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Review: Resident Evil Deck Building Game – everything you need to know about zombies
Today, as our first review on Elephant's Board Games, we bring you a delicious card game. We invite everyone, who enjoys the world of the undead, on a journey to one abandoned house. The problem with brain-eaters now troubles the whole globe, when a tiny virus got out of control. It might be a glimpse into not-so-distant future. The we should ready ourselves for the things to come. We should play Resident Evil: Deck Building Game.
Last record from the diary of a reporter washed out from some unknown water channel in Essex:
April 17th 2007 - 18:43
I sit quietly in a room listening to the sounds of the house. Before me, there are doors I don’t know where they lead. Behind me, there is locked door to the dining room. I gather the courage to open it again. Last time I opened them, some kind of monster rushed at me. It stretched hands at me. Hands with only three fingers! In its eyes I saw a glimps of anger. My right hand, that it touched, is still shaking.
This is the second day I‘m trapped in this manor. The house has no windows. My name is Alex Hathaway, and I am a journalist for the magazine of the paranormal activities. So far I have met a lot of things, but most of them were just fraud. Editor sent me to explore an abandoned house near Essex. Locals claim that they recently began to hear strange sounds coming out of the house. But no one had the courage to go inside.
Fool me! I opened that the door! The moment I walked in, it slammed shut behind me and the handle on the inside was missing. The second day I’m wandering here without food, drinking only water from puddles, that soaked from the roof on the ground. Wandering without hope, that someone will find me here. I must find a way, but all those things are out there. I'm afraid, but I have to try ... I’ll get up and go open the door ...
Recently, there is quite a few titles, that benefit from the fame of its computer model. Whether it is Sid Meier's Civilization from the nineties PC game or Strongholg. And now, there is Resident Evil. Some of you may argue that Resident Evil is a movie, but it started much earlier and it was the game, who served as a template.
Company Bandai, which is actually also the publisher of PC and console games under license Resident Evil, entrusted the novice, the author Tylar Allinder, to create a card game about theirs favorite game. The contract went probably also with the intention to create a game, that will deal with building the deck of cards - a deck-building game. Images on the finished cards are word of Jack L. Hueng.
The most famous game that uses this principle is obviously Dominion. After it, there came better and worse clones. All of them were trying to feed on its popularity like a sponge. Some have added new elements of combat, for example Thunderstone, some went the way of other components instead of cards, like Puzzle Strike.
And year later, there comes Resident Evil. A new adventure game that takes refuge in a tallish black box. The topic will not leave you in the dark for a moment, because it introduces a clear picture on the cover, in which heroes are trying to resist raid of the undead.
When you lift the lid, you'll find cards layed out neatly into several stacks in a plastic liner. This plastic is narrow and there is a binder hidden underneath. You will move the cards there very soon. Plastic liner remains empty and is thus a suitable candidate for ejection. And because it is a card game, in addition to piles of cards, you will find only english rules in the box.
In the stacks, you will find 250 cards. They all belong to several groups. Key cards are ten heroes, whose skin you have to take in the game. A much larger deck of cards consists of various creatures, that wander the mansion and can come your way. For dealing with them, there is a deck for weapons, ammunition and herbs.
Resident Evil offers three modes of play and every one is different. We get together today to introduce the simplest, which throws the heroes into the house with no exit. Their task is to survive as long as they can and to defeat the main undead, which is called Uroboros Aheri. But before you can stand up to him, you have to defeat the hordes of other dangerous zombies and get hold of stronger weapons.
Like in other deck-building games, first you have to prepare piles of cards (weapons). You'll be able to buy them during a game for ammunition. In addition heroes will also need all the ammo and little sources of life - medical plants.
First difference against some older deckbuilders is the Mansion - a pile of cards. In there you will encounter hidden monsters and along with them some special reward cards. They can be found forgotten in a corner or in the hands of a skeleton, that has lost its fight long ago.
