2020 Update: This post was published during or shortly after the Kickstarter campaign on July 30, 2018, and may contain out-of-date assets and mechanics. To see the final version, check out Resident Evil 2: The Board Game
Today we’re going to take a look at Birkin Stage Five, a monster so big and hideous our production partners honestly weren’t sure what to make of it…
Nightmare Come True
For those of you who aren’t veterans of the original videogame or who want a catch-up, Birkin Stage Five is a truly monstrous enemy. A pulsating mass of mutated and sinewy flesh, covered in exposed veins and inhuman growths, this is a creature from your nightmares. Thick tentacles weave around maliciously, hurling lumps of debris or entangling anything they can reach, wrenching any unfortunate survivors towards a gaping maw surrounded by rows of jagged teeth. Grown to nearly the size of a train, this is the most unstoppable form Birkin takes, relentlessly dragging its bulk towards the characters no matter what.
That paints quite a picture, doesn’t it?
Each of the boss monsters in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game presents a unique experience for players, and this is also true of each Birkin malformation. Birkin Stage One is the most easily managed, with two specific stages during his fight. Birkin Stage Two starts off at the height of his destructive powers and must be weakened by the survivors before he can inflict too much damage. Birkin Stage Three and Four are linked bosses, both are tremendously powerful throughout the encounter but also require players to employ wildly different tactics in order to defeat them.
For Birkin Stage Five, the design team wanted to introduce something really special, to make this remarkable foe really stand out from the crowd and better simulate its incredible fortitude. So, we took the normal design parameters for bosses and chucked them out the window.
Time to Learn the True End of the Story
To start with, we knew this boss would need its own special scenario. This was partly influenced by its canonical appearance in the game, but this also allowed our design team to focus on creating a dedicated experience for the players. Scenario 15B is a concentrated boss encounter from start to finish, undiluted and without any other distractions. More than any other scenario, your only objective here is to survive and escape, once and for all!
Next, lets talk about how Birkin Stage Five suffers damage. Unlike other boss enemies, Birkin Stage Five’s health dial begins on 0. As characters inflict damage on the boss this is increased rather than decreased, slowly creeping upwards. Here’s the important part – no matter how high this dial reaches, even if it maxes out, Birkin Stage Five cannot be killed by damage alone.
Wait, what? Don’t worry, we’ll explain.
Birkin Stage Five’s behaviour cards all have a threshold value to them. After resolving the card, if the threshold value has been reached or exceeded on the health dial, that card is removed from the behaviour deck. Birkin Stage Five is only defeated when the behaviour deck has no more cards in it – meaning as it takes damage, the boss becomes increasingly more focussed and deadly as the weaker cards are removed. It also means Birkin Stage Five is deadly even after reaching the threshold for the final card, as each card still in the deck will need to be drawn and resolved before the players can triumph.
To give you guys more context for why this is so crucial, lets talk a little about the scenario.
Scenario 15B isn’t very large – in fact, it’s only four tiles big. Each tile represents a carriage on Umbrella’s underground train, speeding away from the laboratory as the self-destruct sequence counts down. Birkin Stage Five has hauled itself onto the end carriage in pursuit of the survivors, and slowly advances down the train itself, destroying everything around it on the way. There is no way past for the survivors. All they can do is steadily back away from their adversary as their space dwindles.
In order to succeed, the players must defeat Birkin before it reaches the far end of the playing area – or else, they are crushed to death as the monstrosity reaches the train’s cabin! This places a severe time limit on the players right from the start, increasing the tension dramatically. And as we mentioned before, as the deck is reduced, so too are the cards which don’t include a movement profile, meaning the boss speeds up as the fight goes on.
Let’s see… what else can we tell you? Oh yes – remember those tentacles? All the while, Birkin Stage Five will be trying to grab the survivors and drag them towards him. And in case you were thinking of just running to the back of the train and firing from a safe position, you should probably be aware that unless you inflict at least some hits on Birkin during your activation, the boss will get a free move. Nice try, but back to the drawing board on that one!
We’re not going to give you too many more details at this stage – it’s down to you guys to work out how to succeed during this encounter. We couldn’t very well tell you everything about the final boss of the game straight away, right!