Dark Souls is difficult.
For those of you who don’t know, it all started with a video game called Demon’s Souls. It’s a miserably hard game where literally everything kills you. The tutorial actually is designed to have you die horribly by pitting you against a boss that’s far stronger than you. If you somehow manage to beat it, you get rewarded by getting punched in the face by a dragon god and still dying.
Then came the quintessential version of the game, rebranded as Dark Souls. Darks Souls, the video game, didn’t make anything easier, but it perfected its combat systems and game mechanics.
I freaking loved Dark Souls and played it to death.
So why would anyone willingly play such a brutal game, designed to constantly punish its players?
The answer is simple. Although it’s stupidly hard, it’s not unbeatable. Literally, anyone can beat the game. You just have to “Get Gud”.
The feeling you get from finally killing that boss after 15+ tries is so rewarding that you simply can’t put it down and want to keep playing.
There are very few video games to board game transitions that are done well, but Dark Souls: The Board Game has managed to keep that same level of difficulty/reward level so high that it honestly feels like the video game. That alone is a huge achievement.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at ALL of the expansions for the board game to see which ones are worthwhile.
|Dark Souls: The Board Game||$277.95||Buy on Amazon|
|Steamforged Games Dark Souls: Darkroot Expansion||$70.00 $50.67||Buy on Amazon|
|Steamforged Games Dark Souls: The Board Game: Wave 2: Black Dragon Kalameet, Brown||$42.75||Buy on Amazon|
|Steamforged Games Dark Souls: Asylum Demon Expansion||$44.00 $43.98||Buy on Amazon|
|Dark Souls Board Game - Guardian Dragon Expansion||Currently not available||Buy on Amazon|
|Steamforged Games Dark Souls: The Board Game: Wave 2: Gaping Dragon, Brown||$59.95 $39.31||Buy on Amazon|
|Dark Souls Board Game - Old Iron King Expansion||Currently not available||Buy on Amazon|
|Dark Souls - The Four Kings Expansion||$199.95||Buy on Amazon|
Dark Souls: The Board Game
The base game of Dark Souls comes with several iconic bosses and mini-bosses. It has plenty to get you started and more than enough to get you killed. It’s not uncommon for new players to enter a room and be at death’s door before they even get a turn.
Seriously, but it’s all part of the fun.
My favorite bosses come with the base game: the Dancer of the Boreal Valley and Smough & Ornstein.
Along with the bosses comes 5 mini-bosses, 4 player characters, and a ton of regular enemy minis to run a complete game.
- 27 Highly Detailed Plastic Miniatures
- 9 Double-Sided Character Boards
- 64 Health & Stamina
This is about as close to an essential expansion as you can get.
One of the major complaints with the Dark Souls: The Board Game is that after a few playthroughs the enemies can become a little repetitive. The Darkroot Expansion adds enough minor enemies, bosses, and mini-bosses, so it’s very easy to change up the gameplay. This expansion keeps the game fresh and greatly extends the shelf life of your game.
This expansion comes with the bosses Artorias and his Companion the Great Wolf Sif.
It also includes a ton of new regular enemies that when combined with the base set, should last you quite some time.
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Black Dragon Kalameet Boss Expansion
Here’s another Mega Boss to add to your gaming experience.
Black Dragon Kalameet had fewer problems with shipping than some of the other models and the majority of them will be perfectly fine. The horns are the most susceptible part of the model to be damaged but are also the easiest to fix. Just use a hairdryer to heat it up a little bit and then bend them back into place.
This is probably one of my favorite models in the series. It’s huge and just awesome looking; everything you would expect from a Mega Boss expansion.
As with all Mega Bosses, Kalameet comes with all the necessary AI and loot cards to play with the base game and an oversized board to fight with.
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- Included: new gigantic Mega boss tile, deadly new boss...
- The black Dragon kalameet expansion is intended for use with dark...
Asylum Demon Expansion
The Asylum Demon is basically the first real big baddy you get to see in the Dark Souls video game. In the tutorial level of the game, I basically died 15 times before I realized you can just run right by it.
The Asylum Demon in the board game is no less difficult. This Mega Boss comes with all the usual cards and loot needed to run the fight and introduces a new pillar-smashing rule. The Asylum Demon already had the ability to swing and rampage around the arena. Now it can smash through pillars too! If anyone is unfortunate enough to be nearby, they’ll suffer damage and possibly get knocked down. OUCH!
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Guardian Dragon Boss Expansion
The Guardian Dragon is a boss from Dark Souls 2, the video game, that guards the way into the Dragon Aerie.
It’s one of the many Mega Boss expansion add-ons for the board game. The board is decently sized and comes double-sided with an open arena and a more closed in section.
The cards and usual loots come with the expansion.
The model itself is very cool looking but unfortunately, the wings can be a bit tricky to attach when assembling the mini straight out of the box. You’ll probably have to fiddle with it a bit to get it sitting just right.
Gaping Dragon Boss Expansion
OMG this thing is horrifying. I love the design work on the bosses in this series. The Gaping Dragon is by far the most corrupted form of a dragon I’ve ever seen envisioned.
Its belly has been split open into a gaping maw that runs the entire length of its body to devour prey.
This expansion includes the Gaping Dragon Mega Boss Expansion, which includes all of the usual cards and loot necessary to play it, and an oversized tile for the actual showdown.
