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Bloodborne: the Card Game

I've written quite a few wishlist and feature proposals for video games on this blog. But today I'm going to do something that I don't think I've done before: suggest ideas for a board game expansion. In this case, I'm going to outline some ideas for my own user-made expansion ("mod"?) for Bloodborne: the Card Game. An official expansion may be due out later this year, so perhaps designer Eric Lang might come across this post and incorporate some of these ideas.

In my review of the card game, I mentioned that the card game adaptation is very simple, that a lot of stuff from the source material seemed strangely absent, and that it almost seemed as though the designers were leaving the door open for some easy expansion material. So I'm going to go ahead and try my hand at creating some of that material.

This isn't the first time I've ever tried my hand at modding a board game, but it is the first time that I've publicly posted my ideas. One of my better ideas (I think) was to try to write a series of national agendas for each of the factions in Axis & Allies, which would be drawn in secret at the start of the game. Only the faction(s) that fulfilled their agendas (and won the war) would be considered victorious. The idea was to make the game more interesting for more than just two players. Probably my most successful mod idea was for the Battlestar Galactica board game (specifically the Exodus expansion). Nobody in our BSG group ever liked playing as Laura Roslin, as we didn't feel that her benefits offset the handicap of having to sacrifice cards from her hand. In order to make her feel more viable, we all agreed that instead of having to discard two cards, Roslin could chose to take a trauma token. This introduced the risk that she might suddenly die (if a blood stain was drawn), but also allowed the player to keep her cards in her hand if they were going to be needed.

So let's see if I can come up with some workable expansion suggestions for Bloodborne...

Expansion idea 1: Character classes

My first idea is to implement a rudimentary character class system. When setting up the game, each player will select one of the following eight characters. I haven't made any custom components for this mod, but if you wanted to make a component, then I would suggest either making a character board for each class, or just make a card or overlay to put next to / on top of the player's trophy board.

Each class would have a unique gameplay mechanic associated with it, based on that character class in the video game. The mechanic will either be a passive effect or a special ability that can be triggered at certain points during gameplay. My proposed character classes are:

Yharnam Hunter

"After using the "Transform" ability, you may retrieve 1 card from your discard pile and place it in your hand. This does not include the Transform card."

The hunters of Yharnam have access to the workshop and the special tools and trick weapons that were developed there. This provides them with a wide array of weapons at their disposal.

 

Healing Church Hunter

"Max HP is one lower than normal. Each time you deal 2 or more damage to a monster, heal 1 HP (not to exceed max HP)."

After Laurence discovered the process of Blood Ministration, the Healing Church was established. The blood has healing properties, but was also highly addictive. Hunters from the Healing Church, therefore have the ability to use blood collected from slain enemies to heal themselves.

 

Arcane Hunter

"When you damage a monster with a Melee Weapon, you may spend 1 HP to increase the damage (and Blood Echoes acquired) by 1. You may not use this ability if it would reduce your HP to 0."

Magic in Bloodborne is performed by summoning the powers of the Old Ones through various equippable artifacts.. Since the card game lacks an actual magic mechanic (pending the inclusion of these artifacts as utility cards), I'm instead adapting one of the strategies associated with a mage build. Using magic consumes Quicksilver Bullets, and since a magic user burns through their bullets rather quickly, they often rely on using the Blood Bullet ability to sacrifice some health to temporarily increase their bullet supply.

Bloodtinge Hunter

"When you damage a monster with a Ranged Weapon, you may spend 1 HP to increase the damage (and Blood Echoes acquired) by 1. You may not use this ability if it would reduce your HP to 0."

In the Bloodborne video game, Bloodtinge is the character attribute that most directly affects the effectiveness of guns (and other weapons that consume Quicksilver Bullets). Since Quicksilver Bullets are not a part of the Bloodborne Card Game, I decided to instead adapt one of the strategies associated with a primarily firearm-based character build. Since a hunter that uses guns as a primary weapon will burn through bullets very quickly, they often rely on using the Blood Bullet technique to sacrifice some health to temporarily increase their bullet supply.

Charred Hunter

"You do not take HP damage from the effects of monster cards, weapon cards played by other hunters, or the utility abilities of other hunters."

The charred hunters protected Old Yharnam, which was burned to contain the scourge of beasts. The hunters in Old Yharnam developed attire that was resistant to fire to protect themselves from the inferno. I decided the best way to adapt that concept would be to give this hunter class the ability to ignore any "collateral damage" that was dealt by card effects. For example, the Molotov Cocktail card doesn't burn this hunter.

Vileblood

Proposal 1: "At the beginning of the Hunter's Dream phase, players bank their Blood Echoes in turn order. When you bank your echoes in the Hunter's Dream (if you did not die), you may take 1 Blood Echo from any other player's Collected Blood Echoes and add it to your bank. If that player is an Executioner, you may take 2 Blood Echoes."

