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Subject: Medic + Quarantine Specialist + Contigency Planner = Lose? rss

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Jeff W
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When Pandemic first came out, my wife and I played hundreds of games with all combinations of the roles (2, 3, 4 players). When OTB we repeated it, but not to the same degree. I found that our winning percentage in standard difficulty was approximately 75% (higher with some combinations and lower with other combinations).

I recently got the iPad game and was enjoying the game solo. I didn't track it, but my winning percentage probably was around 75%. But then I came across this combo. I think I played two games of it and lost horribly. I think this is a particularly difficult combo because there is no easy way to share cards to get the cures. In the original game, you'll always have at least a role that directly helps (researcher, scientist) in creating cures, or roles that facilitate in getting together (dispatcher, op expert).

Anyway, anyone else agree about this combo in the new base game?
 
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Tables
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I haven't played this combo, so everything I say is speculation.

The team is very good at treating disease/preventing outbreaks. The Quarantine Specialist will stop a lot of key areas while the medic can treat them. The Contingency Planner can occasionally step in at key times, when the events are there. However, the team isn't great at much else. You would have to be prepared to put a little extra effort into collecting cards the hard way. Fortunately, you're freeing up some actions that would otherwise be needed to treat, but it's probably not quite enough to make up the losses.

I think the timing of certain events could make a huge difference to how the game goes, thanks to the Contingency Planner. If you get Government Grant and/or Airlift early I think you're in a strong enough position - two Airlifts or two extra Research Stations should make you mobile enough to get a few cures down. But if both of those come out late you could be in a spot of bother. Forecast, Res Pop and One Quiet Night are much more about disease control, so won't be nearly as important (but obviously will usually be worth playing again at some point).

I think you're right, this is a weaker than average team, but I don't think it's too bad. Remember that the cure is the goal and the cure is more challenging, and I expect you could give it a good go.
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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Of the two new roles, I find the Quarantine Specialist to be incredibly powerful and fun, and the Contingency Planner to be weak and not so much fun. Something about positioning her (QS) in the right places, sometimes even preventing the Epidemic city from hitting at all, is just great and can really save your game.

The CP can be great, but is also very tied to the timing of the available Events, and what is happening. And I just don't find that role to be as much fun to play. All you're doing that's special is giving up an action to get a card, and that card isn't even yours, really, but the whole group's to use at an opportune time. It's a support role, fine, but there's nothing really proactive about the special ability from the player's point-of-view, which makes it kind of boring to me.

I haven't tracked my wins at all (I really hope an update of the app includes some stat tracking), but I am pretty certain that I have a higher loss percentage when the CP is in the game. I think the update tomorrow, with the new roles and events from OTB, might help the CP be more effective, especially for games with 4-5 players (i.e., more event cards, assuming they've added that rule).

I think you're right, though... that particular combination will be hard to win with. Easy to keep things clean, but very tricky to arrange cures with.
 
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Jeff W
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Right after my post, I played another game and as luck would have it, I hit this combo again.

Luckily, two of the cures were by the player drawing the fifth card--no coordination required. This allowed me to eradicate two diseases which helped to the win. Even with that, I won on the very last draw.

So it is not impossible, but my guess is that the win rate would be less than 25% of the time.
 
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Alex Drazen
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I'd say depends on the combo. Throw in a fourth player, and I'd love to have those 3 on the board.

Contingency Planner gets weaker the fewer players you have in the game. It's a GREAT role for 4P.

Some of the expansion roles work in reverse for this. For example, I think the Archivist is much better in 2P than in anything else. Why? Well, in a 4P game, it's 12 draws before everyone can be over their hand limit, which is 24 cards and likely 2 epidemics, so 2 people won't even go over THEN, and you probably got 2 events, too -- so you're looking at 13 draws (26 cards) and 2-3 Epidemics before anyone goes over their hand limit. And they probably played cards for stuff along the way.
 
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Ethan Larson
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The Contingency Planner seems to increase in value as the number of players increases, since the number of events in the deck increases. I find him very useful in 5-player games!

Getting to play Rapid Vaccine Deployment and Remote Treatment twice is very nice.
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Andrew S
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Well, I can't beat the game on novice if I select medic, scientist, operation expert and dispatcher. I tried about ten times and I have not got even close. Without the researcher it's to difficult to share cards. Do anyone have any tips how to beat the game in this setup? If there is a link to youtube with someone doing this, I'll take it too.

