standards and taking it further... no wonder people are running away from you guys

    4. Victor Ayala on

      @Matteo. Im on same situation. ES wholesale backer. Still waiting, as many other brick and mortar stores are getting it (wich means im very likely to stock the games for months after the hype is gone). Great deal Steamforged.

    5. Matteo "Zaress" Chiarion

      I'm very angry, because my core copy has not arrived yet. I've written many times and I never got an answer on when I'll get the game. I'm disappointed with this management. You got my money right away and pretended to have the game like any other backers.

    6. Missing avatar

      Haakon Hoel Gaarder on

      So glad you're fixing the armor sets. I wish you'd make them look like they're in the middle of a fight instead of posing for a camera though. The remodelling is a little pointless if they're going to stand like that.

    7. Missing avatar

      Charles on

      It's good to see a reaction to the fact that most people who are still playing the game do it with houserules. But this variant is honestly a bit lame... Come on, you're a team of game designers, show us what you can do with your game. Those miniatures are too great to end up in dust...

    8. Missing avatar

      Hugo Guadalupe Sanchez Ruiz on

      Im a ES backer and I didn't receive tracking number neither the game and Support team doesn't respond any more. What else can I do?

    9. Boogerwood on

      To anyone struggling to learn the game, I HIGHLY recommend watching some YouTube videos. And before you say "you shouldn't have to" keep in mind how much people depend on YouTube and Wiki for the video game! I don't think these developers did that intentionally, but I actually like that it required the community to make this successful. And for the record, once you know what you're doing, you'll realize the instructions are actually spot on!

    10. Boogerwood on

      First, the game is fantastic... F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! But I am REALLY anxious for the next installments. My son and I have played it to death and are genuinely ready for more! While I know it's hard to completely ignore the hateful comments on the boards, you have done good work, but you do need to deliver on your promises. Thank you, again, for taking on this amazing project.

    11. Missing avatar

      ElVampo on

      @David L. - It's not even remotely ok for you to spout such rubbish as "I hope your business fails, you go bankrupt, and all of you designing products and work in marketing and standard business become homeless, poor, and standard drug addicts". It's a game. And one you paid very little for in the grand scheme of things. So what if things do not meet your expectations. You're a pretty petty minded person if this is all it takes for you to get this angry and wish such things on people. Get a grip.

    12. Ant on

      It's unfortunate to still see so much hate on these boards, for my part i think SFG has really improved within the last few months, and the great Havel sculpt is proof enough for me. Hopefully we'll have a date soon for wave 2 and I can start getting really pumped again.

    13. Dan Ormond on

      Great new pose for Havel and a fun variant, too! Great update, thanks!! Very glad I backed this game :)

    14. Missing avatar


      @Juri: If you think this game ist perfect. May I ask what games you are used to play?
      If I would put the game on the table of my gaming group they would blame me a lot..

    15. Missing avatar


      @Richard: Did you consider that the aggro-token has to be passed to the next hero? I did it wrong at my first attempt. But the game was too easy anyway. I'm playing it solo not with 4 heroes anymore and of course with house rules. At the end I'm not unpleased with the game( I like the minis and playtesting it is a bit of fun sometimes)

    16. Victor Ayala on

      Now, they dont even Talk about spanish delata anymore. I bought the store pack (fortunately only 6 units) and Now Many customers are giving Up the Game ir getting It on english (as It seems todo be a better option). Curse the Day i took the spanish version. And of course, as a store, im now very dissapointed

    17. Missing avatar

      zakka21 on

      @ Adam
      I do the same in my solo sessions but I find it the fulfilling points of not using any skill or item/spark hard to call the encounter "mastered" because sometimes I play more fearless or gamble or it's just a close encounter anyway - so it will be still no easy fight next time. I just watch the income and output of dmg and decide whatever this is a difficult or not-to-mention-encounter.
      As to speak for the treasure deck I find it useful to lay out an offer of five treasures and I can purchase a specific one for two souls or discard any of them and lay out new five ones. This way I also found myself using new playstyles depending on the syngergies of most of the layout cards.

      However, until I dont get most of the new conent, I would not consider changing this / my system - because I can imagine I will, with mega bosses, mass of new items and so on. Guess there will be a long way for all the players to find there fitting system.
      Because it will take a looot of time to get all the stuff: I estimate to get the expansion boxes in March/April '18 and the mega bosses in summer.

