The Making of Dead by Daylight™: The Board Game (Part 7: Making Survivors)
Creating the Survivors was an interesting puzzle. Killers have a lot of built-in personality through Killer Powers and a huge power budget to work with all by themselves. But a Survivor has no such special power, and has to balance their power budget with three other allies.
These two factors make building interesting Survivors a lot tougher. However, players will be Survivors four times as often as they’ll be playing Killers, so making the Survivors interesting and thematic is a big deal.
A Survivor’s most important feature, in terms of mechanics, is their signature perk. This usually encompasses their main strategic identity. The other two perks provide options that support this game plan.
For example, Dwight’s signature perk, Prove Thyself, lets him give bonus actions to his nearby allies. This puts him firmly in the camp of support characters (specifically, generator repair support, because that’s where 90% of those bonus actions are going). His other perks build on this theme by giving him extra movement options and luck mitigation based on other characters.
One of the most fun ways to play Dead by Daylight™: The Board Game, is Devout mode. This is where you get a handful of perks and can customize your characters. Survivors and the Killer can customize their characters by covering some of the printed perks with these cards, and leaving others exposed. Of course, the signature perk is often the one you want to keep available, but the thematic cohesion of a Survivor’s kit means that a Survivor is still going to retain a significant portion of their identity even with one or two perks covered.
You might even discover a build that lets you use those supporting perks in a brand new way!
Are you curious to see how some of the Survivor identities translated into board game form? Here are a few of my favorites:
Yui Kimura is a high-risk, high-reward character who can sacrifice her health to take extra turns with Any Means Necessary. Her signature perk, Breakout lets her move any wounded Survivor, which can be useful both to herself and allies for escaping chases and clearing generators. Lucky Break lets her instantly recover when a Great Success is rolled by anyone, preparing her to take more bonus turns in the future.
Jane Romero is a powerful support character, based on her signature perk, Poised. This perk gives players bonus turns when they roll a critical success. She can also use Solidarity to heal at range. Her third perk, Head On, synergizes with these, because the ranged nature of her other perks allows her to stick close to lockers and focus her personal attention on confounding the Killer’s efforts.
David King’s aggressive play style took a lot of work to get right. All of his perks interact with and disrupt the Killer, and they’re also very BP-intensive. This means David is going to spend a lot of time cleansing hex totems to keep his abilities online. David’s abilities force the Killer to focus on him. He is very good at protecting others and upsetting the Killer’s movement, so he forces himself to become a primary target. As you might imagine, he synergizes well with Survivors like Claudette and Jane who can reliably keep him healthy.