Back in February we reviewed Dark Souls The Card Game, and we scored it 9.5/10. It's one of our favorite releases of the year. The scope for expansion from the core set was obvious, and we were so keen for our Dark Souls The Card Game journey to continue with more cards that we asked about it when we conducted our interview with Alex Hall on the development of Dark Souls The Board Game. Steamforged Games (SFG) haven't disappointed, and we're very happy to review the Forgotten Paths expansion.
Forgotten Paths adds two new player class options in the Thief and the Pyromancer with their respective decks. Players also get 33 new Treasure Cards (23 common and 10 transposed) some of which are linked to the new classes. In order to get access to those treasure cards though, Forgotten Paths includes 23 new encounter cards (Level 1, 2, and 3) and four new Bosses with their behavior decks. Forgotten Paths also includes a new exploration board for the new Bosses and also Trap and Terrain cards in a new game feature.
The two new player classes are a great inclusion for Dark Souls The Card Game. The Thief is able to cycle through their deck, drawing three more cards to hand. The Thief's ability is pretty powerful as normally there is a gamble when a character takes damage, to either take it by discarding a card from hand, or from the deck. With more cards in your hand, players have more choice in what they discard, knowing what you're discarding than risking from the deck, or you can discard cards from your deck safe in the knowledge that you've got some great cards in your hand. The Thief's highest damage at range and recycling melee weapon requires 3/4 stamina cards to use, so having access to those extra cards can allow the Thief to deal some real damage, but maintaining and using all those cards each turn can really run down their deck.
The Pyromancer is able to deal a huge hit with their ability by adding +2 to select attack cards. Their flame attacks also hit enemies in the same column as the target so they can be very efficient with their card use. Their starting deck weapon cards are low damage though, so adding upgrade cards quickly is required to make full use of their potential.
Forgotten Paths adds four great and unique new boss monsters to the Dark Souls The Card Game. As per the core box, each boss comes with their own behaviour deck of unique attacks and players need to learn the sequence each game in order to effectively beat the boss. We don't want to go into too much detail about the bosses, as part of the experience is discovering and learning the boss attacks. But our favourite boss in Forgotten Paths is the Bell Gargoyle, where hallway through the fight another one appears and you have to fight on two fronts, both with their own set of unique attacks. All the bosses are well thought out and provide a solid challenge, as frustratingly brilliant as the bosses from the core set.
The new enemies provide a significant challenge and some fresh abilities. The Forest Clan are themed throughout the enemies, some examples of which are the Forest Clan Cleric, who can heal enemies and the Forest Clan Bandit, who forces unblocked damage to be taken from a player's hand rather than their deck. Some of the higher level enemies are particularly nasty, the Channeler increases all enemies damage by 1 while they're in play, which is rough in a four-player game where in some encounters you can come across two Level 3 enemies and there's a chance that one could be a Berenike Knight Swordsman who dishes out 5 damage without being boosted by the Channeler.
The new Encounter cards add some new thematic cards in Traps and Terrain, which only make things more challenging for the heroes. Terrain cards generally cost the characters more to complete actions, like Tangled Undergrowth which means that to Dodge, characters need to spend an additional card. Trap cards can have an injury impact like Shattered Foot, which takes up a space in your hand until you spend stamina to remove it, or cards like Spike Traps, which require a specific type of Stamina spend to avoid it.
If you're a fan of Dark Souls The Card Game, Forgotten Paths adds a huge amount of longevity and challenge. It's nothing drastically different from the core set, but in our opinion that's a good thing. Play out of the core set was always challenging and gave a lot of variety that was surprising for size of the box, but having more heroes, bosses, enemies and encounters hugely increases the longevity with more variation in game. The new heroes alone add some great new strategies in how you play and deal with enemies, but combined with the new bosses and encounter cards it adds a huge amount of new depth and variety to your games. The new cards can be mixed in with the cards from the original set, or played straight from the box for a dedicated Forgotten Paths experience, or players can create their own unique challenges by creating their own dedicated exploration and treasure decks.
We really like how Dark Souls The Card Game is developing and really hope to see more expansions soon.
The Bottom Line:
Forgotten Paths adds more of the same to Dark Souls The Card Game, which is more great variety and challenges, as well as player options to an already incredible cooperative card game. The two new player classes are very welcome and provide some great new playstyles in terms of team selection. The new enemies, encounters and bosses also provide a great amount of variation in game, but still maintain the challenge and depth that made the core set so interesting. Steamforged Games are on to a winner with their Dark Souls The Card Game content so far and we look forward to seeing where it is taken next.
Get this game if:
You love cooperative card games.
You loved the original Dark Souls The Card Game and want more options and challenges to face.
You enjoy tactical, turn based combat and deck building.
You’re a Dark Souls fan.
Avoid this game if:
You didn't like or don't have the original Dark Souls the Card Game.
You don’t enjoy a challenge.
The copy of Forgotten Paths used for this review was provided by Steamforged Games.