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Board game stuffs #2 (part 2 of 2): and over and over and over.

(continued from previous post)


The boss fights. Of course. You have to beat 2 bosses to win. The one on the right of the exploration board is sort of a mid-boss. The one on the left is the true boss, stronger than anything else. You can go to fight these guys whenever you want (after you go past whatever encounter is in the way), but you better prepare well, because they are BRUTAL.

Bosses dont work like normal enemies. Normal foes have exactly one attack they use each turn, and they do not move... their numbers and combinations of different attacks complicate things enough. But bosses leap all over the place and do wacky things. Each boss has its own unique behavior deck. On the boss's turn (and of course it goes first) you draw one, and do what it says. In the photo, the card at the top there is the boss itself, and will go on the combat board. The other cards are some of the things in its behavior deck. It has cards that strike very directly, cards that shove you around, and the one with the big orange thing just slashes at the entire back row (and area attacks are the ONLY attacks that can truly miss, due to the way enemy targeting works... I'm not going to explain that here though). What is interesting is that the boss's behavior deck is NEVER shuffled, once it has at all been drawn from. When it runs out, it is simply flipped over. Same if you die, they're all put back in the order they started in. This means that each time, you can learn the order of attacks (just like how you learn boss patterns in the video game), and use that knowledge to help you win. Of course, the behavior decks ARE shuffled BEFORE you attempt the boss the first time.

But that's not enough. This is Dark Souls! Each boss also has some godawful ability or gimmick that they can use. THIS joker, who utterly destroyed me, does this weird flip thing every time it loses 5 HP. The other side of the card sort of represents a clone it sends out, and always has 2 HP of its own, and must be defeated to get back to flip the boss back over and start striking again at it's ACTUAL HP. This mechanic sounds simple, but holy heck does it complicate the fight. And this isnt one of the truly nasty bosses. There's another one for instance that has 3 parts on the combat board, the main bit and two giant hands, which swing back and forth and Do Unpleasant Things, among other screwball things bosses can do. Like in the video game, these guys are really, really, REALLY hard. "Prepare to die" indeed. Solo or co-op board games tend to be very hard to begin with, that's usually how it goes, but this is crazy even compared to what I'm used to. I absolutely did NOT win that playthrough. Having to go through a tier 2 encounter, and then immediately fight this jerk who would be crazy hard even if I hadnt already been drained... yeah. Bloody tough.

But this is Dark Souls! That's STILL not enough!


If you've ever played the video games... you already know what these are, just by the images. Invaders! Those red snotballs... other actual players leaping into YOUR video game playthrough to kill you... exist here too. They work just like bosses, with every single invader having its own unique behavior deck, ability, and stats (and a unique item that only they can drop). A couple of these guys are shuffled into the various enemy decks during setup, and more can be shuffled in if certain things happen. You dont know when... or even if... one of these will show up. And if they do, well... you get to fight them WHILE dealing with the normal foes that appear in that encounter. Like bosses they'll leap all over the place and perform screwball attacks. And their wild movement displaces normal monsters, causing them to shift around as well, disrupting the whole bloody board and descending your sad little world into total chaos.

It is hard to describe here how nasty they can be. The one on the left activates every single time you damage it, effectively making it a berserker who can take many, MANY turns. The middle guy uses area attacks that are very hard to dodge (as if those werent bad enough already), and the guy on the right not only has 2 defense (very hard to penetrate) but it makes you spend way more stamina to block whatever horrid things it does. Based on the specific enemy deck tiers each one can be put into, the "takes a million turns" guy is actually the least dangerous of the three.

Fortunately for you, these guys are optional... they're actually not part of the base game, and instead come from the Seekers of Humanity expansion (traps and terrain effects, which are also negative, are optional as well, coming from the OTHER expansion). So, you dont HAVE to add them, and if you're new to the game, you probably shouldnt. But come on, what would Dark Souls be without these guys? ....A little bit easier, that's what it'd be.

And that's it! That's how this one goes. What I cant really show here is just how much STUFF there is. An absolutely crazy amount of content here! Particularly with the expansions. So very many enemies, items, characters, bosses, and all sorts of other stuff. This is a game designed for replay value (which is good, because holy heck will you need some practice to get a win even against the easier bosses). It is fast paced and exciting. Non-stop challenges and situations that make you have to think hard about what to do next. And, it's easy to understand. My description here might sound kinda complicated, but this game was actually super easy to learn... they did a good job with that.

Also this supports 1-4 players, I'm playing with 2 characters here but I could do that big team of 4 if I want. The difficulty scales, because of course it does.

Is this the only video game turned into a board game? Ye gods, no. There are a ton of them. And surprisingly, many of them are considered to be very good. A couple of super good ones I'm aware of are Gears of War, Doom, and Resident Evil. You dont have to be a fan of the video games to like these either... they're just plain good. I intend on picking up RE at some point soon, as that one sounds right up my alley.

Whew, that's an intense ride, that game. Next time, I think we'll look at something a bit less bonkers. Something smaller. Board games dont have to be these giant things with silly amounts of content to be good, after all.


So it's D&D, but also Dark Souls?
Nah, D&D and other things that fall under "tabletop games" is a *very* different beast from pretty much anything that would classify as a "board game". The two terms sound similar but in reality they are nothing alike.
So it's D&D, but also Dark Souls?
I always see D&D as more of a storytelling engine than a game (what with the fact that you can pretty much do anything in that). Exactly why I've never joined in with friends on it, I'd be totally in over my head and just constantly wondering when we would get to the dragon-fighting parts.
So it's D&D, but also Dark Souls?
It feels like both a game and a way to tell a story to me, though. You'd just have to find a group with a good mix of RP, exploration, and combat.

I am currently in several campaigns where a lot of combat happens. At least one battle per session.
So it's D&D, but also Dark Souls?
To be honest the bit where a group is required is part of the issue for me. I aint exactly very social, and I dont sit still well. On top of that I tend to be the min-max sort and will analyze the heck outta everything.
So it's D&D, but also Dark Souls?
If I'm playing something like Mage Knight or Spirit Island for instance, it's not uncommon for me to have a single turn that takes like 15 minutes. Which is fine when by myself, but wouldnt exactly be appreciated by other players.
So it's D&D, but also Dark Souls?
Not to mention that my sense of "tactics" probably wouldnt go over well. My typical response to basically anything is to charge at it... I do this even in bullet-hell shmups, AKA the genre you shouldnt do that in. Works though.

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