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$16,049 pledged of $40,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By Bad Captain Games
$16,049 pledged of $40,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

Zero Sum: The Card Game is a competitive, strategy card game set in a futuristic galaxy where seven mega-corporations have taken hold of humanity's future. Deeply embroiled in a not-so-friendly competition, these corporations are looking for every opportunity to gain an advantage over their rivals.

As a corporate agent, you are tasked with expanding your corporation's foothold across the galaxy. Entrusted with a generous number of funds, you are expected to build up a respectable presence on the remote, mineral-rich planet of Zatheon Alpha 3. As you achieve success, you will be promoted up the ranks, gaining access to new abilities and funds. Of course, you'll need all the help you can get if you are to bend the hostile climate of Zatheon Alpha 3 to your will. Your corporate overlords have the utmost faith in your abilities. 

Do not prove them wrong.

There are two mega-corporations currently playable in the Zero Sum universe: TechNet Corporation and Anacron.

Wielding the galaxy's most powerful military, the TechNet Corporation ruthlessly pursues its goal of advancing the human condition through synthetic augmentation and enhancement. They hold a position of unprecedented economic power through a monopoly on the highly coveted mineral Technetium. This empire is best known for its super-soldiers - cybernetically enhanced ground troops, assassins, and pilots - most of whom are devoted to expanding the corporation's ability to mine, refine, and distribute this precious resource.

Dedicated to the digital preservation of humanity, Anacron controls the galaxy's information networks. The majority of Anacron's citizens exist as digital entities, living consciousnesses called Wraiths that have been connected to the Uplink, Anacron's vast biosynthetic network. While in Uplink, Anacron can monitor and control the flow of information both within its borders and, by hacking, surveillance, or virus attacks, manipulate the flow of information across the entire galactic network. The ultimate goal of Anacron is to dominate virtual space and to preserve the collected minds of humanity in a digital universe.

To take a look at the WIP rulebook for competitive play, click: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-lnc7NtGEBYNEc1X0tCZThfNEU/view

Zero Sum is a game of wits and strategy that combines player vs. player and player vs. environment mechanics into a unique and dynamic blend. It's geared towards 1-3 players and an average game time of roughly 10-20 minutes. It is not a trading card game. 

Our first major innovation on the standard card game format is the existence of a neutral deck: the Catch deck. 

an example Catch card - work in progress version
an example Catch card - work in progress version

The Catch deck is a deck of dilemmas, obstacles, difficulties, challenges...you get the idea. At the start of every turn, a new Catch (or two, if you’re the adventurous type) is revealed and its impact on the active player is immediate. After hopefully surviving the onslaught, the active player then has the opportunity to deal with the Catch. Or perhaps, they may elect to ignore it entirely, and leave another player to suffer its consequences.

Luckily, your corporation isn't entirely heartless, and will provide you with a modest amount of funds to access the variety of tools at your disposal. 

 

example player cards - work in progress version
example player cards - work in progress version

So what's stopping you from just throwing your whole deck at every problem? Well, that would be the second of our unique gameplay features: your resource pool is the same as your life pool. 

If you spend too much, you'll find yourself running on empty with no safety net to catch you. Play too conservatively, and it's likely one of your opponents will outstrip you and leave you to deal, penniless, with the hostile wilds of Zatheon Alpha 3. 

A third unique mechanic that we're bringing to Zero Sum is the player level-up mechanic. At the start of the game, you are, to put it kindly, not really a big deal. A freshly-minted minor officer, untried and untested. The more Catches you weather, the more notches in your belt, the more respect you'll get. At the highest level, you'll become known for your ruthless skill in your chosen discipline and your corporation will reward you handsomely.

work in progress version
work in progress version

 

We want to keep things simple and realistic when it comes to our stretch goals. We're a small team and we don't want to stretch ourselves too thin or expand beyond what we're practically capable of doing. Our primary goal is to ensure that we deliver to our backers. So, with that in mind, we have three major goals that we'd love to include in the base version of Zero Sum.

