- 25 Hunter Starter Cards
- 5 Hunter Boards
- 15 Blood Echo Tokens
- 60 Blood Echo Tokens
- 32 Hunter Upgrade Cards
- 5 Final Boss Cards
- 1 First Player Token
- 5 Hunter Health Dials
- 15 Trophy Tokens
- 3 Custom Monster Dice
- 18 Chalice Dungeon Cards
- 7 Chalice Dungeon Boss Cards
Choose final boss: Shuffle the 5 Final Boss cards and choose 1 randomly. Place it face up in the middle of the table. If you want, all players may instead agree on which Final Boss to use. The special ability of the Final Boss is in effect for the whole game!
Prepare the chalice dungeon deck: First, separate the Monster and Boss cards, and shuffle each separately. Then, take 7 random Monsters and 3 random Bosses to create the Chalice Dungeon Deck, and shuffle those 10 cards together. Place them face down next to the Final Boss. Return the unused Chalice Dungeon cards to the box.
Prepare upgrade deck: Shuffle the Hunter Upgrade cards and make a face down deck. Turn over 1 Upgrade card per player and place them face up next to the deck. These are called "Available Upgrades".
Take hunter boards: Each player takes 1 Hunter Board and places it in front of them. Take a set of Trophy tokens (one each of Kin, Humanoids, and Beasts) and place them next to the matching Trophy Tracks on your Hunter Board.
Deal hunter starter cards: Give each player 1 each of the Hunter Starter cards.
Prepare blood reserve: Place all the Blood tokens in a pile near the middle of the table
Prepare health dials: Give each player 1 Hunter Health Dial. Set your dial to 8 Health (the maximum value).
Choose the first player: Give that player the First Player token. The First Player will change each round.
Reveal the first monster: Turn over the top card from the Chalice Dungeon Deck to reveal the first Monster you must face. Place it face up next to the deck.
Before you start playing, it will help to get familiar with the different types of cards:
I. Chalice Dungeon Cards
These cards represent the Monsters you will fight in the Chalice Dungeon.
A Monster Health: Each card shows how tough the Monster is: the number next to the blood drop. When a Monster card is revealed, place a number of Blood Echoes equal to this number on the Monster card.
Important: Add 1 more Blood in a 4-player game, and 2 more Blood Echoes in a 5-player game.
B Monster Strength: Each card also shows how strong the Monster is. The color of the lantern depicted indicates the type of Monster die it rolls - green are the weakest, yellow are stronger, and red are very dangerous. C Monster Trophies: All Monsters and Bosses grant different types of Trophies. These award Hunters extra Blood Echoes at the end of the game. Trophies are explained in detail on page 14. D Special Ability: Many Monsters also have a special ability, which is described on the card. Some abilities take effect as soon as the Monster card is revealed, others if it escapes, and others are ongoing as long as it's in play. Each card describes when and how the Monster ability takes effect. E Boss Monsters: Some Monsters are exceptionally powerful and are driven by an even stronger hatred of the Hunters! Bosses fight just like regular Monsters in every way except one: Bosses never escape. You will have to keep fighting them, round after round, until they are defeated!
Boss Abilities: All Boss Monsters have a special ability. These Boss abilities remain in effect as long as the Boss is in play.
II. Final Boss Cards
The Chalice Dungeon is ruled by one of five extremely powerful creatures known as Final Bosses.
Only one Final Boss is used each time you play, so each game plays differently. At the beginning of the game, you will draw (or choose) which Final Boss you must confront.
Final Bosses have a health value and strength, just like regular Monsters and Bosses (and also get +1 Blood Echoes in a 4-player game, and +2 Blood in a 5-player game). Every Final Boss also has a special ability that changes the rules for the entire game!
III. Action Cards
Hunter Starter cards & Hunter Upgrade cards
These are the cards you will use to fight the creatures in the dungeon-while also trying to thwart the plans of your opponents! There are three types of Action cards:
Melee Weapons: (Red Cards): Melee weapons usually do the most damage to Monsters or Bosses and award a lot of Blood when you attack.
