Had to do a fairly good-sized update to this introductory post for the Resident Evil Deck Building Game, since the game is no longer being published. (But you can still find it online! :D)
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 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).
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
Levels 1, 2, and 3
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.
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!
Big Change #3: Other New Updates
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
The most recent expansion for the Resident Evil Deck Building Game is called Nightmare, and for good reason–this time around, the characters, weapons, and even some of the actions are a little more cutthroat, a little more battle-hardened.
Below is a selective list of what I consider to be the best new cards out of the Nightmare expansion–lots of new characters, Actions, Weapons, and even Mansion Items and Events! Check them out; I think you’ll find the Nightmare box to be a worthwhile investment if you’re playing the Resident Evil DBG.
Useful New Characters (And Intriguing New Visions of Old Characters)
Best New Weapons
Fun New Actions
Awesome New Mansion Items and Events
For More Info
Images were mostly obtained from scans of my awesome boyfriend’s Nightmare box set, since I couldn’t find large enough images elsewhere. A few cards, though, came from the BoardGameGeek website, and the corrected Lonewolf card came from the official game page.
Picture credit: Resident Evil Wikia
For players of the Resident Evil deck building game, Item Management is generally considered an “oldie but goodie,” since it was part of the original Core Set.
Item Management lets you Trash out one Ammo card from your hand and get an upgraded one in your Discard pile to replace it. You can upgrade from a 10-Ammo card to a 20, from a 20 to a Treasure card (provides only 30 gold), or from a 20 to a 30, or from a Treasure to a 30.
It’s one of the only cards that deals specifically with upgrading your Ammo/Gold supply, which is the primary concern for players–once you get your Ammo/Gold in place, you are set up well enough to buy the Actions and Weapons you need to Explore the Mansion safely.
However, there is more to using this card in your strategy than would be apparent at first read. Here are the pros and cons of Item Management:
Item Management Op-Ed: It’s Not as Effective as Other Methods
I have never been able to get Item Management to work well for me. It does not upgrade Ammo as fast as, say, using your regular one-Buy-a-turn and Shattered Memories or Quirk of Fate together; with those cards, you can buy one upgraded Ammo while Trashing out one or two lower-Ammo cards. This thins your Inventory and gets you better Ammo totals per card.
Item Management also does not work as well as using Ominous Battle, which Trashes out one card from your hand after it draws you 3 cards and gives you 10 Gold, nor does it work better than Parting Ways, which Trashes out one card from your hand and Gains you another that costs up to 20 Gold more. Parting Ways, however, is best used for Weapons, since Ammo cards exceed the cost limitations (most Ammo cards upgrade by increments of 30 rather than 20).
From what I can tell, Item Management requires two things to work: one, you must keep a consistently small Inventory, and two, you actually do have to Buy a bit of upgraded Ammo here and there. If you keep trying to change out 10s for 20s instead of 20s for Treasure or 20s for 30s, you’ll be stuck at low Ammo and Gold totals long after the other players are set up. (Trust me, I’ve played plenty a game like that! Frustrating–you’re basically stuck in Neutral for half the game.)
I don’t like the card much because it makes me play on a tightrope of buying JUST ENOUGH Ammo without buying too much. I never know when to stop, and it really screws with my gameplay. But my boyfriend loves Item Management and wouldn’t be without it–somehow, he makes it work. I think it’s the small Inventory size and careful Buys that do it for him.
Why Use It?
This is what I’ve been wondering–with Shattered Memories, Quirk of Fate, Ominous Battle, and Parting Ways available, why bother with Item Management at all?
Possible Ways to Make it Work
All I can see that’s good about Item Management is that you automatically upgrade your Ammo with one Action, rather than doing an Action to Trash out a card and then Buying another one. But it must be handled very carefully, as I noted earlier.
It also works better if you can Buy two Item Managements for your Inventory–having only one in your Inventory simply does not come up often enough to be solely responsible for your Ammo upgrading.
The way I see it, use Item Management if you have a way to do an Action-replenishing Action first (like Reload, Umbrella Corporation, or even Parting Ways/Quirk of Fate if you have to). Then, you aren’t shortchanging yourself on Actions, and you can help yourself out a little bit with card draw, weapon replacement, and/or Inventory-thinning.