Zero Sum: the Card Game features a dynamic, ongoing story campaign, with unique missions for each corporation. Each corporation campaign is different, and features different outcomes for victory and defeat. Every victory offers the chance to learn mission critical intel about your rivals, your own corporate overlords, or the secrets of the Zero Sum galaxy. Each defeat changes the world around you, providing new challenges and puzzles to overcome.

Anacron campaign excerpt - work in progress version
Anacron campaign excerpt - work in progress version

 

While the base version of Zero Sum will include 3 Advanced Agent cards for each corporation, we want to include more ways for you to exercise your newly-promoted authority. This goal would unlock 6 more Advanced Agent cards per corporation and include Agents like the TechNet Mech Driver, Anacron Infiltrator, TechNet Terraformer, and Anacron Node Engineer. Each Advanced Agent has unique mechanics that will impact the way you play Zero Sum.

TechNet and Anacron aren't the only corporations powerful enough to take a seat at the big table. There are a few others, but perhaps none as infamous, fabulous, or (to TechNet and Anacron), supremely annoying as...

Meet Niskha Black! Comprised of ruthless mercenaries and ex-cons, Nishka Black provides private security to the highest bidder. On the surface, Nishka Black is the face of the galaxy's correctional institutions. Beneath that lies a brutal corporate hierarchy led by the corporation's eponymous leader, encouraging both the methodical sabotage by some of the most vicious business minds in the colonized universe and the wild, fanatical fervor of the vast Nishka Black military. Nishka Black trades in secrets and excels in the art of blackmail while further cementing its iron hold on the galaxy's wealth of undesirables. They are not to be crossed. 

If unlocked, the Nishka Black faction will come with its own campaign and all Advanced Agents!

 We're introducing a Social Media stretch goal to unlock Tarot-sized Catch cards! This will make Catch cards a pivotal part of the center of your game table, and allow more players to read card text simultaneously, in addition to showcasing the gorgeous art from our artists. To unlock this goal, we need:

500 shares of this post on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BadCaptainGames/posts/716808038497963

100 retweets of this tweet on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/i/web/status/844218772911284228

Plus 50 user photos with the tag #ZeroSum on Instagram @badcaptaingames

And a total of 350 Kickstarter backers!

 

work in progress version
work in progress version

What's In The Box!  

The Initiate includes:

  • Print-and-play starter decks and an introductory Catch card scenario to play solo or with a friend.

The Digital Art Pack includes: 

  • The Initiate print-and-play decks
  • An exclusive digital download with 2 pieces of special Corporation art. If all stretch goals are unlocked, a third piece will be included.

The Agent Box* includes:  

  • The Initiate print-and-play decks
  • The Digital Art Pack download
  • 2 Faction Decks (60 cards each) 
  • 1 Catch deck (30 cards) 
  • 3 Basic Agent (Anacron) 
  • 3 Basic Agent (Technet Corp) 
  • 1 Faction Badge (Anacron)
  • 1 Faction Badge (Technet Corp) 
  • 3 Advanced Agent (Anacron) 
  • 3 Advanced Agent (Technet Corp) 
  • 1 Zero Sum: the Card Game Rule Book

The Officer Box* includes:

  • Includes all of the above
  • A high-quality art book (roughly 100 pages) full of Zero Sum lore, design commentary, and concept art. 

The Disciple Box* includes:

  • Includes all of the above
  • You will get to work with our artists and designers to come up with a special card of your own design, featuring custom art. Your card will be included in every copy of Zero Sum: the Card Game
  • A high-quality print of your custom art piece

* All stretch goals, once unlocked, will be included in all shipped versions of Zero Sum: the Card Game.

 

 

 

SHIPPING COSTS ARE NOT INCLUDED IN PLEDGE AMOUNTS.

Zero Sum: the Card Game will ship anywhere in the world. 

This project is US, AU, and EU friendly! 

Our domestic (U.S.) shipping rate is $10.

