Resident Evil 2: The Board Game
Resident Evil 2: The Board Game isn’t a perfect board game, but it is an extraordinarily fun board game that does a good job of faithfully recreating the experience of your first time stepping out into Racoon City.
Through the typical combination of board game pieces like figures, dice, cards and whatnot, plus the interesting inclusion of a “Tension Deck,” the game does a particularly good job of ensuring there’s a constant forward momentum on the players side of things, whereas the well structured ruleset ensures that you are persistently threatened and making careful choices and properly managing the limited resources that you have available.
I was fortunate enough to get this game by way of KickStarter, however it is currently available for $115 (roughly £88 at the time of writing) by way of the Steam Forged Games store page. However, this is quite a steep price and you’re not going to be getting the same deal as I did through Kickstarter, something that the fan community was quick to note. So before we go any further, I want to make you fully aware of what you’re getting for your money.
$115 – Resident Evil 2: The Board Game
- 24 Highly Detailed Plastic Miniatures
- 26 Double-sided Game Board Tiles
- 155 Cards
- 4 Player Health Track Boards
- 11 Tracker Dials
- 6 Dice
- 84 Tokens
- 1 Rulebook
- 1 Scenario Book
Anyone who backed the game at its minimum Survivor Pledge via Kickstarter got the above, plus a $50 expansion (The B- Files), plus the following list of stretch goals for £70, which is $90 at the time of writing.
- Alt Claire Costume Miniature
- 4 Male Zombies
- Flamethrower Weapon Card
- 2 Zombie Dogs
- Custom Handgun Weapon Card
- 2 RPD Zombies
- Custom Magnum Weapon Card
- Sherry Birkin Miniature
- 2 Flaming RPD Zombies
- 2 Ivy
- Zombie Marvin Branagh
- 2 RPD Crawling Zombies
- 2 Giant Spiders
- 2 Morgue Zombies
- “Hard Mode”
- Marvin Branagh Miniature
- Evolved Licker
- 2 Decomposing “Modified” Zombies
- Ben Bertolucci
- 2 Regular Crawling Zombies
- Alt Leon Costume Miniature
- Zombie Brad Vickers
- Giant Spider
- Annette Birkin
- Brad Vickers
- Brian Irons
- William Birkin
- Bandaged Leon
- Clair With Grenade Launcher
- Ada With Bow Gun
- Kendo With Pistol
As you can see, $115 for just the core game is not a good price for the game and you are definitely not getting value for your money. So while I do enjoy the game a great deal, you should only really buy it if you’re an incredibly invested fan, because you’re paying a premium, and getting the bare minimum.
Game Component Quality
Across the board, the quality of the components is solid. There are some drawbacks here and there that will certainly impact your enjoyment depending on your disposition but there is one thing that will be noticeable irrespective of your willingness to ignore small niggling irritations.
This is a work in progress picture of a game-tile. Nice, clear, vibrant and quite easily recognizable as being the gun ship.
It says right there, “WORK IN PROGRESS – SUBJECT TO CHANGE”
But I don’t think anyone expected it to change into these dark, hard to make out and even in decent lighting, barely legible tiles. They are the weakest, and one of the most important, items required to play the game and they are often the most often criticized feature. Rightfully so.
Next up, the miniatures.
You’ll be happy to know that the miniatures are all quite excellent.
Some are definitely better than others, however you can easily draw out the detail yourself with a little bit of hobby know-how should you feel so inclined with a quick prime and wash in the respective colors. However, should you choose to go the whole nine yards and paint the miniatures, you can get some truly excellent results provided you know what you’re doing. Some details can be a bit soft, given the PVC nature of the miniatures, but it’s typically sharp enough where it matters.
Other game components such as your ammunition dials and life tracking boards are far easier to make out than the previously mentioned dim tiles which means you’re never going to be looking at the magazine of your gun and squinting to figure out how many shots you have left. Always a benefit when zombies are abound. On top of this, the player cards are all well printed and the same goes for the weapon cards that you’ll be using to fight the undead and mutated creatures that infest Racoon City.
Fundamentally speaking, the game is rather simple.
Players move through a tiled environment in an attempt to complete the required objectives to succeed in their mission. You’ll collect items, weapons, ammunition and potentially save characters that would have otherwise died in the Resi 2 canon.
Line of Sight on enemies is as simple as being able to draw a line from the center of your square to their square without any interruptions.
Shooting is resolved simply too, thanks to the implication of specialized D6. Grab a weapon, acquire line of sight, blast away. Each shot you fire depletes your ammunition reserves and thus, you must adjust the dial accordingly.
Just like in the game, ammunition retention is important. When you roll the D6, you apply the relevant effect to the target as determined by the weapons capability which is found on the weapon card. For example, the handgun will push the enemy back a square if the dice result is one damage icon. If the dice result is two damage icons, you’ll inflict one point of damage. The handgun is also a rapid fire weapon, so when you make a shooting attack, you can expend extra bullets (thus decreasing your ammunition reserves) in an attempt to add more D6 to your pool, meaning a better chance of killing.
Avoiding the gripping hands of zombies or the lunging strikes of less normal critters, you can make an evade roll. There are three evade symbols on the dice, each representing the ability to dodge a specific type of enemy or the amount of enemies. A turn symbol, an extended turn symbol and a turn symbol with a dashed line represent the required roll when it comes to evading attacks. A basic evade uses any result, zombies are slow and shambling after all. Two enemies, or a large enemy, requires an extended turn result. Three enemies or a large and normal enemy together requires a dashed line evade roll.
The real star feature of this game is the Tension Deck. This comes into play during what is called the “Tension Phase” of the game.
During each players turn, they are required to draw a card from the Tension Deck, and each scenario uses its own Tension Deck, meaning that as you progress through the game, it’s practically impossible to predict what you’re going to draw next and how difficult the deck is to overcome. What’s more, in some situations you may be forced to draw more than one card from the Tension Deck, resolving them in the order they were drawn.
If you draw a green card, all is well. There is no clear and present threat beyond the hellscape that is Racoon City.
If you draw an amber card, you’ll often encounter some sort of issue with the situation you’ve found yourself in. Grasping zombie hands, or the horde shambling closer to name but a few events that can be generated. Amber cards essentially put more pressure on the player.
Then there’s the dreaded red cards. Red cards can generate Zombies in your vicinity as the break through windows or amble in through an open door, or if you’re particularly unlucky you may hear the sound of barking Cerberi Zombie dogs in the distance, or the familiar hiss of a Licker.
Ultimately, it’s hard to really make a judgement call on the core game of Resident Evil 2: The Boardgame. There’s fun to be had, but the poor modular tiles make the set-up a bit of a chore and sometimes the Tension Deck will punish you until you beg for a swift death, which for some is exactly the reason they’re playing the game, whereas to others, it’s a big downside.
Due to the poor tiles, the high price and the lack of value for money with the game at retail, I’ll say that you should give this game a pause. Yes, it’s fun and there are good times to be had, but poor modular tile art and price to contents ratio is askew. For a similar price, you could have gotten yourself a copy of the much more content rich, Space Hulk.
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