The tabletop adaptation of Capcom’s massively popular Monster Hunter World video game will launch a Kickstarter campaign in April of this year, Dicebreaker can exclusively reveal, with its designers providing a detailed first look at the contents of its appropriately gigantic box.
Steamforged Games, the design studio responsible for Dark Souls: The Board Game and Bardsung, announced its work on the project last summer but is now ready to share more details about the sprawling experience that does its best to translate the thrill of hunting into plastic and paper.
Monster Hunter World: The Board Game lets one to four players grab a weapon composed of bone and steel and track down enormous monsters among sweeping, beautiful vistas. Working alone or as a team, hunters can immediately chase after their quarry or use their wits to gather resources and tracking information from the dense wilderness. Just like in the video game, more information translates to a bigger advantage once they engage the monster in deadly combat.
Each hunt can be tackled in phases as the team traverses locations depicted on double-sided game boards that measure 560 millimetres (22 inches) on each side. Connected nodes show pathways and monster trails while also depicting fully-illustrated vistas inspired by the art style of the 2017 video game. Wild plants and endemic life can be harvested for vital resources, and prints, rubbings and markings narrow down where the target monster might reside.
Once the team corners their quarry, the monster will fight tooth and claw (and wing and tail, etc.) for survival and force the hunters to unsling their own mighty weapons. The deck-based combat system takes advantage of the miniatures’ positions, allowing players to maximise their damage or dodge devastating attacks. Monster attacks, represented on their own cards, dictate how many hunters can attack in response.
“On that card, it will say three hunters get to go and they get to play two cards each. You decide as the group who is going; you have an activation token that you flip facedown when you've gone and you can't go again,” Alex Hall, Steamforged’s product owner for Monster Hunter World, explained to Dicebreaker. “Once everybody's activation token is facedown, they will flip back face-up, and everyone is fair game to go again.”
This puts hunters in a position where they must coordinate their movement, setting up vicious combinations or clearing the way for one hunter to smash or cut a specific part with their ultimate move. “It's very much trying to represent that element of the video game where you can spend half a hunt running around whiffing every attack you go for. But then the stars align and you get that massive, meaty hit that knocks the monster over and then the whole group gets to start whaling on it,” Hall said.
Each of the 12 weapons, which work like classes in their distinct combat style, have their attacks represented as cards in a deck - hunters queue up moves on a stamina board that can hold five cards at a time and empty out from left to right. This allows Steamforged to represent both the swift, unrelenting style of the Dual Blades and the multi-step preparation of weapons like the Greatsword or Charge Blade.
In lieu of a traditional story, Monster Hunter World: The Board Game constructs an expansive campaign around hunting monsters, collecting their parts and gradually crafting the gear necessary to tackle more fearsome foes. Along the way, hunting groups will use a book of random encounters and branching choices akin to a choose-your-own-adventure novel to provide a narrative framework to their exploration of this new and dangerous island.
The Kickstarter campaign for Monster Hunter World: The Board Game will have three different pledge levels. The Ancient Forest will cost £51 ($70) and give players access to a 30-hour campaign mode spanning four monsters: Great Jagras, Anjanath, Tobi-Kadachi and Rathalos. This mirrors the first four monsters hunters face in the video game. It will include everything needed to play, along with four hunters and 100mm-base monster miniatures, each.
The core pledge, priced at £102 ($140), is said to deliver the complete experience as intended by Steamforged, doubling the campaign length and number of miniatures, along with a 120mm-base monster to cap off the adventure. The all-in will cost backers £203 ($279) and tack on an additional seven miniatures (four hunters and three extra-large beasties) and provide a 75-hour campaign experience to get the most out of their investment.
The largest miniature Steamforged is producing towers over a foot tall on a 120mm-base that stands 315mm tall and will be available to tack on to any pledge level. Both the core and all-in pledge levels will also include any additional material unlocked through stretch goals after the Kickstarter campaign for Monster Hunter World: The Board Game goes live in April. Steamforged has yet to announce an expected date for shipping and fulfillment to backers.