Our international shipping will range from $9-15, depending on region (see below): 

  • $9 shipping regions: France, UK
  • $10 shipping regions: Austria, Belgium, Germany, USA
  • $11 shipping regions: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
  • $12 shipping regions: Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Switzerland, Canada, Japan
  • $13 shipping regions: Norway, Middle East
  • $15 shipping regions: UAE, Africa, Asia, Central America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Far East
Shipping for the Officer Box is an additional $5 due to increased package weight and size

 

Bad Captain Games is a small team of four friends who all met while working at a local game studio. Between us, we have over 15 years of accumulated experience in the gaming industry and have worked on a wealth of different types of games, from old-school FPS and MMO titles to new wave Mobile and VR. We love sci-fi, though we all approach the genre differently, and we hope that those differences have enhanced the world of Zero Sum, offering a wider palette for you to sample and enjoy.

Zero Sum: the Card Game itself began in 2013 with very humble beginnings as a video game pitch project that was roughly the size of EVE Online, Valkyrie, and Dust  514 all rolled into one. As Zero Sum matured (and we learned valuable lessons about the mysterious "scope" and enigmatic "feature creep"), we learned to hone it down and focus on what we could feasibly accomplish with a small team of people and not an engineer in sight.

Nearly 4 years and immeasurable amounts of coffee and hot chocolate later, we don't all still work at the same place, but we've continued to stick together to work towards making our hard-fought dream a reality. We hope that we can spread the word and share our work with as many people as possible!

Thomas Schlapp, Game Designer: Thomas is a QA Manager and wearer of many hats at OtherSide, where he serves as the studio's resident VR expert. Previously, he worked on the qualitative assessment team at Turbine, testing Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, and Infinite Crisis. Currently, Thomas is busy tweaking balance numbers and crafting nifty new agent powers and devious Catch card effects. Thomas is on Twitter @Rule0fThree.

Amelia Frost, Narrative Designer: Amelia started working in games when she stumbled across a Dragon Age fan site in 2010. She became an avid podcaster and blogger, and eventually joined the qualitative assessment team at Turbine, testing and reviewing Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online. These days, she spends her time as a narrative designer, creating the worlds, characters and corporations of Zero Sum, and plotting the game's ever-expanding campaign. You can get in touch with her on Twitter @IronAerin.

Sybaris Max, Producer: Sybaris Max typically wears the Producer hat among the Bad Captain crew, although more recently she has been referring to it as "The Official Naysayer" hat. Generally, she keeps everyone on track, tries to prevent us from indulging in overexcited feature creep, and makes sure that the eternal giant checklist of Things That Must Be Done is moving at a reasonable pace. She began working in video games in 2012 while at Irrational Games during their Bioshock Infinite days. She ran into the rest of Bad Captain while at Turbine working on Lord of the Rings Online. Well more truthfully, she ran into us while we were all stuck on the train to work. And now here we are, 4 years later, kickstarting a game together. Let it never be said that commuting never did anything for anyone.

Selection, Indie Tabletop MEGABOOTH, PAX East 2017

We'd like to specially acknowledge some folks who have really helped us along over the course of Zero Sum: the Card Game's creation.

Our wonderful artists: 

Bogdan Bungardean: https://bogdanbungardean.carbonmade.com/

Jonas Spokas: http://anbox.lt/

Santo Ibarra: https://www.artstation.com/artist/i_santo

Kevin Harrington, Pat Bordenave, and the crew at The Geek Down. Michael McQuilkin for lending his voice to our video. Beren Jones for his excellent work on our teaser video and Cyanotic for generously providing music for our video. The Cards Against Humanity team for sponsoring us at the Indie MEGABOOTH at PAX East 2017. Jared Helfer, Jenna Hoffstein, Emma Clarke, Giuliana Funkhouser, Ken Rolston, Darren Gagne, Alan Maki, and Nathan Partlan.

A big thank you to our friends and family for supporting us through the making of this project!

And to you: we couldn't do this without your support!

Risks and challenges

We've done our best to assure that everything we include in our base game and stretch goals is not only do-able, but currently in the works.

We will communicate regularly with our backers about the production process via our mailing list and development blog. We are also happy to answer any questions you might have!

Our biggest challenge will be the shipping and printing process, since we're pretty new to that, but we are working with a variety of successful tabletop projects to ensure printing and distribution quality. We will make sure to update our backers with each development in this area.

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