Unlike other Infocom games, Border Zone is played in real time. The clock keeps ticking throughout the game, regardless of whether or not you are typing in commands, and so you can lose the game by just standing around and not doing anything. The real time element makes the game more suspenseful, but it also makes mapping difficult and some of the puzzles more frustrating than they should be. Fortunately, you can pause the game, and it is broken up into three chapters. In each chapter you play the role of a different character. The chapters are relatively short, making the total playing time of Border Zone a lot less than the average Infocom game. Chapters two and three are more enjoyable played in the slow mode.
Chapter 1: OPEN WINDOW. REMOVE CARNATION. PUT CARNATION IN BAG. E. S. W. GET TOWEL. TURN WATER ON. WET TOWEL. TURN WATER OFF. READ GRAFFITI. E. N. W. WIPE UP BLOOD. THROW TOWEL OUT WINDOW. DROP DOCUMENT. GET CAMERA. TAKE PICTURE OF DOCUMENT. GET DOCUMENT. THROW DOCUMENT OUT WINDOW. REWIND FILM. OPEN CAMERA. GET COLOR FILM AND OLD FILM. PUT OLD FILM IN CAMERA. CLOSE CAMERA. PUT CAMERA IN BAG. PUT COLOR FILM IN BAG. WAIT (until man in trench coat comes in). NO (to man). WAIT (until men come and search belongings). GET CAMERA AND CARNATION. PUT CAMERA AND CARNATION IN BAG. GET GUIDE, PASSPORT, AND TICKET. GET COLOR FILM, BAG, AND KIT. E. S. SAVE. S. WEAR CARNATION. WAIT OR LOOK (until your contact bumps into you). SAY, "POPKA IZIM". [To identify the contact, you will need to use the phrase book provided in the game package. The American agent will have told you at the start of the game what the contact will say to you. You will have to translate the phrase into Frobnian, or you can simply say "Popka Izim" (Frobnian for "It is my fault) to everyone that bumps into you. Your contact will look at you after you say this.] DROP FILM. N. N.
Chapter 2: SLOW. TEAR SHIRT. PUT SCRAP ON LEFT ARM. NE. NE. NE. W. EXAMINE PEN. WAIT (until occupant of hut goes outside). OPEN DOOR. W. GET PARKA AND WORK SHOES. E. E. N. WEAR WORK SHOES. WEAR PARKA. W. W. ENTER SHED. EXAMINE TOOLS. GET BOLT CUTTERS, GLOVES, AND BINOCULARS. OUT. N. N. SAVE. WATCH SEARCHLIGHTS. N (when searchlights are pointing away from you. It takes the computer some time to respond to you during this part, and you may have to try going north several times. If you are arrested, restore and try again). SAVE. WATCH GUARDS. E. (Wait until guards are far away and facing away from you.) WEAR GLOVES. CUT LINKS WITH BOLT CUTTERS. BEND FENCE. N. SAVE. N. (When guards are facing away from you). REMOVE CAP. PRESS BUTTON. (Again, wait for the guards to be far away from you, but still facing the other direction.) ATTACH PEN TO NW POST. REPLACE CAP. (You now have a minute to perform the remaining actions. A trick that can be used to get through this section is to type all the commands, from "replace cap" through "in" on one line and then press return.) U. CLIMB BRACE. KNOCK ON DOOR. GRAB LEG. CLIMB LADDER. IN.
Chapter 3: There are two parts of Chapter 3 that change with each game - the location of the sniper and the password. You will need to keep track of these. SLOW. SE. LOOK AT WINDOWS (Note which three are open). W. N. W. READ DIRECTORY. (Using the process of elimination, find the room that is both unoccupied and has a window open. This is the room that the sniper is in. The sniper can only be in room B, D, or F, because those are the only rooms facing east. Room B is always to the north, room D in the middle, and room F to the south.) E. SE. SW. W. WAIT (until man with walkie-talkie shows up and leaves). S. S. (Note the password that Riznik gives you.) W. N. E. E. SAVE. N. WAIT (until Topaz sees you). N. TOPPLE CART. W. GET CAN. PUT CAN UNDER ESCAPE. GET ON CAN. U (until you get to the floor the sniper is on). N (until you get to the room the sniper is in). DROP CARD. KNOCK ON EAST DOOR. SAY, "(the password Riznik gave you)". HIDE. (Wait for Topaz to arrive and shoot the sniper.) HIT TOPAZ.