At Pax Unplugged, we had the chance to sit down and play Divinity Original Sin: The Board Game with Lynnvander Games. After only a couple hours and an incomplete mission, Divinity Original Sin: The Board Game is one of the best tabletop experiences I have ever had. If you like the Divinity video games, or just love a good tabletop RPG, I highly recommend backing the game on Kickstarter.
Divinity Original Sin: The Board Game does an amazing job of taking the systems of Divinity Original Sin and distilling them into their ideal tabletop version. For those of you who have played Divinity, one of the best RPG video games out there, you will recognize a lot of its systems in the remainder of the article. For everyone else, the video game is not required playing for you to understand and enjoy the board game.
The Divinity board game splits its time between investigation phases and combat phases. During the investigation phase, you can choose one of multiple locations to investigate. Different party members can go to the same location or different locations if they choose. Then, each person reads their location card and determines what, if anything, happens.
Choosing whether to investigate as a group or individually is one of the more difficult decisions in Divnity. Some locations spawn monsters, some spawn treasure for everyone in the location, and others spawn traps that hurt everyone in that location. So if you split up, you may spawn too many monsters or miss out on treasure. But if you stay together, you may all get hurt together. Additionally, some scenarios have a time limit. So sticking together can mean you don’t find what you are looking for.
Once any enemy spawns, combat begins. An initiative tracker is used to determine combat order. On your turn, you get AP based on your character card/abilities which you can use to take actions, such as basic attacks and movement. Additionally, each class has special abilities which cost AP and have a cooldown. When used, they are placed in the cooldown region of your board on their specified cooldown number. Each time your turn comes up, the ability moves to the left of the cooldown track until it is restored and can be used again.
The investigation and combat mechanics of the Divinity board game really capture the feel of chaos and bad positioning that the video game always had. Combat always seems to start when you’re in the worst possible location. And the combat itself gives you a lot of room to pull off amazing hits or to do something completely useless.
In one combat with a set of magister guards, my character threw a molotov cocktail on the floor, setting both himself and the guards on fire, before using his cloaking ability to run away. On the next turns, the guards both healed themselves completely, leaving only me on fire and down one molotov. The moment was both hilarious and heart wrenching.
Divinity also includes a long story with escalating challenges and character upgrades. Throughout the game, you will get chances to add skill points to your character, increase their resistances, purchase or find better and better items, and customize your abilities to your own playstyle. These aspects make Divinity a game you will play for a long time as you turn your hero into a badass.
I loved every moment of the Divinity demo at Pax: Unplugged. Throughout our demo, we were all constantly engaged in the exploration or adventuring. A few times we found ourselves seriously discussing our next course of action. Others, we found ourselves laughing at my pure ineptitude with molotov cocktails (though I will admit to shouting “Bordles” before throwing it). I cannot wait for this games eventual release.