Dicebreaker recommends: Bloodborne: The Card Game, the best way to log out of Elden Ring

Dicebreaker Recommends is a series of monthly board games, RPGs, and other tabletop recommendations from our friends on our sister site, Dicebreaker. This month, the team goes on the hunt in one of the best video game board games around – Bloodborne: The Card Game.

The Soulsborne series has had a mixed airplay on the table so far. Arguably the most popular entries in the series prior to the release of Elden Ring earlier this year, the original Dark Souls and cosmic horror Bloodborne, both saw board game and card game adaptations apart. whole, with Dark Souls also making a recent leap into a D&D-like tabletop RPG.

Until Elden Ring inevitably gets its own tabletop release, Soulsborne board games are worth revisiting when you need a moment to stop dying in Malenia and relax with some good old cardboard. for a few hours.

While Dark Souls: The Board Game and Bloodborne: The Board Game have both proven to be as popular as one would expect from Popular Thing: The Board Game, raking in millions of dollars on Kickstarter, some of the other adaptations games have been somewhat overlooked despite their connection to the series.

Most notably, Bloodborne: The Card Game, an earlier 2016 version of Miyazaki’s Lovecraftian horror masterpiece that stands out for moving away from a more direct translation of the game’s single-player exploration elements to a multiplayer affair. semi-cooperative.

Bloodborne: The action card game.

Rather than Bloodborne’s main story, Bloodborne: The Card Game draws inspiration from the game’s Chalice Dungeons. encountering both new bosses and respawns of some of the monsters discovered in Yharnam.

“The result is a tense and tight game of chicken”

Bloodborne: TCG also puts a different spin on Bloodborne’s co-op multiplayer, offering a semi-co-op, semi-competitive boss rush as players’ hunters fight their way through a series of monster maps, hoping to kill their way. rack up as much blood echoes as they can in front of their rivals.

Like the “Prepare to die” mantra of the Soulsborne series, collecting Blood Echoes comes with a risk-reward. Rather than throwing themselves into the next battle, players can choose to “teleport” to the Hunter’s Dream, accumulating the Echoes on their board to avoid losing them on their next death and collecting all the Death Cards. weapons used.

Missing the fight means sacrificing the chance to get more Blood Echoes by damaging monsters, the primary way to chase victory. Like the video game, timing is everything; warping can lose a juicy bounty, but waiting too long could cost you everything you’ve earned so far.

The result is a tense, tight game of chicken as players try to guess when their fellow hunters will cash in. While a tactical leap to the Hunter’s Dream can leave an opponent in the lurch, if too many players retreat in a single turn the damage from a surviving monster can be bad news for everyone. Death at least comes with the ability to upgrade your weapons before venturing through the maze in search of enemies to slay.

The contents of the Bloodborne card game laid out on a table.

Bloodborne is decorated with the weapons, tools, and enemies of the video game, but it’s a video game adaptation more in spirit than in letter. Designer Eric M. Lang – beloved creator of games such as Blood Rage and XCOM: The Board Game, who also co-designed the Bloodborne board game – manages to retain the fast-paced back-and-forth feel of combat gaming even in a card game, with little downtime between rounds and no huge tome of rules to digest.

As board games Dark Souls and Bloodborne attempt to capture more of the gameplay and worlds of video games – to varying degrees of success – Bloodborne: The Card Game explores one of the most fascinating parts of the series, stripping away any pretense of story or exploration in favor of pure bloodlust rush. Compliant, right?

In some ways, Bloodborne: The Card Game feels like the perfect tabletop adaptation for Soulsborne gamers who relish the chance to embark on video games’ player-versus-player invasions and test their mettle against other humans. Rather than threats themselves, the monsters here become pawns – twisting, oozing pawns – to be used against your fellow hunter, hoping to lead them unwillingly into self-inflicted checkmate.

Between board games, card games and RPGs, Soulsborne fans have no shortage of ways to immerse themselves in the worlds of Lordran or Yharnam on the table. Lacking the visual flash of plastic miniatures or the deep lore and history of an RPG book, Bloodborne: The Card Game might not be first on the list for many gamers, but it deserves a place alongside its big brothers. If nothing else, its sub-hour playtime makes it an easy way to unwind before heading back into The Lands Between – before we inevitably see an Elden Ring board game, that is. -say.

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