The city of Yharnam was well known for its healing and therapeutic healing techniques. This brought flocks of people there, looking to restore themselves. However, a plague has started that the healers seem unable to contain, try as they might. Now, instead of being known for its healing, it’s known for its dangers. Hunters far and wide have come to town, looking to find out what has happened and put an end to this terrible disease. But many have been infected, with more succumbing every day. The Hunters will have to work fast and, of course, they must be careful to not become overwhelmed by the monsters that now roam the dark streets. The Blood Moon is rising, and time is not on the Hunter’s side. Will they be successful in stopping this curse and bring the city back to its lively state? That’s where you come in, as you take on the role of Hunters in Bloodborne: The Board Game.
In Bloodborne: The Board Game, players take on the role of Hunters coming to the city of Yharnam trying to stop an evil plague that is spreading among the populace. They will do this by exploring the town, completing quests, and fighting back dread monsters, all before they run out of time and the tide can no longer be turned. Each Hunter comes with their own unique Trick Weapon. These are the armaments that the Hunters will use throughout the game. Each one is different, with special properties that come into play when used. All these weapons are also double-sided, giving players more options as they adventure along. If one style of their weapon doesn’t work for the given task, perhaps the other will.
Powering these weapons is a deck of cards, each player with their own. These 12-card decks signify a player’s skills. Some are strength-oriented. Others speed-oriented. Still others are endurance-oriented. Players will place these cards onto their Trick Weapon board in the designated spaces when they want to make an attack, augmenting the regular stats on the weapon however they want. They might go in for a stronger attack at a slower speed or look for a quick attack that heals them for the damage dealt, or any possible combination thereof. Monsters will counter with their own set of cards that flip from the top of their deck, determining what type of attack and defense they have in combat.
But defeating monsters is only part of what Bloodborne: The Board Game is all about. They must search all across Yharnam for clues as to what is happening in the city. They will be moving from space to space on the colored terrain tiles. These are drawn from a facedown pool. Whenever a Hunter moves to a new space, the top tile is drawn from the stack and placed in any orientation the players want so that the entryways line up. This means that the city is built as the game progresses, with no two maps ever being entirely the same. These tiles might come with monsters, quest locations, or other special elements players will interact with during the game.
It’s not just mindless searching, though. The Quest deck is the set of objectives that players must overcome in order to win. These will vary from game to game as well, each with their own conditions for success. Hunters may have to defeat a certain number of monsters or find special quest tokens or travel to certain locations on the map. Many of the quests have different conditions that can be met, giving different rewards for their various ways to be completed.
Time is also not on the Hunter’s side. Each round, the round tracker continues to move forward. Hunters only have a set number of turns before it’s too late and the Blood Moon has risen. But even before that final event, the board will reset several times along the way. Monsters will respawn or gain their health back, meaning players can’t dawdle when looking to complete quests. Haste must be made if they want to save the city.
Bloodborne: The Board Game will test player’s mettle, giving them difficult choices in how they complete their quests. But it’s all down to them. The designers have looked to remove many of the luck elements from the game, having players win or lose based more on their skill as opposed to the simple roll of a die. Will they be able to save the city of Yharnam or will plague consume everything it its path?
By Jason "Polar Bear" Koepp
Bloodborne: The Board Game is live on Kickstarter.
You can read more about Bloodborne: The Board Game here.