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Dark Souls Board Game Mini Boss Guide: The Gargoyle

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"Although it is but your first journey, the path of the Chosen Undead is a most treacherous one, by no means simple. It will take you through the ruined streets and haunted watchtowers of the Undead Burg, over the old stone bridge to Sen’s Fortress, and finally to the magnificent city of Anor Londo, seat of Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core Rulebook

Dark Souls: The Board Game

Dark Souls: The Board Game is a dungeon-crawler that uses dice, AI behavior cards, and node-based movement to simulate the tense atmosphere, solid combat, and overall difficulty of the video game franchise that it is based on.

When you set the board up for your initial exploration, you will choose a mini boss to face at the end of your exploration. Once the mini boss is defeated, you will set the board up again for your next exploration and choose a main boss to face at the end of your next exploration. There are different game modes where you can face multiple mini bosses before you face your main boss, but the typical way to play is just one mini boss and one main boss.

In the base game, there are four mini bosses: Gargoyle, Titanite Demon, Winged Knight, and the Boreal Outrider Knight. There are also two main bosses: Dancer of the Boreal Valley, and Ornstein & Smough. In this guide, I will only be covering the Gargoyle and the rewards given to players once defeated.

Other Boss Guides

The Gargoyle's data card

The Gargoyle's data card

The Gargoyle

The Gargoyle is arguably the weakest of all the mini bosses as it has the lowest total defense. It has two physical defense, and only one magical defense meaning that ideally you will want to attack it using magic attacks.

It starts with 26 health which is tied with the Boreal Outrider Knight for the highest health total of all the mini bosses. When you eventually manage to reduce its health to 12 or below, it will "heat up" but more on that later.

The Gargoyle also has an ability, Flying High. This ability makes it so that after heat up, all characters in the Gargoyle's node must spend one additional stamina to attack. You will want to prioritize low-stamina cost attacks to prevent your stamina/health bar from filling up too quickly.

The Behavior Cards

All of the behavior cards for mini bosses and main bosses will have a movement phase and an attack phase, but not necessarily in that order. There will be times that the movement phase is also the attacking phase as well, and the boss will deal damage as it moves across the board.

When you finally make it to the boss you will separate the behavior cards from the heat up cards. You will shuffle the behavior cards and draw the appropriate amount for the boss indicated on their data cards - for the Gargoyle it is four. This will be the "behavior deck".

If you managed to find any gravestones through your previous encounters then you may reveal a behavior card for each gravestone.

Once you start the boss encounter you will draw from the behavior deck, and follow what the behavior card says in order to control the boss on its turn. Once you have gone through the deck you will flip it back over without changing the order of the cards. This way you can memorize the boss's attack pattern and have a better chance of survival.

When looking at the boss's behavior cards, an important thing to watch out for is where their weak point is located. A weak point is an area on the boss that when attacked will give you an extra black die to roll when doing damage. The weak point changes from attack to attack, and you can see where it is by looking on the behavior card below their attack. The red portion of the boss's attack arc is their weak point. Always try to position yourself to take advantage of that extra black die as any additional benefit during a boss fight can be the difference between life and death.

Another mechanic to keep in mind is the "pushing" mechanic. Any time a boss moves to a node they will push any character on that node to an adjacent node that is further from the boss. If there are multiple nodes that fit this description then the player controlling that character can choose where their character gets pushed. Occasionally some attacks will also cause the characters to be pushed, so be on the lookout for the little shield icon above the boss's attack. One final note is that bosses cannot be pushed by players, and can only be pushed if another boss happens to move on to their node.

There are five normal behavior cards for the Gargoyle:

  • Sweeping Strike
  • Tail Sweep
  • Halberd Thrust
  • Tail Whip
  • Electric Breath
dark-souls-board-game-mini-boss-guide-the-gargoyle
The Gargoyle's normal behavior cards

The Gargoyle's normal behavior cards

Sweeping Strike

This attack starts with the Gargoyle moving one node towards the nearest player. It then attacks for five physical damage in all nodes within range except for the one behind it. The node behind it after it attacks is now its weak point.

This attack has a range of one node, and you only need one successful dodge roll in order to dodge it.

Tail Sweep

This attack also starts with the Gargoyle moving forward one node in the direction of the nearest player. It then attacks the node in front and to the left of it, and dealing four physical damage. The Gargoyle's weak point after this attack is the node behind it.

This attack also has a range of one node, but you will need to make two successful dodge rolls in order to evade this attack.

