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Found 5 results

  1. Atrium Carceri

    House Rule: Merchants

    Preamble Steamforged have done a pretty good job with the game, but there are two areas I find a bit lacking in the official ruleset (first edition). Firstly, Treasure drawing is really important to progressing but really hit and miss in terms of getting anything you can skill up to. Secondly, the fixed stat levels (while a necessary simplification) together with the Treasure deck really don't reflect the artful pacing of item drops and the flexibility players had to work towards those items in the videogame series. These are the problems I aim to solve with this (and other House Rules). Note: Merchants & the Tiered Treasure Deck The Merchants house rule is designed to be played with another house rule: the Tiered Treasure Deck. The latter house rule tiers the Treasure Deck to: ensure that items in the Merchant shop and Bonfire deck are relevant to stage of the game restrict more exotic items to Treasure chests to make the one-shot chest interactions more unique This other house rule will take some time to write up, so I'll post about Merchants here first and create a separate thread for the Tiered Treasure Deck later. Terminology House Rule = A non-official rule (or subset of rules) for a boardgame that you may adopt to shape your gameplay experience to your tastes DSTVG = Dark Souls the videogame DSTBG = Dark Souls the boardgame Tiered Treasure deck = a separate House Rule that tiers the Treasure deck (I'll link back with details when I've written it up) Merchant = a discoverable non-player character that keeps a shop that sells items appropriate for this stage of the game Shop = a persistent mini-deck drawn from the treasure deck Shop Location = the tile on which the Merchant is located Merchant transaction = trading 2 Souls for a known item card available only in the Merchant shop Bonfire transaction = trading 1 Soul for an unknown item card from the Treasure deck Player character = the character a player is controlling Merchants Merchants: An Overview In DSTVG, merchants were often located in hidden areas. Early on they provided low-tier items to aid progression and support a feeling of growth for the player character. Deeper into the world they would provide slightly more exotic items, and very rarely they'd provide magical or unique items. In the latter cases you often had to level up in a particular way to take advantage of these rarer items. Finding the Merchant Shop These rules are for the standard format of DSTBG. I have not written any rules for the Campaign mode as I have not tried that out yet. You are welcome to adapt these for the campaign, but it's likely they won't work well without some sort of adaptation for the longer format of the Campaign. Two Merchants can be discovered in a standard game of Dark Souls. One Merchant Shop can be accessed via one of the first 4 tiles before the Miniboss, another can be found in one of the second 4 tiles before the Main Boss. As all seasoned adventurers know, Merchants hide their shops behind or beneath barrels! The first tile you discover with a barrel is the Shop Location. Whenever you finish this encounter, if the tile contains an unbroken barrel, any character in your party may break it for 1 stamina. If the barrel is broken in this way, the shop is discovered. If the tile contained a barrel, but it was broken in the fracas, the Merchant heard the commotion and has been scared off for now! Merchants return to their Shop Location if all encounters are reset by using a Spark. In the unlikely (but possible) event that you do not find a Merchant anywhere (because none of your encounter cards contained barrels), you must have been too busy frantically fighting to notice it! Select an empty purple node on one of the tiles to receive the barrel. From this point on, always add the barrel to that node when retrying that encounter. Only do this once you have explored all 4 encounters and can be sure none contains a barrel. Stocking the Merchant Shop Merchants wander the world over, earning their keep though trade in common and rare items. Being solitary types, they travel light and keep a small inventory. When you encounter a Merchant for the first time, draw 5 cards from the item deck (see Tiering the Treasure Deck rules above for which deck to draw from). Place these items face up to form the Shop. When you enter a different tile, first warn the others members of the party (so they can check stat requirements for any items they have their eye on), then close the shop by turning over the 5 cards. Do not return any cards to the Treasure deck when you close the shop. Merchant Transactions Just like in DSTVG, with this ruleset, purchasing and finding items in DSTBG involves a tradeoff. Items from the Merchant shop are known, but expensive. On the other hand, items from treasure chests cost no Souls, but instead cost stamina and, if you're less lucky, health. In the middle ground, items from the Bonfire cost fewer Souls but you don't know what you're getting. Each item in the Merchant shop costs 2 Souls. Once an item has been purchased, do not immediately draw another card to replenish the shop inventory; the Merchant must visit their storehouse before they can restock the shop. If all 5 item cards are purchased from the Merchant, the Merchant is out of stock and cannot sell you anything else. Revisiting the Merchant Shop Once discovered, the party can return to the shop at any time by moving into the encounter tile. The exception to this is after a Spark use. If a Spark is used, all encounters reset. For Merchants, this means the shop is hidden again behind the barrel. Remember that the usual discovery rules apply for Merchants. If you break the barrel during combat, the Merchant will flee. If you pay stamina to break it after combat, the Merchant will be waiting for you. Restocking the Merchant Shop After a Spark use, the Merchant will have restocked as some time has passed. Draw up to 5 cards from the item deck until the shop stocks the maximum five items again. Alternatively, if on any shop visit the Merchant really doesn't have anything that can help you, you can pay them 2 Souls to shut up shop and source some better wares. The next time the tile is reset from a Spark use, draw up to 5 new cards to form the new shop inventory (you can keep any cards you liked the look of previously, you told the Merchant you'd be back for those). --- Rule Clarifications For clarity and posterity, I'll post any rule clarifications here, in addition to editing the rules above.
