Welcome back, survivors! Today we talk about how Cities work in Zero Hour.

If the survivors of Zero Hour are going to uncover the truth about the Mastermind behind the Z-B13 outbreak, they’ll need to search from city to city for that Intel. They’ll also need to stock up on valuable resources such as Ammo, Food, and Fuel and to continue their work on suppressing new virus mutation. The odds — and time — are against them.

Here we see one of Zero Hour’s ten maps, this one for Springfield. You can tell it represents the daytime hours because of the lighting of the map. There are several key locations that must be explored for clues; each location has a name, a number of dice that must be placed before the search is complete, and a reward for completely exploring that location. Sometimes that reward is a choice for the survivor, but usually the reward is straightforward and clear.

Some of these locations are Secured or have portions of their location that are Secured, as shown by a border and a lock symbol. To progress on these locations, you will need to place all of the dice within the secure boundaries at once.

There are also a number of red hazards in Springfield. These locations will cost the team resources, time, and/or health. Your survivors will not want to place dice on hazards, but they may be forced to do so if they cannot place dice on a location.

At the bottom of the city map is a threat track — the heart of Zero Hour, representing the danger for your team of survivors in the form of the Afflicted, raiding parties, wild dogs, and dangerous environments. The threat track will regularly advance as survivors spend more and more time in the city, and when the marker passes a space with an exclamation mark, they will lose a resource. If the survivors are still in the City when the threat marker advances to the final space on the track, they will be forced to flee the City and suffer a serious loss of resources and health. The survivors can choose to retreat from the City once they’ve cleared a number of locations equal to the number of conscious survivors on the team. However, if the team can clear ALL locations in the city before the threat track reaches its last space… they’ll gain some of the Intel necessary to track down the Mastermind.

Finally, the other side of the Springfield map shows Springfield at Night, with a darker color palette. Cities at night are harder for the survivors — hazards require less to trigger, the threat track is shorter, more locations are Secured. Time doesn’t wait for the survivors, and eventually they’ll need to search a city or two at Night. But they’ll want to get in and get out as quickly as possible.

When the survivors successfully clear the city, choose to retreat, or are forced to flee, the City Phase is complete and the Event Phase begins. On Friday, we’ll explore the Event Tracker and talk more about Research, Resources, and Time.

And next Tuesday, we will tie everything together and show you how the City Phase works in Zero Hour.