Resident Evil Deck Building Game Review
Yesterday, I had the chance to try out Resident Evil Deck Building Game.
Overall, this game is fairly inexpensive (I think the MSRP is about $30), and has a lot of similar mechanics to the other deck building games that have been created recently (such as Dominion, Thunderstone, Ascension Chronicle of the Godslayer, and Heroes of Graxia). Like in Thunderstore, there are cards that can be purchased for improving your deck as well as monsters to be defeated, but several things should be noted about the game....
There are some very interesting concepts that were added to this game. First, you do not know the power of the monsters when you chose whether or not to attack. This truly gives it a unique "Resident Evil" feel, because you are wandering around the Mansion and you may find a very strong zombie, and you may find a weak one. Moreover, this game actually allows you to be knocked out by the monsters, and if you are knocked out often enough, you can even be killed, thus eliminating you from the game.
Next, the way that weapons are handled in this game is very interesting and works pretty well in execution. Since most of the weapons are guns, there is an ammunition requirement on the weapons that you play. When going exploring in the Mansion, you first specify what guns you intend to use, and you have to have enough ammunition to actually power them. After all, even the strongest gun, when empty, is completely worthless.
Thirdly, another area that I think was heavily influenced by the video game related to "finding" the overpowered weapons. For one, the Mansion had a couple of amazing weapons hidden in it (Gatling Gun and Rocket Launcher) that you might find on an explore turn. Also, each stack of weapon cards had a copy of a slightly different weapon mixed in - for example, the "Combat Knife" pile had a "Survival Knife" mixed in that would show up at some time during the game as available for purchase if people bought enough Combat Knives.
Finally, the game had several different play options - one where you kill zombies and just try to get the most points, another where you are surviving and a final one where you are fighting against the other players. I think that these options would add replay value.
Now some areas where this game struggled. There were times in the game when your turns were completely wasted. "Money" in the game is primarily on the ammunition cards, and so you have to choose whether you are using it to buy new cards or to power weapons. Late in the game, I had several turns where I had enough Money to purchase any card in the game, but there were no cards that were worth buying, and since I drew all ammunition I could not enter the Mansion, so I would just pass.
The number of action cards available for purchase was sporadic. For example, one of the actions allows you to trash cards from your discard pile, and then trash that card. There were approximately 5 of these cards available total (and the game is supposed to be up to 4 players!) However, another card that gave you an extra draw and then two new actions had about 10 copies available. I did not understand this, and it really limited how good of a deck you could build.
Overall, this game is worth playing if you like deck building games, or just trying new games in general. It is not one of the greatest games I have ever played, but it is definitely not one that I regret playing, as I enjoyed several of the mechanics that the game introduced. Overall, I think I'd give it about a 7.5/10.
Happy zombie hunting!