If you’re a fan of Divinity: Original Sin 2, then you’ll likely be happy to hear that one of the best RPGs of the last decade, if not all time, is coming to table top next fall. Larian Studios posted the project to Kickstarter a little over a week ago, and the board game has already raised nearly 1 million dollars in that time. In this article, I’m not going to explore the backer options, but instead dive into how the board game plays and what gamers can expect.
Divinity Original Sin 2 Comes to Table Top
Divinity: Original Sin the board game will be a 4 player co operative experience, that takes players through a series of scenarios where they will work together to overcome the obstacles presented, much like Dungeons & Dragons. This should come as no surprise to those that have been following the ascension of Larian Studios to RPG superstardom, with the announcement they are developing Baldur’s Gate III. Larian designed Divinity: Original Sin to recreate the experience of table top gaming digitally, and now they have returned to their roots with the creation of the Board Game.
Divinity: Original Sin the board game features 3 different phases. The Story Phase, Exploration Phase and the Combat Phase. Each of these Phases flow together to recreate the Divinity: Original Sin experience, only on table top. First, let’s take a look at the Story Phase.
Divinity: Original Sin Board Game: Story Phase
During the Story Phase players will read from a booklet that tells you what scenario you are facing and then players will choose what they’d like to do based on that scenario. Think of it a little bit like a “choose your own adventure”, where the board is then setup based on what you decide, which is explained in the booklet. Players will keep track of their adventure as they progress the game, and certain scenarios will become available to them based upon their decisions, while others will be permanently locked for that playthrough.
It is expected to take you 8-10 “sessions” of playing to complete Divinity: Original Sin the Board Game, and you are likely to only see 25-33% of the game’s content during that one playthrough. This will allow players to play the game several times and experience the game in different ways. Additionally, players can enter a code at the end of their first playthrough on a to be determined website that will then track the decisions of all players cumulatively and will alter the future of the game. For example, if most of the players decided to destroy a tower, then in the next “season” or expansion of the game, if you revisit that tower it will be in ruins.
Divinity: Original Sin Board Game: Exploration Phase
Once players have made a decision about their scenario and the board has been setup, players will then explore the areas on the board by looking at the artwork of each. Clues about what is in each area can be found there, and once a player decides to explore that area, they can read about it on the backside of that area’s card. The card will not only provide story information about it, but also the next steps that player will take on their adventure.
Only players present on a space may read the card and make decisions about what is to happen based on what is listed on the card, thus creating scenarios where players may want to explore the same space together, instead of fanning out to cover more ground.
Whether they find loot, interact with an NPC or prompt combat will all be listed there, and some things can only be done if you have the proper Tags, just like the video game. For example, it may require you to have the Outlaw Tag, or you can’t rob the person you find there. If you uncover a combat scenario then a Combat Phase will begin.
Divinity: Original Sin Board Game: Combat Phase
Through out the Exploration and Story Phases of the game, players will uncover combat scenarios that they must face. When this happens the board uses its inherent hexagon shape, and players and enemies can move around it to attack one another once the Phase has been setup.
Enemies are placed according to the instructions and players and enemies will be assigned an initiative for their turn orders, and then this turn order is maintained unless new enemies or summons are added, just like the video game. Enemies and Players will uses the Skill of their Class or Weapons to attack one another, using Action Points, which replenish to a certain degree each round. This allows players and enemies to store up AP, just like the video game for more powerful spells and abilities.
And just like Divinity Original Sin 2, some spells and abilities have cooldowns to prevent them from being spammed over and over again. For instance, if you cast Rain and make everyone in a certain tile Wet, then you will not be able to cast it again for a few turns until it comes off of cooldown. This makes combat feel extraordinarily similar to the video game, and any fan of the series should feel right at home here, with little to no instruction needed to understand the basics.
Additionally, Status Effects are also present in the game, allowing you to set enemies on fire or Stun them, by combing things like Wet + Shock with your spells. Since this is the most unique, and perhaps compelling aspect of the Divinity series, it’s quite essential in recreating the Divinity Original Sin experience, and I’m happy to say that it has made it into the game in all its glory. The Skills of the board game are nearly identical to those of the video game as well, so if you know what sort of character you like to play then you can already theory craft and plan accordingly.
Character Progression & Equipment
When the game begins players will choose a character to play with, and then they will modify that character by choosing from a preset Class or customizing a preset Class to their liking, just like Divinity Original Sin 2. This will allow them freedom to choose Skills and Talents etc, further adding to the replay value of the game.
As players level up they will gain more HP and AP, and they will be able to increase their Abilities like Warfare and Pyrokinetic, etc, further enhancing their character. These will be noted on the character sheet, much like would be in D & D, that is then erased and changed as the character gains levels. This character sheet can be stored away at session’s end, and acts as a save file so that you remember where you were in the game, and allows you to have multiple campaigns going on at once with many different characters.
Players will gain loot as they progress the game, and this loot can be equipped by the character to increase their resistances against damage or increase the damage they deal, as well as other effects, similar to those you’d find in Divinity Original Sin 2. Loot has different qualities, just like the video game, so higher quality items will provide better bonuses, and characters can swap out old gear for new as they find it.
Divinity Original Sin 2 fans will feel quite at home playing Divinity Original Sin the board game. The way the game mechanics are handled, particularly combat and character progression are as close as you can get to the video game, which will reduce the time needed to learn how to play the game, and this can always be an issue when playing a complicated board game for the first time.
The gaming industry has being heading in the wrong direction for quite some time, attempting to create games that cater to the lowest common denominator, and maximize profit, to the detriment of many gamers who want an authentic role playing experience. Larian is one Studio who is fighting back against the tide of endless marketing and micro transactions, and Divinity Original Sin and Divinity Original Sin 2 are beloved by RPG fans for good reason. They are passion projects from a Studio that grew up playing table top games, and has persevered to bring table top to PC and Console in a meaningful way, and has done so keeping cooperative play intact.
By bringing Divinity Original Sin 2 to table top, Larian has come full circle, realizing that many gamers are now missing that face to face interaction with friends while playing the games they love. Who wouldn’t want to play Divinity Original Sin with 3 friends while they drank a few beers and ordered some pizza? I know I would! And I will, since we have personally backed the game, and it’s already well over its goal of 160,000 USD on Kickstarter. The game will be on Kickstarter for about another 3 weeks roughly, so consider popping by and checking it out, and definitely back it if you are a fan of the franchise and love board games!
If you want to dive into Divinity Original Sin the video game be sure to check our our builds section and if you’re just getting started read New Player Help. You can also drop by our Divinity Original Sin 2 for all the latest.