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Mutant: Year Zero - Zone Wars

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So received my pledge for the Mutant: Year Zero: Zone Wars kickstarter a couple of weeks ago:

Rules are by Andy Chambers, though it borrows a lot from the M:YZ RPG's dice-check system – basically whatever your rank in a skill is, that's how many D6s you roll, and a 6 is a success. In ZWs, a 1 can also mean things, i imagine this is also true of the RPG, but it's not a game i'm familiar with, so i'm not 100% sure.
there's also rules for converting a character from the RPG into this skirmish game – you'll probably need to use Heroforge or similar for miniatures though.

I guess i'll start with the minis – you get 2 factions in each box. When i finally got this to the table on the weekend, we used the 2 Core Box squads, and only in a 3v3 scenario, rather than the full five, so you'll have to forgive the only pic i have like this of just those 6 minis:
they're not bad. probably similar to the most recent CMON offerings.
they came "sun-dropped" – i don't know what this means for painting, but i might actually try varnish them as a primer, and paint over this, rather than going back to black.

first game for us – and we chose a basic scenario. setup the terrain, scatter the artifact tokens, randomise the starting corner (with the other going diagonally opposite) and go:
we had to retrieve the artifacts, for which you draw an artifact card, and are worth a set number of VP, and escape back to the starting corner to collect them. 5 rounds, or when all artifacts are retrieved.
all up, took 90 minutes, including all the rule-checks we made – which honestly every time we had to check, we were only confirming something we assumed, as it's all very intuitive.

initiative is randomised via tokens. you get 1 per character, and then there are also 1 "Zone Effect" per squad.
if it's your squad, pick a character and go.
if it's a zone card, then the last character to activate suffers the effect of the zone, needing to pass a survival skill check for one of 2 outcomes – our experience was it's much easier to fail these, than pass, but maybe we had poorly skilled characters.

you also have mutations or modules, which i guess are sort of the magic in this game.
certain actions generate M-Points, which are used to power those abilities – we didn't think you generated them fast enough in our game, so chatted about perhaps generating some every turn, but maybe we just didn't get lucky in this single scenario, so we'll have to see how the next couple of games go.
as to the abilities – well, each character has one by default, and then a second, random mutation – which i guess is fine, but i had a sniper who had a mutation that only triggered in melee, so it was pretty useless. (on the other hand, my melee brute did get an armour mutation, which saved him several times in the scenario, so... that's randomness, i guess...)

you also get a bunch of printed cardboard terrain, which is actually quite nice – it can also be destroyed in the mission, which was one rule we needed to re-read, as it's not really as big a deal as you'd think, having a house collapse on you – but that is why there's some missing in the later pics:

so yeah, enjoyed the game, though i'm a little concerned about it's longevity, because the squads are kinda fixed. as i said, you can convert characters from the RPG into characters here, so maybe that will help if everyone creates a party to send out to the wasteland, but there might still be issues when it comes to the gear and mutations you have access to, as these are limited in the box, but i suppose if you have character sheets, then it might be ok.
there's not really a campaign system to speak of though – if you die, you come back, but there's no levelling, or gear upgrades, or any of that. i guess it might be coming, but who knows?
(or might also be something that makes more sense with the RPG rulebook – i might have to find a PDF and see if it makes sense to order that in print...)

i paid $140 for both core set and expansion – which each contain 10 minis, terrain, dice, cards, tokens, etc – though only the Core Set has the rules, which is actually kinda sad, as they really could/should have included them in both.
i feel this was a decent price.
looks like RRP is $95ea, which does seem a little too high for what is out now. maybe if the campaign gets expanded, i could recommend, but for that, it's harder.

anyway... something non-GW from me. 😛

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  • 4 weeks later...

It looks great.  I haven't played it yet but looks solid, as expected from people passionate about the RPG.  Models also resemble character models in the computer game quite well.

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