Resident Evil 2 – Birkin Stage Three
In our last update we halted our series of boss enemy spotlights to talk about some of the more unique weapons players will be finding during their games of Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game. If you missed out, don’t worry – you can catch up here.
This week, with our foray into the world of fan favourite ‘goofball’ weapons behind us, its time to return once more to the boss enemies you guys will have to overcome in order to escape Raccoon City. We’ve already covered Birkin Stage One and Stage Two – so it seems sensible our next update should take a look at Birkin Stage Three…
In our previous updates we’ve discussed how our development team approached boss enemy design, creating behaviour decks after watching animations and fights from the original videogame. In addition to building character into each boss, we also had to consider when and where in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game each of these formidable adversaries would be encountered. If survivors fought the boss further into the game, we had to keep in mind more powerful weapons would be available, scaling up the enemy health and making the battle more challenging.
Birkin Stage Three required a design which went one step further, however. Not only did our team need to balance this boss in relation to its location, but also the two Birkin malformations before it, presenting a step up in difficulty but also an organic behaviour evolution. Throw into the mix that Birkin Stage Three is also the final boss of the core game version of the campaign A playthrough, and we had a real challenge on our hands.
Oh… and did we mention you won’t encounter this boss just once? Due to the shared timeline between the A and B campaign playthroughs, Birkin Stage Three also appears in a second scenario, ambushing the players as they descend into the Underground Laboratory.
Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
As you’d expect, Birkin Stage Three takes the offensive power of Birkin Stage Two and steps it up to the next level, amplifying the damage output to a terrifying degree. One point we should probably make before continuing – unlike Birkin Stage Two there are no beneficial evade modifiers for damaging this boss, so its attacks remain just as dangerous throughout the battle, until the very end…
There are four basic cards in Birkin Stage Three’s behaviour deck. The first is named Brutal Claws and is the next evolution of the Double Strike behaviour employed by Birkin Stage Two. This card features two identical attacks made in quick succession, separated by the boss moving forward to press the assault home. Each of these attacks has twice the reach of Double Strike, and requires their unfortunate target to roll a medium or large evade to avoid taking damage. These attacks also hit the survivor so hard they are pushed backwards by the impact, forcing players to reposition.
The second card is even more terrifying. Combo Strikes doesn’t give Birkin Stage Three an additional move, but does hit the boss’ target three times in a row with a destructive storm of flailing limbs. The first two attacks on this card mercifully only inflict a point of damage but are extremely hard to dodge. The final attack has reduced range but hits much harder. Let’s give some context to this behaviour card – if a character is hit by all four attacks, the only way they’ll survive is if their health track was on Fine to begin with.
The next two card types are a little more unique. The first is another behaviour evolution of Birkin Stage Two, and features only a single, moderately powered attack. What’s so bad about that, you ask? It hits every survivor in range, that’s what! And if you didn’t remember, Birkin Stage Three has long arms...
The other attack, Jump Slash, only inflicts a low amount of damage and has a very short range, but lends the boss dangerous unpredictability. When this card is drawn Birkin Stage Three leaps into the air, landing adjacent to the next player to activate with its claws aimed at their throat. Just to keep you on your toes, Birkin Stage Three will also perform this attack if none of its other attacks are in range – forcing players to engage the boss rather than snipe it from a corner.
And that’s not all. To make this boss a little more unique and provide a different experience during both scenarios players will encounter it, Birkin Stage Three actually has two health dial stages. During the first the boss employs a horrendously lethal attack with a lovely, friendly name – Impale. This attack is based on one of the player death animations from the original videogame, where Birkin Stage Three runs the character through with its long claws, near enough tearing Leon or Claire apart. This attack hurts. Trust us.
Your reward for depleting the first health dial to zero during the final battle is to shuffle a new card into the behaviour deck. We’re not going to tell you anything about this new card, other than the name – and that our playtesters were very, very distraught when they first encountered it.
It’s called Decapitation.
City of Ruin
We weren’t seeing much discussion about the tiles we’d been sharing over the last couple of weeks, and made the decision to not reveal the rest, so you’ll still have a few surprises when you open the box. We’re going to stick to that decision – but it doesn’t mean we won’t be spoiling other art assets every now and then. And this week, we have something really special for you.
For the reverse of the Tension Deck, we really wanted to play to our audience’s sense of trepidation. With every step you guys have to be on your toes, unsure of when something will jump out from the darkness. The back of the Tension Deck cards had to reflect this, providing a strong visual clue to the rising unease felt when playing the original videogame.
What better for this than the slow, creeping horror of the iconic Resident Evil™ door animations, instantly recognisable to veteran and beginner alike? Each draw will have players holding their breath, just like when playing Resident Evil™ 2 and entering a new room or area…