The time is upon us where once again gamers from all over the world smash through the petty human defenses around Indianapolis, Indiana and swarm the convention center for news, goodies, tournaments, and more. I, however, am in the same shoes as you, not at the convention itself, but there in spirit, reading the many blogs and tweets, viewing the pictures and videos, and living through everyone else present at what promises to be another grand event for board games and card games alike.
I know you have all been supremely patient with the release of RE5, and I’m happy to have some of the most endearing and hardcore fans of the game. I was happy with the original finished product, but I was allowed to redo RE5 as a base set, giving me the opportunity to complete redo the basic 6 resources, as well as keep my original design goals when RE5 was just an expansion. To go through that, I’m going to have to start from the beginning…
Mercenaries 3D was about to be released, and I was really digging the skills system. A primary complaint amongst people was that some characters are completely and utterly useless in certain modes. I didn’t want to sacrifice the specificity I gained by doing this, as that made the character unique in their own way, and thats why you get two characters to choose from, but as these types of characters are released, the player will, inexhorably, be stuck with 2 choices: terrible character not fit for this mode, or the exact same, maybe with more health, and nobody enjoys that.
The skills system in Mercs 3D represented an opportunity to completely eradicate that issue. What if you could build your character, from scratch, complete with their own effects? Sounds neat doesn’t it? Obviously some skills are tailored to match others, but finding those unique combinations is what sowed the seeds for the future of interpreting those skills into the game itself. The only downside to this is the number of effects running around, so we dropped each character to a single effect, but boosted their maximum health to not only compensate for the single effect, but to also give character’s more survivability in Mercenaries Mode itself.
But how do you activate skills? Same way you do in the video game, by playing! Not exactly the same, but we wanted your character to learn from their experiences as they explore the mansion. As such, every time your character explores the Mansion, whether they succeed or fail, they receive 1 XP. You can use this XP to activate your skills, to power up a few guns, or to make a few actions a little better than normal.
So now we have the concept for the skills, but what about the Boss in the Mansion? Another primary complaint amongst newer players is that 90 damage is difficult for hit for on a consistent basis, while the more seasoned players were saying that this was too easy. This tells me that the game has a VERY steep learning curve, which definitely showed when I played a few friends over the weekend. Due to this, I dropped the health on the boss from 90 to 80 on this set, giving the newer players a slightly better chance to defeat the boss. This also means that consistency in your deck is much easier to achieve. Taking into mind the skills, and that consistency drastically increases.
The next point of contention was the mansion itself. The whole draw of Mercenaries in the video game was its replayability. You could play over and over again, seeing if you can match your own score in the various levels presented, with a varying number of opponent’s vying for a taste of blood. We already have a scoring system in our own Mercenaries, and I definitely encourage everyone to share their best scores in the forum, but what we didn’t have is the multiple levels. So, we came up with 3 different concepts for 3 radically different Mansions, all packaged in 1 set. Each Mansion is tailored to attack the players in a different way, so no challenge is the exact same.
The above was only the initial offering, back when RE5 was designed as an expansion. Then I was told to make it into a base set, which offered even more design possibilities, the most important of which being the basic 6 resources. Many players have been saying that the game is too slow, and that the basic 6 only hinder you, not benefit. I agree wholeheartedly, and that’s why the new basic 6 were created. The new pistol and knife create new strategies of their own, and are designed to maximize your damage and buying both in the early game, and for the rush strategy if that’s your cup of tea.
Speaking of the pistol, here it is:
This type of effect is what we have been calling an “Overload” effect. This means that you can activate it to push the gun to its limits, but doing so destroys it in the process, forcing you to rebuy if you want to do it again. Not only does this effect facilitate the necessity for trashing of sub standard cards in the beginning of the game, it also gives players a small damage boost early, which may (or may not) help you to get your initial decorations for your level 1 ability.
Stay tuned as I go through another card as well as the development of RE5 next week!