Proposal 2: "Anytime another hunter dies, you gain one blood echo. If that hunter was an Executioner, you gain a trophy on your lowest trophy track instead."

Vilebloods hunt other hunters in order to collect dregs from their blood and turn them into their immortal queen. Thus, in the card game, they could steal blood from other hunters or benefit from the death of other hunters. The Vilebloods and the Executioners are sworn enemies, and so there is an extra reward for targeting an Executioner.

Executioner

Proposal 1: "At the beginning of the Hunter's Dream phase, players bank their Blood Echoes in turn order. When you bank your echoes in the Hunter's Dream (if you did not die), you may take 1 Blood Echo from any other player's Collected Blood Echoes and add it to your bank. If that player is an Vileblood, you may take 2 Blood Echoes."

Proposal 2: "Anytime another hunter dies, you gain one blood echo. If that hunter was a Vileblood, you gain a trophy on your lowest trophy track instead."

Executioners are agents of the church, and they hunt down "impure" hunters and heretics. They behave similarly to the Vilebloods, and steal blood from other hunters or are rewarded when other hunters die. They are also sworn to hunt down the Vilebloods, and so there is extra reward for targeting a Vileblood.

Hunter of Hunters

Proposal 1: "Any Hunter who plays a card that causes damage to any other hunter(s), or increases damage dealt to any other hunter(s), takes one damage at the end of the Hunters Attack phase. If this reduces that hunter's HP to zero, then the hunter is killed as normal. Any hunter that dies in this fashion awards you with a free trophy on your lowest-scoring trophy track (in case of a tie for lowest, you chose which trophy track to increase)."

Proposal 2: "Each time a Hunter plays a card that damages other hunter(s), or increases the damage dealt to other hunter(s), they must give you 1 Blood Echo from their Collected Blood Echoes."

Hunters of Hunters seek out an punish "Blood-Addled" hunters - those who frequently invade other hunters or kill NPCs. Since there's no invasion mechanic in the card game, and no NPCs to kill (pending expansion content), I chose to implement this mechanic by imposing penalties on any hunter who causes direct damage to another hunter.

Old Hunter Oaths

If the expansion later this year adds Old Hunters-themed content, then we could also add three additional characters based on the Old Hunters DLC and accompanying patch: League Confederate, Blood Beast, and Lumenwood Kin.

Expansion Idea 2: New Weapon cards

Bloodborne - rifle spear

Rifle Spear

Strength: 2
"After all players have revealed their actions, you decide whether to use this weapon as a Melee Weapon or a Ranged Weapon."

Bloodborne - Ludwig's Holy Blade

Ludwig's Holy Blade

Melee Weapon, Strength: 3
"Receive an extra Blood Echo from the reserve after damaging a monster."

 

Bloodborne - Logarius Wheel

Logarius' Wheel

Melee Weapon, Strength: 4
"You may spend 1 HP to increase the damage of this weapon (and Blood Echoes collected) by 1."

 

Bloodborne - Rosmarinus

Rosmarinus

Ranged Weapon, Strength: 2
"Also deal 1 damage to each other hunter who did not retreat to the Hunter's Dream."

 

Expansion Idea 3: New Utility cards

Bloodborne - Quicksilver bullet

Quicksilver Bullet

"After all other players have revealed their cards, you may play any Ranged Weapon from your hand or discard pile. Then remove this card from the game."

Add two of this card to the deck.

Bloodborne - Poison knife

Poison Knife

"Deal 1 damage to the current monster. If that monster does not escape, deal one additional damage at the start of each subsequent Monster Attacks phase (before rolling the monster attack dice). If this reduces the monster's HP to zero, it dies immediately."

Add two of this card to the deck.

Errata: After playing this card, instead of putting it in your discard pile, place it next to the monster as a reminder of the poison effect. After the monster is killed (or escapes), place this card in your discard pile.

Errata 2: A monster cannot be poisoned more than once. If the monster is already poisoned when you play this card, deal one damage, and then discard this card.

Bloodborne - Blood Rock

Blood Rock

"While in the Hunter's Dream, you may play this card from your hand in order to look at the deck of upgrade cards and select any one card to add to your hand. Remove this Blood Rock card from the game. Then shuffle the deck of upgrade cards."

Add two of this card to the deck.

Bloodborne - Augur of Ebrietas

Augur of Ebrietas

"You deal damage equal to the sum of all other Ranged Weapons that are played this round (minimum of 1 damage). Then remove this card from the game."

Add two of this card to the deck.

Note that if the Rifle Spear is played, it only counts towards the Augur of Ebrietas' damage if the hunter who played the Rifle Spear declares it as a Ranged Weapon.

Bloodborne - Executioner's Gloves

Executioner's Gloves

"During the Monster Escapes phase, you may play this card from your hand to prevent the monster from escaping. Then remove this card from the game."

Add two of this card to the deck.

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