Welcome back, survivors! You made it through the City Phase of Zero Hour relatively unharmed! You researched the Z-B13 virus while you were there — perhaps not as much as you’d have liked, but better to try than to admit defeat. And you’ve picked up some needed resources along the way. Now you’re going to see how that hard work paid off as you hit the road out of town and enter the Event Phase.
First, all Mutations cards will shift one or two spaces down the Mutation track, carrying all of the research tokens placed on them during City Phases. When a card falls off the track, the mutation will trigger unless you’ve placed more research tokens than the virulence ranking on the card. That effect will linger and make life tougher for the survivors for the remainder of the game, where they will have one final chance to clear the mutation.
Next, the survivors pool any new Intel they’ve gathered. Clearing cities, preventing mutations, and clearing certain locations in the City will all garner Intel. Woo hoo! You're one to three steps closer to finding the Mastermind!
Then time advances. The longer you stay in the city, the more time will pass. The more time you spend researching mutations, the more time will pass.
If the group wishes, the survivors can rest to heal themselves on the road… but it’s going to cost them valuable time. The team can advance Time up to two spaces — for each space, each survivor heals one point of Health, never surpassing their starting health.
Next, on the road, the team will have encounters - some better than others - from the Event deck. Rescuing other survivors, fueling up at a local convenience store, sudden attacks from marauding gangs and Afflicted dogs, and broken bridges will force the team to make difficult choices about how to use their resources. Some encounters will take longer to resolve than other and will advance time. And the team will need to draw and resolve two Event cards before advancing to the next City. Before accepting each Event card, however, you can spend one Fuel to draw a replacement Event card, and you can continue to re-draw cards as long as you have Fuel to spend. (You can also use Fuel to prevent time from advancing during events.)
If the team has gathered 10 points of Intel, the team knows where the Mastermind can be found. They can declare that the next city is the Mastermind’s base of operations, and they can declare that the Final Showdown will begin. This choice will begin the Third Act of Zero Hour — there’s no return from this point, so if you’re not confident you have enough resources or if you’d like to gather additional Intel to assist in the Final Showdown you’ll want to explore another city to gather more goods.
Finally, regardless of Showdown choice, you will prepare for the next City Phase by setting up a new City map and placing the threat marker back on its track. You’re ready to begin the search anew.
But who might be the Mastermind behind the Z-B13 virus? Find out as we explore the Masterminds.