Sub Terra: Extraction is a follow-on modular expansion for Sub Terra designed by Tim Pinder. This expansion takes place after the original game and sees you returning to the caves to collect biosamples with the protection of the Mercenary. It’s a good thing you brought back-up as you will also be facing off against the new fast and deadly Leapers. You’ve been into the caves before and made it out alive, what could go wrong this time?
A quick overview of Sub Terra for those uninitiated. Sub Terra is a co-operative game for 1-6 players that sees you laying tiles to create a network of caves. You each play as an experienced cave explorer with a couple of special abilities to help you and your team navigate these claustrophobic tunnels.
You will face the dangers of the caves, unstable passages, flash floods and thick choking gas. Every turn, drawing a hazard card to see which part of the environment wants to kill you this round or to introduce the horrors that call these caves home. You will be forced to push your luck and take risks in the hopes of outrunning the monsters, constantly being slowed down by tight passages and sheer cliffs or you’ll find yourself led into dead ends where all you can do is hide. Your only chance of escaping this nightmare is to press on and find the exit, especially as your torch battery power is running low and trust me, you won’t survive the darkness.
The New Horror
Along with the horrors of the base game, you will now be facing the Leapers which move double speed through the caves and slash at our intrepid explorers before vanishing into the darkness. They appear with a frightening regularity thanks to the addition of 2 extra horror tiles and 6 new Leaper hazard cards. The Leapers move two spaces every turn and then another two every time a horror or Leaper card is drawn, so they can quickly be on top of you if you are not paying attention.
I found them to be a great addition to the game. Where the horrors have the feel of a slowly impending doom, constantly pushing you forward; the Leapers are deceptively deadly, taking 2 health points if they hit rather than a one-shot kill and luring you into a false sense that you can handle that.
The tokens for the Leapers are non-descript purple discs that match stylistically with the black discs representing the horrors of Sub Terra. I personally enjoy that the horrors are not meeples that define exactly what the creatures are. It feels like old creature feature movies that avoid showing you the monster to keep it feeling threatening and unknown while also keeping costs down behind the scenes.
The Mercenary is the new character that you can add to your roster of experienced caving professionals. The Mercenary allows for the ability to fortify the area, locking themself in place until they next move and repelling any horrors that move onto that space in that time. I like that this action requires you to decide between fighting back and exploring deeper. Holding still for the turn to repel the horrors can be a strong choice but at the cost of progress, and revealing more cave is really the crux of the game.
Fortunately, the Mercenary’s second action is survey, which allows you to perform the reveal action twice for half the cost. This action is so simple and feels excellent to use when you find yourself in the right place, revealing all the passages around you and burning through tiles to the exit. Of course, I inevitably end up revealing horror-filled dead ends, but I can fortify that area and hold back the impending doom for one more turn and feel like a badass.
Sub Terra: Extraction adds a new optional objective to replace the survival objective from the base game. Three cavers are given biosample boxes in the form of item cards at the start of the game and to win you not only have to leave the caves, but all three boxes need to be taken out as well. The items can be transferred so one caver could carry all the boxes out, but it is still a big ask as each item states that it causes -1 to all die rolls. I am someone who likes a challenge mode in games, and this feels like that sort of added challenge which can only be achieved with precise play and luck on your side. I felt like the necessity to get every biosample out of the cave is a little much as I frequently barely survive with one caver in the normal game and, to be honest, I consider it a win if I get one biosample to the exit.
To help with the doubling of possible horrors lurking in the tunnels and snapping at you from the dark, there is a new tile which is inaccessible by horrors and everyone standing on Sanctuary cannot be targeted for their movement. They effectively become invisible and have a moment of calm before having to move on. It is nice to see the Sanctuary appear when it comes at a timely moment, but the need to always be moving forward makes this a fleeting pause in the danger and hard to utilise in a strategic way.
I find the individual elements in Sub Terra: Extraction work together in a cohesive way that adds to Sub Terra and changes up the gameplay. The Leapers are particularly fun, and I basically consider them to be integral to the game and wouldn’t play without them now. The Mercenary is also one of my favourite characters to play. I feel so useful and powerful, luring horrors into my trap like Rambo and taking them all out. The biosamples objective is a fun twist on the old objective and makes you think differently about callously leaving people behind, but I do wish that I could collect the samples on route somewhere as part of the task rather than have them from the start, so they feel more a part of the world. Overall, I am a big fan of the new content and Sub Terra: Extraction adds a lot of elements which I play with on a regular basis.
That concludes our thoughts on Sub Terra: Extraction. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Sub Terra: Extraction today click here! Or, to read our other blogs on Sub Terra, you can click here.