Behind The Scenes of Dark Souls: The Board Game

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You are going to die. Sword in hand, sweat on brow; you are going to meet your end by an unseen arrow, a quick blade, or a hungry claw. And you will return for more. The Dark Souls series does not shy away from putting their players in terrible situations and against incredible odds. But when you make it out alive, you’ll know that the trail of failures you left behind was all worth it. Now with Dark Souls heading to the cardboard realm, you can meet the agony of defeat in front of all of your friends, and still love it.

To learn a little more about the upcoming Dark Souls: The Board Game, I took some time to talk to Steamforged Games co-founder and game designer, Mat Hart, about the game’s very successful Kickstarter campaign.

If you haven’t seen anything yet, the early demos show a host of creative concepts that bring the uncompromisingly hard video game onto the table. “The key challenge,” Hart said, “was ensuring that the board game felt like the video game as much as possible, whilst still being a fun, deep board game by itself.”  Early how-to-play videos show that Steamforged has put a lot of thought into how to incorporate the original gameplay into this new format. Luckily, Hart has experience with both board game and video game development, and noted that Steamforged Games “already uses a creative process grounded in video game development techniques.”

Hart also let us in on one of the mechanics that helps simulate the game’s namesake. Regardless of whether or not you think you’re ready for the final fight, “The heat up mechanic where a boss gains new, significantly stronger, abilities partway through a fight always leads to some pretty tense moments. People getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong time invariably get dead pretty quickly,” he joked when we asked him about how people dealt with the game’s difficulty during play testing. “At those moments, you do sometimes wish you’d looked for some better armor or weapons to help you out!” Hart is of course referring to the board game’s exploration mechanics, which allow you to roam around revealed tiles at the risk of engaging in an encounter, which could lead to some very helpful rewards (or death).

Speaking of encounters, the concepts for the miniatures which will be included in the game look fantastic–something which gamers have come to expect from Steamforged Games. There are a lot of characters and monsters to choose from in the Dark Souls Universe, and unfortunately, Steamforged couldn’t include them all. “It’s important the game looks and feels like Dark Souls, and so we focused quite heavily on the more iconic enemies and bosses,” Hart explained. “We did manage to sneak a few of our personal favorites in too.”

Our last question for Hart was pretty obvious. Dark Soul III: has he played it? “Hell yes…and I have died…many, many times! But my sorcerer is getting stronger and I’m getting further and further into the game. It’s easily my favorite Dark Souls to date.”

Are you prepared to die – in a board game? Let us know know what you think about Dark Souls hitting the tabletop realm in the comment section below.

All images are courtesy of Steamforged Games and are of works in progress.

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