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Resident Evil DBG: Mercenaries

Released in November 2012, the Mercenaries expansion for the Resident Evil deck building game has added quite a few new cards–and some very interesting new mechanics–to the existing game. Read on to see a sampling of the new and improved cards!

Big Change #1: Basic Resources, Reinvented

One of the new updates, long-needed and well-deserved, comes on the 10 basic cards each player begins the game with. Ammo cards, the basic Knife, and the basic Handgun have been revisioned for the Mercenaries set, seen below:

Ammo Cards

Ammo_x10_Mercenaries_AM-005 Ammo_x20_Mercenaries_AM-006
  1. Ammo x10: Now it’s much easier to get rid of this without losing the Gold for the turn you Trash it out. You still can’t just Trash it by itself–you’ll need something like Shattered Memories, Quirk of Fate, or Anticipation (which you’ll see later in this post).
  2. Ammo x20: Fast upgrade to the big ammo, anyone? This is a great way to both boost your Decoration count AND get your ammo changed out.
  3. Ammo x30: Late-game, I don’t know how you wouldn’t be Exploring every turn, but if you find yourself without an Explore and you just want to buy stuff with your biggest Ammo and Gold, this new effect allows you to put that spent ammo/gold back on the top of your deck, to be drawn again next turn. Awesome!

Basic Weapons

Reliable_Blade_Mercenaries_WE-050 Custom_Standard_Sidearm_Mercenaries_WE-049
  1. Reliable Blade: This even has a chance to kill the Chicken (new in the Mercenaries mansion), but you can also combine it with other weapons to defeat an Infected. Once you do, then you can get +10 Gold and Trash out the blade, getting rid of it without having to waste a turn later.
  2. Custom Standard Sidearm: Instead of getting Gold contingent on defeating an Infected, you can simply give the Standard Sidearm +10 damage, and then trash it out at end of turn. Useful!

Big Change #2: Skill Cards

Rebecca_Chambers_Mercenaries_CH-050 Notice anything about Rebecca here? She’s only got one Decoration Level each, unlike earlier sets. The game creators haven’t made a mistake, though–they’ve introduced a whole new way to look at Character skills. As in, they are changeable and customizable, through Skill cards.
Toughness_Lv1_Mercenaries This is what skill cards look like. Drafted randomly at the beginning of the game, you can choose 3 of these to boost your character’s abilities. For instance, Toughness Lv. 1, here, provides you a shield from damage if you’ve built up “XP” on this Skill. (You get 1 XP every time you Explore.)

You start the game with none of your chosen Skills active–you have to Explore to gain XP, and once you have enough XP to match the red number on the top right of the Skill card, you can take an Action to move all the required XP over to activate the Skill. (You can’t move XP one at a time–you do it all at once.)

Levels 1, 2, and 3

Medic_Lv1_Mercenaries Medic_Lv2_Mercenaries

As you see by the set of Medic skills displayed here, there are 3 levels of each Skill, with slightly different abilities for each level. Having all 3 of the same set doesn’t give you any bonuses–actually, you’ll do better to diversify which types of Skills you take–but being aware that there are various levels within each Skill type is helpful.

Generally, Level 3 is the best kind of skill for that particular type, but it usually takes a lot of XP to activate, so you’ll be waiting longer in-game to get that awesome effect. Sometimes taking a Level 1 or 2 Skill is just as good, depending on your Character’s needs and your personal playstyle.

Giant_Killing_Lv1_Mercenaries_SK-022 Giant_Killing_Lv2_Mercenaries_SK-023

The Giant Killing set of skills, above, gives you more awesomeness while Exploring, just as the Medic set improves the effects of Healing. Check out more Skills, below, for previews of what they do as well!

A Small Sampling of Skill Cards

These certainly aren’t all the skills in the new Mercenaries set, but this gives you at least an idea of what’s out there. Skills provide many new ways to give your character an offensive boost, a defensive shield, and even ways to get the best hand or best play, turn after turn!

