When we learned a while back that Bloodborne was going to be developed into a table top game, many people wondered if the game would translate well to the format. Well, having played the game first hand, I can certainly say this isn't just a good licensed game, it's a great game that firts the style of game it's based off of. Before we get to all that though...let's do a quick and dirty rundown of the rules...
At the root of Bloodborne, there are 5 cards. Two are melee weapons used to deal damage to monsters, 1 is a pistol that only works if no one else plays that card that turn, one is a "transform" card that allows you to play a different card after seeing everyone else's cards, and the final is "Hunter's Dream" which is perhaps the most important card in the game...but more on that later.
At the beginning of each round, players will work together to defeat a monster. Each player lays a card down each turn working in unison to defeat the monster, discarding the card when the round is done. While you need the help of other players to defeat the beasts...this is not a cooperative game. Each damage you do to a monster gives you "blood" to put in your bank. Unfortunately, the monster fights back.
With only 6 health, things can get pretty scary pretty quick which is where "Hunter's Dream" comes in! Hunter's Dream allows the player to take half damage the round it's played, and if the player survives the turn, all their blood gained thus far goes into a permanent bank. If the player perishes before successfully performing Hunter's Dream, they lose all blood they've acquired thus far and have to "respawn".
After many bosses and a crazy final boss the game winner is decided by who has the most victory points which is added by the amount of blood and progression of the 3 tokens (advanced by beating corresponding monsters) above their blood bank.
There's some other stuff in there I left out like "instant effects" and such but that's the gist of it. Check out their full rules on the website!
So how does it play? I love it not just because it's a great tabletop game, but because it brings the game full circle back to the console version! I can't express how brilliant it is that when you die mid-round you lose your progress and respawn for the next! It's such a small thing to add for explanation, but it really made all the difference in my enjoyment in this game.
I also really like how the game forces players to work cooperatively while playing competitively. No one is coordinating their moves with one another, because five players attacking one monster will divide precious blood out quick! There were a couple rounds where the monster was defeated before my attack had a chance to do anything and I wasted a card. In the mid game you'll start to acquire more cards that will allow you to deal damage to your opponents, which when timed right with a monster attack can kill an opponent and wipe their blood supply! Trust me when I say 6 health is not enough, but that's a good thing as it keeps the game high energy and brings heavy strategy in from start to finish.
I'll be honest this game exceeded my expectations in every way, and very well may end up being at the top of my Gen Con list. It's $34.99 here at Gen Con and for the gameplay, bad ass blood tokens, and sweet game ripped art it's well worth the value.