Ranged Weapons: (Blue Cards): Ranged weapons typically do less damage, but they can shut down your opponents' Melee attacks or protect you from taking damage (they are used at a range, after all).
Utility Cards: (Grey Cards): These cards represent items you can use or special actions you can take instead of attacking. The 2 Starter Utility cards allow you to transform your weapons to surprise your enemies or escape to the safety of the Hunter's Dream.
Bloodborne is played over a series of rounds. Each round is divided into 8 steps, which must be completed in this order:
- Choose & Play Action Cards
- Transform Weapons
- Resolve Instant Effects
- Monster Attacks
- Hunters Attack
- Monster Escapes
- The Hunter's Dream
- End of the Round
After the round is complete, a new round begins with Step 1 again. Continue playing rounds, one after another, until the Final Boss has been defeated.
Step 1: Choose & Play Action Cards
As the Hunters make their way deeper into the Chalice Dungeon, they encounter the twisted denizens of Yharnam. Each Monster must be fought if the Hunters are to continue.
Each player secretly and simultaneously chooses 1 Action card from their hand to use. After all players have chosen their cards, they reveal them at the same time.
Playing Hint: Players are free to discuss which card they intend to play and negotiate with the other Hunters to try to defeat the creatures in the dungeon.
But all cards must be selected and played secretly and simultaneously! You are never required to play a particular card, even if you said you would!
Example: Henryk, Eileen, and Ludwig are facing off against a Scourge Beast. Each Hunter chooses a card from their hand in secret. Then, they reveal them all at the same time. Henryk has played Transform, Eileen has chosen her Hunter Pistol, and Ludwig is using his Hunter Axe.
Step 2: Transform Weapons
Hunters use complicated Trick Weapons that can be changed quickly to respond to evolving threats. By transforming their weapons, Hunters can gain a big advantage in a fight.
All Hunters who played a Transform card must now choose a Melee or Ranged Weapon card from their hand, secretly and simultaneously. These cards are then revealed at the same time, just like the cards chosen in Step 1.
Playing Hint: When you play a Transform card, you have an advantage over the other Hunters: you get to see what cards they are playing this round before you choose which Weapon you want to use.
But Transform commits you to fighting the Monster. You cannot choose to retreat into the Hunter's Dream this round.
Example: Henryk has played Transform this round, so he gets to see the cards that Eileen and Ludwig have played before committing to his attack. He would like to play his own Hunter Axe, but unfortunately it's in his used pile from an earlier fight.
He could play his Hunter Pistol, which would negate Eileen's pistol, but he would rather save that for the next fight. So he settles on his Saw Cleaver.
Step 3: Resolve Instant Effects
Some Weapons and Hunter equipment can be used quickly in a fight.
Any card that has an "Instant" effect, such as the Blood Vial or Hunter Pistol, is resolved now. If you played one of these cards, follow the instructions on the card. If the Monster is killed during this step, it is immediately removed, and the next 3 steps should be skipped.
If more than one player played a card with an instant effect, the First Player resolves their card first (if they have one), with the other players taking turns going to the left.
Playing hint: Instant effects are powerful because they take effect before the Monsters attack and the other Hunters can take their actions, but these actions often do less damage than slower attacks.
Example: The only card played this round that has an Instant effect is Eileen's Hunter Pistol. Since nobody else played a Hunter Pistol this round, she gets to do her damage before anything else happens.
Hunter Pistol does one damage, so she takes 1 Blood Echo from the Scourge Beast and places it on her Hunter Board.
Step 4: Monster Attacks
Hunters have lightning-quick reflexes, but no amount of skill can completely negate the savage horror of the creatures that live in the Chalice Dungeon. One thing is certain: if you are going to fight the evil, the evil is going to fight you back.