  2. Preamble Steamforged have done a pretty good job with the game, but there are two areas I find a bit lacking in the official ruleset (first edition). Firstly, Treasure drawing is really important to progressing but really hit and miss in terms of getting anything you can skill up to. Secondly, the fixed stat levels (while a necessary simplification) together with the Treasure deck really don't reflect the artful pacing of item drops and the flexibility players had to work towards those items in the videogame series. These are the problems I aim to solve with this (and other House Rules). Note: Merchants & the Tiered Treasure Deck The Tiered Treasure Deck house rule can be used on its own or can also be paired with another house rule: Merchants. The Merchants house rule adds a 'Merchant Shop' that, once discovered, contains a persistent Treasure mini-deck with items that are within reach of your current level. This smooths out the progression during a playthrough and makes the experience more rewarding, less repetitive and ultimately more satisfying for everyone playing. It also brings in a thematic element from the Dark Souls world. Terminology House Rule = A non-official rule (or subset of rules) for a boardgame that you may adopt to shape your gameplay experience to your tastes DSTVG = Dark Souls the videogame DSTBG = Dark Souls the boardgame Chest = a box on an encounter tile that can be opened once all enemies within the encounter have been defeated Tier 1 = items that cater for good early game progression towards the Mini Boss Tier 2 = items that cater for good late game progression towards the Final Boss Chest deck = unique, often magical items that can only be found in chests Firekeeper deck = spells that they'll only trade to virtuous adventurers Merchant = another 'house rule' that works well with this one (read on for a link to its own House Rule thread) Merchant deck = the deck used for determining which items are for sale in the Merchant Shop Tiered Treasure Deck Tiered Treasure Deck Overview In the early part of a playthrough, DSTBG suffers from an Treasure deck bloated with items that may never be accessible to the player classes in use or that are unusable until much later in the game. This is especially unenjoyable when playing with fewer than 4 player characters because you have to cycle through loot that you cannot build towards. I consider that bad gameplay design in terms of pacing and I have created this set of rules to help towards resolving this. This house rule makes some key changes to improve the experience: Tiers items so you'll only pick up items you can make use of early on. This has the benefits of guiding build paths, providing a consistent sense of progression, reducing the need to grind to beat the game (this was never really a feature of DSTVG) and rewarding the player with the cool items in the second half of the game. That said, there are a couple of unique gameplay items that can be found early on. Restricts more exotic items to Treasure chests. This makes the one-shot chest interactions more unique and rewarding, and is much more thematic. Ties spell availability to an 'event' with the Firekeeper. This incorporates a risk-reward mechanic for the spells and adds a little to the thematicism. If you spend too many of your Souls with the Merchant, you won't be able to get spells from the Firekeeper. Ties in, optionally, with the 'Merchant' house rule (explained in its own thread, and linked below). Essentially Merchants sell equipment, the Firekeeper grants spells and Chests contain 'rare' items. Purchasing items at the Bonfire In this house rule you have two options: EITHER purchase items from the Bonfire as per the official rules OR purchase items from the Merchants as per the 'Merchants' house rule Both options use the same Tier 1 & Tier 2 decks, so it's completely up to you how you make use of it. The Firekeeper The Firekeeper helps virtuous travellers who rid this world of horrors. If the party has twice the number of Souls in its Soul Pool as their are members, the Firekeeper will teach you about magical invocations, restorative salves and poisonous concoctions. If the party has fewer than this many Souls, spells are not available for sale. Each spell costs 4 Souls. Firekeeper Tier 1 Spells Force Heal Aid Poison Mist Soul Arrow Firekeeper Tier 2 Spells Heal Aid Fireball Soulstream Chests Nothing of value is kept in plain sight. Chest Tier 1 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the first half of the game, Chest items are drawn from this deck. Upgrades 2 x Ember 2 x Titanite Shard Poison Gem Lightning Gem Simple Gem Blood Gem Weapons Great Magic Weapon Silver Knight Sword Shields & Armour Pierce Shield Effigy Shield Sunless Armour Drang Armour Court Sorcerer Robes Deacon Robes Rings Chloranthy Ring Chest Tier 2 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the second half of the game, Chest items are drawn from this deck. Upgrades Heavy Gem Sharp Gem Crystal Gem Blessed Gem Rings & Spells All 'transposed' character ring and spell cards Legendary Shuffle the legendary items and draw 5 to add to the Chest deck Merchants / Bonfire If you do not wish to play with the Merchants house rule, simply keep this deck as the Bonfire deck and use the normal Souls trading rules from the official ruleset (pay one Soul to draw one card). Full details on the Merchants house rule can be found in this thread: Merchant Tier 1 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the first half of the game, the Merchant Shop inventory is drawn from this