Don Quichotte
Romania
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I'm in a kind of a shock. I've just realized I've been playing Pandemic + On the Brink (Virulent Strain + The Mutation Challenge, 4 V.S. Epidemics cards, 3 players - this is my sweet spot), solo, for more than 100, perhaps close to 200 games so far, with a wrong rule! And it made for some very interesting, tense games. Now I'm gonna have to play the "right" Pandemic + OTB and see if I like the official rules better - but I think there's a pretty good chance this is not going to be the case.

So, long story short, here is the tiny rule I'm talking about. When resolving an Epidemic card, instead of drawing an infection card from the bottom of the infection cards deck I've been drawing from the bottom of the discarded infection cards deck!

The effect was that I often knew what city is going to get 3 extra infection cubes next time an Epidemic card will come out, and that city had already been infected during the game and might already have some cubes, which makes the Epidemics danger even greater. I said “I often knew” because sometimes a Mutation! or a Mutation Event card comes up and alters the order of the discarded infection cards deck. This adds a nice element of uncertainty – actually, I think this is a reason why my (involuntary) variant blends very well with the OTB expansion, and why I’m posting this here instead of the basic game’s forum.

The only problem I've encountered is the situation in which two Epidemics cards come up very soon one after another. In this case, the game is usually still playable, but it becomes notably harder. Sometimes, it's simply the end but, well, such is life... Time to try again!

So, try it. I suggest you to try at least a couple of times in my preferred configuration (Virulent Strain + The Mutation Challenge, 4 V.S. Epidemics cards, 3 players, as I said above), I exclusively play like this so I don’t know how it works in other configurations. Oh, and since I play solo I can always see everybody’s cards, something to keep in mind if you are not playing solo as well.. I'm really curious to read your feedbacks!
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Tom Lehmann
United States
Palo Alto
California
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I think this variant -- at just 4 Epidemics -- makes the game easier on balance.

Yes, you have a greater chance of outbreaks, due to placing 3 cubes on a city that may well have cubes on it.

But, fundamentally, no new cities are entering the mix (except as single cube new infections when you dig through all the reshuffled infection cards between epidemics).

What can be deadly in the actual game is drawing a city that connects two cities with 3 cubes of the same color, one of which has previously had an outbreak. This immediately produces at least 3 outbreaks (the city drawn from the bottom of the deck -- since it is adding 3 cubes to a city that already has a cube -- and the two cities it connects) as well as a lot of additional cubes on the board.

This doesn't always happen, but the *threat* of it happening is what creates a lot of tension in Pandemic. Eliminating the threat of the unknown may work for you, but I think it makes the game a lot tamer than it should be.

As always, of course, it is your game. Play whatever variant makes the game most enjoyable for you!
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