A lot goes into adapting a video game into a tabletop game. The two mediums have different strength but also different limitations. Things must be taken into account in one form the other and corrected for if a designer wants to be able to recreate the feeling a player gets when playing the games. For Bloodborne: The Board Game, the designers took these challenges in stride. In this article, we take a look at some of the different elements they looked to cross over when adapting the video game.
Starting out with the Hunters, they have been made in such a way that players will see connections to the video game immediately. Each one has its own Trick Weapon, split into two forms, that they will use when attacking enemies in the game. These weapons have different stats depending on which form they are in at the time, and players must know how to best use their weapons to overcome the challenges they will face. All of these are melee-style weapons. Hunters can’t simply sit back and snipe at monsters. Like the video game, the only ranged attack they have is a pistol, and it is only used to disrupt enemy attacks. It’s amazing what a well-timed pistol shot can do for throwing an enemy off their rhythm when trying to claw someone to death.
And death will almost certainly happen. Also, much like the video game, death in Bloodborne: The Board Game doesn’t mean a Game Over. Players will enter the Hunter’s Dream where they will head back to the starting area, healed up and hopefully wiser about what lies ahead. That’s not the only way to enter the Hunter’s Dream, though. Players can head there purposefully, in which case they can spend Blood Echoes that they have collected from enemies (also like in the video game) and use those to upgrade the cards they use to make attacks. These cards replace the ones in a player’s deck, not add to it. As such, there’s no worry about having a deck that gets too big and then the card a player is looking for never shows up again.
Part of the reason that death is so common in the game is that the monsters are designed to always be dangerous. In the video game, even the monsters at the very beginning of the game, after a player has leveled up several times, can still get the best of Hunters that just rush in blindly. The designers of the board game had this same feeling in mind when designing those monsters. Even with an upgraded deck, just rushing in blindly will most certainly send a Hunter to the Hunter’s Dream before they wanted to. Only through careful planning and strategy can they come out on top.
The designers wanted to mitigate as much luck from the game as they could. With the different player decks created as they were, they wanted skill to rule the day when it comes to winning and losing, and not just chance. Players could come up with different tactics that they wanted to employ in order to tackle the different quests set ahead of them. This also mimics the video game, where a player who learned enemy patterns and motions would certainly come out on top.
The city of Yharnam was also recreated on the tabletop with an eye to the video game. The twisting, turning, labyrinthine streets and alleyways are represented by colorful terrain tiles. Each one has multiple entries to it, with players placing a new tile whenever they stop off of one into the unknown. Thus, the feeling of seeking out new ways through the city that’s such a part of the video game is also present on the tabletop.
At every step of the development course for Bloodborne: The Board Game, the designers looked to recreate the feeling of the video game. And while not a 100% recreation, as nothing really could be, they did do their best to make fans of the video game feel at home when playing it. Meanwhile, board game fans will have plenty of things keeping them excited and engaged as they walk the streets of Yharnam, looking to fight off monsters, with an eye always to the Blood Moon hanging above.
By Jason "Polar Bear" Koepp
Bloodborne: The Board Game is live on Kickstarter.
You can read more about Bloodborne: The Board Game here.