The deck preparation is a little specific. First remove the Uroboros card, shuffle the rest and give the main zombie enemy to the bottom. According to our experience is much better to put it randomly around the last third of the deck. Now you don’t know, when you will exactly rush into him and your game time can shrink a little. In addition to all the cards, you'll also need a pencil and paper, for notes about how much life does your character still has.
At the beginning you get seven cards: ammo cards as well as offensive cards - a revolver and two knives. Now you should thoroughly shuffle them and always at the beginning of your turn pick up first five cards of the deck. With those you will have to survive in this round, if you do not have any special abilities, that would allow you to draw another ones. All used and unused cards are after the turn going automatically to the discard pile, where they wait until you run out of cards. Then you shuffle the entire discard pile and cards are ready to fight for you again.
As in other games of this type, you can do two things during your turn - play action cards and buy from the available decks in front of you. Action cards are usually weapons, which you play in front of you. You can also use abilities of some other special cards, that allow you to throw away unwanted cards and alike.
Each player has only one standard action and one purchase. Ammo servers here as currency – cards with them have its value printed. Add all ammo cards values you play and you can buy a card from the middle table menu. It can be additional ammunition, action card or a weapon. Some cards, of course, you cannot afford in the beginning of the game, because they are expensive.
Now here comes last optional part of your turn. You can stand up to your fear and explore the mansion a bit. If you decide to do so, you have to turn the top card of the mansion deck. Usually some monster is waiting for you there, who wants to fight, bite, eat your brain and make you just into another mindless zombie. So you have to defend. Most of weapons in the game need some ammo to function, but you can use only those in your hand and play them onto table. These cards can be simultaneously used also for purchase.
You make your decision before you know, what waiting for you. And since you have no idea, you can only gamble, if your firepower is sufficient. Usually your power is a number between zero and a hundred. Then you turn top card from the mansion deck and there is no turning back. Either you win or lose. All will see, how good decision it was. There are weaker and stronger enemies in the deck, varying from strenght twenty to sixty. You have to at least equal its power to defeat it and only weapons with enough ammunition count its value. And believe us, especially in the beginning of the game, the encounters wouldn't seem much optimistic.
In case of victory, you can take a creature card and get a reward in the form of experience. Your characters abilities are based on these trophies. In later stages of the game, heroes can receive special abilities, as they begin to familiarize with the environment and the behavior of zombies.
However, if you lose, then you must expect trouble. First, the winning monster goes back to the bottom of the deck and you can be sure, that you meet again. Less pleasant part of the losses is to reduce the life of your hero by the attacking number of monster. After several losses, your character gets stunned and its maximal life reduces by twenty. So you can "revive" few times, before your character truly dies. But after waking up, heroes do not lose any of their abilities. This gives you usually about four to five lives per game, so you can take your chance and sometimes look behind corners not so perfectly prepared.
In this way you fight the whole deck until one player meed the Uroboros. If he manages to defeat him, the game ends immediately. But the winner is player, who was most successful in collecting trophies, not the one, who killed the main boss. If the player loses fight with Uroboros, the monster is returned back to the deck and play continues.
The rules state, that the Uroboros Aheri returns at the bottom of the deck. In our plays, we shuffled him in, because it greatly speeds up the end game and meets better the nervous nature of the game. You have awaken the monster and its looking to kill you for good. If you add the Uroboros card to the bottom, you may find the end game a little slow. Everybody is just waiting for someone to finally meet the boss again.
To defeat the boss, it is important to have the right constellation cards at the right time. If you encounter him in the wrong time, you cannot stand a chance against his ninety lives. And for the the next time he, will heal, like all other zombies.
The whole game is about correct assembly of your deck. In every move you would like to have a gun and bullets for it, so you can go explore. Perfect is to combo these with an action card, that allows you to draw some additional cards beyond the standard five. This makes you a zombie killing machine.
Players play a lot on themselves, even though they have a common goal. This is a nice balanced mix of cooperation and rivalry, which always pleases gamers. But this rivalry in not present too much in the basic Resident Evil version.