The First Player now rolls the die indicated on the Monster you are fighting. The result of the dice roll is the amount of damage each of the Hunters takes. Reduce the value on your Health Dial to reflect any damage your Hunter takes.
Monster Combos: If you roll a number with a on it, roll the die again and add the new number to your result. If another is rolled, repeat this process until a number without a is rolled. Take the total result from all dice rolled and deal that much damage to all Hunters.
Hunter Death: If any Hunter's Health is reduced to 0 (or less) that Hunter is DEAD and does not get to attack the creature in the next step. But when your Hunter is killed, you will be able to gain a powerful Hunter Upgrade card.
Example: Now it's the Scourge Beast's turn to attack. It's a powerful Monster, so it gets to roll a red die. Henryk, the First Player, rolls for the Monster. He gets a 2 + so Henryk has to roll again. Fortunately, this time he rolls a 0. Every Hunter takes 2 damage (marked on their Health Dials).
Step 5: Hunters Attack
Hunters have the ability to gather Blood Echoes from the creatures they fight. Collecting Blood Echoes is the key to victory. Without them you will never escape the nightmare of Yharnam.
Starting with the First Player and going to the left, each Hunter that played a Weapon card inflicts damage on the Monster. Take the number of Blood Echoes shown on your Weapon card from the Monster card and place it on your Hunter Board, in the "Collected Blood Echoes" section.
Important: During this step, you can only take Blood Echoes from the Monster you are fighting. If there are not enough Blood Echoes left to take, you can only take the Blood that is there!
If there are no tokens left, then you don't get any Blood Echoes at all. The amount of Blood Echoes you take from a monster is the amount of damage you managed to inflict.
Killing A Monster: If all the Blood tokens are removed from a Monster card, that monster is KILLED and removed from the game. Each Hunter that dealt damage to the Monster that round gets 1 Trophy for that Monster Type. Move your Trophy token up 1 space on the matching Trophy Track (see "Trophies" on page 14).
Playing Hint: The timing of your attacks, determined by your location respective to the First Player, has a big impact on your ability to do damage to a Monster and collect Blood Echoes. A clever Hunter will carefully consider what their opponents might do when choosing their actions.
Example: All 3 Hunters have survived the Scourge Beast's attack, so they all have a chance to attack. Henryk goes first, since he's the First Player. His Saw Cleaver does 1 damage, so he takes 1 Blood Echo from the Scourge Beast.
Eileen would go next, but she already did her damage for the round, thanks to her Hunter Pistol's Instant effect. She does not get to do damage a second time this round. Ludwig is the last to go, wielding his Hunter Axe.
Normally, he would do 2 damage, taking 2 Blood Echoes from the Scourge Beast. But the Monster only has 1 Blood Echo left, so that is all Ludwig gets to take.
The Scourge Beast is killed, so it is discarded. All three Hunters participated in the kill, so they each get to claim one Monster Trophy, moving the matching Trophy token up 1 space on their Monsters Trophy track.
Step 6: Monster Escapes
The beasts of Yharnam are terrifying to behold, but so are the Hunters! Lesser Monsters will be just as happy to leave the Hunters behind, fleeing into the darkness.
If there are still any Blood Echo tokens left on the Monster card after all the Hunters have dealt their damage for the round, the Monster ESCAPES and is removed from the game. Hunters do not earn any Trophies. A Monster that has a "If this Escapes" special ability would resolve it now.
Fighting Bosses: Bosses never escape from a fight. If a Boss is killed, the game continues as normal. But, if a Boss still has Blood Echoes after the Hunters attack, the Hunters must fight it again next round! The Boss does not recover any lost Blood Echoes.
Playing Hint: Bosses can be very difficult to kill. Sometimes, it is better to wear them down for a round or two before trying to defeat them. Of course, the other Hunters may not be as patient as you and try to steal your kill!
Boss Trophies: Each Boss has at least two Monster Types. If you damage a Boss in the round that it is killed, you get 1 Trophy of each type!
