Review

Review

Dangerous Games: 'Resident Evil' Deck Building Game Review

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The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
 
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Resident Evil Deck Building Game 
 
The news reports have been inconsistent and scattered at best. The news on the incidents are all hazy. Some say tribes of cannibals are tearing apart unsuspecting civilians. Others report monsters of nightmarish proportions bursting through the gates of small towns. All over the country rumors are spreading. The events are small-scale, and as the truth comes out the focus of attention seems to be centered on an lonely mansion on the outskirts of town. Do you dare follow your duty and investigate the mansion?
 
Does this story sound familiar to you? It should, it's the plot of the original Resident Evil video game. Now you get to play as one of the survivors in this terrifying mansion full of moaning zombies, undead creatures, terrible mutations, and daring traps. The goal of the game is to be the most decorated survivor of the mansion before the final monster is defeated. All guts, all glory. Only the bravest survivors will escape this nightmare. That's why they call it "survival horror"... right?
 
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Gameplay Mechanics
 
In this deck building game for one to four players, each player takes on the roll of a character from the series. Maybe you'll play as Leon Kennedy or Claire Redfield fighting against the terrors of the mansion. Each player starts with a deck of cards that are limited in scope and power. By careful planning, resource management, and a little bit of luck players will be able to upgrade and buy better weapons, more potent healing, and helpful actions during their turn. When a card is bought it is put into that player's discard pile and will later get shuffled back into the player's deck, strengthening their overall deck.
 
As the characters explore the mansion, they'll be fighting and searching for monsters. Each monster has a health meter saying how much damage it takes to destroy it. Some monsters also have special abilities, and all monsters, when defeated, give the player who defeated them medals of decoration. The player with the most decorations by the time the final monster is killed wins the game.
 
Replay Value
 
The scenario I described above offers enough variation and replay value to keep you cracking open that box. But that's just one of the ways to play. There's a "who can kill the most zombies" mode of play that completely changes the mechanics of the game. Instead of trying to go for the most points per kill, you're looking for sheer quantity. This totally changes the game. There are also expansions, separate games using the same rules-set, and a fan community that keeps this game chugging along.
 
Overall Impressions
 
I'm normally extremely wary of franchised games. But I've been proven wrong time and time again. This time, I'm super-wrong. I really like this game. It plays smoothly, it feels like the video game (you combine multiple "green herb" cards to gain extra life), and a lot of it is total fan service. This is a fun, varied deck building game that should appeal to lots of different types of tabletop gamers. And at least when you lose this Resident Evil, you don't have suffer through a screen stating the obvious: You Died.
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