Item Management is not my favorite card, personally, but there are ways you can still use it in the game–players can and do make effective strategies with it. Try it and see if you can master this more difficult of Actions in your next Resident Evil DBG session!
As the second official expansion set for the Resident Evil deck building game, Outbreak has a lot to live up to; its immediate predecessor, Alliance, set the bar pretty high for cards added to the game’s repertoire. And in most respects, Outbreak does not disappoint.
New to Gameplay: Infection System
Gameplay has not changed very much from the way the Base Set and the Alliance box play…except for one big addition: the Infection system.
Basically, every turn you do not Explore the Mansion, you receive one Infection Counter, in the form of face-down cards dealt from the Infection Deck (new to Outbreak). You can also get infection counters from creatures you happen to face within the Mansion, from other players facing creatures, or even as a side effect of someone playing a card. There are a few ways to get rid of Infection counters, but a whole lot more ways to accumulate them.
When you get 10 Infection counters, you take all the facedown cards you were dealt from the Infection Deck and add them to the deck you’ve been building since you started the current game. You officially become an Infected creature yourself at this point, and all you can do is attack the other players until the game ends.
The Infection System: Pros and Cons
Pros: Makes the game go a lot faster; makes for different levels, challenges, and styles of gameplay (i.e., struggling to keep yourself uninfected, actually trying to defeat the Mansion, or getting completely into the role of the Infected creature and taking out the other players).
Cons: Can’t get rid of counters as easily as you can accumulate them; one more thing to worry about in-game; distracts from original purpose of game; makes characters die a lot faster because you almost have to explore every turn.
My verdict: Infection system is not fun to play, because I like being able to have a decent weapon before I’m forced to explore the Mansion, and I hate having to focus precious game time on getting rid of those stupid counters. But for those who enjoy a faster gameplay or want something different from a typical deck building game, Outbreak does just that.
Amazing New Cards
|I like this card especially for the “draw 3 cards” thing…but it’s fun to get 2 free actions, too. Can help you start an Action chain just like Reload did in the Base set.|
|This is THE way in the Outbreak box to Trash things out of your deck. Also great for Buying stuff without using up your Buy for the turn!|
|Not a joke card, by any means. You CAN now shoot stuff for mega damage, and it gets better when played at night. I like the situational boost, and I can only imagine the ruckus that the Base Set’s Jill Valentine would cause with this thing. See, she can reach the point where she keeps Explosives weapons instead of having to Trash them after every use, so… 😀|
|Imagine these two paired with The Merchant (Base Set), or with Gathering Forces (Alliance). Mwahaha. So much card-Gaining action…and SO much damage potential.|
|Yes, you get +1 Explore (usually, I hate that). But if you draw an Infected creature that is 20 or less health, you can put it back on top of the Mansion. And look–it’s a FREE 10 damage! Take that, Combat Knife.|
To Learn More
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.
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:
For More Information
Images courtesy of: BoardGameGeek.com’s Resident Evil DBG: Alliance page.
For those who are not familiar with any of the Resident Evil video game series, the whole concept sounds like something you don’t want to mess with. Arming yourself with various and sundry weapons to fight zombies? Sounds like a horror movie gone crazy.
I certainly thought this way about the video games, and wasn’t too enthused about playing a deck building game based on the same mythos. Horror and killing stuff really isn’t my bag in movies or video games either one, so when my boyfriend (a major Resident Evil fan) asked if I would like to try the deck-building game, I expected it to be not much fun.
Boy, was I proved wrong! In the Resident Evil DBG, like many other deck building games such as Ascension and Dominion, the long-term strategy is the winning strategy, which means lots of fun happy times for gamers like me who like to play for the long-term gain rather than the short-term strike.
To Begin The Game
All players in the Resident Evil DBG start out with a character card of your choice (more about those later) and the same 10 cards in their decks:
From this original 10-card deck, you draw 5 cards and begin your turn. On your turn, you may buy 1 resource from the rows of resources laid out on the table, play 1 action, and explore the Mansion 1 time if you choose. Once your turn is over, you take all the cards you’ve played this turn and place them in the graveyard (your used cards), and draw 5 new cards to prepare for your next turn.
Wait, What’s the Mansion?