Example: The next round, the Heroes finally manage to defeat Father Gasciogne. Ludwig is able to claim 2 Trophies: 1 Humanoid and 1 Beast, since Father Gasciogne belongs to both of those Monster Types.
Step 7: The Hunter's Dream
The Hunter's Dream is a special safe zone that only Hunters have the ability to enter, transporting themselves there from anywhere in the Chalice Dungeon. Here the Hunters can recover from their wounds, upgrade their weapons, and prepare for their next fight.
If you play a Hunter's Dream card, your Hunter does not take part in the fight, but you may still be damaged by the Monster's attacks! Fortunately, you can minimize the damage suffered: you only take half of the damage inflicted by the Monster's Attack, rounded down.
Starting with the First Player and going to the left, each Hunter who is entering the Hunter's Dream follows these 4 steps:
Bank Blood: You "bank" all of the Blood Echoes your Hunter has collected. Move all Blood tokens on your Hunter Board from the Collected Blood Echoes section to the Banked Blood Echoes section. Banked Blood Echoes are safe until the end of the game: You do not lose them if your Hunter is killed.
Reclaim Used Action Cards: You take back all of the Action cards in your used pile, including the Hunter's Dream card you just used, and return them to your hand. Remember: this is the only way for you to replenish your damage-dealing potential.
Gain An Upgrade: Take 1 Upgrade card from the Available Upgrades, permanently adding it to your hand (you may not have more than 7). The Available Upgrades are only replenished at the end of the Hunter's Dream step.
Rest To Full Health: Reset your Health Dial to show 8 Health.
Dead Hunters: Any Hunters that were killed during the round also get to act during this step: they get to Gain an Upgrade and Rest to Full Health, but they do not get to Bank Blood or Reclaim Used Action Cards. However, if they played Hunter's Dream, they do get to Reclaim Used Action Cards.
Hunter Upgrade Cards
Each player who played a Hunter's Dream card or whose Hunter died during a round gets to take 1 Hunter Upgrade card from the Available Upgrades. Upgrade cards are stronger than the Basic Hunter cards, and can improve your long-term chances of success.
The First Player gets the first choice (if the} get to take a card), with the other players taking turns going to the left - in other words, the closer you are to the First Player, going clockwise, the earlier you'll get to pick an Upgrade card.
When you take a Hunter Upgrade card, immediately add it to your hand - you can use your new card starting in the very next round. The available cards are not replenished until the end of the Hunter's Dream step.
Once all eligible players have picked a card, draw new ones from the deck until the number of Available Upgrades equals the number of players. If the deck runs out, no new cards are added to the Available Upgrades. Once they're all gone, the Hunters will have to make do with the cards they already have!
Hunter Upgrade cards are Action cards, and are used the same way as the Hunter Starter cards you started the game with: You can choose to play 1 during the Choose and Play Cards Step of a round and place them in your own used pile at the end of the round. They return to your hand when you go to the Hunter's Dream.
Upgrade Limit: Each Hunter may never have more than 7 cards total (including hand and used). If you get an 8th card, you must immediately choose one of your cards and remove it from the game.
Important: You may never remove your Hunter's Dream card from the game.
Step 8: End of the Round
Danger in the Chalice Dungeon is never far away.
After each fight, the Hunters have only a moment to catch their breath before they must face an even greater horror.
After all players are done with the Hunter's Dream step, the round ends. Perform the following before the next round:
Discard Action Cards: Each player places the Action card they played into their own personal used pile. You must place your cards in such a way that all players can see all of the cards in your used pile.
Change First Player: The player with the First Player token gives it to the player on their left.
Reveal The Next Monster: If the Monster was killed or if it escaped, turn over the top card of the Chalice Dungeon deck and place it face up in the middle of the table.
Remember to place Blood Echo tokens on the new Monster, adding 1 more Blood Echo in a 4-player game, or 2 more Blood Echoes in a 5-player game. If you are facing a Boss Monster that survived, do not reveal the next Chalice Dungeon card yet.
