Welcome back, survivors!  This week on Zero Hour, we’re going to take all of the elements we’ve learned about, then we’re going to tie them together in our first game.

In the City Phase the goal of the survivors is to explore the city’s locations, searching for needed resources and clues as to the whereabouts of the Mastermind, all the while balancing the need for sufficient research on the virus and the constant looming threat of the Afflicted.  Ammo, Food, and special abilities will help along the way, but players will need to conserve these resources for critical moments if they’re going to survive.

On your turn during the City Phase, your first decision is whether to explore the city, or to retreat from the city (if you have explored enough locations).  Should you choose to explore the city, you’ll gather a pool of five action dice (numbered 1-6) and 1-3 threat dice (depending on the position of the threat marker), and then you’ll roll that die pool.

Next you’ll suffer the effects of any threat die symbols.  Threat dice have a 50% chance of either advancing the threat track or reducing your survivor’s health.  Before accepting the threat dice results, however, you can spend one Ammo to re-roll any number of threat dice, and you can continue to re-roll as long as you have Ammo to spend.  Ammo is very valuable and rare, so spend it wisely.

Then if you’re not knocked unconscious by the Afflicted, you’ll use your action dice in the City in one of three ways:

  • You can search a location.  Starting with the left-most open die space, you can place as many dice as you wish in a single location.  For example, if you rolled 1-2-3-4-5 with your action dice, you could place all five dice in Crazy Bob’s Used Car Emporium.  However, if you rolled 1-2-4-4-5, you could only place dice in the first two spaces.  If you fill the last open space in a location, you receive the reward at the end of the location and your turn will end.  For closing Crazy Bob’s, you’ll gain one Fuel for the team; for Red Oak Apartments, you’ll get either one Food or one Fuel.  Spaces with blue stars are wild spaces and will take any die face, but once a choice has been made all further wild spaces in that location must use that face as well.
  • You can research the virus.  You can use any number of rolled 6s to place one research token per die on any face-down Mutation card.  To successfully suppress a Mutation will require 4-7 research tokens.  You will not know the exact required number for any Mutation until it is revealed in the Event Phase, so you will need to balance that risk against the risk of being forced to flee the city.  Placing research tokens ends your turn.
  • If you CAN place an action die, you MUST place an action die.  If you can’t do either of the first two options, you may be forced to encounter a hazard by placing at least one die in the left-most space of a hazard.  If you fill the last open space of a hazard, you suffer the penalty at the end of the hazard.  Filling the final space in Roving Gangs will cost the team one Ammo…

If you cannot perform any of these options, the threat marker advances one space and your turn immediately ends.  Before placing action dice, however, you can spend Food to re-roll any number of threat dice, and you can continue to re-roll as long as you have Food to spend.  Food is a little more common than Ammo, but still hard to come by, so again use it wisely.

If your turn did not end, you may choose to take a second roll with the remaining action dice from your pool.  HOWEVER - if you choose this second roll, you will also re-roll any threat dice that did not trigger on your first roll.  You’ll need to weigh the risk of not taking a second roll against the risks of re-rolling threat dice and a smaller action die pool.

Character abilities allow you to bend these rules and occur conditionally within the phase.  Amy’s Plentiful Harvest ability allows her to split dice from her pool.  If she rolled 1-2-4-4-5 and wanted to clear Crazy Bob’s in one roll, she could use her ability to split one of the 4s into a 1 and a 3, then place 1-2-3-4-5 on Crazy Bob’s.

The City Phase continues until one of three things occur:

  • The survivors clear all locations in the City (but not necessarily hazards) — yay! the survivors gain Intel and control the progression of the virus!
  • The survivors choose to retreat once they’ve closed at least as many locations as conscious survivors — yay? they gain no Intel but slow the progress on the virus.
  • The threat marker reaches the final space on the threat track — oh no! they are forced to flee from the City and can only hope for the best.

Once the City Phase ends, the Event Phase begins, as the survivors drive on to the next City.   We’ll talk about the Event Phase on Friday.