Following a disgustingly successful Kickstarter campaign which closed out a full $3.7m over its $50k target, Dark Souls the Board Game is finally finished and ready to ship. Steamforged games kindly sent me a copy ahead of time, which I used to make the video review embedded below. As I dove into the very heavy box (the core set alone weighs in at a hefty 3.4kg), however, I found my mind repeatedly coming back to a comment during the initial kickstarter announcement from Steamforged Games - "Prepare to die. Because this will be the hardest board game you have ever played."
The thing is, while that statement certainly fits thematically with the Dark Souls franchise - or, at least, the way the Dark Souls franchise is marketed - it's not a great fit for a board game. Having an improbably hard board game isn't something to be proud of.
That's not to say I don't like a challenging board game, of course, especially when it comes to cooperative games that put everybody in the same boat, but unbeatable boardgames have a tendency to become unplayed board games. I can see my copy of Forbidden Desert - a game I have beaten all of once - from where I'm typing this, for instance, and the best it can expect from me for the foreseeable future is a suspicious scowl.games