Board Game Geek Avg Player Rating: 7.02
Players: 1 to 6
Content Notes: Kickstarter Edition of Zombicide Dark Side Board Game. Includes core game plus all extras. Note: Dark Side is a standalone game, but may also be used as an expansion to Zombicide: Invader. Please note: unless otherwise stated paid add ons from the Kickstarter Campaign are not included.
Zombicide: Dark Side comes with:
🧟 9 Double-sided Game Tiles
🧟 72 Miniatures
🧟 6 Survivor Plastic Dashboards, Color Bases, and ID Cards
🧟 48 Plastic Trackers
🧟 6 Dice
🧟 128 Mini Cards
🧟 15 Pits
🧟 56 Tokens
🧟 1 Rulebook
But that's not all that's lurking in the dark!
By purchasing Dark Side, you will also get some awesome extras not available in the retail version: A booklet featuring 10 new Missions that mix together elements from both the Invader and Dark Side boxes. These Missions also utilize a new game mechanic: Companions that will help the Survivors in their mission. 3 Kickstarter Exclusive Scientist Companions are included, each granting Survivors a different benefit. These extra elements are explored more in depth towards the end of this Update.
Now let's take a deep dive into the Dark Side and explore all of its elements!
One of the main features of Dark Side (and what gives this box its name), are the tiles which make up the underground mining facilities at PK-L7. Stepping outside the living barracks and processing facilities, players find themselves in the dark tunnels that stretch down into the planet's rocky crust.
The buildings in these tiles are mechanically similar to the ones in Invader, featuring normal rooms, Security rooms where Soldiers can search, Corridors with open lines of sight, and airlocks leading out of them. As the tunnels are linked to the base's life-support systems, no Oxygen tanks are required to step out of the airlock. However, if you can find a flashlight, it would be very useful. The outside tunnels are drowned in darkness, so those are considered Dark Zones. Survivors cannot trace a line of sight to a Dark Zone, unless they are standing in it. This makes the use of ranged weapons in the tunnels extremely tricky, unless you have the equipment to shine a light into the darkness.
In the stifling darkness of the mining tunnels, Survivors will have to face a new breed of Xenos: Drillers!
The Driller Abomination is the stuff of nightmares. This huge beast is all claws and horns and other things that skewer and gore. Its attacks deal 3 damage, instantly killing even an armored soldier. Like all Abominations, it gets an extra activation whenever an Abomination card is drawn, or the players run out of a type of Xeno miniatures, so it can be on top of you when you least expect it. Bringing it down requires 3 damage, which can be obtained by using a Seismic Grenade, or concentrating your fire.
Of course, there's also the "driller" part to contend with. Whenever the Driller Abomination gets an extra activation, it digs a Pit in its Zone. The Zone then becomes a Pit Zone, losing any special abilities it might have had (other than still being a Dark Zone, of course), and becoming impossible to search in. That's the least of your worries, though. While a Pit is allowed to remain open, it has two effects:
- Open Pit Zones may spawn extra Driller Xenos when Pit Spawn cards are drawn during the Xenos' Phase, or when searching the Equipment deck!
- Any Driller Xenos standing in an Open Pit Zone become extra resistant to attacks: An additional Damage is required to eliminate these entrenched monsters!
In order to avoid these terrible consequences, Survivors should try their best to find Seismic Grenades and throw them at Open Pits in order to collapse them. The Zone then becomes a Filled Pit Zone, which still can't be searched and with no special abilities, but hey, it could be worse!
Driller Workers are the grunts of this Xeno race. Spawning in large numbers, Workers may quickly surround the Survivors, specially if spawning from Open Pits. While Workers are usually not a big challenge to put down, things could become tricky if you need to eliminate them while entrenched in an Open Pit. Having to deal 2 Damage to kill each Driller Worker is no picnic!
That Hunters are a very real threat, Survivors should already be aware of (2 actions per activation usually means a quick death, even dealing only 1 damage per attack). However, Driller Hunters charging at you under the cover of darkness is a whole other level of terror! Try to draw them into a building, preferably to the corridors, so you may stand a chance of shooting them down a couple Zones away. If you're fighting them in the dark tunnels, you're in deep trouble. Don't even dream of engaging them in a Pit Zone, where it will take 2 Damage to destroy each of them.