The Mansion is familiar to those who have played the Resident Evil video games, but in the context of the game, it’s simply another deck of cards on the table. When you want to “explore the Mansion”, you must have a weapon (like the Combat Knife, the Handgun, or other sundry upgrades to these items) in your hand, as well as enough ammo to power it. You then declare you’re going to explore, and then turn over the top card of the Mansion deck. Whatever Infected zombie creature is revealed, your weapons must deal it enough damage to defeat it in one hit, otherwise the Infected creature deals your character damage and then goes back under the deck.
Say, if you explored the mansion with two Combat Knives and a Handgun. You’re able to do 20 damage, because each Combat Knife does 5 damage, and the Handgun does 10. All the weapons you play combine together for total damage, unless otherwise specified on the card or the character.
However, if the top card is a Licker instead, you’re out of luck–it has 40 health, and will not be defeated by two Combat Knives and a Handgun combined. You will instead take 30 damage from the undefeated Licker, which will then go under the Mansion deck to be rediscovered later. (Be careful–you can end up taking enough damage from undefeated monsters to actually kill your character!)
Different enemies have varying levels of decorations–some give you 2, 3, or 4 decorations if you defeat them, and the two strongest monsters in the Mansion (Nemesis T-Type and Uroboros Aheri) give you 5 and 8 decorations, respectively. Whenever Uroboros Aheri is successfully defeated, the game ends, and everybody counts up decorations–the highest total wins.
Another important point to remember: each character also has a set amount of health. Some characters can survive a 70-point hit by Uroboros and live to tell about it next turn. Unfortunately, Ada and several other characters only have 70 health to begin with, so they have to be played more carefully. No haphazard reckless exploring the mansion for them!
Look through each of the character cards and see which ones fit your playstyle. Since I’m horribly unlucky in my Mansion draws, Ada’s ability suits me well. But you may find that another character is your favorite!
Game Modes and Resources
You can play Resident Evil: DBG several ways–a list of possible scenarios follows.
- “First-Timer:” helps you get used to the game mechanics, basic and fun
- “Mercenaries:” timed game, with various mini-scenarios to act out
- “Versus:” where instead of fighting the zombies, you try to defeat the other players!
- “Custom:” you and your fellow players choose resources to purchase, and play much like First-Timer
There are many, many different resources you can use to build your perfect streamlined deck in the game, such as upgraded weapons, healing herbs, and cards that let you get weapons back, trade out items, draw more cards, etc. Each game mode has its own set variety of resource cards–in First-Timer, for instance, there are some cards in the box that aren’t even allowed on the table, whereas in Versus mode, you’d make copious use of those cards.
My Personal Strategies
After several times of playing the game, I generally know what some of my first purchases are going to be. Purchasing upgraded ammunition cards is the first order of business–trading out all those 10s for 20s and eventually 30s will help power bigger weapons and will help you pay for those bigger weapons, too. Also, purchasing cards that help you clean out the cards you no longer need is very important. (Once you’ve purchased bigger and better weapons, you’ll want to get rid of the Handguns and Knives unless your chosen character has a specialty with them, for instance.)
Action cards such as Shattered Memories, Ominous Battle, and Item Management (no image) are great support cards for early- to mid-game deck thinning and streamlining. Other helpful Actions include Reload (get a weapon back from your graveyard, get 2 actions), Umbrella Corporation (draw 2 cards, put 1 card from your hand back on top of your deck, get one more Action to play), and Escape from the Dead City (draw 1 card, get 2 actions).
I generally don’t explore the Mansion for about half of the game–most of the first half of the game is getting my deck streamlined, and I usually avoid getting damaged by too-strong monsters until I’m ready to take them on.
However, by not exploring the Mansion, I sometimes miss out on the two most epic weapons in the game, which are actually hidden in the Mansion. Sometimes, you’ll Explore and come across one of these babies as the top card:
For me, I’m not willing to risk Ada on the possibility of getting one of these weapons, so I play carefully. If the other players get the Gatling Gun or the Rocket Launcher, that’s great for them–I am simply more comfortable using tried-and-true (and safe) methods to last through the game. I don’t know if this playstyle would work for everyone, but it’s won me most of the games I’ve played so far!
To Find Out More
Unfortunately, the official game website has been closed because Bandai is no longer publishing RE:DBG as of 2013. But you can still find information through the RE:DBG page on the Resident Evil Wikia. Also, BoardGameGeek’s page on this game is a great resource as well, and I used it heavily while writing this article.