Board Game Review

Borderline Stalking (Resident Evil 2: The B-Files Expansion)

This review is also available on the magnificent Zatu here!

Being young was awkward, when you weren’t hiding behind the controller that is! Remember not knowing how to talk to someone you liked? So you awkwardly sort of be around them and existed continually, never making progress or effort to let them know you were there? The T-00 Tyrant doesn’t. He has no fear. No reservations. He’s a successful go getter and a man on a mission. He knows what he wants, and he wants you. (Dead.) This beastly monstrosity, also coined as Mr X, is the central nemesis of this adventure through the damned Raccoon City Police Department and subsequent locations, and he’s got your number.

The B-Files Expansion for Resident Evil 2: The Boardgame gives you the other side of the story to the core’s, centring entirely around the adventure from the other side of the police car. You inevitably go through Raccoon Police Department, the sewer systems and Underground Laboratory. All through which your new admirer is hot on your trail. There are fewer scenarios in this expansion, but don’t think the Resident Evil universe has given you a break because of this! You’ll still have the disgustingly hideous monstrosities from the core game to deal with, alongside Birkin Stage 3 who is as deadly as ever.

The main new mechanic for this expansion is the introduction of Mr X. Unlike other enemies within the game, his pursuit is relentless and he appears in every scenario. His only goal is to kill you and the other survivors, and he is pretty good at his job! The introduction of Mr X into a scenario is done through the encounter table or through specific Tension Cards. Either way, you’re not going to be able to avoid him for long! He can be defeated, but death is not an insurmountable obstacle for this big fella! The next time he is said to spawn, he will appear again with his spirits as high as ever. In later scenarios within the B-Files there is the introduction of the ‘Marked for Death’ mechanic and the ‘Mortally Wounded’ status, where players are given one of these tokens and inevitably have a bad time!

This expansion is unforgiving but enjoyable. The fact you can play the other half of the Resident Evil 2 story is amazing, and the fact it includes the highly idolised Mr X in such a way that you feel like escape is but a hollow dream is fantastic. On top of that is the addition of alternative models for the Evolved Licker enemy and more zombie models not only adds to the visual aesthetics, but also lets you know you’ll definitely need those extra zombies!

The Mr X model is an absolute unit. His entire visual image screams intimidating, and the weight of his fists support that when he throws an attack. And his magnificently deformed mutation as the T-103 is equally as terrifying. I was impressed by the quality of the core game’s models, but these are just as good! The Evolved Licker models are a nice addition too. They look more deadly and reflect the altered state of the late game Lickers. With regards to its replay-ability, the entire purpose of this expansion to to give more gameplay to the core and open up what players can do with the game. The addition of 5 new scenarios, two new bosses and several new mechanics means players are given several new things to play with, especially if they choose to engage in their own scenarios.

There is no denying how important it is to communicate during the core gameplay of this game, but now you have someone giving chase? Any loss of organisation or act of selfishness can and will probably cause a game over! It can be tempting to try to take on the beast, but you’ll realise that taking arms with Mr X is a fool’s errand. He just comes back! In terms of engagement, it can be very beneficial to keep track of which T-00 spawn cards have and haven’t been drawn from the tension deck. It’ll determine when you’ll use an ink ribbon and also make you choose whether or not to leave yourself vulnerable to an open door!

The original game’s B-Files were a core element of the story; it added depth, gave answers and explained what happened to the other survivors of the G-Virus incident. This expansion is an excellent reflection of that side to the story. The inclusion of Mr X’s mechanic to simply burst into a scenario keeps you on your toes more than the core game. It makes it less about clearing rooms and more about keeping a clear focus. After playing this expansion, I genuinely cannot think of playing the core game without having this available as well. A fantastic addition to the already brilliant game!