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Japanese Show Their Heavy Mettle!
Contributed by Mike Arnold on Aug. 8, 2001.

Lance Cresswell and Mike Arnold broke shrink wrap on the new GMT game ZERO! from the Down in Flames series (currently covering the European Theater). This fast paced card game depicts the early stages of air combat in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Scoring is determined by Shoot Downs and Damage/Hits applied to opponents. And boy howdy did the Flyers of the Rising Sun give the allies a spanking!

Round One: The two flyers started off with Mike in a classic Zeke (Zero) versus the formidable P-40 (Flying Tiger) piloted by Lance. Mike's Wingman made quick work of Lance's Wingman in a single combat very early in the game (the engines weren't even warm yet!). Then it was only a couple of turns later that Mike's two Zeros were making easy pickin's of Lance lone Tiger when he Hit the Deck and hightailed it out of there, thus saved a couple points from being totally shot down. (Score 7-2)

Round Two: Lance now took the controls of a Nate and Mike in a Buffalo. The Buffalo lived up to it's name by being able to absorb a huge amount of damage, and even with its lethargic flying capabilities, was able to shoot down the outmatched Nates. It'll be a looooong time before we ever see the Nates in action again. (Score 10-4)

Round Three: This was the best/most fun match of the day. Mike piloted an Oscar and Lance a British Hurricane. From the out-set, we both thought the Hurricane would make quick work of the Oscar (much like the Zeke vs Tiger, earlier), though the Oscar isn't a bad plane, the Hurricane has higher ratings and firepower. The dogfighting went on for almost 30min (most rounds take 10-15min) and we had to reshuffle the deck. It was tuck and weave, great feats of flying (through card play of course), maneuver vs countermanuver, burst after burst. Both players lost an aircraft and it was truly mono-e-mono for several more turns. Mike finally got off a good series of maneuvers and a heavy gun burst to 'Splash' the final Hurricane. Whew, what a great and exciting match! (10-7)

Lance couldn't let Mike end the day undefeated in three rounds. Lance had to try one more time.

Round Four: Lance chose the Zekes (duh) vs a yet unplayed Thunderbolt. Both aircraft have similar ratings, so we figured it would be a pretty good fight. In the first turn, Lance's Wingman immediately put Mike's Wingman "In His Sights" and Hit him with the catastrophic "Fuel Tank Hit - Aircraft Destroyed"! Arrrrrgh! Mike was immediate down to one a/c! I was able to play it out for a couple turns and put some damage on Lance's #1 a/c, but alas, all was for naught. Lance suggested that I Hit the Deck and retreat from the dogfight. I stubbornly said "No" and Lance proceeded to 'Splash' my lone Thunderbolt. (Score 10-2)

The Japanese showed their mettle by winning 3 out 4 rounds (Score 31-21) with the infamous "Zero" winning twice in quick, devastating fashion. There are other Bomber/Bomber escort scenarios available, but today we only played the fighter vs fighter scenarios.

ZERO! is a fun and very fluid card game keeping in the tradition of the DiF series. The rounds play fairly quickly and are action packed. GMT is issuing a sister game, Corsairs and Hellcats, in the near future, and there is a WWI game in the works. If you are interested in WWII air combat, I recommend this series.

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Last updated by kae on Aug. 26, 2001.