Halberd Thrust

The Gargoyle will advance one node towards the character that has the Aggro token this round. It then attacks only that character for a massive six physical damage. The weak point on the Gargoyle after this attack is its left node.

This attack has a range of one node, and only requires one successful dodge roll in order to be evaded.

Tail Whip

The Gargoyle will attack first this time, dealing four physical damage to the nodes within range behind it and to its right. The weak point on the Gargoyle after this attack will be the node in front of it. It will then move one node away from the character with the Aggro token.

This attack has a range of one node, and requires two successful dodge rolls in order to be evaded.

Electric Breath

The Gargoyle moves no nodes with this behavior card, but instead will turn to face the nearest character. It will then attack dealing four magical damage to the nodes in its front arc. After this attack its right side will be its weak point.

This attack has a range of one node, and requires two successful dodge rolls in order to be evaded.

As this attack deals magic damage, try to position your party member with the highest magical defense to be able to take this attack once you have learned the boss's attack pattern.

The Heat Up Cards

When you reduce the boss's health to its "heat up" point - this is 12 for the Gargoyle - you will add one random heat up card to the behavior deck. You will shuffle the deck and continue on as normal. You will need to relearn the boss's attack pattern, so proceed with caution once you reach this point in the fight.

Some bosses have abilities that activate at this point in the fight - like the Gargoyle - so be mindful of the boss's data card.

There are three heat up cards for the Gargoyle:

  • Swooping Cleave
  • Aerial Electric Breath
  • Flying Tail Whip
The Gargoyle's heat up behavior cards

The Gargoyle's heat up behavior cards

Swooping Cleave

The Gargoyle will move two nodes towards the nearest character. It will then attack the nearest character for six physical damage. This attack has no weakpoint.

This attack has a range of one node, and requires two successful dodge rolls in order to be evaded.

Aerial Electric Breath

The Gargoyle will not move any nodes with this attack, but will instead turn to face the nearest character. It will then attack all nodes within range in its front arc for five magical damage. This attack also has no weak point.

This attack has a range of two nodes, and requires two successful dodge rolls in order to be evaded.

Flying Tail Whip

The Gargoyle will advance one node towards the nearest character. It will then attack all nodes within range in its left, front, and right arcs for six physical damage.

This attack has a range of one node, and requires two successful dodge rolls in order to be evaded.

Rewards

There are three rewards for defeating the Gargoyle:

  • Gargoyle's Halberd
  • Gargoyle's Shield
  • Gargoyle Tail Axe
The rewards for defeating the Gargoyle

The rewards for defeating the Gargoyle

Gargoyle's Halberd

This weapon requires 25 Strength and Faith in order to equip, and requires both hand slots. It has a range of one node, and none of its attacks can be used on an enemy that shares the same node as the character that has it equipped. It only offers one black die for physical defense, and nothing for magical defense. It does have two upgrade slots, however, which helps make up for the lack of defenses.

Its first attack requires zero stamina and uses a single orange die for damage. Its second attack requires four stamina, but uses two orange dice for damage.

This can be a good weapon for the Herald as it fits in with his strategy of staying further back and attacking from range.

Gargoyle's Shield

The shield requires 25 Intelligence and Faith in order to equip. It offers one black die for physical defense, and two blue dice for magical defense.

If you are willing to level Intelligence for your Knight then this would be a great shield to help give him magical defense. The same can be said for the Warrior. The downside to this is that neither character typically uses Intelligence.

Gargoyle Tail Axe

This weapon requires 25 Strength and Dexterity as well as both hand slots in order to equip. It offers one black die for magical defense, and one upgrade slot. Its first attack requires one stamina to use unfortunately, but gives you two blue dice for damage. Its second attack requires four stamina, but uses three blue dice for damage and is an area-of-effect attack (AOE) meaning it deals damage to all enemies in a node.

The Knight or Warrior would make the most of this weapon. They both like having an AOE option available to them, and the stamina cost of its first attack is low enough to be worth using.

Character Guides

Good Luck!

Hopefully this has helped give you a better idea on what to expect when fighting against the Gargoyle mini boss. Feel free to comment below if I have missed something, or if you have any questions!

"You may be remembered either as Lords of Cinder yourselves, forever joining the Soul of Cinder, or as Ashen Ones, ushering in an Age of Humanity where the curse of undeath is at last lifted—but chaos will ultimately consume all." — excerpt from Dark Souls: The Board Game Core Rulebook

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