    18. Missing avatar

      Richard Dahl on

      Is there any thought/consideration to making a more detailed, longer guidebook? I read through the original one several times, but as I play through, I realize some things are too easy/difficult, or unbalanced. There are a few questions I have regarding certain encounters and some things that just aren't explained very well. I love the game, it's awesome, I just tend to be a little slower to pick things up and sometimes need a bit better of an explanation/description for me to go "Ohhh, that's how it's supposed to be." For example, I played through the first campaign scenario and once I finally beat the two gargoyles, Going through the second and third levels, was just too easy, or I was doing something wrong. I'm playing solo, by the way, so I have no one to bounce back ideas off of or to help read through and see if I am understanding it correctly.

    19. Raider363 on

      Love the new sculpt and the talk of variants!

    20. Misfiring Chong


      In any project there's always a couple of degenerates, the larger the community the larger the number. They exists solely to insult everything.

    21. Missing avatar

      CoolHandLoot on

      Really nice new sculpt! Thanks for listening and changing the design, it's much more interesting and immersive now. Also love you guys are continuing to provide thinking about the game, and how to adjust it to suit folks preferences. With the new material this will be fantastic.

    22. BeardArthur on

      Man, there are some angry people in the comments. Not sure who they're trying to convince by throwing insults.

    23. Juri on

      The game is perfect without house rules, I really don't get it why people want to change the game. Anyway I can't wait to out my hand on the wave 2. ;)

      Do you have any news about the print or the correct IT/ES cards? Is everything going the way you planned? I'll be waiting some news on the next update.

    24. Justin Hayes on

      We do exactly the same Adam. As we replay the encounters and get stronger we decide which are now a 'given' and just reap the souls from them.

    25. Adam Hart

      To stop the grind I have added an "encounter mastered" rule to my encounters. If an encounter can be cleared without any character using luck, spark skill or estus then the encounter is deemed "mastered" and does not need to be replayed. Therefore, once a spark is used then souls for when that encounter should be replayed are automatically given to the players. It seriously cuts game time and grind. Add this to the "double souls, half sparks" home ruling and you can easily do a mini boss in 30 minutes.
      The games I have played with these minor changes have still been fun and challenging (pikachu and snorlax in particular)

    26. Missing avatar


      @Michael, read up on the translation issues from the rulebook MONTHS ago. Apparently your narrow thinking excluded the whole mistranslation from an English speaking company to NOT listen to their CUSTOMERS and BACKERS from all over the world who mentioned numerous times during the extremely short timeframe of them posting these translations that they failed miserably. SFG even called out their mistake after WEEKS of members calling them out on the poor translations, and to fix their total EFF UP they lost $50K. Serves them right. They don't listen to customers/backers, they don't acknowledge their failings until MONTHS after-the-fact, fail to provide the rulebook to the customers for review and claim their "playtesters" and "designers" were happy with the rulebook, whereas their customers were 100% disgusted with the rulebook they "playtested". Now they give out rules from other people fixing their screw up.

    27. Michael B on

      @David., Kickstarter is not a shop/store, so we're not "customers" - we back a project and we get something back for the investment, the rulebook was up long enough that backers could feedback that it wasn't in the best order or layout., we seem to get too many suck ups (like those over enthusiastic kids we hear when we go out side who thing everything is amazing) early in projects, and all the salty whingers after.
      On another project I backed, the English instruction manual read like it came from Bing translate (they said it was by a "native speaker", there was even Polish words left in, enough people noticed and they got it redone by a professional

    28. Missing avatar


      @David L. The manual is fine. The game is fun. Learn to play. Shove your insults up your ass.

    29. MonkeyMagic on

      Any thoughts on changing up the game tiles or doing a pack which are not just square?

    30. Missing avatar


      so, @SFG does a garbage shit job of designing this million dollar product, "playtesting" this garbage product with actual professional gamers and playtesters, and produces THE WORST instruction manual on the face of planet earth where customers come together and produce their fixes in which @SFG climbs on top of and claims it for themselves giving themselves a low pat on the back for wasting our money and time. SCREW YOU @SFG. I hope your business fails, you go bankrupt, and all of you designing products and work in marketing and standard business become homeless, poor, and standard drug addicts

    31. Missing avatar


      Puh: I wouldn't call it a variant really . There are many rules like this (half sparks double souls etc.) The question is how many souls you can get before becoming too mighty or too weak.
      So you decrease the souls from a four player game from 64(2x 4 Encounter) to 44.
      For two palyers( 4x 4 Encounter = 64 souls) Now with the bonus 16 +28=46. That means the two player game's difficulty increases less than the four player game. My expierience was a two player game was easier already.

