Assuming you know the game, or have glanced the review, then you know just how hard enduring this game can be. Getting through to the final rounds, and perhaps even the ceasefire is difficult – meeting the win conditions at that point, even harder! So here’s a few tips below from me that might help you to get a success on the next play through.
During The Game:
Take The Shovel; It’s a bit of a trick, but in the first scavenging round you might think about taking the shovel with you. Yes it’s helpful if you meet rubble at the location you are searching, but more importantly this can help ensure that if you get raided on the first night, you don’t lose the shovel! You need the shovel for at least the first two days to clear a meaningful amount of the house!
Bring Back Water; Misery is hard to cure, and if you are like me you also hate the risk of hunger / misery when you don’t have water. Every time you go scavenging though you can fill up your bags with basic resources and that includes water. Early game you should actually assume you will do this and manage your search / risk on that basis. Perhaps not enough for everyone but 2 out of 3 ain’t bad…
Workbench & Board Up; If I was to pick one advancement to do every game it would be the workbench. I would do this just for the ability to “Board Up”. Do this early and you will reduce the risk of (i) losing items, (ii) taking wounds and (iii) getting ill. Night raids are reduced and cold tokens have less impact – doing this early in the game can pay big dividends by the end!
Illness & Injury; Why Board Up? Illness and Injury are the most quickly impacting issues; they reduce your action points earlier than all other issues. They are also the hardest to heal. Oh, and they progressively get worse in random rounds based on the fate card drawn. Avoiding, or at least healing these is vastly important.
Completing Objectives; You get chapter objectives to achieve every few rounds. They sound ominous and sometimes the penalties are harsh, but sometimes the contributions are harder than the penalties. Try to work out whether it’s really optimal in your scenario to play for completing these or to just ignore them – the worst outcome is to contribute but fall short. I often avoid contributing at all to the first objective to get my house in order!
Stay Close; Scavenging is important, it’s how you will gain a lot of resources in this game and you will need these to complete actions / trade and ultimately to survive. Staying at the “Close” location does give you meaningfully more cards to search through and you should consider whether the benefit of going further out is really worth it – slightly more food probably isn’t enough, but avoiding military conflicts is!
Fourth Character; Sometimes you can feel like you can’t keep three characters alive, why would you get the fourth! It’s incredible though how those extra actions, the extra defender / scavenging can make all the difference. If that’s not enough, the new character often turns out to have some interest equipment with him on arrival.
Books!; Personally, if given the option I avoid books. Sometimes they reduce misery but even then it often costs fatigue. The trade off is likely to be marginal so think carefully before bringing a book back from a scavenging hunt!
First Round; As well as taking the shovel, on the first round scavenge you might think about taking two characters. It’s not obvious that you should do this, but two characters might give you the boost to starting resources that make the game manageable. With so few turns, the earlier you improve the situation the better and in that first turn you have very little to lose if you are raided!