Shadowrun Zero Day

6
A deceptively strategic game that can sometimes get repetitive.

I don't get to play a lot of two player games. And it's a shame, because I really love them; a well-balanced two player game leads to some of the most satisfying strategic moments. That being said, it can also lead to some exceptionally frustrating moments.

In Shadowrun Zero Day, players compete to purchase victory point cards. Players have a deck that includes four colors of card. They are able to play one color at a time, with any number of cards, from their hand. Playing cards lets them place cubes on a victory point card of that color. When the card has a number of cubes equal to its price, it goes to the player that has the majority.

In addition to placing cubes, players can move cubes. They can also gain additional cards which adds different end game scoring, and tokens that may also be scored in combination with those end game cards. Finally there are corporations that can be bought. The game ends when three corporations have been bought or the victory point deck has been fully depleted.

The player deck never changes. Cards cannot be discarded but two more cards are drawn when players have three or less in their hand. Thus the game turns into a combination of adding cubes and moving them around, both to score points and keep opponents from scoring points. The end game scoring can be significant.

But that's just the game's mechanics. The question is how the game feels. For us, the game couldn't keep our attention. The set deck offered some strategy in the way of counting cards, but also made each turn repetitive. But there was a deceptive amount of strategy involved as well, when it came to fighting for objectives. Because there are limited actions, players need to balance the need to place their own cubes, move their opponent's cubes, and avoid presenting their opponent with an easy to acquire objective. 

Ultimately, Shadowrun Zero Day is an engaging and strategic game, but it can get repetitive when taking turns. In some situations it can also feel a bit predeterministic due to the small size of the deck and the preset cards. But because each player is playing an identical set with no unique advantages, it also creates a uniquely fair playing field. 

  • A simple but strategic game. 
  • May get repetitive over time.
  • Engaging two player gameplay.