Phew – it’s been a long week recovering from GenCon! Before we start, we really want to thank everyone who came to play Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game with us at the show. Our demo crew had an absolute blast running you guys through Scenario 3A, and the Meet the Developer sessions with Sherwin were all fantastic. We really are humbled by your enthusiasm for the game!
Our last update finished up the William Birkin Malformations in our boss highlight series, discussing the unique experience you’ll have facing down Birkin Stage Five. If you missed out, don’t worry – you can catch up here.
This week we’re going to be looking at the Mini-Bosses you guys will encounter during the game, and discuss some of the design ideas which went into bringing these guys to the tabletop.
Oh Man… What Happened?
So, let’s start with the most obvious question – what exactly is a Mini-Boss? In Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game a Mini-Boss is a unique type of enemy which will only appear once during the game, regardless of what scenario you’re playing. Tougher than the standard enemies you’ll face during the scenarios you encounter them, each presents a new challenge to overcome. And if you’re a beginner player still familiarising yourself with the rules, don’t worry. Mini-Bosses are all optional expansion content, so feel free to leave them out until you’re ready.
Mini-Bosses came quite late in the design process for Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game, once we started looking at stretch goal content and were happy with the scenario layout. They’d always been at the back of our mind throughout development and playtesting, but our priority was ensuring the fidelity of the core game experience before adding any expansions.
In some respects, once their development began it was actually easier than other expansion enemies, such as the Giant Spiders or Ivies. Each of these guys belonged to a single area within the game, meaning our team only had to consider limited encounter variables, rather than testing them across multiple scenarios and tiles. We also knew the exact weapons the survivors might bring to the party and could adjust their health accordingly.
That said, Mini-Bosses still caused a few headaches. To begin with, we gave each a reduced size behaviour deck, allowing them to move around and attack in unique patterns. This was great for creating a dynamic experience, but honestly felt a little disingenuous to their original videogame appearances. Marvin and Brad especially only move and attack in the same way as standard Zombies, and the Giant Moth isn’t renowned for its developed arsenal of attacks.
After much deliberation, we decided to amend Mini-Bosses to activate in the same way as standard enemies. This had them moving around just like they did in the original release, and also kept the actual Bosses feeling that little bit more special. It also gave us access to another dial we could turn – suddenly, Mini-Bosses could be affected by Tension Deck cards. This means No Escape will allow them to open doors and pursue the survivors, and Echoes in Darkness will have survivors drawing extra cards like normal, increasing the odds of additional enemy spawns during the fight. And, of course, the clock doesn’t stop when facing them, adding extra pressure to the encounter. We couldn’t possibly forget that.
Now, enough development chat – let’s take a closer look at each of the Mini-Bosses, shall we?
Hang In There… I’m Coming Back For You!
Encountered in the very first scenario, the inclusion of Zombie Brad Vickers offers campaign players a difficult decision before they’ve even taken their first steps. Although far from a particularly tough enemy, Brad only appears if the survivors do not collect any items during the scenario – meaning they’ll only have their starting equipment when facing him. Finish him off? The player controlling Claire can choose to upgrade their character. Choose to stock up on ammunition and the shotgun? You’ll be able to play as the survivor version of Brad Vickers instead. The choice is all yours.
Encountered during Scenario 3A, Zombie Marvin Branagh doesn’t offer the players the same dual unlock choice as Brad, but nonetheless will keep them on their toes. His attacks inflict more damage than a standard zombie, and are more difficult to evade, meaning he’s just about the last thing players will want to see at the end of a hard-fought scenario! Of course, veterans of our updates will know there is an alternative to fighting – if the players prefer, they can use a precious First-Aid Spray to save poor Marvin, unlocking his survivor version in the process… assuming they have one they’re willing to part with!
The final Mini-Boss is the Giant Moth, a creature we’re sure needs absolutely no introduction from us. Encountered in the depths of the Underground Laboratory, this foe is especially dangerous thanks to the Vicious rule, allowing it to immediately attack any survivor it contacts during movement. A precursor to the impact attacks we later adopted for Massive and Immense based models, we’ll let you guys learn how surprisingly powerful this ability can be in your games.
The Giant Moth also offers another interesting challenge – a special attack which forces any character on the same tile to pass an evade test or gain the poison condition. While this doesn’t offer any immediate damage, failing that evade roll can really screw up your day, especially given the unique win conditions found in Scenario 7A.
More than anything else, our design team loved creating Mini-Bosses as a vehicle to add even more depth and character to Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game. Although nowhere near as formidable as the true Bosses, we hope you guys will come to appreciate their inclusion just as much as we do!
Now... next week? With the Giant Alligator already discussed in depth during an earlier update, next week we’ll be moving on to talk about the T-00 Tyrant. Definitely looking forward to that one!