Sub Terra

Your Guide to Sub Terra – Instructions, Rules & Strategy Tips


Sub Terra is a cooperative survival horror board game where players take on the roles of cavers trapped in a cave system after a torrential downpour. The goal is to explore the cave, find the exit, and escape before the dangers of the cave overcome the team. The scenario sounds like an absolute nightmare to experience in real life, but I’m glad to say the board game is a lot less terrifying.

The game was designed by Tim Pinder and published by Inside the Box Board Games in 2017 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It’s known for its intense gameplay, strategic depth, and the cooperative nature where players must work together to survive.

Quick Tip for Sub Terra

Always keep an eye on your caver’s health and the horror lurking in the shadows. Communication with your team is key!

Rules for playing Sub Terra

The rules of Sub Terra are straightforward but require attention to detail. Each player chooses a caver with a unique role and special ability. The game is played in turns, with each turn consisting of two phases: the caver phase and the hazard phase.

During the caver phase, players can perform actions such as moving, exploring new tiles, or healing. The hazard phase introduces new threats, from gas leaks to floods and cave-ins. Players must manage their actions wisely to avoid being knocked out or getting lost in the darkness.

Equipment and Setup for Sub Terra

To play Sub Terra, you need the game box which includes caver pawns, hazard and event cards, cave tiles, and other components like rope tokens and injury markers. The setup involves shuffling the cave tiles and placing the starting tile in the center of the table.

Players then choose their cavers and place their pawns on the starting tile. The rest of the tiles are placed face down in a stack, ready to be explored.

How to Play Sub Terra and Game Mechanics

Sub Terra’s gameplay is divided into several key phases:

  1. Player Actions: Each player can perform up to two actions, such as moving, revealing a new tile, or using their special ability.
  2. Exploration: When a new tile is revealed, it’s placed next to an open edge of the tile the caver is on, expanding the cave system.
  3. Hazard Phase: After all players have taken their turns, a hazard card is drawn, introducing new challenges to the game.
  4. End of the Game: The game ends when all players have either escaped or been knocked out. To win, at least one player must escape the cave.

How to Win at Sub Terra

Winning at Sub Terra requires a balance of risk management, strategic planning, and teamwork. Beginners should focus on learning the roles and abilities of each caver, while intermediate players can start to anticipate hazards and plan accordingly. Advanced players will often take calculated risks to ensure the team’s survival and escape.

Best Strategies for playing Sub Terra game

The best strategies for Sub Terra involve leveraging each caver’s strengths, conserving actions for critical moments, and staying together as a group. It’s also important to keep track of the hazard deck and prepare for the worst-case scenarios. Sneaky tactics might include sacrificing a less critical caver to save the rest of the team or using a caver’s ability at an unexpected moment to turn the tide.


Common scenarios in Sub Terra include being cornered by a horror, facing a dead end, or dealing with multiple hazards at once. To turn these scenarios to your advantage, stay calm, assess your options, and use your cavers’ abilities to mitigate the danger. Sometimes, splitting up the team or taking a risky shortcut can be the best move.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Sub Terra game

  1. Q: What happens if my caver runs out of health? A: Your caver is knocked out and can’t perform actions until healed by another caver.
  2. Q: Can I fight the horrors? A: No, horrors can’t be fought. You must avoid them or use abilities to escape.
  3. Q: How many actions can I take? A: You can take two actions per turn, but some abilities or cards may affect this.
  4. Q: What’s the best way to explore new tiles? A: Spread out to cover more ground, but not so far that you can’t help each other in a pinch.
  5. Q: Can we share equipment? A: Yes, you can give equipment to another caver on the same tile.

Additional Subtopics

Other aspects of Sub Terra that are important include understanding the role of the leader, managing the limited supply of equipment, and knowing when to push forward or retreat. It’s also crucial to learn how to quickly adapt to new situations as the cave layout changes.

For more information on Sub Terra, check out the official website or look for video tutorials and reviews to get a better sense of the game in action.

Sub Terra Official Website