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Pandemic: In the Lab» Forums » Sessions

Subject: CDC Solo – an intractable puzzle? rss

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Roger Edwards
United Kingdom
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I would like to present a puzzle from a session I’ve just played. Can you find a way of winning from this position? I couldn’t, but I’d like to know if there is a way that I’ve missed.

Solo CDC game.
Standard solo difficulty: 12 cards discarded.
Standard game difficulty: 5 epidemics.
All, and only, roles eligible for solo available.
All else standard.
First role (randomly determined) is Medic.
Events: Forecast, Improved Sanitation, Borrowed Time, Resilient Population

It’s been bit of a tough game, but three diseases are cured, just blue left. The Medic proved his worth when an epidemic came out very early. He cleared the danger cities and was then swapped for the Scientist, no other roles have been used. Getting blue cards has been tricky as they ended up towards the bottom of the player deck. So here we are:

4 epidemics out, so 1 left
Research Stations in Ho Chi Minh City, Atlanta
Only one city with 3 cubes (New York)
2 outbreaks
Scientist in Khartoum with
  Blue: London, San Francisco
  Red: Tokyo
  Black: Kolkata

  Blue: Washington, Atlanta, New York
  Red: Sydney
  Black: Baghdad
  Event: Forecast (all others played)

Flew to Tokyo
Moved to Atlanta
Card draw: Paris (blue), Santiago (yellow)
Infect: Osaka, Ho Chi Minh City, Bogota

I now realise, as I hadn’t been card counting, that there is only one card left (which happens to be the final epidemic, but it’s irrelevant as I have that covered). This leaves me in Atlanta with 3 blue, a CDC with 3 blue and 1 CDC action and 4 role actions before game end when 2 player cards cannot be drawn.

My plan had been to hope a blue came out, which it did, and use 2 CDC actions to give it to the blues. So I, a Scientist, need 1 blue from the CDC to get the 4 to allow a cure next turn, but I can only trade a blue for the blue because I am in a blue city – pointless.

Get out of that one if you can.

I’ve put these in as spoilers so anyone who wants to think it through themselves has the opportunity.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Use CDC to reassign to Archivist. This would allow a move to Chicago which could then be taken form the deck, move back to Atlanta and – Oh! Hang on. I can’t cure because now I’m not the scientist I need 5 cards. I only have four.

Use CDC to reassign to Virologist. This would allow 2 cards of the same colour to replace a blue card. That’s no help as I don’t have a pair of cards that aren’t blue, and anyway I’d need 2 pairs because now 5 cards are needed for the cure.

Use CDC to reassign to Contingency Planner. No useful cards for him to take. 2 extra turns won’t help. Same reason for not reassigning to Generalist.

Use CDC to reassign to Field Operative. Can’t collect the blue cubes needed in time.

I don’t consider this a real solution as I would have to rewind a turn to where I first described the game position above. This what I should have done, wearing the goggles of hindsight.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Fly to Kolkota.
Move to Ho Chi Minh City.
Draw cards, one being Paris to give me 3 blues.
CDC exchanges a blue to me for my red Tokyo card (as I am at a research station in a red city).
First action of my last turn is to hand in 4 cards to cure blue and win the game.

We’ve all had moments like this in Pandemic, infuriating and seemingly senseless. I’m banging on the door of the research station and we have 6 samples (cards) between us but we still can’t find a cure in time, in a world where all the diseases are under control? C’mon, and other choice phrases best not repeated cry

Anyway, I'd bee delighted to know if anyone finds a solution, and thanks to anyone who takes the time to think this through – in reality I just wanted to get it off my chest and share one of those frustrating moments which are actually the reason why this game can be so compelling.

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