Playing Hint: Watching the cards in your opponents' discard piles can give you valuable hints about what cards they might play in the next round: after all, they cannot use the cards in their used pile. This is, in fact, key to planning in the game!
Remember that all players begin the game with an identical set of Action cards.
If your Hunter's health is reduced to 0 (or less), they are dead. You lose all the Blood Echoes you have collected on your Hunter Board (but not those you have "banked" in the Hunter's Dream).
A dead Hunter is only out of play until the Hunter's Dream step of that round. When your Hunter returns, reset your Health dial to its maximum value.
Also, the dead Hunter gets to take 1 Hunter Upgrade card from the Available Upgrades during the Hunter's Dream step. However, dead Hunters do not reclaim all of their used cards. Cards are only recovered if you play the Hunter's Dream card.
Example: Ludwig's Hunter has been killed by Father Gascoigne. Sadly, this means that Ludwig does not get to do any damage to the Boss this round. He also loses the 4 Blood Echoes in the Collected Blood Echoes section of his Hunter Board (but not the 6 Blood Echoes he banked earlier in the game).
The good news is that Ludwig gets to choose 1 Upgrade card from the Available Upgrades. He eagerly takes the Blood Vial. Ludwig also gets to heal back to full health, returning his Health Dial to 8.
When the Hunters kill a Monster, they get to claim a Trophy that matches that Monster Type. You only get to claim a Trophy if you collected at least 1 Blood from the Monster during the round that it was killed.
There are 3 Types of Monsters:
Trophies can earn you extra Blood Echoes at the end of the game, depending on how high up the Trophy Track you have gone.
Each Monster Type has its own Trophy Track on your Hunter Board. When you gain a Trophy of any type, move the matching Trophy token up one space on its Trophy Track.
At the end of the game, you earn bonus Blood Echoes equal to the number in the spaces occupied by your Trophy tokens in all three Trophy Tracks.
Defeating A Boss: Boss Monsters have Monster Types and award Trophies just like lesser Monsters. However, Bosses have 2 or even 3 Monster Types. Bosses are very tough, and are worth even more rewards when you defeat them! If you damage one of these Bosses in the round that it is killed, you get 1 Trophy of each Monster Type listed on that Boss.
The Final Boss
After the Hunters have defeated or chased away all creatures in the Chalice Dungeon deck, they must face the Final Boss.
Fighting the Final Boss follows the same steps as any other Boss in the game, with one exception: When the Final Boss is defeated, each player who dealt damage to it in that final round gets to claim 1 Trophy for all three of the Monster Types.
Final Boss Abilities: Each Final Boss card describes a special ability for that Boss. These abilities change the rules of the game in some way. Unlike regular Bosses, the Final Boss' special abilities are in effect for the entire game.
Example: The Final Boss in this Chalice Dungeon is Gehrman, the First Hunter. For the entire game, every Monster (including Bosses) except for Gehrman starts with 2 additional Blood Echoes - every Monster the Hunters fight is going to be tougher!
End of the Game
After the Final Boss has been killed, the game ends.
Each player banks all of their collected Blood Echoes. Then, add up your Blood Score:
- All your banked Blood Echoes, plus
- The Blood Echo Bonus for your Trophies.
Compare your Blood Score to the other Hunters: the player with the highest total is freed from the Chalice Dungeon and wins the game!
If there is a tie, the tied player with the most banked Blood wins. If there's still a tie, the tied players share the victory.
Example: When the Hunters finally defeat Gehrman, it's time for them to add up their Blood Score. Henryk has 3 Blood Echoes from the last round of fighting.
He adds them to the 9 Blood Echoes he banked during the game, bringing his total to 12. He also gets a bonus for his Trophies: 3 for Kin, 5 for Humanoids, and 1 for Beasts. His final Blood Score is 12 + 3 + 5 + 1 = 21.