Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development



Have questions about playing AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game? Submit them in the comments section and we will respond as quickly as possible. You’ll also find discussion of AFTERSHOCK at BoardGameGeek and ConsimWorld.

Q: Is this the same earthquake-themed game that Stronghold Games launched (then withdrew) on Kickstarter?

A: No, that game is designed by Alan R. Moon and Bobby West. The announcement by Stronghold Games generated some confusion and controversy. Happily, the situation has now been amicably resolved.


Q: Are at-risk cards resolved after players fulfill all the requirements on the cards? Or the cards can be resolved by event cards only?

A: At-risk cards are only resolved via Event cards or the use of the Strategic Planning cooperation card.


Q: Is the game available in other languages?

A: Not at present. However, the rules have been translated into French (courtesy of Gilles Deleuze) and Polish (thanks to Bartosz Bolechów). You’ll find both translations at Board Game Geek.


Q: During the Supplies Phase, where are new teams placed?

A: They are immediately placed in any location where they could normally be placed—that is, in a District (in one of the boxes there), in a Cluster Meeting, or even in Media Outreach.


Q: When is the Social Unrest card placed?

A: Only place a Social Unrest Card in a District when directed to by an Event Card.


Q: How does an actor gain Operations Points during the game?

A: There are several ways: 1) When needs are met in a District in response to an Event Card, and the media are present; 2) as a consequence of some other Event Cards; 3) during the Special Operations Phase, when you have a team assigned to Media Outreach; 4) by meeting the various end-of-game conditions listed at the bottom of the Briefing sheet (also summarized in the rules).


Q: Is an At Risk Card has to be resolved immediately during the Event Phase with whatever resources present in the District at that moment, or in a later phase of that turn?

A: Immediately.


Q: Three newly arrived supplies are used to convert to a infrastructure counter. Does this conversion take place before or AFTER the supplies are brought in via the airport or seaport? If conversion AFTER the supplies are landed the seaport’s initial status of 1 supply prevents it being repaired by international aid.

Is the intent to prevent any but the local government to perform this initial upgrade to the seaport? This is a key factor as the seaport is the only point that all parties warehouses are available for sharing.

A: The conversion takes place BEFORE the supplies/infrastructure “arrives.” An infrastructure marker still only counts as one item, therefore you are able to bring one into the port despite its initially heavily-damaged state.


Q: It appears as if upgrading the airport is much more favorable than upgrading the port. When we played the game we just upgraded the airport and never had any issues with logistics/constraints to bring in supplies. We feel that we have missed something and would appreciate some guidance.

A: Generally it makes more sense to upgrade the airport, at least initially (and indeed this what was done in the Haiti earthquake).

The port does have some advantages, though: it ultimately can accept more incoming material, AND Carana has a warehouse there. That means players who bring in material at the port can, if they are in the appropriate cluster meeting with Carana, then pass on materials to Carana to distribute. Since Carana has the special ability to deliver one supply per district regardless of whether it has a team is located there, this can be quite effective.

By contrast, Carana does not have a warehouse at the airport, and so supplies there cannot be shared with it (even if you’re in a cluster meeting together).

If players aggressively upgrade either the Port or Airport they should be OK. Remember, however, that to upgraded you need to: 1) buy the upgrade, and count it against incoming capacity for that turn, 2) next turn, have a team allocated to the logistics cluster, and then 3) perform the upgrade in the special operations phase of that turn. It thus takes a while and is resource-intensive.


Q:  If a player decides to transform supplies (3 similar or 3 different) to an infrastructure marker, does that infrastructure marker count as 1 or as 3 when arriving at the port/airport?

A: An infrastructure token counts as one item for the purposes of port/airport capacity, regardless of how much a player “paid” for it.


Q: For the respective local warehouses in the port/airport, is there any overall capacity limit? If I understood correctly, the logistics capacity constraint in the port/airport only applies to all new supplies brought in during one turn. The next game turn, the players can bring in equally as much, or… ?

