Dark Souls – The Board Game

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Dark Souls – The Board Game
Manufacturer(s)Steamforged Games
Publication dateApril 2017
Genre(s)Board game

Dark Souls – The Board Game is a miniature-based exploration board game created by Steamforged Games. It is based on the Dark Souls video game series by FromSoftware and Bandai Namco Entertainment. A successful crowdfunding campaign raised over GB£3.7 million to fund the development of the project. It was released in April 2017.


Dark Souls – The Board Game is a miniature-based exploration board game that can be played cooperatively with up to four players.[1] Players assume the game role of characters based on classes from the Dark Souls video game series and fight monsters and seek treasure.[2] The game uses miniatures to represent players, mini-bosses and bosses.[3] The miniatures are modelled after player characters and enemies of the video games Dark Souls (2011), Dark Souls II (2014), and Dark Souls III (2016).[1] The miniatures move on a node-based game board.[3] Combat is card-based; bosses have a set of "AI" cards that determine their movement and attacks.[2]

A unique aspect of gameplay is that your health and stamina share the same bar, limiting your ability to move and attack when you have taken damage. Stamina regenerates at 2 points per turn, whereas damage requires healing at the bonfire checkpoints, or use of healing items.

To create different experiences each playthrough, players lay down random tiles and then draw encounter cards for each tile; encounter cards determine the enemies, terrain items and traps that spawn on that tile. Once players reach a boss, they choose a number of AI cards and shuffle them, then set aside a further "Heat Up" card. Players reveal the boss' AI cards in order without reshuffling until the boss drops below a certain amount of its total health points. The "Heat Up" card is then shuffled into the AI deck, giving the boss a new stronger card and changing the order in which it will attack for the remainder of the fight.


Dark Souls is an action role-playing video game series developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Dark Souls – The Board Game is an officially licensed board game based on the series.[1] It was created by UK-based company Steamforged Games.[1] In 2015, designer and co-founder of Steamforged, Mat Hart, had been prototyping dungeon crawler tabletop games.[1] He disliked the reliance on luck and repetitive nature of these games, so he sought to address these issues.[1] Hart met with a friend, who was employed at Bandai Namco as a video game producer.[1] Bandai Namco itself was eager to find a board game design that could translate the Dark Souls series into a new format.[1] Before pitching their ideas to Bandai Namco, Hart and his team analysed the series to identify key aspects and find out which elements could make the transition to a board game format.[1] Hart felt that the project he was currently prototyping shared some of the same design philosophies embedded in the Dark Souls series.[1] The success of Steamforged's medieval fantasy football tabletop game, Guild Ball, contributed to them acquiring the Dark Souls license from Bandai Namco.[3] The designers at Steamforged began rebuilding Hart's prototype as Dark Souls product.[1] The biggest design challenge that Steamforged faced was trying to incorporate the high level of difficulty that the Dark Souls series is known for while maintaining an enjoyable board game experience.[1] The design team was given full access to resources of the series so that they could replicate the tone and aesthetics.[1] Initially, they found it difficult to decide what content should be included in their board game adaptation; they wanted to bring iconic bosses and enemies from all three games in the series.[1] Designer Rich Loxam believed that the use of miniatures would appeal to players by helping to immerse them in the fictional universe.[4]

On 19 April 2016, Steamforged launched a crowdfunding campaign on the website Kickstarter, seeking £50,000 to create the game.[5] Their funding goal was achieved three minutes after the campaign launched.[1] In total, over £3.7 million was raised during the campaign.[1]


The game was showcased at the tabletop game convention Gen Con in August 2016,[3] and was officially released in April 2017.[1] Steamforged plans to release expansion sets for the game over time.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Prepare to Dice". Edge. No. 295. Future Publishing. August 2016. pp. 76–81.
  2. ^ a b c McWhertor, Michael (19 April 2016). "Here's how Dark Souls is going to work as a board game". Polygon. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Hall, Charlie (8 August 2016). "Dark Souls: The Board Game shouldn't be this good". Polygon. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  4. ^ Dealessandri, Marie (26 August 2016). "Digital to physical: the rise of video games-themed board games". MCV. NewBay Media. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  5. ^ Makuch, Eddie (19 April 2016). "Dark Souls Board Game Funded in 3 Minutes". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 22 October 2016.

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