There have been some reports that the model itself doesn’t quite fit into the box. As a result, a lot of people have complained that the model is difficult to build without some knowledge and skill. If you try to just jam the pieces back together after taking it out of the box, you’re probably going to damage the model. You can, however, use warm water to reshift the plastic molding to fit properly.
It’s understandably irritating, to say the least, to fix a model that should come perfectly brand new (unless you’re really into model-building). I love the dragon but I’m a little disappointed that the packaging and production wasn’t produced better. Especially when it’s basically one Mega Boss coming with the expansion.
- This dark souls: the board game expansion features a terrifying...
- Included: new gigantic Mega boss tile, deadly new boss...
- The gaping Dragon expansion is intended for use with dark souls:...
Old Iron King Boss Expansion
The Iron King was obsessed with building an impenetrable fortress. His greed led to his downfall when the keep became too heavy and began to sink into the ground. The keep was swallowed up by molten iron and the Iron King became corrupted after falling to the Smelter Demon.
The Old Iron King Expansion includes everything you’ll need to face off with the Iron King, including its own map tile, all of the tiles necessary to play the boss, and the massive Iron King miniature himself.
The model itself is well done, and one of the easier of the Mega Boss models to build.
The Four Kings Boss Expansion
The Four Kings of Anor Lando was one of the hardest fights in the original Dark Souls video game.
This expansion comes with 4 models to represent the Four Kings, an oversized map tile for the fight, and all of the cards that go along with it.
This is another Mega Boss expansion that is going to be punishing, but as always with Dark Souls, extremely rewarding when you’re successful.
A Quick Note on Availability
Dark Souls: The Board Game was pitched on Kickstarter, and actually managed to raise over 4.5 million dollars. That’s crazy, right?
As with all Kickstarter projects, after the initial pledge period comes the actual fulfillment. Steamforged Games has tried their best but with success comes additional complexity. They received so many orders and support for their game that they’ve had a bit of difficulty putting out all of the games on a regular schedule. A lot of the expansions that have been scheduled for release are behind schedule and there’s a lot of information that is available only to backers.
The expansions listed below are either not currently out yet or are currently backer exclusives, which you may be able to find secondhand. You won’t be able to find any official copies of these expansions quite yet, but hopefully soon. We’ll update our list as I hear more updates from Steamforged Games.
The Explorers Expansion was a Kickstarter stretch goal but you can still find a random copy floating around. It basically just adds a lot of aesthetic flair to the base game.
Instead of tokens for items in the rooms like barrels and chests, you’ll get actual minis to represent the objects. It’s a nice addition to the game that just adds more cosmetic value to your game. You’ll also receive a few more regular enemies like fire bomb hollows and two new bosses: The Pursuer and Sir Alonne.
If you’re super into the game, it’s worth checking out but if you’re looking to expand your options and gameplay you’ll want to hold off on this expansion in favor of Darkroot.
Iron Keep Expansion
The Iron King has fallen into corruption. His form mutated after his defeat by the Smelter Demon and his keep is now a mockery of what it once was.
The Iron Keep expansion adds another location for you to explore.
With it comes additional map tiles, 4 different new regular enemies and models, and the Smelter Demon himself for a big boss fight.
In addition, there are all of the usual cards and loots necessary to add all enemies to the base game.
As much as I enjoy the boss fights, I think the location expansions add so much more gameplay from a single box.
Vordt of the Boreal Valley Boss Expansion
The once valiant knight is now nothing more than a mutated, monstrous beast. He has become a mindless creature that guards the gates of the Castle of Lothric.
This expansion includes an oversized showdown tile, the massive Vordt miniature, all of the cards to fight him, and unique loot (if you manage to kill him).
Darkroot Basin and Iron Keep Tile Set
To further expand your game, the Darkroot Basin and Iron Keep Tile set adds a host of new map tiles to enhance the play experience. These were Kickstarter exclusives, however, and are a little difficult to find.
This expansion only comes with additional locations. It doesn’t add anything else. This is a nice little bonus, but it’s not absolutely necessary unless you really start to get bored running through the same areas.
All of the map tiles are printed on thick cardboard and the artwork is gorgeously done.
Character classes in the original Dark Souls video game didn’t really mean a whole lot. It’s basically just starting equipment. Everything else can be found or learned in-game.
The board game does make character choice a bit more important, however. It determines the starting classes’ equipment and the stats throughout the game.
This expansion comes with the Deprived, Cleric, Thief, Sorcerer, Mercenary, and my favorite, the Pyromancer. Each class comes with a miniature and corresponding player board.
The Phantoms expansion adds new NPCs (non-player characters) to add to your game. Invaders could drop in and backstab unwary explorers or friendly souls could be summoned to aid you in your darkest hours.
Dark Souls can seem like an exercise in futility. You’ll constantly get beaten up and the moment you decide to turn back to heal and rest up, everything that you’ve defeated will return to full health.
It’s absolutely maddening but after numerous deaths comes understanding. You’ll begin to realize how each monster moves and thinks and pretty soon you’ll have them figured out. This is both true for the video game and the board game.
If all else fails you can always hit the ol’ “Estus Flask” to soothe your wounds.
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Have you played any of the Dark Souls expansions? Did you get access to any of the Kickstarter exclusives? Drop a comment below and let us know what you think!