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New Resident Evil board game’s Kickstarter campaign is its own survival horror game

Crowdfunding campaign runs just 16 days, with fans determining who lives

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Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Steamforged Games is producing a third Resident Evil board game in cooperation with Capcom, this time based on the original video game’s 2002 remake. Resident Evil: The Board Game will be crowdfunded on Kickstarter beginning Oct. 26, and will include options for the base game as well as an assortment of accessories and expansions. Polygon has the first details on how the game will work, and on how the novel 16-day crowdfunding campaign will change what gets included in the final product.

Steamforged is a British company co-founded by Mat Hart, a veteran of the video game industry. It’s because of that background that Hart was able to forge a partnership with Capcom. This is his company’s fifth game based on the publisher’s licenses, which include Resident Evil 2: The Board Game, Resident Evil 3: The Board Game, Devil May Cry: The Bloody Palace, and Monster Hunter: World - The Board Game.

A male member of the STARS team holding a pistol Image: Steamforged Games
A female member of the STARS team holding a pistol. Image: Steamforged Games

Just as in the video game, in Resident Evil: The Board Game players will take on the role of members of the Special Tactics and Rescue Service (STARS) who wind up stranded in a mysterious mansion filled with deadly monsters. The cooperative game will include both combat and exploration. The Resident Evil board game will use the same sort of activation and combat mechanics as Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. But, instead of prescribed scenarios, players will be exploring a randomized version of the video game’s iconic mansion — sort of like a more thematic, more tactical version of the Avalon Hill classic Betrayal at House on the Hill.

“In [the] Resident Evil [board game], you kind of have a very small starting area, and you have doors that lead off of that,” designer Sherwin Matthews told Polygon. “You don’t know what’s behind them. When you get there, you draw an exploration card, and then that populates the next few tiles you may have found. So you really never know exactly what’s waiting around the corner, in terms of both enemies and also exploring out the map.”

Additionally, as players rescue various STARS members, those characters won’t just stand idly in the main hallway like they do in the video game. Instead, Steamforged has fully automated their behaviors. They might go out on missions of their own, scavenge for supplies, or try to secure an alternate escape route for the larger team.

“There’s this constant idea that the camera is on you,” Matthews said, “but that doesn’t mean stuff isn’t happening elsewhere in the mansion.”

Sample art for Resident Evil: The Board Game’s Kickstarter Edition box. Image: Steamforged Games

The crowdfunding campaign will include an optional retro pack, which will replace components in the base game with art and assets inspired by the original 1996 classic. There will also be two gameplay expansions revealed when the campaign launches, each one with much larger boss miniatures to contend with — not unlike those seen in expansions to Dark Souls: The Board Game and Horizon Zero Dawn - The Board Game. Additional stretch goals will also unlock based on community feedback, through what Steamforged is calling a “choice-driven” campaign.

“We’re going to try to emulate with the backers, and with us at Steamforged, exploring the mansion together as part of what we’re going,” Matthews said. “We’re going to have a continuing narrative going throughout the entire thing. [Expect] lots and lots of meaningful backer decisions to work out where we go, and what we unlock, and how we explore and discover stuff.”

In the end, Matthews said, what additional accessories and expansions are unlocked will also depend on which members of the STARS team survive to the end of the campaign.

Like other past Steamforged products, an option to make a late pledge will likely be made available on a service like Backerkit. There will also likely be a full retail release — just like the release of Resident Evil 3: The Board Game, which arrives at retail on Oct. 21.

Resident Evil 2: The Board Game

  • $100
  • $80
  • -24% off

Prices taken at time of publishing.

• 1-4 players, age 14+

• Playtime: 90-120 minutes

• Game type: Horror, dungeon crawler, licensed video game

• Category: Cooperative, campaign

• Similar games: Resident Evil 3: The Board Game

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