deck. Weapons Firebombs Thrall Axe Kukris Morning Star Scimitar Shortsword Brigand Axe Reinforced Club Rapier Winged Spear Shields & Armour Silver Eagle Kite Shield Dragon Crest Shield Worker Armour Exile Armour Black Armour Firelink Armour Sunset Armour Merchant Tier 2 Create a deck from the following cards and shuffle it. In the second half of the game, the Merchant Shop inventory is drawn from this deck. Upgrades 2 x Ember 2 x Titanite Shard Weapons All 'transposed' character weapon cards Claymore Murakamo Great Mace Great Axe Halberd Sorcerer's Staff Zweihander Shields & Armour All 'transposed' character shield & armour cards Hard Leather Armour Master's Attire East-West Shield Eastern Iron Shield --- Rule Clarifications For clarity and posterity, I'll post any rule clarifications here, in addition to editing the rules above.
  3. Hey guys, finally got around to registering an account a few days ago and just got it approved. Wanted to share two house rules I've come up with for the game (I apologize in advance if there is like a single thread for house rule postings that people are supposed to reply to). Awareness Once you have successfully cleared an encounter card, each time you reactivate it you may roll 1 Dodge Die to determine if the enemies or if the players activate immediately. So in other words, this house rule gives you a 50/50 chance of being able to bypass the mechanic where all the enemies activate automatically when entering the tile. Now just to clarify, this only works for encounter cards you have already cleared. Meaning if you die in the middle of battle when you re-enter that tile you will not be able to roll a Dodge Die. As a result, this also means Bosses are excluded from this. I had created this house rule really to help speed up the VERY repetitive grind aspect in the gameplay, but it also coincides with the nature of the video games. If you're grinding an area in the video game, naturally it will only take a few sweeps before you're well-versed in the enemy spawns and behaviors. So this house rule really isn't very far-fetched when implemented in the board game—and at the same time doesn't break the game mechanics either as a single Dodge Die gives you a 50/50 chance of being able to attack first, or having the enemies attack first as they usually would. I've been using this house rule during every game played since I thought of it, and everyone I've played with typically agrees it's well balanced while also providing the chance to drastically speed up grinding. Now this next house rule I haven't actually been able to try out yet. Because of this, despite the fact that I've spent a good while fine-tuning it and tweaking it for balance on paper there is still a chance that in practice it just doesn't work at all. I'm sharing it here though in case anyone who DOES have the opportunity to play around with it may do so and let me know how balanced it actually is 5th Player A 5th player may be added to the game as a DM. The DM will control all enemy encounters, movements, and attacks. The DM MUST obey enemy movement and attack TARGET icons (Aggro/Nearest Player), as instructed on the enemy control cards. Setup — At the beginning of setup, the DM will draw 3 encounter cards per tile in play, following the standard encounter card setup/format. The DM will then be able to look at each drawn deck of encounter cards (in private) and choose which card to place face-down on each deck's respected tile. Repeat until each game tile has an encounter card placed face-down on it. These encounter cards must remain in play until the party rests at the bonfire. If the party rests at the bonfire, the DM may swap out any encounter card in play with another from that tile's deck; if the DM swaps out an encounter card with a new one, the old card is removed from the game. The DM cannot swap out an encounter card that contains an unopened Treasure Chest or a Tombstone. Determining Push — The players will be able to determine where the characters get pushed to, while the DM will be able to determine where enemies get pushed to. If a node already contains 3 characters/enemies when someone enters that node, the person entering the node will determine which of the three characters/enemies already on the node will be pushed. The player controlling the determined character will then be able to decide where to be pushed to. Ok so I think the only thing about this house rule that may cause some confusion is the section regarding setup. Essentially what I've done is allow the additional player the opportunity to swap out encounter cards from the game board with a brand new encounter card. Now before you argue about this being either unfair or unnecessary, this is the one thing I spent the most time ironing out so take a minute to hear me out on this one. First of all, this goes without saying, but the game obviously wasn't designed with the idea of a player controlling the enemies. Should the occasion arise however where you find yourself with one-too-many people and don't want to leave someone out, this is a fun way to include someone without breaking the game's balance of a party of 4. Now arguably the easiest way to balance a player controlling the enemies is to force them to obey specifically Aggro and maybe Nearest Player (unsure if Nearest Player should be required), because otherwise a smart/unfair player would send every enemy after a single character over and over until that character dies (which breaks the game). However after thinking about it for awhile, if you simply had someone play as an