Goofball Weapons - Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game

Last week we took a closer look at Birkin Stage One, further expanding on how our development team approached boss creation and design. At the end of that update we finished by asking you guys whether you wanted to hear more about Birkin and his next evolutions – and were ready to launch into a Boss Development and Tactics series. But then a fun poll over on the Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game Facebook group caught our eye.

And so, we thought it might be interesting to interrupt the coverage on Birkin and speak a little about the ‘goofball’ (your words, not ours!) weapons players might be using to fight off these monstrous adversaries…

This is My Boomstick

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Each weapon in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game fills a specific design space. On the whole, their strengths and applications will be immediately obvious – but as time goes on, astute players will see the role of specific weapons change, as new firearms are discovered, and tougher enemies make their presence known…

Let’s start with the handgun, a simple and easily recognisable weapon for most players. Nearly every character begins with this firearm and will use it in early scenarios as their primary method of dispatching foes. As the survivors progress through the campaign, this will become less relevant – against more resilient foes, the handgun’s stopping power just isn’t up to much. But that doesn’t reduce its importance. The handgun might not present a reliable way to put down a Licker or a Spider, but it can still be extremely useful for pushing them around the playing area to make a path or save other characters from harm.

Another great example is the shotgun, the first weapon upgrade players will likely find, which definitely hits a lot harder! Using a shotgun on a lowly Zombie definitely feels like a waste, especially if the next Tension Deck card spawns a Licker in the same room! Whilst this doesn’t necessarily change (the shotgun is always worth having during boss fights), the increasing difficulty of each scenario will force players to reconsider when to employ it. For starters, the number of Zombies increases, meaning players might have to fire a shell or two when moving through congested areas. Finding more powerful weapons also takes some of the stress off of saving ammunition – the magnum has a beastly damage output, and fits neatly alongside the shotgun.

An interaction like the one between the shotgun and the magnum is part of a larger design template which we borrowed from the original Resident Evil™ 2 videogame. Weapons in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game generally fall into early, mid, and late game brackets, with how players use them evolving over the course of the campaign. This is further realised by the Weapon Proficiency of each character, which adds an extra layer of depth to player decisions.

Designing the core weapons in the game was an organic and straightforward process. But then we came to the other, more specialised weapons. And that’s when things started to get more complicated…

It’s Really Powerful – Especially Against Living Things

Stray off the beaten track in Resident Evil™ 2 and you’ll soon find a host of weapons which aren’t so obvious in their application. Even before we began to develop their rules, they presented a headache from a simple graphic design perspective – if we had to include them as part of each character’s Weapon Proficiency, they’d soon make each card look far too cluttered. We also knew heavily limiting their usage wasn’t much fun. We want players to be able to use the cool new toy they’ve found!

Our solution was to create the Universal rule. This is an icon which appears on weapons like the Sparkshot and the flamethrower, and allows just about every survivor to use them. In addition, these unique weapons have a plethora of other special icons and rules to really make them stand out. Intrigued? Let’s take a look at the examples we’ve just mentioned.

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To start with, the flamethrower has the Cumbersome rule. This rule appears on just about every Universal weapon, and means they take up two inventory slots due to their increased bulk and weight. It has a mightily impressive range of one square, but don’t let that disappoint you. It spits out two red dice per shot, and scores one damage on each hit or double hit rolled, meaning it burns through zombies in seconds – but in the Underground Laboratory it really steps up. Unsurprisingly, the flamethrower also has the Fire rule, meaning any damage it inflicts on enemies vulnerable to flame is doubled – Ivies and (Praise The) Moth watch out!

The final icon is Limited Ammunition – and despite its name, this is what makes firearms like the flamethrower and the sparkshot feel particularly powerful. Weapons with the Limited Ammunition rule don’t use an ammunition dial. Instead, whenever they’re used to make an attack, the player rolls the Encounter dice. If the Umbrella symbol comes up? The weapon has run out of fuel. Any other result, well, you can keep going and watch the world burn…

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Next up, we have the Sparkshot, reigning champion of the goofball weapons! Unlike the flamethrower’s extremely close range, the Sparkshot can target any enemy in line of sight. A survivor making an attack with it rolls one red and one blue dice, scoring a push result on a single hit, and an impressive three damage on a double hit. Roll well, and the Sparkshot ties for the highest damage output in the game – six damage will kill all but the most determined of foes. But pushes are where we find the truly unique element to this weapon. Unlike any other weapon in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game, the Sparkshot can push bosses. This means the Sparkshot is an incredibly useful board control weapon when facing these terrifying adversaries, blasting them away to protect the other survivors from retaliation.

These are only two examples of the weapons waiting for the survivors – and there are plenty of others yet to be found in the ruins of Raccoon City. Let us know which weapon your favourite is, or the one you’re most interested in and perhaps we’ll share it in the next update…