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Dire Alliance: Horror Design Diary 4 - RAID MODE

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

Hey, horror fans! Brady Sadler here, VP of Product Development at Blacklist Games. Today I’m excited to share with you some details about Raid Mode in Dire Alliance, where you and your friends can team up to fight an automated villain and the devious faction they’re leading!

When Adam and I teamed up with David & Trevor, we knew they were bringing to the table the head-to-head competitive elegance that we loved about War Chest and their Undaunted series. What could we bring to the design? Well, we felt we had some decent experience creating solo and cooperative game systems, so why not create our own (not-so-dire) alliance of competitive and co-op play?

What is Raid Mode?

As you’ve probably read in previous design diaries by David and Trevor, Dire Alliance is a game of tactical deckbuilding and strategic positioning. In the default Battle Mode, you need to outwit your opponent to prevail in the chosen scenario.

Using the same basic game elements, Raid Mode gives you a whole new thematic experience, letting you play solo and cooperatively with your friends. Additionally, Raid Mode introduces the concept of Heroes and Hero Classes, which I’ll discuss further below.

First, let us examine our adversaries...

Villains & Minions

While in Battle Mode players take on the roles of wicked leaders pitting their nefarious legions against each other, Raid Mode turns those leaders into Villains for the players to take on together. In each game of Raid Mode, players choose one of the available villain decks to go up against.

In Raid Mode, Leaders become Villains and use villain cards,

Then, they choose a faction for that Villain to lead and take that faction's board.

The Raid Mode side of the Grievers' faction board.

Faction boards are double-sided, with one side used for Battle Mode (as seen in the last diary entry) and the other side for Raid Mode. The Raid Mode side of the faction board provides a reference for each minion in that faction, as well any special rules available to that faction.

What are minions, you ask?

Each faction fighter from Battle Mode becomes a minion in Raid Mode. Each faction has at least four types of minions, with five minions of each type. Minions are color-coded and are activated by the Villain’s deck.

But who will be courageous enough to face these fiends in battle?

Heroes & Classes

In Raid Mode, players take on the roles of heroes, which are similar to leaders in Battle Mode. Each hero has a special ability with a reference card and five hero cards for your hero deck. Each player will choose a single hero to play as in Raid Mode.

Two of the heroes in Raid Mode: Asner and Vanessa!

After you've selected a hero, you will customize them by selecting a class board. Hero class boards function similarly to faction boards, providing unique special rules for that hero class and a reference for each of the hero class’s four abilities. Each hero class ability has a set of five cards that can be added to a hero’s deck.

The Vampire Hunter class board

At the start of the game, each player will have a starting deck of two of their hero’s signature cards, as well as two copies of each of their hero class abilities. Each time a hero defeats a minion they may gain a new card for their deck, which is crucial because each time a hero suffers damage they will lose a specific card from their deck—if a hero can’t discard the required card they are immediately defeated and the players lose!

Scenarios & More

Similar to Battle Mode, players have access to a lot of customization when playing their Raid Mode games. In addition to mixing and matching heroes with different hero classes, they can also mix villain and faction combinations, creating a variety of unique play experiences.

Additionally, each Dire Alliance game board introduces two Raid Mode scenarios that will change up how the game is played even more. As if that weren’t enough options, additional optional rules will be introduced to the game line to allow players an even greater level of customization and replayability!


Alright, that’s all for now! In the next article, we'll take a closer look at scenarios!

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! Click here to sign up to be notified at launch!

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