Reversal_Lv1_Mercenaries SmartReload_Lv2_Mercenaries

Big Change #3: Other New Updates

Anticipation_Mercenaries_AC-047 Move over, Shattered Memories, this is my new best Trashing friend. You wouldn’t believe how fast you can ramp up to the best Ammo just by using this little beauty. Trash two Ammo x10 cards from your hand, and not only do you get +10 Gold from each of them for Trashing them, but Anticipation then gives you +20 extra Gold for Trashing two cards of the same type! You end up with 40 extra Gold, which can buy you an Ammo x20 easily.
Custom_Bolt-Action_Rifle_Mercenaries_WE-047 One of the new XP-specific Weapons–remember that every time you Explore, you get XP. You don’t have to automatically move that XP to a Skill–you can keep it on your character to boost this Rifle if you wish!
Custom_Full-Bore_Machine_Gun_Mercenaries_WE-045 This Weapon gives you 1 additional XP for Exploring–great for building up XP fast to activate those Skills!
First_Aid_Spray_Mercenaries_IT-005 A First Aid Spray with variables! Works to either give a BIG heal or a little one, since some Skills and Characters are dependent on having less than Maximum Health to get the best effect.

For More Information/Credits

Most of these images were scanned in by hand by my awesome boyfriend who owns a copy of the game. Any other images have come from the following websites. (All images are used in this post for instructional purposes only.)
Resident Evil Deck Building Game: Official Site
Resident Evil DBG: Mercenaries @ BoardGameGeek.com
Resident Evil DBG @ Wikia

Resident Evil DBG: Alliance

Resident Evil: Alliance works as a standalone game box or as an addition to the Resident Evil: DBG basic box. I’ve played Alliance as both its own game and as a addition, and I have to say, it offers some pretty amazing cards to amp up your Basic box.  12 new character cards (some revisions of existing cards, and some totally-new characters) await, as well as some awesome new game mechanics.

New Rules: Partners

The Alliance box brings with it a totally new envisioning of the Resident Evil game–playing with two characters instead of one. You get two Character cards, usually at random, at the beginning of the game, and you choose one to be your Main and one to be your Partner, playing both characters together. Your Partner is basically another character to use when you Explore, and another pair of hands to hold a Weapon or two; whenever your Partner character takes lethal damage, however, he or she is removed from the game completely, and you continue on with just your Main character, who respawns one turn after death as usual.

Who Leads When Exploring the Mansion? You Decide!

Whenever you Explore, you declare one character to be the leader, but both characters help Explore with their weapons. The only time this matters is if one of your characters has a special effect that specifies that it happens when he or she explores. For instance, Ada Wong’s Level 1 “peek” ability specifies that it can only happen when she is the one to lead an exploration; thus, you must declare her the leader if you want to use that ability. Your leading character does not have to be your Main character.

Attaching Weapons and Other Cards to Your Partner

You can attach up to 2 weapons or action cards to your Partner unless otherwise indicated. This is a wonderful asset–the act of attaching a card to your Partner gets it out of your deck, and it can be a constant weapon that you don’t need to Reload onto every turn. Best of all, any cards attached to your Partner character cannot be removed, except by your choosing to replace it, or a small number of specific game effects. For instance, there’s a Zombie that removes the highest-costing card from your Partner if you didn’t kill it with exactly 35 damage, and there’s an Action that makes everyone else discard down to 1 card or less on their Partners.

New Cards

There are several new weapons and actions, lots of them able to be abused, such as Gathering Forces and the Flamethrower. My personal favorites so far, however, are as follows:

Quirk of Fate: like Ominous Battle in that it allows you to Trash a card from your hand, plus you get an Action back and get to draw a card. Drawback: you can’t Trash Quirk of Fate out of your deck once you buy it (unlike Shattered Memories), making it a dead card late-game.
  Russian Assault Rifle & Signature Special: X Ammo required, X damage cost. The RARs can only be filled with a max of 20 ammo for 20 damage, and the Signature Special has a max of 60 damage. But these are both awesome, since you fill them with just as much ammo as you have available and that’s exactly how much damage you deal.
Star-Crossed Duo: attached to your Partner, this gives them +10 damage if they are the ones leading the Explore. Helps out more than you might think! You also get +2 cards and +1 Buy when you first play this on your Partner.
Fierce Battle: Have somebody else in the game draw 1 card, and you draw 4 cards. Absolutely awesome with a deck full of Russian Assault Rifles and the Signature Special, and/or with the new Jack Krauser–you have the possibility of drawing tons of ammo and rifles to feed said ammo into!

For More Information

Images courtesy of: BoardGameGeek.com’s Resident Evil DBG: Alliance page.