Dark Souls: The Board Game is creating something of a new and level playing field with its next pair of releases. The Tomb of the Giants and Painted World of Ariamis boxes will be more than just an expansion and might signal a new chapter for tabletop adaptation of From Software’s popular video game.
According to a recent announcement from designer and publisher Steamforged Games, the next two releases will act as standalone core sets for the six-year-old series. New players will be able to pick up either the Tomb of the Giants or Painted World of Ariamis and enjoy the full intended experience. This breaks from all of the past expansions that have required the base Dark Souls Board Game in order to properly function.
Steamforged’s CCO and co-foudner Mat Hart called this a “revitalisation” of the original rules - the team apparently worked closely with members of the board game’s community during the second design pass. While the studio didn’t provide any more details in a press release, its website points to a new event system and objective card decks, streamlined campaign rules and more puzzle-based scenarios as some of the biggest additions or changes to version 2.0 of the rules.
Each of the boxes will highlight one of the titular zones from the Dark Souls video game, complete with miniatures featuring enemies and an iconic boss at the end. The shambling skeletal mass of Gravelord Nito will haunt the Tomb of the Giants, while Crossbreed Priscilla waits atop her spire deep within the Painted World of Ariamis. Both boxes are currently planned to hit local game stores and online shops in November, according to Steamforged.
Already enfranchised fans should rest easy that talk of a new ruleset doesn’t mean all of those already purchased boxes are now defunct - the studio said both new core sets will be fully backwards compatible with their established board game line. How they plan to update those rules - and how seamless a process it will be - isn’t yet clear.
Dark Souls: The Board Game has remained a popular but critically divisive title for a studio that has made a name for itself adapting video games into analogue experiences. The product of a massively successful 2016 Kickstarter campaign fell flat for many, despite the quality of production and some genuinely interesting mechanical approaches to Dark Souls’ singular feel. In fact, those ideas have been iterated in more recent board games with better success, perhaps leading Steamforged to the decision to revamp Dark Souls’ entire rules.
This isn’t the only foray in Dark Souls that Steamforged has managed. The studio released the Dark Souls RPG earlier this year and encountered massive pushback from fans and players who were not happy with the copious errors, printing mistakes and what seemed to be huge editing oversights in the initial batch of books. The company quickly announced that it would make good with those affected, but the disastrous launch dampened expectations quite a bit.
Steamforged has more recently announced a line of miniatures to accompany the Dark Souls RPG, leaning on one of its longtime strengths to depict a bunch of familiar foes and heroic poses from the video game. Keep checking Dicebreaker for more information about Dark Souls: The Board Game’s apparent second phase.