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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Aug 8, 2011

Resident Evil Deck Building Game [GenCon 2011]

I have been a fan of Resident Evil since the very first title appeared on the Sony Playstation. Capcom has done a great job with creating a world of survival horror filled with characters that mean something to all the game’s fans. When I first heard of the Resident Evil Deck Building game from Bandai, I was a but surprised. I couldn’t imagine the game being converted into any card game, let alone one centered around deck building. Well at GenCon 2011 I got to check out the game up close, and it wasn’t at all what I thought.

Sitting down at the demo table I saw before me a large mat with about twelve different piles of cards on it. These cards ranged from ammo and weapons, to herbs and actions. I had never played a deck building game before, so I was interested to learn how each mechanic worked out. The Bandai rep sat down with me and wasting no time, we got our demo underway.

He explained the basic mechanics of the game, and how deck building games work in general. The aim of this game sounded easy enough: use your deck in the most efficient way possible to eliminate the strongest enemy in the mansion. As you explore the mansion you earn declarations, and the player with the most once the strongest infected is killed wins. Simple, right?

Players would start the game by choosing a character, most of the time selected at random. For the demo, I got Sheva. Each character has special abilities, which can be used once declarations are earned. In order to earn these declarations, you must be able to do enough damage to an infected when exploring the mansion to kill it, earning a certain amount of declarations after. The harder the infected, the more declarations earned.

Players start by shuffling their decks, and drawing five cards. These cards will essentially be your hand. From your hand you can play actions, and do other things based on what cards are drawn.

During each turn, players are allowed to buy cards from the huge pile in the center of the mat. You can buy things like ammo, actions, and weapons to help you build an effective deck. The aim here is to build up your deck with good cards, and thin out the bad ones so that you always stay on top. This means trashing out small ammo counts for upgrades, and low power weapons for bigger ones. Certain cards contribute gold to a pool, which is used to make purchases.

After buying something from the pile (which can only come in one buy per turn, and gold can’t be split up), players can then make actions or explore the mansion. Actions will let players draw cards, trash them (send them back to the pile), take more actions (as players are only allowed one action per turn unless specified otherwise), or increase ammo and weapon damage. It’s a good idea to purchase new actions which will let you do multiple things in one turn. This will let you play more effectively and intelligently to beat the other players out.

Once you’re finished with actions, it’s time to explore. Checking your hand, you can determine whether or not you can survive in the mansion, or whether you’re going in to a trap. The best thing to do is to ensure that you’ve got a good weapon with enough ammo to use it, and cause as much damage as possible. If you’ve got a hand full of ammo, it’s probably best to skip your explore step and wait for a better lot of cards. You don’t want to run in with a small amount of damage, as you’ll be hurt in turn, and dying is not a good thing as with many other games.

If you think you’re ready, you can explore and attempt to earn those sweet declarations. Once you make your announcement, the top card of the mansion deck is revealed. This will either be an infected, or an item. If infected, it will have its own amount of hit points, possibly an ability, and its own attack. If you can deal enough damage to kill it, it will die and earn you declarations. If not, it will damage you in turn, taking points away from your life total. Once your life total reaches zero, you skip a turn and come back with twenty less points of health. If you get to a point where you will come back with zero, or less than zero, you are eliminated from the game.

Getting through the mansion can be tough, and games can last for hours. If the target infected is revealed and not killed, it shuffles back into the mansion deck. Players continue their turns, until this infected is eliminated. Eventually, you’ll get to where your deck is thinned down just enough so that it can perform just the way you need it to.

After playing the game, even though I lost, I had a great time. Bandai did a great job bringing the Resident Evil titles into card form, and they’ve built a great foundation for a card game that I can see myself playing for a while. With more expansions coming to raise the number of cards in circulation, the game can only go up from here. If you’re a fan of the series, I definitely think you should give the Resident Evil Deck Building game a try. If you’d like to know more, check out the game’s official page. I know I can’t wait to get back into the mansion and hunt down the Nemesis for myself.

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