Sub Terra has long been a family favourite here at Unboxed Towers. This game of caving and survival is a tile laying, cooperative experience that rewards and punishes pushing your luck and really brings a sense of tension to game night.
In Sub Terra you play as one of eight different cavers, searching for the way out of a cave infested with unnamed Horrors. The exit to the cave is always in the bottom six tiles of the stack meaning that you need to spread out to cover as much ground as possible, while still having a way to come back together at the end to all get out alive.
The rub is that it is not easy to go it alone. This cave wants you dead, pockets of poisonous gas, cave ins, tremors and floods are the natural hazards that want to kill you, but this is to say nothing of the long clawed horrors that will slash you to ribbons if you cross their path.
So you need to spread out but to also stay together, if a caver goes down, another caver might need to turn back to rescue them wasting precious time that they could be using to escape.
However, to spice things up this Christmas I’ve added in the expansions. Annihilation takes place after the cavers have escaped. They have tooled up and returned to the cave, armed with explosives to collapse the tunnels and destroy the threat of the horrors once and for all. Unlike the original game, the Annihilation expansion requires players to get in and get out again. Three of the players are carrying bombs, these must be placed at specific bomb sites shuffled into the tile stack. Once the bombs are placed the heroes need to return to the entrance to escape.
This scenario has a smaller tile stack so that the heroes can make the return journey in time, this does mean that the difficulty of the game will be adjusted based on which tiles are removed from the stack, you’ll have a much easier time of it if there are fewer hazards and horror tiles, than if your return journey is full of ledges and flooded tiles.
In the Extraction expansions players are trying to escape with samples from the cave, but this time they are being hunted by a new type of horror, the Leapers. Three of the players are burdened with a biohazard crate, making their skill checks more difficult. These three sample boxes must make it out of the cave or all the players lose. This is not as exciting as the bombs, as the crates merely make it harder to win, but in a tedious kind of way. However the introduction of the leapers as a faster, but less deadly horror is a fun twist. This expansion also adds a sanctuary tile which acts as a safe haven for all cavers, if they can reach it.
The final expansion is Investigation which adds items to the game. In this expansion players can loot the corpses of previously fallen cavers for useful items they can use to make good on their own escape. This expansion also introduces the Doom mechanic. Doom cards are added to the deck and when revealed do nothing in and of themselves, instead they double the effect of the next event. This makes the next event likely catastrophic but it also forewarns the caverns to get somewhere safe.
Overall we enjoyed the three expansions, they certainly don’t justify their £15 each price tag, but Sub Terra is a game we play often so having three new ways to mix up the experience is great. Each expansion also adds a new caver too which can be mixed into the base game and any other expansion, adding more replayability.
On the first day of Christmas, Santa gave to me a horror in a dank dark cave!