enemy in that manor that player would get VERY bored VERY quickly—it would be fun for the first, maybe second time an encounter card is activated but how I envision the game going is eventually the players controlling the characters will still be able to formulate a system to clear an encounter, despite the fact there is a player controlling the enemies. In other words the additional player would eventually lose interest in even trying or otherwise simply would run out of options. SO my answer to that problem is to let the additional player swap out encounter cards with others of their choice. And in theory, this should actually benefit the overall experience in more ways than one; for starters it would give the additional player a LOT more strategic purpose, as they would effectively be able to design the entire game and which obstacles the party must overcome. Even if the new encounter cards are still pretty easy to overcome, this would still most importantly ensure the additional player remains interested in the game. Now for balancing purposes there are a few key things about this to note, the biggest being that the standard game setup must still be obeyed. In other words the additional player cant place a level 3 encounter card on every tile, he/she would still need to obey the Mini/Main Boss encounter card layout. Also I've made it so that the additional player can't screw the party over by making it so that an encounter card with an unopened Treasure Chest or Tombstone must remain on the board. Beyond the benefit of the additional player however, this also would benefit the party from getting bored of grinding. A new encounter card not only brings new risks but also keeps the gameplay fresh as the party will constantly have to re-strategize every time an encounter card is swapped out. This also gives the party a very small form of strategy in regards to the card placement as well, as if the party clears an encounter card that contains a Treasure Chest they may opt to leave it unopened for the time being to prevent the chance of that card being replaced.
  4. While it is very "video game," I've noticed a lot of reviewers do not enjoy the grind aspect of the Dark Souls board game, where you have to keep reseting the encounters and fighting the same enemies in order to build up your power for the boss. My group felt similarly, partially because the game was taking too long, when the real fun is in finding and fighting those bosses.For my group, and for anyone else who is finding it hard to make it through the more mundane opening of the game, I came up with a house rule that has nicely solved the problem without lowering the difficulty of the game (the difficulty we all enjoy, we are sadists). Quote: HOUSE RULE: GRIND At any time outside of an encounter (so not during combat), the group can spend one spark to "Grind." Doing so resets all of their tokens (estus flasks, luck tokens, heroic action) and gives the group experience again for all DEFEATED encounters. Doing this does NOT reset defeated encounters. Aside from spending sparks, there is no limit to the number of times you may subsequently Grind. Boss rooms are never affected by Grinding. Note: You could argue (legitimately) there is a slight decrease in challenge due to the luck factor of just making bad rolls, but after several games, we found that during our reset grinds we very rarely died on a second attempt at an encounter. Just having the preknowledge of what was coming and being better equipped the second time around meant that mostly we were just do routine die rolling. And the few times where bad treasure draws meant we WEREN'T better equipped pretty much ended our games anyway... this meant that we were able to circumvent that a little and get to the fun part: getting our asses kicked by the bosses. There is a nice tactical addition to this as well, in that you have to decide when it is time to "push it." The longer you wait without grinding, the bigger your reward, but the risk is higher, too, as you are heading deeper into the dungeon without better treasure.
  5. "There is no second chance for a first impression." - This is especially true for board games that take more than an hour. I've been thinking about how to maximize the chances that my boardgame group will get maximum enjoyment out of our first game of Dark Souls and thus retains an interest in playing it. Apart from making sure that I know all the rules and explain them well, one aspect that seems to come up a lot in the forums recently is that your experience may vary a lot depending on how lucky your treasure deck draws are, as this essentially heavily influences how much "grind" is needed before you can confidently tackle the boss. There is a way I can think of to remedy this situation: 1) Prepare a treasure deck (without shuffling) in advance that "showcases" cool and usable items in a way that doesn't neglect to give all used classes some sensible treasure they can use early-ish. Unfortunately, I don't have my game yet (Germany, English version, still "answered") so maybe someone who already has the game wants to come up with a great "demo" starter deck? 2) In general, you could also simply build treasure decks that lower randomness. I.e. you could shuffle individual class and general item decks separately and then simply draw the topmost card of each of those decks without knowing what it is to make your final treasure deck, where all classes get class-specific items in a less random fashion. What do you think?
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