Welcome back, survivors! Today we talk about the Event board, the second half of the Zero Hour layout. Lots of dials, lots of arrows, some creepy Afflicted hovering in the background… and the constantly advancing Mutation track.
On the left side are three Resource dials for Ammo, Food, and Fuel. All of these resources are extremely useful for mitigating unlucky situations, and unlucky situations tend to happen in the world of Zero Hour. Additionally, events will sometimes give the survivors an opportunity to exchange resources for needed things like Health and Intel. If the survivors run out of any of these critical resources, they will not be able to continue their search for the Mastermind and the players will lose the game. Gather more of these resources in the City, and use them wisely.
On the right side is the Mutation track: a deck of cards at the top, with two face-down Mutation cards below. Each of these potential changes to Z-B13 means the survivors must dedicate some of their valuable time in the City on research. When the survivors leave the City (voluntarily or otherwise), mutation(s) will occur. Hopefully, the team will have researched the virus well enough to suppress it and gain some Intel on the Mastermind; otherwise, the mutation will affect the survivors for the remainder of the game. If two Incurable mutations are in play and not suppressed, the survivors will fall to the Z-B13 virus and the players will lose the game. Balance your exploration needs in the City between research and locations.
There are two important gauges in the middle of the board. The top gauge tracks Intel, which will increase as the survivors clear cities and suppressing mutations. When the team gathers at least 5 points of Intel, they will discover the true identity of the Mastermind…. and the Mastermind will start working against the survivors. When they reach at least 10 points of Intel, they know the Mastermind’s location and can force a Final Showdown during any future City Phase — if successful, the team will stop the Mastermind in their tracks and the players will win the game! If the survivors are willing to risk their current position, they can continue exploring Cities for additional Intel that may help them during the Final Showdown… but if they’re pressed for Resources, or if they wish to reach the Final Showdown before Nightfall, they may wish to start the fight earlier than later. The faster the team gathers their Intel, the sooner the third and final act begins.
The bottom gauge tracks time. Exploring Cities and researching Mutations doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Success or failure in the City will advance the Time track, as well as successful research and many of the cards from the Event Phase. When the Time marker reaches Noon in the base game, the threat track will start one space down the track of the next City. When it reaches Night, the next city will be explored on the Night side of the City map, making it much harder to successfully clear. If Time advances too far into the evening, the threat marker will start further and further down the track, making it a struggle to even retreat from the City. The team will need to keep a careful eye on the Time gauge as they build their end-game strategy and survive the inevitable Night missions.
On Tuesday, we’ll start you at the beginning of a game of Zero Hour and walk you through the City Phase.