Driller Tanks deal 2 damage in a single attack, which is enough to kill most Survivors in one hit. Thankfully they are not very fast, so if you meet them in the dark tunnels you may still be able to position yourself to take them on. But for all that is holy don't allow them to take protection in an Open Pit Zone. Having to deal 3 Damage to take one down means no normal weapon will do the job, it will be like attacking an Abomination!
Dark Side features the brave soldiers of Green Squad. The fact that these guys are the ones having to face the Driller Hunters in the dark tunnels means they're either very good, or just extremely unfortunate. Let's learn more about them while we can.
Miranda's combat reflexes can be crucial in surviving the Drillers. She can guard Open Pits, attacking for free whenever new Drillers spawn there. With several free combat actions at her disposal, she's able to secure a whole quadrant by herself.
In such a dire situation, you need a tough soldier to hold the line. Drake is that soldier. His technical knowledge allows him to fully repair his armor every round. But Drake doesn't just stand there and take it, he dishes it out just as well. Each subsequent Ranged action he takes in the same round rolls and extra die!
Reese seems to have been trained to deal with the exact situation where she now finds herself. In the dark, you'll ned to engage Xenos at point blank range, and she's able to expertly use ranged weapons in such a way. And if that's not enough, she may just shove them away to buy some time for the next attack.
Miles is extremely agile, being able to move incredibly fast and jump over obstacles in his way in order to fulfill his mission. He's a well trained fighter, though many say his effectiveness often comes down to sheer luck.
The only non-human of Green Squad, Umkos is an extremely welcome addition to the team's current predicament. As his primary sense is actually smell, he is unaffected by the darkness of the tunnels, being able to pick out the Xenos way before his squad mates even know they're there. Getting free actions for any kind of combat also helps make him very effective.
Soldiers admittedly are fairly limited in their ability to find equipment anywhere. Radka comes in very handy, as her searches yield extra gear for the squad. She's also able to control all kinds of machines with no need of a remote, and can quickly slip through swarms of Xenos unscathed.
A new squad comes with it own machinery, ready to take on their mission.
The first important feature of the Vindicator Bot is that it ignores Dark Zones, so it may come as a blessing to Survivors. While it's not capable of performing Melee actions, the Vindicator's shots deal 2 damage each, and have a fair chance of killing most targets.
MAUL SENTRY GUN
The Maul Sentry Gun can also fire into Dark Zones, showering them with extremely accurate shots that can bring down a Tank (as long as it's not hiding in a Pit).
Dark Side comes with a new Equipment deck chock full of new gear for the players to explore. Instead of a SMG, Dark Side Survivors start the game with a Pistol. Perhaps less powerful, but much more accurate, and working very well in tandem with a melee weapon.
And of course, there's a plethora of other ranged and melee weapons, including awesome prototype weapons that are capable of bypassing the limitations of fighting in the dark.
As a special treat for those backers who choose to acquire Dark Side in this Kickstarter edition, we're throwing in some awesome extra stuff to make even better use of what Dark Side offers!
The contents of Invader and Dark Side are fully compatible with each other, so why not create a full set of Missions that combine the tiles and other elements from both boxes? This booklet will include 10 new Missions to bridge the gap between the surface and the underground of PK-L7.
But that's not all that these new Missions will do. They'll also introduce a new element to the game: Scientist Companions! These character are different from Survivors, as their role is just to help the Survivors in their mission. They can be moved around the map, granting extra Skills to nearby Survivors!
Lukas - Tactical Expert
The Tactical Expert provides Survivors close to him with the Combat Reflexes skill, giving them a free extra action whenever a Xeno spawns within their line of sight.
Olive - Explorer
The Explorer provides Survivors close to her with the +1 free Search Action skill, allowing them to Search every round without having to spend their basic actions to do so.
Markus - Instructor
The Instructor allows Survivors close to him to gain extra Experience on the go. They can simply spend 1 Action in order to gain 3 XP, quickly unlocking extra skills.
If you want more challenges, different strategies, and new resources, don't hesitate to pick up the Zombicide: Dark Side core box.
Keep in mind that, since Dark Side is an Optional Buy, you'll need to get a Civilian or Soldier Pledge first before adding extra funds for this additional box. It's not possible to get Dark Side instead of Invader.
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