Resident Evil 3: The Board Game review: “a panic to shatter you on your dining room table”

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game hit our shelves earlier this year, after the very successful adaptation of Resident Evil 2 by the same team. By correcting some player frustrations with the quality of the components while also tackling the sprawling story of Resi’s third installment, Steamforged Games (the folks behind the 2021 Horizon Zero Dawn board game) produced a truly excellent campaign adventure designed for keep you hooked from your first steps on the streets of Raccoon City.

I sat down with Resident Evil 3: The Board Game for the full campaign and a few repeat storylines, playing both single and multiplayer, to see where it fits in our best board game hall of fame. And even though Jill Valentine, Carlos Oliveira, Mikhail Victor and Nikolai Ginovaef were all back to face the horrors of these city streets, Nemesis was never too far away either …

What is it and how does it work?

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game

(Image credit: Avenir)

Essential information

Price: $ 99.99 / £ 99.99
Steamforged games
Game type:
Co-op horror
Players: 1 – 4
Age: 14+
Difficulty: Hard
Hard: Minimum of 40 minutes per scenario

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game works much the same as Resident Evil 2 before it. Players each have four actions, played as they wish; walk to the next square, open a door, use an item, attack, etc. Then the enemy moves, moving one square closer to the nearest player if alerted, attacking if they collide.

As for combat, it still relies on the dice – players throw hits if they choose to spend valuable ammo, and they also roll to evade any incoming attack, dodging under one hit and hopefully knocking back the enemy to start.

There are actions out of sequence that can also appear out of turn. Enemies will automatically move one step closer when a character performs an attack, for example, and you’ll have to roll to dodge if you start your turn in the same square as one of your opponents.

The board game does a fantastic job of transferring that feeling of swirling panic

From there, Resident Evil 3: The Board Game takes place with a true adherence to the ethics and atmosphere of the original video games. Players scattered through the city streets, searching for items, ammo, keys, and important items, taking on odd bosses here and there, and eventually making their way to the Clock Tower for undertake the final campaign missions.

However, with new encounters waiting behind every door and a timer running through each storyline, this isn’t a smooth stroll through town.

Resident Evil 3 The Board Game Tension Deck

(Image credit: Avenir)

At the end of each player’s turn, he draws a card from the tension deck. It’s an incredibly engaging mechanic that usually leaves you all clear, but can sometimes present new challenges and enemies to overcome – turning the tale completely upside down. If this tension game runs out, you’ve lost your storyline, but it can be filled using typewriters scattered around the map.

How is it to play?

There is a lot to digest when you first open the box, especially if you are a newcomer. I found the setup to still take a long time – it’s definitely not a setup you’ll throw in on a whim. It’s made a little easier by the fact that the tiles are simple shapes, so you just need to find the right layout rather than looking for specific pieces. However, going out and getting everything ready sometimes extends just beyond that sweet spot of anticipation.

Another insignificant frustration lies in the box itself. The figures are all housed in their own plastic sheets, but once the tokens and game pieces are out of their shipping sheets, there doesn’t seem to be enough places to separate them all. Since some parts only ship in numbers of two or three, digging through piles of tokens can get a little frustrating and slow down your set-up and tidying up as well.

Resident Evil 3: The Zombie Dog From The Board Game

(Image credit: Avenir)

Once you are in it, however, you are in it. There is very little time between rounds with a simple three-phase sequence and a set of rules and strategies that are easy to slip into. Administration time is kept to a minimum, limited only to switching card configurations between scenarios. This means that you are free to stay focused on the task at hand, and given the importance of each action, you will need to stay focused.

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game does a fantastic job transferring that sense of swirling panic into the guts present even during the quiet moments of the original titles. With tension play always looming over and unfamiliar enemies around every corner, there’s always a possibility for things to get overwhelming in the blink of an eye – if you allow them.

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game Card

(Image credit: Avenir)

This is what makes going through that last gate in every scenario so satisfying. Whether you’re playing alone or in a group, the balance between offensive and defensive strategies must be so finely crafted that hitting every goal is quite a feat. Even if you’re at the end of your storyline and just heading towards the goal, there are always new threats to worry about when you take that classic Resi sprint to the finish line.

Watching the main campaign, I was a little concerned about the replayability of Resident Evil 3. However, after digging into the mechanics, especially around the tension bridge, it’s obvious that there aren’t two races. that stick to the same playbook. There is a lot of potential for new situations with every game, especially given a few scenarios that appear and exit based on the decisions you made in the early parts of the game. campaign.

Sounds like a whole new way to interact with the lore and ethics of the world of Resident Evil.

Resident Evil 3: the character card from the board game

(Image credit: Avenir)

Overall, Resident Evil 3: The Board Game mixes an incredible atmosphere with thoughtful and engaging gameplay to deliver a true representation of the classic game. From the main campaign mirroring and in-game mechanics to the tension of each step, the tabletop experience is more than an addition to the full experience; it feels like a whole new way to interact with the lore and philosophy of the world of Resident Evil. Of course, it helps that the classic title screen “This game contains scenes of explicit violence and gore” is also waiting for you when you open the box. If there ever was a board game for adults, this is it.

Should you buy Resident Evil 3: The Board Game?

Resident Evil 3: The Board Game

(Image credit: Avenir)

Fans of the series should definitely dive into the tabletop world of Resident Evil 3: The Board Game. You don’t need to have played the previous versions to master all the mechanics and strategies, and the whole experience is genuine and well-established. Lots of reliability and a solid campaign will keep you going for hours of gameplay, with an amazing atmosphere and that magical ‘Resi’ touch that so few zombie games have managed to capture.

If you are looking to get started straight away, however, be aware that the setup is quite lengthy and will require a bit of research in the box to be fully up and running. This is not a game of impulse.