The diver fled from the horror into the darkness of the tunnel. His boots slipped on the wet rock as he ran, breathing hard with exertion and fear. Rounding a corner he ran on, desperate to put enough distance between himself and the deadly thing that hunted him.
His torch batteries were low and its beam did not reach far.
Suddenly the ground sloped down sharply, a smooth slide of wet stone, and the diver fell onto his back and slid down, deeper into the unknown reaches of this unexplored cave system.
Landing with a jarring thump, the diver chambered to his feet as quickly as he could and ran on, only to meet a vertical wall.
Dead end? He froze, listening, holding his breath.
A scratching, scrabbling sound from the darkness back up at the top of the slide.
Still it came.
Looking up the wall the diver spots a ledge. With shaking hands he grabs his rope and throws it up. On the third attempt the loop catches on a stalagmite.
He starts to climb, only too aware of the sound of something approaching down the smooth stone slide. It hisses.
Adrenaline and terror push him up, up.
As he scrambles over the lip of the ledge his torch reveals a further cave picked out in yellow strobes as the battery inside stutters.
Please let it lead out of this nightmare.
Maybe a pool into the underground water system. He could swim away, lose his pursuer and find a way back to the rest of his team..
After only a few paces the diver sees...
A solid wall. The cave is little more than a stone alcove. Hopelessness washes over him, numbing him.
He hears claws scraping the wall below the ledge behind him, its breath rasping louder as the horror climbs up.
He turns slowly to face his doom.
This is a moment from a recent game of Sub Terra, a game of subterranean exploration and suspense from Inside The Box Games.
A group of cavers have fallen down a shaft into deeper, unexplored caves and are trying to find a way out. They have to work together to avoid floods, tremors, cave-ins and toxic gas pockets. And there's something else down here with them thats even more deadly...
If you have seen the movie The Descent you'll have a pretty good idea of what's going on here.
Players each pick a team member (eg geologist, diver, medic, bodyguard). Each has their own special skills. Tiles are drawn from a deck pile and laid on the table, gradually forming the cave network. Different events happen randomly on each turn.
The game does a good job of creating
tension and suspense as time is limited and the dangers are almost constant. This is particularly effective if, like me, the thought of being trapped underground freaks you out!
The tiles also glow under UV light and a Spotify soundtrack is available!
I picked up a couple of pocket UV torches and hung them above the table from a mic stand .
There are currently three expansion sets which introduce different gameplay scenarios and additional characters to play.
Its a solid co-operative game (with a great solo mode).
I love co-op games. All players are on the same side, working as a team rather than competing against one another. Although I also really enjoy some good-natured competitive games, co-op is a great option to have when it comes to choosing what game to put on the table for an evenings session.
Many games have the option for both approaches.
More on that soon. Until then...
Stay safe. Don't look back. Find the exit.