      I don't know this kind of variant everyone could easily develop by his own. For me it isn't helpfull at all

    32. DarthTomkat on

      While I would love to have Wave 2 show up yesterday, I am much more pleased to hear that the armor set is being changed. Count me with those who don't mind the delay in order to get a better product. Thanks for the hard work.

    33. Paint'Riot Studio

      interestings rules :)

    34. Paul on

      @Westley I separated the treasure deck into 3. Deck 1 items usable with a max tier 2 stats, deck 2 max tier 3 stats, deck 3 tier 4 stats. Deck 1 available at all times, deck 2 after beating tier 2 encounters and 3 for 3 encounters

    35. Missing avatar

      Westley - TheDreadPirateRoberts on

      Anyone have good ideas for fixing the loot system? The way the requirements for equipment is set is real messed up. You almost can't wield anything unless you have at least one tier 3 stat.

    36. Alex Clarke on

      Dont care what anyone else says, i would of happily waited another 6 months just for Havels tooth :D Shield on his back would of been nice but not required if hes holding the tooth with both hands. Well done SFG

    37. Graham

      Great news!

    38. Nakano

      Extra Souls bonuses sound ok, but I would still use sparks to have a room to handle at least 1 mistake. Just don't reset fights if a character is killed (possible to clear rooms only once).

    39. Hunter Mayer

      This news excites me. Are these variants being collected somewhere? Is there a plan? Any plans to publish a digital addendum (pdf?) i.e., something I can print and put into the box without having to create and maintain the doc myself. :D CALL ME LAZY! ;D

    40. Caleb Kester on

      I didn't think you guys would do this. You exceeded my expectations. Thank you! I hope you keep tweaking these modes.

      Thanks for all the hard work you guys put in.

    41. Missing avatar

      Stephen Etheridge on

      This is encouraging news about the variants. Sad that it does away with the Souls' feel to such an extent. Hopefully another variant exists that has enjoyable core combat, repeated (but not repetitive) attempts at challenging encounters and balanced progression. Failing compelling gameplay, I can't justify the shelf space, so it's looking like I'll sell it unopened on the second-hand market.

    42. Missing avatar

      Gil on

      This is really shaping up to be a fun game. The core was still enjoyable, but the two areas that we constantly changed due to boredom were the shop and the encounters leading up to the fight. The shop rules discussed in the manual are a little too RNG, but I do understand the reason. If you get all the best items, the game (currently) loses the challenge. Would be nice if there was a communal treasure deck and a deck based on the bosses (i.e. location) where there was more flavor.

      My group always found redoing the same fights over and over to grind was boring but necessary sometimes (due to bad treasure pulls).

      Since I haven't experienced the changes the stretch goals will bring, some or all of these comments may be solved. Otherwise, making a more interesting shop with rules that allow for better building would be excellent. Since you brought up variant rules in the recent update, figured I'd throw this out there.

      Love the game, glad I backed it.

    43. Ferro on

      Really enjoying the new Havel sculpt and looking forward to seeing the rest. Thanks for listening guys and keep up the hard work!

    44. Joaquin

      Will these rules be available as PDFs? What about availability of physical copies of the alternate rules?

    45. Akira on

      ... so ... March/April 2018 to get the rest of the stuff?

    46. Daníel Leó Gunnarsson on

      Its now a day before November and we are nowhere closer to any shipping date, considering the many months of delay for wave 1, are we expecting a similar, or longer delay for wave 2?

    47. magisystem on

      Wow, this looks sooo much better than the old sculpts. Thanks for listening to the backers

    48. BeardArthur on

      Really like the quick variant. I'd likely use this mode as a way to teach the game as well. A lot less punishing this way and gets people into the game without worrying about sinking the game for everyone else 2+ hours in.

      Thanks, SFG!

    49. Mdimpel on

      Havel looks good though. Keep on that track for the armour sculpts and I will be happy.

    50. Mdimpel on

      Not really an "update"...but ok.