Become a police officer and enter the rainy, neon-lit streets of Hard City to stop the evil mastermind Doctor Zero. Shoot mutants, rescue civilians, and blast some cool synth music really loud, all while driving a Chevrolet. Or take the role of Doctor Zero and send your minions to the streets, fight the officers, and finally take control of the whole metropolis. Enter a 1980’s movie with Hard City, a “one vs All” tactical adventure board game, published by Hexy Studio and distributed by Ares Games.

Police squad vs. mutants in Hard City streets.

Inspired by the 1980’s movies and TV shows, the game is set in Hard City, a modern metropolis somewhere on the coast of California, where the multi-sector company Zero Corp (dealing in food, medicine, robotics, genetics, but also radioactive waste disposal) had its headquarters. When a corruption scandal, involving the city mayor, local criminals, and Zero Corp., the owner and lead scientist, Peter Zerovich, is made public, he goes bankrupt as well as distraught overnight, turning him into the vengeful “Doctor Zero”. Releasing the mysterious Mutagen into the sewers, he turned some of Hard City's innocent citizens into bloodthirsty monsters, to take over the city, and the Hard City Police Department sent their best people to tackle the problem and bring order back to the streets.

Hard City is an asymmetrical semi-cooperative game for one to five players, in which a team of officers plays together against one villain. The game also includes rules to play solo or in fully cooperative mode against an automated version of Doctor Zero, called the AutoDoc.

Police officers’ players use the action point allowance system to perform actions, such as movement, attack, escorting civilians, using equipment, and tackling hideous mutants in close combat. After killing a total of 10 mutants, the whole team levels up and each officer gains an extra skill card. At the officers' disposal is also the unique cutscenes mechanism. Cutscenes are spectacular special actions that can only be used once per game. The game comes with a selection of them, visualized on tiles drawn each round and added to one-another to form an actual film tape.

Doctor Zero uses Chaos cards to spawn mutants, move, attack and perform special actions.

Doctor Zero plays differently and uses Chaos cards to command his mutated horde. He may spawn and move his minions, attack civilians and Officers, and perform spectacular special actions like Garbage Throw, Sinister Laughter, or Evil Masterplan.

The game is scenario-based and forms a complete story, with each scenario (Episode) having unique winning conditions and different setups. The game board consists of three double-sided parts, and every part of the story takes place in a different city location. At the end of the game, even the game box is used as a playable component and a part of a 3D board, being the Zero Corp. headquarters.

Hard City is divided into five episodes (“Mayhem on the Streets”, “Mutagen Heist”, “Toxic Revenge”, “Bloody Sunrise”, and “Zero Hour”) like an old police television drama. Each Episode is perfectly playable (and re-playable) on its own, but together they form a complete story of Doctor Zero's rise and fall, and the Officers' epic fight against him.

Hard City: a view of the game components.

The game features high quality components and neon-like art. The four police officers and the mutants are represented by miniatures, and in addition to the three double-sided game board pieces, the components include five episode sheets, 18 cutscene cards, a Victory track, four officers’ sheets, over 130 cards (including Chaos cards both for 1-vs-all and solo mode), and more than 100 tokens and markers.

In the next article, discover who is who in Hard City, and get ready to choose your character to protect the city and rescue as many citizens as possible, or to take command of the mutants as Doctor Zero.

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