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Dire Alliance: Horror Design Diary 2 - Leaders

In dire times, alliances are not forged from trust and loyalty, but rather desperation and mutual cause...

Greetings, all. David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin here, designers of Blacklist Games’ upcoming Dire Alliance: Horror, launching on Kickstarter October 27. This article is the second in a series that delves into the gameplay, leaders, and factions in the game.

In the previous article, we provided an overview of the Dire Alliance’s Battle Mode – a two player, head-to-head game in which each player chooses a faction of fighters and character to lead them. In this article, we delve into the four leaders included in the game’s core pledge.

Each leader has 5 corresponding leader cards used to activate them in the game, as well as a double-sided reference card to explain any special rules associated with that leader. They also each come with a token to represent them on the board (which can optionally be replaced with a matching miniature found in Blacklist Miniatures' Horror: Series 1 set, should you desire it).

The Countess

Inspired by Bram Stoker’s horror classic, the Countess is mysterious and deadly. She begins the game in her coffin and may return to it to heal whenever she is damaged. This makes her incredibly difficult to kill, while also allowing her to fall back and play defense when needed. But like all vampires in the game, the Countess is an effective melee fighter. When she damages an opponent, she becomes sated and gets to roll a special die during combat. This boosts her offence and defense and allows her to heal by draining the essence of her opponents.

One of the Countess' leader cards, her token, and her double-sided leader reference card.

Dr. Kramer and Rutger

The player who chooses Dr. Kramer and Rutger gains two separate fighters, each with their own figure and abilities. Dr. Kramer is a weak, wild-haired mad scientist who can use her cards to activate her horrible creation, a lumbering flesh golem created by pieced-together body parts taken from graves. Rutger is an incredibly strong melee fighter and cannot be killed. He is not without his weaknesses, however. He must remain in sight of Dr. Kramer to be activated and is slow to recover when damaged. A wise opponent knows to attack the creator rather than the created…


Inspired by the classic Wolfman film, Ellis is a nobleman who can transform into a wolf-like creature with coarse brown fur all over his body. This happens whenever you draw the final card from your deck, and reveal the Moon on Ellis’ reference card. In man form, Ellis is extremely weak, but in wolf form is he is a powerhouse. He can move and attack with a single activation, and becomes impervious to damage. Effectively managing the transition between these two forms is critical to the success of Ellis and the faction he leads.


Randolph wears a hooded cloak and mask covering the lower part of his face—that is, when he wishes to be seen. Inspired by the invisible man, Randolph is an incredibly slippery character. When he changes to his invisible form, you replace his figure with three facedown tokens which you keep hidden from your opponent. Only one of these tokens is real, showing Randolph on its reverse side. Opposing fighters can reveal these tokens, but it costs them an action to do so. Randolph’s biggest weakness is that he can only attack and control objectives when he is visible, so he has to reveal himself at some point…


Alright, that’s all for now! In the next article we’ll discover the factions and those fighting under their banner.

Remember, Dire Alliance: Horror is launching on Kickstarter on October 27, along with Blacklist Miniatures' Horror Series 1 set, and Day 1 backers get the exclusive Count leader for FREE! Sign up for our newsletter below or follow us on social media to make sure you don't miss it!

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