Resident Evil Deck Building Game
In 1996, Capcom launched a video game for the PlayStation that was an instant hit. Resident Evil created the first “horror survival” video game franchise upon which many other games were spawned (pun intended.) Since that time, Resident Evil has had more incarnations than a mutated DNA strand and now, thanks to Bandai America, a deck-building game. Resident Evil: Deck Building Game (DBG) includes familiar characters and mutations from the video games and packs them tightly into an easy to learn, intense game. But survival is difficult and it all hinges on your ability to build a deck that will allow you to survive “the Mansion.”
Resident Evil: DBG utilizes familiar mechanics from other deck-builders on the market. So for the sake of time and space, I won’t reiterate them. It’s deck building 101. But, Resident Evil: DBG adds some exciting twists…
Players first choose a character from the Resident Evil universe (or “REverse” as its called) such as Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine or eight other characters. Each has a different life total, and two special abilities that kick in when that player scores a certain number of points or “Decorations.” This effectively “Levels up” the character and makes them more kick-…um… effective.
Players play cards from their hands that can allow them to take more actions, buy new cards and build their deck. But the action really starts when players whip out their weapons and start blasting the crazed Infected, and to do that, they need to explore the “Mansion.” (Scary music).
The Mansion is a deck of cards containing all the crazed, flesh eating, mutated humanoids looking for a quick meal… you. Oh, and one ultra-powerful, super-yucky boss named: Uroboros Aheri. To explore, players play their weapons, load them with ammo, and then flip the top card of the mansion deck. If it’s an Infected, you blast it. Kill the thing and score Decorations. Lose, and you lose life depending on how powerful the Infected is. Then the hunger-starved thing creeps back into the Mansion. The Infected vary in power and some have special abilities that can really ruin your day. The game ends when Uroboros Aheri lies in a heap of mutated flesh; no longer a threat. The player with the most Decorations wins!
Normally that would be it. Like other DBGs, if you want a different game experience, you choose different card stacks. But designer Tylar Allinder has taken the replay value to a new level and incorporated videogame-like attributes that allow the game to be played in several “modes.” This includes the game mode described above, called “Story Mode.” “Mercenary Mode,” where player must get as many kills as possible before time runs out. And “Versus Mode:” a last player standing free-for-all. Add in several different “Scenarios” that alter the available resources (card stacks) and starting hands, and you have several game variables that provide amazing replay value and a continual challenge.
The result is a game that “feels” like an in-world experience as opposed to a mathematically generated deck-building machine. The intensity rises as the mansion is explored, as time runs out knowing that Uroboros Aheri lies somewhere within waiting for you to come around the corner.
The cards, box, rulebook are great. But the designers of the game must be given accolades for the excellent “graphic art,” that has gone into the game. From the outside of the box to the true-to-the-video-game computer graphic art on the cards, you are immediately pulled into the creepy, untamed world of Resident Evil.
The use of familiar foundational mechanics makes the Resident Evil: DBG very familiar and the additional options build from these quite elegantly. Easy to learn initially, and easy to augment using the different game modes.
Who would enjoy this game?
Resident Evil: DBG is all about action and immersion. It took very little time to set up and get playing. The game moves quickly (as one would want to do when being stalked by the Infected!) This game offers variable player powers, three modes of play, many scenarios, and with several expansions, the possibilities are almost endless.
I do feel it’s important to comment on the subject matter. The RE video games are very gory, and graphic. This is where the folks at Bandai got it just right. They present the best images and intense action of the “REverse,” without showing every gory detail from the video games. The images are scary, but not too gory. The shooting is suggested. It’s not a family game as I said. BUT, if your kids are over 13, and you share a love of video games, this game can provide some great bonding and may be a good gateway game for teenagers who may think board or card games aren’t that cool. And one last word, the game is filled with strong, mutant-killing female characters: unique in the world of hobby gaming. My teenage daughter thought this was especially cool.
This game is chock-full o’ video game references that RE fans will drool over. It captures the intense theme and vivid atmosphere of the REverse, supported by great art. That is the game’s strongpoint: creepy, tense atmosphere. Sure, there are some small balance issues, but if you want experience-based entertainment and immersion from your deck-building game, look to Resident Evil: DBG.
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