A: There is no total capacity limit, and as you correctly note the logistics counters reset at the end of each game turn (not player turn). This means that it is the UN and especially the NGO player who may face problems bringing in material (Carana doesn’t have to worry about the restrictions, while HADR-TF moves early and so the port and airport are never full yet). This was a deliberate design decision: in Haiti, military then UN flights were given priority, while NGOs often complained they couldn’t get landing slots.

* * *

Q: In the rulebook v5.0.2, page 6, the event card E-9 example box at the bottom, last sentence reads, “Further, Carana loses 1OP for the event.” Shouldn’t this read “team” instead of “OP”? Yes, both Carana and NGO each lose 1 OP due to the needs not being met which is stated in the prior paragraph. But the example doesn’t acknowledge the “needs not met” statement on the event card. That said, the paragraph at the top of the page, 2nd column, does reference this correctly.

A: You’re correct. The last line of the box should read “Carana loses one team as per the event.”


Q: A player is in two cluster meetings during the coordination phase,  and draws two coordination cards. One of the cards is Clusterf**k. The other card is an “If participating…” card, and that player is not participating in that cluster meeting. May the player choose and play the second card (with no effect), or must the player choose and play Clusterf**k for its effect?

A: They may choose to play a “no effect” card to avoid the effects of a Clusterf**k card


Q: For Carana player to trade 3 new supplies for 1 logistics infrastructure, do the cubes have to be of 3 different colors or can they be 2 same color and 1 different color?

A: They need to be three different colours.


 When the Active Player is in the Relief Operations Phase, the rules state:

In addition, the current player may, during the Relief Operations Phase (section 4.7), exchange the appropriate type of supplies with other players attending the same cluster meeting by simply moving those supplies from one section of a warehouse to another in the same location (port, airport, or frontier). Doing so requires the permission of the player holding the supplies—you can’t take them without authorization! Infrastructure may not be transferred in this way.

The current player may also move items between their warehouse and the warehouse of another player in the same location during the relief operations phase, provided they have permission and both players are attending a cluster meeting of the appropriate type.

Does this mean that the Active Player can receive and/or provide supplies (as long as the primary requirements are met)?

A: Yes, they may receive or provide.


8 responses to “AFTERSHOCK FAQs

  1. Rex Brynen 29/09/2020 at 5:01 pm

    Mija–drop me an email ( and I can help you with that. We’ve used it extensively in university courses, as have others.

  2. Mija 29/09/2020 at 4:47 pm

    We are trying to explore if Aftershock can be used at our university course on humanitarian assistance. However, despite reading the elaborate instructions we are unable to figure out how to play it. The instruction film only provided info on the set up. Not on how to play. Do you have informative n more detailed instruction videos. Thanks.

  3. Rex Brynen 25/07/2020 at 12:44 pm

    At-Risk cards are only resolved by event cards (or by the Strategic Planning coordination card).

  4. Ton 25/07/2020 at 12:15 pm

    I would like to ask a question about resolving at-risk cards. Are at-risk cards resolved after players fulfill all the requirements on the cards? Or the cards can be resolved by event cards only? Thank you in advance for your answer.

  5. Rex Brynen 18/07/2018 at 9:54 pm

    Julia: The Game Crafter is awaiting new supplies of a game component, at which point it will again be available at . If you’ve registered for email notification there, they’ll let you know when it is back in stock (in a few weeks, they assure us).

  6. Julia 18/07/2018 at 2:58 pm

    Where can the game be purchased? The “add to cart” button just went to more info about the game

  7. Rex Brynen 10/08/2017 at 2:25 pm

    Riccardo: I’ve answered your queries in the FAQs above.

  8. Riccardo Biella 10/08/2017 at 5:37 am

    Good morning sir,
    playing the game with some colleague different questions have arisen:

    During the Supplies Phase where do we place the new teams arrived? In the Port/Airport and they’ll enter into the clusters at the next supplies distribution or immediately where the current situation is demanding?

    About the Social Unrest Card, we place one of them every time we’re not able to bring complete relief during phase 4?

    During the game how we gain OP? Only if there’s Media in the cluster and everything goes well?

    The At Risk Card has to be resolved immediately during phase 2 with the resources we have in that exact moment or immediately during the same turn but in phase 4?

    Thank you very much for your efforts, the game is really intriguing and opens minds

    Best regards

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