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Contra is getting its own board game

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The box looks like an NES cartridge, of course

Artwork from the original NES Contra box. Konami

Blacklist Games and Kess Co. will launch a new board game based on Konami’s Contra next year, 34 years after the game originally debuted as a coin-operated arcade game. Contra later came to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, a year later. Contra: The Board Game is a co-op game for 1-4 players. Players will need to work together to defeat The Red Falcon Army.

Each game, players will dodge hazards on the board and pick up new weapons, all to help defeat a boss. Players can also play cards to defeat enemies and clear some of the board’s more dangerous areas. But Contra: The Board Game operates on a timer, and Commandos only have so long to defeat the boss.

Contra: The Board Game Sweets Manson character cards
Each Commando works differently in Contra: The Board Game
Image: Blacklist Games/Kess Co.

When the game starts, players can select one of the game’s four heroes (each hero comes with their own unique deck for players to use): Bill Rizer, Lance Bean, Lucia LCR-0, and Sweets Manson.

The first round starts with Commando turns. Players vote on a turn order, with each Commando able to move and then attack. During the Commando turn, they can also use cards in their hands, which grant them additional attacks or abilities. Players can only draw new cards when they defeat an enemy.

After the Commandos play, the Enemy deck gets a turn to attack. In Contra: The Board Game, players need to use the “advantage” system to survive. Players can change their advantage in one of three directions (Mobility, Accuracy, Subtlety) to deal more damage or up their defense. With enough advantage, Commandos can dodge Enemy attacks during the Enemy turn. But Commandos die in a single hit, and will need to use one of four lives to stay in the game. If any Commando loses all four lives, all four players get a game over.

Contra: The Board Game Stage hazard cards
Each round, the Stage gets to take a turn
Image: Blacklist Games/Kess Co.

Before the Commandos get another turn, the Stage gets to use a card. These cards simulate Contra’s infamous stage hazards, and can make matters worse for players if they aren’t paying attention. If the Stage deck runs out of cards, players will also get a game over, which acts as the board game’s timer.

Being Contra, players can collect different weapons to improve their chances of survival. Commandos start with the game’s standard rifle, which allows them to roll two dice to attack the enemy. But as the rounds go on, players can find weapons like the Spread Gun, which allows them to roll three dice and target an additional enemy. If a player rolls a critical, the dice “explodes,” and they can add an additional die to their roll.

Everything Contra: The Board Game comes with
The complete Contra: The Board Game package
Image: Blacklist Games/Kess Co.

The game uses a combination of dice and cards, and players can use different card decks in combination to change their experience each time they play. The game comes with 8 miniature figures, four Commando decks, four Enemy decks, four Stage decks, and 20 objective cards. The box also contains five Hero dice blocks and 5 Enemy dice blocks. There are also multiple boards, to change the game’s environment. Games can take anywhere from 45 to 120 minutes to complete.

Players can pre-order Contra: The Board Game starting July 30. Blacklist Games will launch the game in Q1 or Q2 of 2021.