Bloodborne: The Board Game – Kickstarter
Ah yes, Kickstarter. That uncomfortable frontier that is packed to bursting point with interesting concepts and trash in a staggeringly latter weighted ratio. Every now and then while scouring the internet as part of my daily grind, I have a look through Kickstarter projects and occasionally jingle my pocket change to see if I’m willing to chip into a project. Occasionally, something catches my eye, like Resident Evil 2: The Board Game.
More recently, however, I’ve been quite happily shoveling money out of my wallet and giving it to CMON with reckless abandon. Bloodborne: The Board Game exploded onto Kickstarter where many a Hunter was waiting with fistfulls of money, eager to pledge their own blood echoes to the cause. A mere 17 minutes after going live on the crowdfunding platform, the game blew straight past its initial $200,000 goal and immediately set about gunning for stretch goals and expansions. In fact, at the time of writing, the funding has already shot past the $2,300,000 mark.
That’s… a lot of money.
Following the successful funding of the game, the following message was delivered by way of an update. “There’s a lot of exciting things to discover in Yharnam and in the depths below it. Arm yourselves, Hunters, for soon we’ll start our descent into the Chalice Dungeons.”
And, as you probably figured out, the first set of stretch goals revolved around the love-it-or-hate it portion of Bloodborne, the Chalice Dungeons. But before we dive into the stretch goals, what is included in the core game?
Early bird pledges cost $90, but regular pledges cost $100 and that includes:
- Bloodborne the Board Game
- – 4 Hunters
- – – Saw Cleaver Hunter
- – – Threaded Cane Hunter
- – – Ludwig’s Holy Blade Hunter
- Hunter Axe Hunter
- – 28 Monsters
- – – 4 hunter mobs
- – – 4 Beast Patients (female)
- – – 4 Beast Patients (male)
- – – 4 Church Servants
- – – 4 Huntsman’s Minions
- – – 4 Scourge Beasts
- – – 4 Church Giants
- – 5 Bosses
- – – Vicar Amelia
- – – Cleric Beast
- – – Father Gascoigne (normal)
- – – Father Gascoigne (transformed)
- – – Blood Starved Beast
- – 20 gameplay tiles
- – 1 Main Board / Hunters Dream + Hunt Track
- – 4 Hunter Dashboards
- – 4 Trick Weapon Dashboards
- – 10+ Permanent Item Cards
- – 60+ Upgrade Cards
- – 20+ Enemy Stat Cards
- – 28+ Enemy AI Cards
- – 4 Counter Bases
- – 40+ Tokens
The Chalice dungeons have unlocked a wealth of new goods that will be included in all pledges at no extra charge, but that doesn’t mean everything is free. There are paid expansions available, but first let’s deal with the stretch goals. Two of these stretch goals are, in fact, new game modes that expand the game and its replay value, the Chalice Dungeon game mode and the PvP game mode.
- Chalice Dungeon Rules
- 6 Chalice Dungeon Tiles
- 7 Chalice Dungeon Enemy Action Cards
- 4 Gravekeeper Scorpions
- Boss – Beast Possessed Soul
- 4 Bell Ringers
- 4 Labyrinth Rats
- Boss – Undead Giant
- 4 Rabid Dogs
- +6 Chalice Dungeon Tiles
- 4 Loran Silverbeasts (KS Exclusive)
- 4 Sculpted Chests (KS Exclusive)
- Beast Claw Hunter
- 4 Nightmare Apostles (KS Exclusive)
- Rifle Spear Hunter
- Boss – Large Nightmare Apostle (KS Exclusive)
- Boss – Yharnam, Pthumerian Queen (KS Exclusive)
- Ludwig’s Uncanny Holy Blade Hunter (KS Exclusive)
- 5 Sculpted Lamps (KS Exclusive)
- Blade of Mercy Hunter (KS Exclusive)
- 4 Large Huntsmen (KS Exclusive)
- 4 Giant Lost Child (KS Exclusive)
- Mergo’s Loft Campaign (KS Exclusive)
- 4 Mergo’s Chief Attendants (KS Exclusive)
- 4 Mergo’s Attendants (KS Exclusive)
- Boss – Mergo’s Wet Nurse (KS Exclusive)
- PvP Mode
At the time of writing, two optional paid expansions have been revealed, one being the scholarly home of higher education, Byrgenwerth. This $40 Kickstart Exclusive expansion includes:
- 4 Scholars
- 4 Garden of Eyes
- 4 Rom’s Children
- 1 Rom, the Vacuous Spider (boss)
- 1 Oversized Tile
- 1 New Campaign (69 Cards)
The next $40 Kickstart Exclusive expansion peels open the rusted gates of Yahar’gul, the Unseen Village to reveal:
- 4 Kidnappers
- 4 Cramped Caskets
- 1 The One Reborn
- 1 Oversized Tile
- 1 New Campaign (67 Cards)
Gameplay in Bloodborne: The Board Game is a calculated affair, devoid of many luck-based, dice-driven mechanics that are found in most games. The game is driven by card decks and informed decisions; an ill-judged decision can quickly see you beaten down by the opponent, but a clever riposte can see you rally in the face of defeat and surge back towards the enemy, Blunderbuss roaring and Saw Cleaver hacking.
Players are given access to a Hunter to control and each Hunter corresponds to the relevant Dashboard, which is double-sided to represent both versions of your Trick Weapons. Each Hunter comes with a unique skill, three attacks with varying speeds and effects, as well as an area to place a card. Our Saw Cleaver Hunter, for example, may draw a card each time they kill an enemy.
In order to defeat opponents, you must deliver enough total damage to dispatch them, while keeping yourself in fighting condition and while keeping damage received to a minimum.
The Saw Cleaver Hunter has a basic Slash attack at Medium Speed which delivers two damage, but this can be amplified with a Strength +1 card to three damage instead. But the Hunter also has access to a Medium Speed Cross-Cleave with the X2 symbol on it. This means that two cards can be placed in its ability area, granting you two buffs rather than one, it’s important to learn when is the right time to combo your cards as it can lead to some very powerful attacks, at the cost of a more rapidly depleting deck. You could forgo the Slash and Cross-Cleave in favor of the more powerful Charge Swing.
By default, this attack is performed at Slow Speed, leaving you open to attacks from faster moving enemies, so to land damage quickly, it may be best to use a card that will boost your speed. This is the core gameplay of Bloodborne, calculated decision making while planning ahead. Just like in the video game, if you rush in blindly you’re likely to die.
Personally, I’ve already went all-in on this project. CMON, otherwise known as Cool Mini or Not, have a track record of fantastic games in their back catalogue, with titles like Zombicide and the, A Song of Ice and Fire: Tabletop Miniatures Game, which is based on the works of George R.R Martin’s popular book series.
Although the game is already funded, if you want to find out more about the Kickstarter yourself, you can check it out here.
I wish you the best of luck, good Hunter. The blood moon rises.
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