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Subject: First play, by the skin of our teeth... rss

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Jason Sample
United States
Pelham
New York
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Bright, brilliant colors are to be seen everywhere, the stones and pigments undimmed by the passage of decades. The floor of the corridor is a colorful mosaic of stone, with a distinct, winding path of red tiles about 2' wide.
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Pandemic Session Report

We call my 7 year old son The Bean. It has to do with the fact that when my wife was pregnant our older child, his sister, wanted to know ho big he was at one point during the pregnancy. My wife told her he was about as big as a jelly bean. And so, his name would be Bean going forward.

The Bean and I spent the bulk of Sunday afternoon together. His sister was off at a friend’s house working on a project. The Bean and I played various Wii games but he tired of them after while. He did not, however, tire of my company (part of a 7 year old’s charm). He said he wanted to play a “real game” with me.

“So which game would you like to play, Bean?” I asked.

“Let’s go look,” he replied.

To many families, we have an impressive game collection. To my extended BGG family, I will tell you that it is a modest collection at best. nevertheless, The Bean likes to pore over the shelves trying to find a game to play. His usual favorites, Settlers, Mr. Jack, and Carcassonne: H&G wouldn’t do it for him on this dreary Sunday. Nope, he wanted to play the shiny new game peering down on him from the shelf.

“What’s Pandememic?” he queried.

I had purchase it the previous week with some $ I had gained by selling some wargames and other games that I knew wouldn’t hit the table. I had read the rules for Pandemic a few times and even played a turn or two on my own to get the gist. The idea of a collaborative game appealed to me, and the Bean (he hates losing).

“Well buddy, it is a game where we work together to try and save humanity from deadly diseases.”

“So I get to be on your team?!?”

“Yes bean.”

“Let’s do it.”

We took the game upstairs and unpacked the components. My son is most likely going to grow into a Eurogamer as he loves LWCs (little wooden cubes). We went through the process of setting up. He loves setting up (I can only imagine what will happen when we play WoTR for the first time). He was assigned the Medic role; I got the Researcher.

During the setup, we filled Asia with red (The Red Death, we called it) cubes and North America had more than its fair share of blue (The Blue Flu). He proceeded to tramp around the USA wiping out blue cubes. We had The Blue Flu on the run. When he played The Infector, he poured a whole lot more Red Death into Asia. My turn, and I headed to Asia with an eye on building a research station and working on a few of those red cubes. Then I did it, I drew the first Epidemic Card. Taipei was in trouble.

“What is an epidemic, Daddy?”

Given my background in medicine and public health, I think that I gave him a much more technical description than he was seeking. He did, however, like all of the pageantry and routine that went into making the epidemic happen. He lapsed into all sorts of foreboding music and drama. Then he discovered the mechanic that we both found pretty cool:

“The city where the epidemic happens is then placed on the Infection Discard Pile and subsequently these cards are reshuffled and placed on top of the Infection Card Pile.”

“Oh no, Daddy! But that means....”

“Yup. You know what that means, right Bean?”

“I need to get over to Asia and cure the Red Death!!”

Luckily, we found that he had a few red cards and so did I. He made his way over to Asia. I was able to “Share Knowledge” with him and the Red Death was cured!! (..and there was much rejoicing)

Next on the docket, The Bean decided that we had to save New York and the East Coast from the Blue Flu. We are New Yorkers, after all.

We managed to acquire a bunch of blue cards over subsequent turns and before we knew it, the Blue Flu was in the rearview. During our efforts against the Blue Flu, we DID have an epidemic in South America and the cubes in SA were mounting.

Ironically, the Black Plague was a relatively painless affair to address. We weathered an outbreak or two in SA, as well as a resurgence of the Red Death in Asia. We concentrated on South America and began to pour all of our resources into it. The Bean acquired the card that allows you to change the top 6 cards of the infection pile (Forecast, I believe it is called). He wisely moved Bogota to the bottom of those 6 with Riyadh just above it. Lima sat one card above Riyadh. With that said there was a third yellow card in that pile so we our quest was “on the edge of a knife”.

And then it hit us, an epidemic in South America. Luckily, it was in the Northern part of South America and we survived. The Bean drew the yellow cards we needed and we were primed to go. He became the infector. We had endured a few outbreaks during the game and we were just two away from being overwhelmed and losing it all. The infection rate was 3 at this point, so he drew his cards...

First, London, not a big deal.

Then, Lima, giving it a third cube.

Third, Riyadh, the Black Death had been eradicated, so no biggie.

The Bean’s eyes grew as big as plates when he realized that Bogota was next. Had we miscalculated. Were we in fact wrong about how many moves it would take us to cure the Yellow Fever?!?

One - research station in Sao Paolo.

Two - Share knowledge.

Three - Share knowledge.

Four - Cure disease. Game over. Humanity saved!!

It was then that the Bean reached over and turned the top card of the infection pile, BOGOTA!! This would have lead to several outbreaks and the end of humanity.

As it was, the movie ended this way...

Hand in hand, the researcher and the medic waited patiently at the entrance to the ICU. A tired young doctor passes through the ICU’s double doors and lifts her head. Her eyes are teary.

“He’s gonna be OK,” she tells them.

“It worked?” The researcher asks.

“Yes, it worked,” she assures her.

A thin smile slowly fades from the medic’s face as the camera closes in on his eyes. They are filled with fear. The camera pans back, now we see the medic as a young boy. The boy’s small hand reaches for the infection pile and turns over its top card. “BOGOTA”, it reads. There is one yellow cubes in the box and there are 3 cubes in Bogota and the surrounding cities.

Abrupt change to black, roll credits.
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Richard Mullet
United Kingdom
Exeter
Devon
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I really enjoyed reading this. Great balance of background, narrative and flow of the game. Made me want to play!

Hope when I have kids they enjoy gaming as much as yours does!
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Liam Liam
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An enjoyable review - thanks for posting.
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Brad Restivo
United States
Springfield
Illinois
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When I read "Bean" I couldn't help but think of Julian Delphiki. Coincidentally, my handle is taken from the books.
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Jason Sample
United States
Pelham
New York
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Bright, brilliant colors are to be seen everywhere, the stones and pigments undimmed by the passage of decades. The floor of the corridor is a colorful mosaic of stone, with a distinct, winding path of red tiles about 2' wide.
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Ha!! I never thought of that. Perhaps I should give those books a read.

Ironically, the Bean does not care for Bohnanza (perhaps he finds the trading and growing of his breathren distasteful). When we are feeling particularly continental we call him Harry, short for the French haricot.

Other famous beans include: Beanie Wells, Mr. Bean, L.L. Bean and Frances Bean Cobain.

Peace,
J

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Robert
United States
Johns Creek
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queequeg wrote:
Other famous beans include: Beanie Wells, Mr. Bean, L.L. Bean and Frances Bean Cobain.

Peace,
J



Don't forget Sean Bean
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