Resident Evil 3 the board game is now available to buy now from all good Local Friendly Gaming Stores. However, why would you? The market is flooded with loads of other zombie-themed games, after all. I’ll bet that your paint queue is as long as the M25! Well, here is why I think you should get your blood-smeared hands on the Resident Evil 3 board game…
Steamforged Games next installment into the Resident Evil series is here and in full swing. One thing they excel at is creating the atmosphere and this is no exception! I really fell in love with this game (well, until RE1 comes out) just turning the cards of the tension deck. It was great in the first game, this time around it’s even better. The Resident Evil series is renowned for that feeling of suspense and tension, so this is very important.
The core box of Resident Evil 3 contains everything you need to get going. You get four characters, a few bosses and a heap of other enemies out to dine on you. Resident Evil 3 brings back the expanding map, using various tiles to recreate endless amounts of combinations. With terrain elements being laid over the top of them, this merely adds to the replay value. There are also plenty of tokens and dials included. The dials for the ammo tracks work great and I really love that this mechanic is seemingly becoming more mainstream than the bottomless ‘Hollywood’ magazine. Don’t get me wrong some games really wouldn’t benefit from it at all and would just get bogged down or forgotten. But in games like Resident Evil, it’s almost the baseline from which tension can really rise and a game can go from “ok” to really bad in the three seconds or so it takes to roll those shots if you miss! Ammo management is always crucial, so it’s great that they’ve nailed this.
Setting the Tension in Resident Evil 3
Every game has its selling point. Many games even use the same sort of random mechanic in some shape or form to drive the game forward or introduce new things. What the Resident Evil series of games does well (in fact I would say very well) is the tension deck. Before the game starts you construct the deck using a selection of cards as defined by the scenario. Each scenario will have you adding different cards as needed.
The Green tension cards are what you want to see, as these are all the same – “All Clear”. However, be sure to take a second and read the text that is written on these cards as some of them really enhance the atmosphere.
Amber cards are middle of the road in terms of threat. There are some effects from these cards, such as speeding up all the enemies by one square for the round. This will really mess with your plans! But then, how about a card that has zombies, when killed, become corpses? This doesn’t sound too bad until they reanimate! These effects are on the lowest threat level, too. If you get up to the higher threat levels the zombies potentially don’t become a corpse, they just become immune to attacks!
Red Tension cards, well I will leave that to your imagination!
The included miniatures in Resident Evil 3 show that the path from tabletop wargames to boardgames are blurring too fast to keep up with. You don’t get many sculpts in the box, but the zombies do come in three different sculpts whilst the dogs get two. There is a small amount of variety with this, but nothing to write home about. Hopefully, further expansions will change this a bit. You could mod the models but then they wouldn’t properly fit in the provided plastic tray so it might not really be worth the effort. Overall, three sculpts over 15 models isn’t the worst. The models themselves are pretty good but probably would have been nicer with a textured base rather than the smooth bases provided.
While not immensely varied, no two games should ever be the same. Thanks to the tension deck, your first game might be so easy as to put you off. However it shouldn’t be so hard as to do the same. The latter is tempered by the construction of the Tension deck and Threat levels. The former, well, everyone has to get lucky sometime.
As the core set stands by itself I found the gameplay solid with not many “gotcha” moments from the rules. The interactions however can play havoc with all best-laid plans. You have to balance the careful, stealthy aspect of the game with the fact if the tension deck runs out it is game over. All whilst being mindful of the possibility of running out of ammo for the reward of clearing out zombies quickly. Against potentially leaving no way of clearing the harder zombies out further in. This is part of what makes the game really fun. The resource management of your ammo really throws a massive nod to the original games.
Resident Evil 3 builds on the previous Resident Evil 2 game and perfectly sets the ground for the forthcoming Resident Evil 1 (yeah, this is a little confusing, I know). Whilst I sometimes got bored of the computer games eventually, the board games are still catching me and keeping me going. Not too hard that I need to flip the table and rage quit, yet hard enough that some scenarios have required second attempts. Many times a quick, or not sometimes not so quick, rethink has been needed to survive.
Resident Evil 3 is definitely a great solo game. Especially if you are a bit tight on time or on players. As a gateway game it works really well, as it’s quick to get the hang of. As a campaign game, it moves along at a nice enough pace as to not get boring and keeps the oppressively eery style of Resident Evil that long-time fans know and adore.