About this project
A mysterious mastermind is behind the spread of the rapidly mutating Z-B13 virus, turning its victims into the feral Afflicted! You and your fellow survivors are unaffected by the virus - for now - but time is growing short as the virus continues to evolve and mutate. Your only hope to survive is to uncover clues about the mastermind's identity and location - and stop them in their tracks. You need to explore cities, gather resources, stay one step ahead of the Afflicted, and prevent the Z-B13 virus from mutating even further. But with careful planning and a bit of luck, there's a chance to reverse the effects and cure the Afflicted… instead of becoming one of them.
Zero Hour is a cooperative press-your-luck survival game for 1-4 players, in which survivors of the mysterious Z-B13 virus fight against all odds to stop the Mastermind behind its release. Players win by finding the Mastermind behind the outbreak and stopping them while preventing the Z-B13 virus from mutating. Created by award-winning game designer Jay Little (X-Wing, Star Wars RPG, Blood Bowl: Team Manager) and featuring artwork from noted illustrator Matias Tapia (Borderlands 2, Battleborn), Zero Hour presents a team-based, pulp adventure take on the zombie apocalypse in a 60 to 90 minute game featuring a dynamic three-act story.
Your $49 pledge for Zero Hour includes all stretch goals unlocked throughout the campaign, as well as all shipping costs within the US. We are happy to announce that Zero Hour will also ship from within Canada and the European Union through our fulfillment partners (with a $5 additional delivery charge for Canada, $10 for EU, $15 for the rest of the world).
Zero Hour plays out in two phases. In the City Phase, players decide if they wish to explore the current city or leave for the next town. If they explore, they throw a pool of action dice and threat dice. Action dice can be used to search locations in the city for much-needed supplies, to conduct critical research, and to find possible leads on the Mastermind. Threat dice represent the risk of attracting too much attention from the Afflicted. They damage the players and increase the danger of exploring the city. If a city's threat marker reaches the end of its unique track, the Afflicted force the survivors to flee for their lives! However, if the survivors clear all the locations in the city before that happens, the team gains more Intel on the identity of the Mastermind.
In the Event Phase between cities, the survivors need to prevent the Z-B13 virus from mutating into an even more dangerous strain, and they'll have a chance to catch their breath and heal. As they try to reach the next city, the group must encounter - and survive - two Event cards. A precious few events may aid the survivors. Most will force difficult choices on how to use the team’s thinly-stretched resources. Regardless, time marches on. If the players take too long to resolve things, night falls and they must enter the next city using the far more dangerous Night side of each double-sided map. Players alternate between City Phase and Event Phase until they earn enough Intel to advance the story.
In Act II, the survivors uncover the Mastermind's identity, but now the Mastermind knows there are survivors tracking them down! From that point forward in the game, the Mastermind makes conditions worse for the players - draining resources, amplifying threats, or introducing unique challenges.
In Act III, the survivors force a Final Showdown with the Mastermind. If the survivors run out of critical resources, or are forced to flee the Final Showdown… the players lose! But if they clear all locations in the final city, complete all challenges on the Mastermind's card, and clear any remaining Z-B13 mutations, the survivors stop the Mastermind's plans and the players are victorious!
For the full rulebook and sample files to test before you pledge, click here to download the Rulebook and Print and Play Preview for Zero Hour.
All Kickstarter backers will receive two additional promo survivors:
- Sasha & Ilya (the Twins)
- Kula (the Akita)
Zero Hour was designed as a dynamic, easily expandable game platform. Over the course of the campaign, we hope to include more survivors, cities, and events, and component upgrades over the course of the campaign as stretch goals.
"I've played Zero Hour and I love this game. I said so last year and I'll say it again: You have a Day One backer out of me because this is a really fun game. This tickles all the parts that I want out of a co-op. It's accessible, it's easy (to understand), I like chucking a million dice, I like having a cool story evolve from a game, I like a little bit of mystery... It pushes all of my buttons in a way that I find really fascinating... I'm really looking forward to having this box on my shelf."-- Bill Corey, Jr., The Cubist podcast
"I had the fortune to play Zero Hour late 2016 and it really stood out to me as a novel twist on the co-op formula. The dice mechanism is fast and fresh, and there's really nice progression and variance as you chase down the villain. This is a strong, thematic co-op for folks looking for a change from Pandemic."
-- Grant Rodiek, designer of Cry Havoc
"It is not an understatement to say that I hate zombies games in general. Considered that I not only loved Zero Hour but actively campaigned to play it more is a testament to its great design and storytelling. This game feels like a movie, and win or lose, you will walk away satisfied and itching for another round."
-- Beth Heile, playtester
"We have Pandemic and we have Dead of Winter, and Zero Hour is different enough to still want to add it to our collection. It's REALLY intense! It ramps up and gets really challenging as you go further along into the game, which not all games do well. And with the different enemies, you really want to go through it again and again."
-- Amanda, playtester
Jay Little is an award-winning game designer and passionate game enthusiast with decades of hobby gaming experience. With more than 50 titles under his belt, Jay has designed a broad range of both tabletop and roleplaying games. His work spans many popular licenses, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Warhammer, and Major League Baseball. Jay shares his zeal for gaming by teaching video game design, board game production, and design thinking at UW-Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin.
Split Second Games is a small-press board game company based in Skokie, IL. Our goal is to create imaginative, high-quality board and card games that stand the test of time. Our previous titles include Quicksilver and Paradox.
Matias Tapia is a freelance illustrator and concept artist from Santiago, Chile, best known for his work with the Borderlands videogame franchise. Other works include The Elder Scrolls, Battleborn, and Pathfinder.
Risks and challenges
Zero Hour is Split Second Games' third Kickstarter campaign and our second using international shipping partners. This is our only Kickstarter campaign in flight and it has our full attention. We ironed out the kinks in the overseas process and our logistics network is in place to support Zero Hour's worldwide release.
The usual caveats still apply: printing defects could cause delays, customs ports could go on strike, and so on. We've added extra buffer time to our delivery estimate this time around. We believe Zero Hour will complete production, shipment, and delivery much sooner than the listed date -- but we'd rather have the time and not use it, than need it and not have it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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