Resident Evil 2: Clues and Documents

Ever since I first played Resident Evil 2: The Boardgame, I lamented the omission of the “files” experience so integral to playing the RE video games; you know, the documents and notes you find throughout the game with creepy backstories written by other characters (such as the classic “itchy… tasty” diary from RE1).

On the RE2BG Facebook page, someone posted an amazing fan-made Files expansion that attempted to do just this. It’s awesome, but it mostly just added “atmosphere” rather than actual gameplay additions.

After some tinkering, I came up with my own concept of adding “Clues” cards to the game. This is a small deck that is set (like Item Decks) by the scenario and contains useful information you might need to complete the scenario or find bonus items.

When printing, the Clues cards have their own custom back (the question mark image above), while Items should use the normal A or B backs you can find here.

I’ve included several ways to obtain Clue cards: via Documents, Film Rolls and Video Tape items, as follows:

Documents are just mixed into your item deck (A or B); when drawn, you discard that item and instead draw a random Clue card. This represents the typical diaries, reports and letters one finds in an RE video game.

Film Rolls and Video Tapes are also mixed into the item decks, but these can only be exchanged for Clue cards at a scenario-specific square (to simulate “developing rooms” for the film rolls and “video players” for the video tapes). It’s up to the scenario designer to place these special objective squares.

I also made some new Locked cards to match the Clues key items (so you can have doors locked by a computer terminal password or by a keypad code).

There are 10 Clue cards (you should print two copies of “Disturbing Image”) but 14 ways to get them (6 Documents, 4 Film Roll and 4 Video Tape item cards) so decide when creating your scenario how you want your Clues to be found and only use those cards in your item decks.

Also, it is up to you whether you print the item cards as A or B items, but I’d suggest printing each one as both an A and B for convenience, so you can pick the ones you want during scenario creation.

You probably shouldn’t include all 10 Clue cards in your scenario’s Clue Deck, though! Just construct the deck like you do Item Decks, choosing only the cards you need (and maybe a bonus item or two).

Example Clue Deck:

  • x1 Disturbing Image
  • x1 Bioweapon Data
  • x1 Computer Password
  • x1 Safe Combination

The above could be for a hypothetical scenario where you face a G-Mutant boss at the end. Finding the Bioweapon Data card lets a character re-roll against that boss, while the Computer Password is needed to unlock the door to the boss. The scenario also has a square marked as the “Item Safe”; this is optional, but your custom scenario brief notes that using the Safe Combination card on that square gives you a Magnum!

The only thing to be careful of when designing scenarios using Clue cards is that you don’t create a potentially unwinnable scenario by putting a required card (e.g. the Diamond Key or the Keypad Code cards) inside a locker or in a room locked by a door that you may never be able to open!

Example: Your Clue Deck contains the Locker Combination A card. The only way to get Clue cards in this hypothetical scenario is via a Documents card or a Film Roll card (you’ve printed both as Item A cards). However, since you placed one less Item A token assuming the players would need to open the locker to get one of those cards, there’s a chance that the Clue needed to unlock the locker will be in that locker! A possible fix for this would be to make sure your Clues come from Item Deck B in this example.

Clue cards – when drawn – act like Item cards when a character takes them. Some count towards inventory capacity (the optional “bonus” ones like Inspiring Image or Bioweapon Data) while most do not; passwords and door codes are stored in your head or on a small slip of paper… easier than lugging a Wolf Medal around! Each card will describe how to carry and use it.

Some Clue cards are intended to be carried over between scenarios during campaign play; this could be as simple as keeping an “Inspiring Image” card or more complex, like putting the Item Safe for the Safe Combination in a subsequent scenario rather than the one you can find the combination in, or having the Bioweapon Data card affect a boss in a different scenario if you find it!

Speaking of that card, it can be used several ways: you could have it work as is obvious: your custom scenario lists the boss at the end of the scenario, so finding it gives you an optional advantage… or mix things up and – say – have your scenario’s brief say that if you find the Bioweapon Data clue, you shuffle all the enemy cards (those used in the scenario, at least) and draw one at random… for the rest of the scenario (or even campaign), you get your bonus against every encounter with that enemy type!

I also added two new items: G-Virus Vaccine and T-Virus Vaccine. These cure status effects that aren’t included in the vanilla game (or detailed here) and are only useful in custom scenarios, along with the “Formula” Clue card. You might start one or all characters off infected with “Virus” and have it work similar to poison (your custom Encounter tables could say when to hit Virus-afflicted characters with damage) and the objective is to create a vaccine. Or you might want to use the G-Virus Vaccine and “Malformation” status effect as a race for WIlliam Birkin to make before he suffers the Malformation effect as per his card! Or you may just want to have creating one of those vaccines as your custom scenario winning condition, nothing more.

Note that if you use the “Files” expansion mentioned earlier, you could incorporate it with my Clues cards too; in that case, instead of finding Clues as Item Cards, just assign certain Clue cards to specific files from that fan-made expansion that make sense (e.g. a file revealing a computer password gives that Clue card).

Card backs for printing the item cards can be found in this post here.

Designer Notes:

I know the original RE2 used Film Rolls and the RE2make used Video Tapes, but I like the idea of both (especially the idea of playing a “found footage” VHS tape and drawing the Disturbing Image card after watching something horrible!) so both are included. Feel free to mix both in your scenarios, just use one, or stick to old school “Documents” item cards only if you don’t want to make the players run around to developing rooms and video players.

Also, I used the “Anderson” movie look for the vaccines instead of proper RE2/3 ones, including green instead of purple for the T-Virus Vaccine, since I couldn’t find any decent images of the OG vials. Besides, the G-Virus sample is already purple and I suspect we’ll get a proper “Vaccine” card with RE3tBG anyway).

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