In our last article, we took a look at the Tension Deck and how it created unexpected and sinister threats for the characters of Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game. If you missed out, don’t worry - you can find it here. This time around we’re going to continue the theme of keeping players on the edge of their seats, and see how the Encounter Table works.
Stepping into the Unknown
In the Resident Evil™ 2 video game players had no idea what to expect when they first reached a new area or entered the next room. Veterans will remember nervously watching each door animation sequence as it slowly creaked open, holding their breath to see whether enemies awaited them or not. In Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game we not only wanted to replicate that feeling every time a character entered a new tile, but also to give returning players the same sense of trepidation as they felt the first time around.
To achieve this, we created unique Encounter Tables for each scenario in the game, which also allowed us to inject even more individuality into our scenarios.
When a character first enters an unexplored tile in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game, their player must roll a dice on the Encounter Table for that area. The result will determine if any enemies are waiting around the next corner or the coast is clear. Each tile is colour coded according to how dangerous the area is. The well-lit and open RPD main hall is just as safe as you’d expect, but eerie corridors where the character is trapped in a tight space are another story entirely!
Let’s take a look at an Encounter Table from scenario 2A, where the characters are taking their first steps inside the overrun RPD building.
As we can see, this Encounter Table is for one of the safer areas of the game. There is a good chance of not spawning any enemies at all upon entering - and even if the player’s luck doesn’t hold out, then it’s still likely they’ll only have a lone Zombie to contend with. But at the top end of the table, things start to get a little more interesting. Firstly, players have a chance of spawning two Zombies, which can be bad news if their character is alone or running low on ammunition; but if they’re really unlucky the tile will move up to the next Encounter Table, suddenly making a potential safe haven significantly more dangerous. Let’s look at the amber Encounter Table for scenario 2A to get a sense for how the threat scales up.
As we can see, there is still a chance characters won’t encounter any enemies at all on an amber tile, keeping players guessing. But the second all clear result is a little more sinister than it might seem at first glance. A player drawing extra cards from the Tension Deck can quickly find themselves surrounded by enemies – keep in mind, just because a room is empty at first doesn’t mean it will stay that way in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game! Results like this are designed to keep players on edge for their entire turn, nervously waiting to see if that strange noise or unusual shadow will spell disaster.
Looking at the rest of the Encounter Table it becomes obvious the enemies start to ramp up pretty quickly too. Although there remains a possibility characters will encounter a lone Zombie, there is also a chance they’ll see the grisly sight of a half-eaten corpse as well. Worse still is being attacked by multiple enemies, including vicious Zombie Dogs - a truly fear inspiring proposition!
Risk Versus Reward
An element from the original video game which remains in Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game is that not every room needs to be explored in order to progress. Sure, players who want to pick up every item can do so, but that’s often easier said than done. With each step characters risk encountering unexpected enemies, and even looking at the scenario brief can only tell a player so much. Starting a new scenario is to enter the unknown and place yourself at the whim of fickle fate.
If you have the precinct key you need in order to progress, is it worth returning to a locked door from earlier in the game, braving a darkened hallway where the undead still roam? That’s an easy one, right? But now consider there could be an invaluable and powerful weapon awaiting those who dare… suddenly the choice isn’t quite so clear.
In Resident Evil™ 2: The Board Game players frequently have to make decisions like this as they play, based on careful consideration of whether they have enough ammunition and health to risk making a run into dangerous areas or not. And because the circumstances will be different each time, no two playthroughs will be the same.
That’s it for now, but check back next week when we’ll take a look at one of the scenarios in a little more detail – with a teaser of an extremely memorable location for the old veterans out there!