For many fans of the franchise, Power Rangers Zeo was a huge deal. It was the first time many were exposed to a kid show that disrupted so much of its status quo. Not only did new villains and henchmen replace the old ones, but new heroes had to step up, adopting new powers to face new threats. Even if the fundamental formula of the show remained the same, everything else about it was energized with a new look and theme.
It is appropriate then that Power Rangers: The Deck Building Game's newest expansion, Zeo: Stronger Than Before, naturally builds on the foundation of the original game with some extra twists and turns for returning players.
First and foremost, Zeo: Stronger Than Before can be played out of the box on its own. Alternatively, there are rules for mixing and matching cards from the base version of the game with this expansion. This includes only having one type of Blaster and Stun card pile available as well as what version of the Zord Bay and Lair players will be using. Otherwise, everything is still compatible.
The first thing that sticks out with Zeo: Stronger Than Before is the different ways it tries to correct and respond to some issues with the original game. For example, while most of the Ranger cards have distinct strategies, Rocky adds Stun cards to the enemy when he gets an equipment card, Tommy gains energy every time he attacks, battles, or blocks, etc., Jason is by far the most exotic. All four of his slots are rainbow colored, meaning any card can be attached in any spot. The downside is that every single turn, he loses 1 HP. This only gets worse when he morphs into the Gold Ranger, which makes him lose 2 HP per turn, but is balanced out by an attack that gets stronger the lower his health is.
On the other hand, the six playable Villains have more extreme abilities here. Louie Kaboom is the embodiment of a beatdown approach with his Scheming side letting him draw three extra cards on the very first turn and his Empowered side letting him sacrifice a Master in his own Lair to deal 9 damage to the enemy. Prince Gasket has a snowballing pair of effects. While Scheming, every single turn you gain a Stun card and draw an additional card. But while this will lead to resource slogs and potentially losing early, if you manage to get Gasket Empowered, his unique ability allows you to deal damage equal to how many Stuns are in your discard pile or hand. However, if you want to invest in a more meticulous strategy, King Mondo is for you. His Scheming side starts with a basic discount for his own Master card, but his Empowered side has an ability that gives you a bonus to all attacks down in a single turn equal to how many Masters you have in the Lair.
And there's a good chance your matches will go on a bit longer in this expansion. In addition to an emphasis on destroy effects allowing players to streamline their resource gains faster, there are a few more control and stalling cards included. Singing Zap for example can be immediately attached to a player's character card and force them to lose Energy each turn. They won't be able to morph or empower until it is gone, and the only way to remove it is to pay the Battle cost. In addition, cards like Trey of Triforia or Kat's Power Disc allows players to attach Adversary cards, allowing them to take advantage of abilities their enemies have. There are even a few catch-up elements like Zedd's Vengeance and the Impursonator cards, which allows players to re-activate Zord abilities at no extra cost. Since Zedd's Vengeance is a maneuever, this means either the Heroes can use it to double up on Zords they bought, or Villains can use it to turn the Rangers' own weapons against them.
Finally, it must be stated that Zeo: Stronger Than Before continues Power Rangers: The Deck-Building Game's tradition of deep cut shout outs to its source material. As someone who grew up with the series back in the day, I had to do a double take when seeing things like Auric The Conqueror, the Defender Wheel, and Robocupid get their chance in the spotlight. In some ways, it's a more thorough homage to this season of the show than Renegade's other major game, Power Rangers: Heroes of the Grid, and a more frugal purchase if you're on a budget. For that, credit must go out to T.C. Petty III who worked on this expansion. His work includes Spires, Xenon Profiteer, and the upcoming Frankenstein-esque mad science game, My Father's Work.
The Bottom Line
If you wanted a bit more tactical play in Power Rangers: The Deck Building Game or just have a soft spot for this version of the team, then I highly recommend Zeo: Stronger Than Before. It's a standalone expansion that manages to work in concert with its original material while adding enough unique ideas to stand on its own.
Get This Expansion If...
- You Love Power Rangers Zeo
- Want More Interesting Counter Play
Don't Get This Expansion If...
- You're Scared of Machines
- You Have A Thing Against Primary Colors
Power Rangers: The Deck Building Game - Zeo: Stronger Than Before was provided by Renegade Game Studios.