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2022 Top 10 Solo Skirmish Games #4!

#4 EXPLOIT ZERO: CYBERPUNK ESPIONAGE AND MAYHEM

I think you folks knew this would be in the list this year. A solo-only cyberpunk skirmish game that plays fast and simple (but not simplistic) is a winner in my book. And maybe yours too. 


You build a team of 4 agents with the typical cyberpunk feel… street samurai (melee), street samurai (shooty), medic, hacker, psychic. They come with a range of specialisations. All agents can access these specialisations but those that fit your particular agent build gain what is known in RPG parlance as ‘advantage’ : you roll an extra die looking for a success. 


You have 3 actions (plus a free move action) represented by 3 dice types: d6, d8, d10 and these allow you to prioritise your actions since a 4+ represents a success. Take a wound and you lose a dice type (starting with the highest) representing your reduced health, reduced actions and reduced chances of success. Simple and elegant. 


Enemies spawn and come at you in waves. The AI is simple but effective. If you find the AI too basic, you can ramp up the difficulty setting. 

There are some sample missions to get you started but the game is really a sandbox for you, with the micro setting of New Kowloon to play in. You can run your typical cyberpunk mission: infiltrate, hack the computer system, upload a virus and get out. Or extract a valuable scientist/researcher from a rival corporation... your imagination is the limit. You are encouraged to play in campaigns so that there’s a story and your agents can level up. 

The Tsim Tsa Tsui expansion adds more toys to the sandbox: more skills, equipment and enemy types. It also comes with a 5-mission campaign to get you started. The Hostile Takeover expansion allows you to play PvP (although it seems pretty simple to build 2 competing sets of Agents and hack a quick vs game rules to play against another player.) I don’t have that expansion so I can’t say much about it. 


And there you have it. If a solo-only cyberpunk skirmish game is what you’re looking for, Exploit Zero could be the sweet spot between the complexity of Reality’s Edge and the far-out Shadowrun-inspired fantasy/cyberpunk fusion of Chrome Hammer: Ascension. 


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