Zero Hour is a survival horror game for 2-6 players. Players take turns competing against one another to see who will last from midnight to sunrise. Each player must keep their children alive and sane through the night.
The Deluxe version (advanced game) uses all player, sanity and zero hour cards and the The advance game also includes the damage and escape dice. In addition, a 90-100 card "exploration" deck is the backbone of this mode. Damage is not always automatic, each child or character has a chance of escape and some damage is variable and based on a damage roll.
Advance mode is a far more in-depth, atmospheric storytelling experience with consequences to your actions. Each child is moving in a pack through the woods (or other determined location) and drawing exploration cards that describe random occurrences. These occurrences rely on dice rolling to resolve each card and continue moving forward. The cards are unique to the particular creature you are facing and can be made of locations specific that creature, artifacts, clues, hazard that are natural or location based, and bits of back story and history of whatever malevolent force you are facing. Some of these cards will be the creature and its minions that seek to damage your mind and body directly. Locations and artifacts have point value and contribute to the total outcome of the game in the final hour.
The deep dark woods are host to a variety of dangers your children may encounter. Sometimes they are abstract shapes and sounds that serve to only frighten, while other times, deadly creatures will reveal themselves to the player. The most dangerous entity is one that causes extreme sanity damage and goes by many names. Sometimes he is called "The Pale One," "The White King" or "The Slender Man." Very few have stood face to face with this dark entity and lived to tell about it.
Every turn is an opportunity for each child to face their fears exploring the woods around them. Anytime a child is exposed to "The Pale One," or other creatures of the night, he or she risks losing sanity. Once a child is reduced to zero, it is lost to the darkness and an attempt can be made to retrieve the "lost" child the following turn. "Gifted" children can be used to alter the attacks and damage caused by creatures. These "gifted" can also increase your chances of retrieving "lost" kids.
The exploration deck (The Pale One) is 90-100 cards and consists of the following:
- Background and history
- Natural hazard
- Structural hazard
- Major creature threat
- Minor creature threat
- Audio experience
- Visual experience
- Safe zone
- Sanity Regained
90-100 "exploration" cards (The Pale One)
30 Player "child" cards
30 "sanity" cards
7 "zero hour clock" cards
1 black/white creature dice
1 black/green sanity damage die1 white escape die
1 small booklet explaining the rules of the game