Army of Zero is the first game by Point Zero Games, designed and produced by Steve Mainprize. The game is a card game for 2 players who are using a squad of hardened warriors in a battle of strength and wits. The game also comes with a puzzle that can net the winner £1000 if they are the first to solve it.
Opening the box, what do you get.
- 3 packs of cards that make up the 84 different warriors and rules
- 2 dice
- Puzzle entry form.
The cards are made from good card stock and the artwork is very nice. There are a number of different clans that the warriors belong to, these take there names from animals such as Panda, Lion and Turtle. There is a slight oriental theme to the cards and they do remind me of a manga style comic. The animal clan affects the artwork, so for example the zebra clan members have white and black striped armour, while the lion clan all have long flowing blond hair.
The cards have the stats of the character at the bottom, these are Speed, Combat, Armour and Weapon. The value of each is from -2 to +2 with each character balanced out. i.e. if a character has +2 speed, they probably have -2 armour.
The cards also have a number of symbols down the left hand side. These are part of the puzzle but that's as much as I know.
Setup and play are both very simple. The 84 warrior cards are shuffled and 10 are dealt to each player. Each player then takes a dice and their 3 combat cards. These combat cards comprise of 2 sword cards used for attack and a shield card used for defense.
Each player then flips over their first character card. They then place face down either an attack or defend card. These are both simultaneously flipped and the outcome determines what happens. If they are both swords then each player rolls a dice and adds there speed value. Highest goes first and takes out there opponent.
If both players played a shield they stalk each other waiting for someone to attack.
If a shield and sword are played both players roll there dice and add there combat value. The highest hits the other and becomes the attacker. Both players now roll there dice and they add there weapon and armour values respectively. If the attacker is higher they have wounded there opponent and the card is removed.
If not then another round is started.
When a character is removed from play both players take back there combat cards, if not then only the defense card can be retrieved. This means that players can only get two attacks in before they have to defend. Knowing this can help the other player if they have been playing defensively.
The rules sound simple and they are certainly not as complex as other card based games. But they are very quick to learn and fun to play with younger children or as a filler before a bigger game.
The puzzle element and the £1000 prize is definitely an interesting concept and one that I haven't seen since the Perplexcity cards were released. I have spent a bit of time on the puzzle but so far I'm stumped. So if anyone has any clues then please pass them on.
Presentation 84 different warriors and a simple rule set. 7.5/10
Clarity of Rules Rules are clear, but a flow chart would be handy. 8/10
Game Length Games last around 15 minutes but could be altered by adding more characters. 7/10
Value Nice cards and an interesting incentive. 9/10
Overall A cracking card game that quick enough that it should hit the table during those odd times. (8/10 not an average)
Steve Mainprize is the designer and publisher of Army of Zero. He graciously took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about his game.
I'd been on sabbatical from work for a while, particularly wanting to spend more time with my two boys. We were playing a lot of games, particularly trading card games, and I think the germ of the idea for Army Of Zero must have come from all that. I wanted a multi-character card game that was easy to learn and didn't require as much investment in time: I think other parents will know what I'm talking about! So basically, what we've done is taken some of the tropes of very "busy" games like CCGs and RPGs, and filtered them through much simpler game mechanics that are closer to trump games and even rock/paper/scissors.
You have decided to self publish, is it easier to do this than find a publisher?
The puzzle element is quite different. What made you decide to add this element to the game?
Do you have any plans to expand Army of Zero with additional characters or rules?
Do you have any other games designed and waiting to be published?
What designer are you a fan of and who would you like to work with?