[Let’s Study Mutant: Year Zero] Part 3: Basic Mechanics

Hi there, today we’re taking a look at the mechanics of Mutant Year Zero.

Types of Dice

Mutant Year Zero is different in the sense that it has 3 different types of dice. These are color coded six-sided dice with special symbols in place of the ones (a biohazard symbol) and the six (a nuclear radiation symbol.)

Skill dice are color green
Base dice are color yellow
Gear dice are color black

Dice Substitution

For those without the Mutant Year Zero dice, it’s possible to play using regular D6’s, as long as you have them in different colors to differentiate the types.

The book has a small sidebar on how to do the substitutions. It’s a obviously easier to use the Mutant Year Zero dice, of course.

For those who are okay with using tech, a Fan-Made dice roller was recently made available on Android!

Rolling Dice

Whenever a character attempts to exercise one of their skills, they’ll need to make a roll.

The roll is done by getting a number of Skill Dice equal to the skill level, a number of Base Dice equal to the current value of the attribute connected to the skill, and a number of Gear Dice if your character is using the correct tool for the job.

For an action to succeed, you must roll at least one 6 (or nuclear radiation symbol.) If you roll more than one of these, you can perform stunts.

Rolling a 1 does not have an effect on the first roll, but they do kick in when you push the roll, which we’ll get to later.


If you roll no “6”‘s then you something goes wrong. The interesting thing in the game is how it explicitly states that the one thing that the GM cannot say is that “nothing happens.” Failure should have consequences, such as the loss of resources or a new threat.

Pushing Your Roll

Failure can be mitigated by Pushing Your Roll, this allows you to reroll all dice that didn’t come up with a symbol and roll them again. This can only be done once, after which you have to live with the consequences.

When pushing, rolling a “1” or biohazard symbol inflicts trauma to the attribute used. On the upside, you also get a mutation point for each point of trauma you suffer.

Gear Bonus

Gear is extremely useful in Mutant Year Zero as it gives you more dice and therefore more chances to roll a 6. HOwever, gear dice also have a special symbol. the “1” shows an explosion of some sort, and is used to track Gear degradation when used in a pushed roll. Every “1” that shows after you have pushed decreases the Gear bonus by 1.

Overall the basic mechanics are easy to use, and have a nice tie-in with the nature of the world. The idea of Pushing Your Roll sits well with me, and every roll has a potential for drama.

I do like the Gear Break rules, as again it pushes the feeling of scarcity in a post-apocalyptic world. I can imagine that a Mutant Year Zero game involves a lot of resource control, which can only enhance the mood of the game.

Next up, we’ll take a look at the Combat rules for Mutant Year Zero.

Mutant: Year Zero is available from DriveThruRPG for $24.99 or roughly Php 1,100.00

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