Dark Souls: The Card Game is a cooperative deck evolution card game for 1-4 players. As you explore, you will face a myriad of foes. Defeat them, and you will gain souls and treasure you can use to evolve your deck to better fight your enemies. When you are ready, challenge the powerful bosses that lie within; only by conquering them can you choose the fate of the world.
You must walk a narrow path, however, for the deck which allows you to attack enemies also represents you health: as you deplete it, your strength is diminished. Only resting at the bonfire can refresh you, so you must defeat your enemies while also preserving strength for the greater challenges ahead. Thinking quickly and adapting to the enemy's attacks are key to survival.
A misstep can be fatal, but the rewards of success are great. Adapt your strategy, evolve your deck, and prepare to die.
Contents: 4 Character Data Cards 112 Starting Deck Cards 5 Bonfire Cards 96 Stamina Cards 20 Remnant of Humanity Cards 30 Encounter Cards 50 Enemy Cards 40 Boss Cards 3 Playing Boards 61 Tokens 1 Rulebook
Dark Souls the card game is an excellent game to delve into and you will easily lose hours playing it. I have (so far) played 4 games all solo and will update my review once I have a few more games under my belt playing with others. When compared to other card games such as Arkham Horror the card game and Lord of the Rings the card game I can say that the setup is actually quite a bit more. This game comes with 3 small game boards that you play your cards on, which I really love. On top of that you have many, many different stacks of cards that all serve a purpose to the overall gameplay.
Firstly let’s talk about your hand. You start the game by picking one of four different classes to play as, the Knight, Sorcerer, Herald or Assassin. Now if you have played the videogames this is based around then you pretty much already know how each plays. If not they each play VERY differently which really adds to the replay value of this game right off the bat. The knight is very defensive, sorcerer is ranged attack, herald is heals and assassin is melee attack. They all can attack and defend but each one specializes in their own way which really adds to a more fun group setting when working together. Once you pick the class you want to play as you also get a starting 28 cards that make up your starting deck. This deck has an assortment of weapons, defensive items and stamina cards. The cool thing is that the deck is also your life total. As you play cards during battles you need to be really strategic on how and what you discard as you are losing life doing so. You always have 6 cards in your hand and if you ever have to draw and cannot, you die.
When you die you instantly go back to the bonfire and flip to the next bonfire card. The bonfire burns down a little and some new action takes place and your deck increases by 3 cards. This basically gives you more options for attack and defense and also increases your life total by 3, so when you die (and you will) you become a tad bit stronger. There are 5 different bonfire cards and you get a little bit stronger every time you either die or rest but once you die past that 5th time, game over.
The ultimate purpose of the game is to run through encounters, battle enemies, collect loot to upgrade your deck and finally defeat the two bosses. Once you have defeated both of the bosses you win! You run through encounters by selecting a card space on the encounter game board that is next to your current space or the bonfire and then draw from the encounter draw pile of the matching icon on the board. This will show you which enemy draw pile you draw from and how many enemies you draw as well as where to place them on the enemy game board. Once placed the enemies attack! It is then up to you on how you want to defend and attack back based on the cards in your hand. Once all the enemies have been defeated they drop an amount of loots cards and souls based on what it says on the encounter card drawn and the enemy cards respectively. Now here’s the kicker, that loot is NOT SAFE. At this point you can choose to either continue on to the next encounter and battle or go back to the bonfire and rest. If you battle again and lose, you lose all that loot and souls. But if you win then the loot from the previous battle is safe and yours but the loot from the current battle is still risked. If you go back to the bonfire you get ALL the loots you have acquired but the bonfire burns down a card. Also your discarded cards refresh when you rest at the bonfire but all the enemies at the locations reset so you have to fight them again. It’s a balancing act.
Once you finally get to a boss (there are 4 different bosses in this game) they have a special deck just for them on their attacks. I’m not gonna spoil anything but they are very unique and fun to fight, also very difficult. All in all so far I am loving this game, it is my favorite card game yet. All that said there is one thing that I don’t like. This game is nearly impossible paying solo unless you tweak the rules a bit. Some might call this cheating but if my enjoyment of something rests on breaking the rules a tiny bit, then I’m all for it. Playing a single player game you will get targeted by every single enemy that gets drawn whereas in a multiplayer game the targeting is more spread out to individuals. I solve this simply by only having each enemy take turns attacking me. That is if 2 get drawn for me to battle, only 1 will attack at a time. I have played through 3 games this way and still BARELY beat the first two boss fights and still lost the last one.
Bottom line this game is a blast and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of Dark Souls or card games in general. There is a ton of cards in the box not to mention the tokens that are used for enemy health tracking and status effect etc. And of course the great small game boards. I love it.