For that purpose, you will find two other options, how to play Resident Evil. The first one is Versus, in which players fight against each other. This is the right place for players who like conflicts, providing just that competitive excitement. So if you feel like just massacring each other with large weapons like in some PC game deathmatch, then this variant is an ideal candidate. You will enjoy the interaction, which is somewhat lacking in the classic story mode.
The latest version is called Mercenary mode, where players are surrounded by an infinite number of zombies and must work together. They neet to stay alive and hold the undead attack for a predetermined number of fifteen rounds. The characters in this version are dying, when they lives fall to zero for the first time. So no resurrection here. But the main advantage is that each of the characters enters game with their own specific equipment, specially set up for his/her abilities.
Mercenary mode has the great advantage in game time. It passes by very quickly. And what is actually different from the basic story mode? You earn points also by defeating monsters, but since there are zombies all the time, you use combos (known from the digital game). As long as you slaughter monsters, you put them on a deck, and only after you lose a fight, you add up the points gathered up to that moment. You multiply sum of decorations (each zombie has different value) by the number of cards. It is obvious, that it is important to constantly explore the area and attack monsters. But equally important is also the winning. Player with the highest score sum after the last round triumphs.
Each character has special abilities, which adds to the uniqueness of the game experience. You can easily wrap a tactic around this abilities, because while some of characters just begin game with more lives, others can benefit from better weapons. As we have told you once, everything is about good assemble of the deck, so you know, how to use its advantages in your favor.
If you are uncomfortable with the chance represented by drawing monsters from the mansion deck, you can always leave one or two cards face up next to the deck. Although now a little tension will disappear from the game, you will profit with much tactical decisions. And this change also reduces playing time.
While we're on the topic of computer games, maybe you remember a series of computer games Alone in the Dark. Lone man locked in the house surrounded by an army of creatures from other realms. That is exactly the atmosphere that Resident Evil Deck Building Game offers.
Those interested in Resident Evil Deck Building Game will be certainly pleased, that the game has now been extended by two new boxex called Alliance and Outbreak. Both bring into play not only new cards, but also new variants of play. Outbreak comes even in a luxury box for all cards that have been published till now.
The whole design is unusual. Cards are wearing computer images from the game, so fans could embark on a trip through memory. At the same time, the are nicely atmospheric, and if you do not expect happy colors, you will most certainly like them. The cards are well arranged and you can find all important information in the right places.
The only thing that will not make you happy, is the order of the tabs inside the box. Cards are not sorted by their name, but by identificational number. You are going to use the numbers in preparation of scenarios mentioned in the rules. But the creators can use at least dual labeling, including the name card, for better use.
Card game Resident Evil offers great atmosphere. The game is fun. Sometimes it can drag on in the end, because you have to search multiple times for the main boss card, when you lose. If you like theme, where the undead walk the city, then you will find this game to be a true gem. It will entertain all, who love deckbuilding and it is a shame, that it is a bit neglected by the gamers.
Resident Evil: Deck Building Game is a card game intended for adult audience. You will stand and fight against zombies. But if the world gets this wrong, you'll also have to work together to stay alive. These compounds mixed together form a great atmospheric experience. You have to hold guns and ammo and then decide to take a step into the next room. Who knows, what can be waiting there? The tension leaks from the box. The only thing, that can spoil your adventure, is time. Match can drag on, when you wait for the right moment to attack main boss. But there are two other variants to let you forget. So take a rocket launcher and show hell to those god-damned zombies!
Published: 2012-01-30 07:30:00
+ three game variants
+ strong theme
+ mansion exploration
+ tension on every corner
+ characters from PC game
+ mercenary mode
+ solitary play
- less interaction in story mode
- story mode can drag in the end
- game for adults
- cards are ordered by numbers in the box
Title: Resident Evil: Deck Building Game
Graphics: Jack L. Hueng
Players: 1 - 4
Suggested age: od 14 let
Playing time: 45 - 90 minut
Price: 21 USD