Review – Hit Z Road
A Push Your Luck, Auction game.
Title: Hit Z Road
Year Published: 2016
Designer: Martin Wallace
Publisher: Space Cowboys
Game Time: 30-60 mins
Set-up Time: ~1 min
Theme: Zombie Apocalypse
Mechanic: Auction, Push Your Luck
How to win: Survive! (or get the most points)
You and your fellow players embark on a road trip going south from Chicago along America’s famous Route 66 — now infested by zombies.
Each player gets a Leader Meeple and a voting counter of their colour. They also get 4 Survivor Meeples and 4 of each Adrenaline, Gas and Ammo tokens.
Players put the voting counter on 0 on the board and the initiative cards are dealt randomly.
Setup of the main decks of cards is different for all player counts, but we’ll look at a 4 player game here. Shuffle each of the 3 decks, remove 4 cards from each pile and return them to the box without looking. Stack the rest with set 3 on the bottom and set 1 on top.
The game is played over 3 phases – Planning, Auction, Encounter
Create 4 pairs of cards from the top of the deck, pair the cards up from top to bottom.
This is where players bid for initiative. Starting with the first player, and in turn order, either increase your current bid, or pass. Only 1 token is allowed per space and when players pass they are still in the round, but if everyone passes in order this phase ends.
Now players pay any combination of Ammo, Gas or Adrenaline tokens equal to the value of their bid.
Then reorder initiative based on the amount bid but if a players bid 0 they stay in the same relative order. Move all auctions markers back to 0 ready for the next round.
Starting with the new turn order, players will complet this phase in full.
Firstly, the active player will pick one of the 4 pairs of cards and will go through the Encounter phase which itself is divided into 3 phases – Scavenge, Event, Fight
To start you need to Scavenge, you take tokens shown in the top left of the card.
If the card has one, read the Event on the card. If it has Black Text, resolve it now. If it’s Red text, it will affect the upcoming Zombie fight.
Some cards give tokens which will effect the player later in the game.
To Fight, take a number of Zombies meeples matching the number shown.
To start a round of combat, players use an optional ranged attack. To do this, spend 1 ammo for each die you with the roll. For each ‘target’ rolled, kill a zombie.
Now a player can spend 2 Gas tokens to avoid the fight altogether, returning the card to the box.
If a player decides to fight, they go into Melee combat. To do this, roll a die for each Meeple you control (including the Leader and Survivors) and resolve. What you roll depends what happens…
Skull with Lightning – The survivor was bit! Spend an Adrenaline or lose a Survivor
Lightning Bolt – Opportunity Attack – Spend an Adrenaline to kill a zombie
Target – Straight forward, kill 1 Zombie
Target with Lightning – Bonus Kill – Kill 1 Zombie, then you may pay 1 Adrenaline to kill another!
If you kill all the Zombies, keep the card face down for the points showing on the card in the star.
If the Zombie hand is Red, it’s a Horde! Replace a black die with a red die equal to it’s strength up to the number of dice you’re going to roll.
If a player rolls the Red Skull, you insta-kill a Survivor.
If all of a players survivors have died, that has been defeated and is eliminated from the game.
They discard their cards and tokens. When 1 player is eliminated, put the +2 key next to path 4… You now need to pay 2 extra resources to take this path. After 2 Eliminations, put the +4 key next to path 4 and the +2 on path 3.
If at the end of a round only 1 player is left, they win!
If everyone dies, everyone loses…
If 2 or more players are left, give the epilogue cards to the player with the most of the resource shown on the card left over. No one gets it in a tie…
The player with the most points wins.
This is an interesting way to do an auction game.
Resources = Survival, you need them. But they also help you choose your path through the round which can be INVALUABLE.
A route may allow you to avoid fighting many Zombies which means easy points, easy resource pickup… sit back and relax.
Another route might have Zombies, a Horde or a token you don’t want.
So how many resources do you bid? How many will you get? How many will you need to survive? How many will you have left moving forward?…
Using resources for auctions is better than money for me, you’re essentially exchanging long term survival for short term peace and quiet 🙂
The tokens the cards give you are weird, sometimes bad, sometimes good but you never really know. Not every card is in every game so what effect will they have? Wait and see. But you do know which of the Tokens are not worth taking…
Also, I fell this needs to be played with people hoping to get to he end of the game. All to often people go a bit gung-ho, get eliminated then complain about player elimination in games. Play to the theme people! Survive!
It’s tense and VERY difficult to make it to the end…
Does what it does very well.
I give it 6/10