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Contra: Dev Diary 3 - Enemies

Only the strong survive…

The Red Falcon Army has reemerged, and now it’s time to return to the fray and bring them down all over again. You have been selected from among the most qualified Contra commandos, and now the fate of the world lies in your hands.

Infiltrate. Eliminate. Survive.

PLEASE NOTE: Images/components in this preview are pending licensor approval and subject to change.

Soldiers, welcome to Contra: The Board Game!

My name is Scott McFall, and I’m the developer on this exciting game of run-and-gun action designed by Adam and Brady Sadler (Street Masters, Altar Quest, Heroes of Terrinoth)! This series of “developer diaries” will act as previews for the game and provide insight regarding its design and development!

Last time we took a look at the commandos you'll be playing as. This time, we take a look at the enemies you'll be facing!

Let's start with understanding how enemy cards work.


Commandos each have a play area. This is not only where their commando deck and character card are placed during the game, but also where enemy cards assigned to them are placed.

Bill's play area currently has 3 enemy cards, which includes 1 boss card.

After selecting an enemy deck to go up against during setup (each containing a specific boss and its minions), each commando will have one of its four boss cards assigned to them, each representing a different component that makes up the overall boss. The only way to destroy the boss (and win the game) is to defeat all boss components in play. So, for example, in a 2 commando game, there will be 2 boss components in play that must be defeated before the boss is considered destroyed.

Now, while boss cards are assigned during setup, enemy cards are drawn throughout the game. When an enemy card is drawn, its corresponding token is spawned on the map.

If you're familiar with the Contra video games at all, you'll know that enemies appear and assault commandos in endless waves. This is something you should also expect in Contra: The Board Game! You might clear them out in one round, but there'll be more in the next! You'll need to balance attacking the boss and the enemies it throws your way, so make good decisions out there, soldier!


When all commandos have played in a round, the enemy gets a turn to strike back! Enemy attacks in Contra: The Board Game are resolved quickly so that players can get back in the fight fast.

Rolling the enemy dice

Each commando resolves an enemy attack during the enemy turn by rolling a number of enemy dice equal to the number of enemy cards present in their play area (this includes the boss card).

Using Bill's play area in the example photo above, he would roll 3 enemy dice for his enemy attack.

The 6 faces of an enemy die are: 2x "enemy special," 1x mobility damage, 1x accuracy damage, and 1x subtlety damage, 1x "any" (player's choice) damage.

Enemy special abilities

The most dreaded symbol on the enemy die is the "enemy special."

Each of these is resolved one at a time, as an individual effect separate from any damage symbols rolled.

A commando takes a rolled "enemy special" result and places it on the leftmost enemy card in their play area that doesn't already have one on it. Then, they trigger that enemy's special ability text.

Enemy special abilities often deal damage and spawn additional enemies, but even more sinister effects lie in wait on more advanced enemies! A commando fully resolves this special ability before resolving other enemy dice, and might even lose a precious medal (life) in the process if they do not have enough advantage to prevent any damage dealt.

After this, if other "enemy special" results remain in the enemy attack pool, the commando repeats the process with the next enemy card that hasn't resolved its special ability yet. If there are no enemies left who haven't triggered their special ability, any remaining unused "enemy special" results combine to force the commando to draw 1 enemy card!

Now you understand why these symbols are dreaded!

Resolving the enemy attack pool

Once all "enemy special" results have been resolved as detailed above, the commando suffers incoming damage equal to the remaining results in the enemy attack pool.

For example, we could say Bill's enemy attack roll resulted in 1 "enemy special" and 2x accuracy (a.k.a. blue) damage. After resolving the "enemy special" as its separate effect as explained above, he would suffer 2 accuracy damage.

This is where he has a chance to prevent that damage using advantage! He can spend any accuracy (a.k.a. blue) advantage he has (from both his tokens and cards in hand) to prevent the incoming damage on a one-for-one basis.

That said, if even a single damage cannot be prevented, he loses a medal! Commandos only have 3 medals, and if they must lose one and cannot, it's game over for the whole team! So, as explained in previous dev diary entries, you'll need to play smart and always make sure to keep advantage handy!


Ok, now that we know how enemies spawn and attack, let's meet the threats that the Red Falcon Army will deploy to stop you!

Defense Wall

The enemy uses alien technology to build their massive structures designed specifically to protect their most valuable secrets. Your job is to breach their defense wall by any means necessary. Watch out, however, as reinforcements can spill out of this structure at a moment’s notice.


The Red Falcon Army has reconstructed and reactivated the Garmakilma defense system, and it looks like it’s also been fitted with the same illusionary tech once used by the Godomuga automaton. Destroying it won’t be easy, as it has reinforcements on standby and launches pesky bubble dimers at an incessant rate!


The armored titan has been reborn thanks to the Red Falcon Army’s dark science. It seems nimbler than before, and its bladed disc launcher is aimed at your head. Move carefully, soldier, and above all else, don’t make it angry!


Red Falcon’s second-in-command has been reborn, and it looks meaner than ever. Time to make it wish it had stayed dead. Its brood has also been enhanced, so expect swarms of augmented buggers. Oh, and looks like the Red Falcon troops have been infected with...something, so don’t stand too close when you take ‘em out!


Alright, I hope you enjoyed this look at the enemies in Contra: The Board Game! That’s it for this developer diary entry, but next time, we’ll take a look at the dangerous stages you'll have to traverse to accomplish your mission!

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