With the researcher the game is still challenging for me on novice, but doable.

There are 49 player cards at the start of the 4 player game on novice difficulty. Each full round 8 cards are drawn. This means that that the game lasts no more than 6 full rounds but practically much less because it's the outbreaks that end the game not the lack of players cards. Let's assume a player has 3 of the 5 required cards (and this is optimistic, because with 8 random cards you have on average 2 of each colour, with 7 and counting special events it's even less) it is likely to take one full round for exchanging just one card. So in most cases to exchange two you need two full rounds. Out of six. And this is for just one colour. Operation expert can help exchnage two cards in the same round if you are lucky, but thats about it. So you have 4 colours and 6 (at most!!!) rounds. How do you win????
 
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Steve Duff
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zespri wrote:
Let's assume a player has 3 of the 5 required cards (and this is optimistic, because with 8 random cards you have on average 2 of each colour, with 7 and counting special events it's even less) it is likely to take one full round for exchanging just one card. So in most cases to exchange two you need two full rounds. Out of six. And this is for just one colour. Operation expert can help exchnage two cards in the same round if you are lucky, but thats about it. So you have 4 colours and 6 (at most!!!) rounds. How do you win????


Your math is off, cards can be exchanged must faster than that.

Say it's the Medic with 3 cards. He moves to Essen, takes the Essen card from the Dispatcher. With his final 2 actions, he moves to Madrid since the players have discussed that would be where to get the final card. Now it's the Scientists turn. She moves to Madrid, and gives the Madrid card to the Medic.

The Medic now has 5 cards, and can cure his next turn if he can reach a Station.

This is in two game turns, which is half a round, not the two rounds you mention. And without using any special powers.
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Nikolay Astafiev
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junesen wrote:
Luckily, two of the cures were by the player drawing the fifth card--no coordination required. This allowed me to eradicate two diseases which helped to the win. Even with that, I won on the very last draw.

So it is not impossible, but my guess is that the win rate would be less than 25% of the time.


I can say that it's really a tough trio to play with. I bought the Pandemic boardgame on December 7 but quickly understood the rules up to very fine things (thanks to this forum, too). Before I chose this trio, I thought a lot about what would be the most difficult characters and found these three would probably be so. Because all they are to do is discarding cards (for either building a station or leaving/reaching a city). Another problem is how to meet in one city to exchange. CP can do this with the respective event card, but this would result in sharing the SOLE card. Moreover, one character, CP, is useless if there are no necessary cards in discard pile. In the light that cure invention costs 5 cards, there must be very good speculation at what to discard and how to meet to exchange. So the strategy for these three seem to be the following: built some stations in the beginning and then use them to move and share cards faster, healing the most infected cities and clusters if possible. This was only a theory, and then I decided to check this by practice.

When I started playing these three, I knew I was right: I've played 3 or 4 games at the time and haven't won any, although thoroughly speculated at each move to make. I couldn't even discover three cures, two at best! Instead, I lost from either 8 outbreaks (because I had to draw medic and QS from infected cities to exchange cards) or from being out of cards (because I often had to discard the necessary ones to move to the desired city or close to it). I've never built more than 4 stations (even then I just was lucky to draw a grant event). Moving pawns of Medic and QS distracts them from infected cities and clusters, causing outbreaks, while leaving them in the same place or moving to cure diceases doesn't help much (or makes impossible) exchanging necessary cards to meet the game's objective, i.e. inventing cures. It's a dilemma of playing this trio, IMHO...

I strongly suspect that CP is who weakens this team. Just to verify my suggestion, I played a game with Operations Expert instead of CP. I haven't had much luck that game at card drawing (4 outbreaks occurred), but I won with 6 unused cards left when the last fourth cure had been discovered at last.

So, I'd rather agree with the topic-starter regarding the difficulty. And yes, the luck at card drawing is really crucial to win this trio. I think it's possible, but too rare and it's rather a matter of luck than playing skill. But maybe there should be an extremely tricky strategy I haven't found yet.

2 zespri: The characters you mentioned are much easier to play compared to the topic ones! I bet it would be so even with 6 epidemic cards.
 
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