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Pandemic» Forums » General

Subject: Which expansions, especially for new roles? rss

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Will Beckley
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I'm looking to grab the "new" Pandemic (we have the old, but I actually prefer the new art, plus I want to add the expansions in a hassle free way) and some expansions. And while I'm sure we'd eventually appreciate most of the additions, like/especially the lab, I know that my best bang for buck with expansions is going to come from those that offer new roles.

From what I've been able to ascertain, On the Brink is the easiest buy of the bunch in this regard, adding a fifth player and several new roles that can easily be added to the base game. What about In the Lab and State of Emergency? I know that both include new roles, but I'm not clear on how useful/usable these roles are outside of the new game modes. Are the new roles in these expansions universally usable, or do they require, for example, the lab module?

Finally, I'd love people's personal rankings of the expansions on their own merits. Just trying to figure out how best to spend my money, and how far to stretch my budget initially.

Thanks!
 
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Selwyn Hope
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In the Lab is my favourite. The lab part really brings home the theme of discovering cures for diseases. It also makes the game much harder (more action intensive to cure diseases).

Looking forward for the State of Emergency release on Monday to get some things which swing the difficulty back towards the scientists (haven't won in a while using In the Lab, Virulen Strain, and Mutant Strain).
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Rood Bird
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Everyone will have their own opinion and I like both On the Brink and In the Lab. (I can't comment on State of Emergency as it isn't out just yet) However, I personally think if I were to only get one expansion it would be On The Brink.

New roles - OTB has 6, ITL has 4
New event cards - OTB has 8 , ITL has 3

- all the new roles from both expansions can be played with all the versions of the game except one from OTB (The Field Operative) which can't be played with the ITL board.

OTB has Virulent strain epidemic cards - these change how epidemic cards work in interesting ways but still feels close to the original game mechanics.
ITL introduces a laboratory board which is very thematic but does change play significantly in relation to finding cures.

Both versions have a 5th disease, purple, which works differently to the original four. The rules concerning this disease are introduced by OTB and then added to by ITL. So they may be a little confusing, perhaps even unplayable, if you only had the later expansion.

Both versions also introduce new ways of playing. OTB has the Bio-terrorist variant which is 1 player vs everybody else. It is good for a veteran player who wants a different challenge when playing with less experienced players. ITL introduces team challenges where players work in pairs (or 3s) to try and do better than each other. I personally don't play either of these variants. I like Pandemic just because it is fully co-operative. You may like a little variety.

ITL also introduces a solo variant. This is OK but you can easily play solo anyway with any version so it doesn't really add much in my opinion.

Both expansions add a little 'chrome' which makes the game look better. OTB has petri dishes. ITL has glass cure vials.


To sum up (at last!) if you like the game you'll probably want to end up getting both at some point. However, as a first step or if you are adamant in getting only one expansion I'd definitely say On the Brink gives you more bang for your buck. I'm sure others will have their own opinion so really it is up to you.

Good luck.

RB


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OTB is much better for new roles. ITL is almost a total makeover of the base game and should be added if you are really tired of the base game and its variations that OTB introduces.
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Stéphane B

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On the brink is my favorite.. our group also has In the Lab but we never play it. It changes the game completely and we prefer it without that expansion. That being said, we still use the ITL roles for our regular games.
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Mark Hansen
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Microsillon wrote:
On the brink is my favorite.. our group also has In the Lab but we never play it. It changes the game completely and we prefer it without that expansion. That being said, we still use the ITL roles for our regular games.


This is one of the things that I like about this game and the expansions (I only have OTB so far). You can use some of an expansion, all of it, or just the parts that work for you & your group. Makes learning and teaching the various parts easy when you can add them piecemeal. Doesn't make winning any easier though
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joekeck
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the rulebooks for all three expansions are on the zman website, so you can read all about all of them and all their game modes
scroll down to the last page to read about their roles
hope this helps you decide which is right for you!

pandemic 2nd edition (with two new roles):
http://zmangames.com/rulebooks/Pandemic.pdf
otb:
http://zmangames.com/rulebooks/Pandemic_OTB.pdf
itl:
http://zmangames.com/rulebooks/Pandemic_ITL.pdf
soe:
http://zmangames.com/rulebooks/Pandemic_SOE.pdf

so far, my favorite challenge is itl's lab challenge and my favorite roles are itl's pilot and field director, but a lot of soe's roles seem pretty great

fyi: they claim itl 'requires' otb, but it really doesn't:
1 you can play the lab without petri dishes (in fact, I prefer it that way)
2 you can play 2 virulent strain epidemic cards with 2-5 regular epidemic cards
3 you can play some kinda mutation variant using itl's 12 purple cubes and 'worldwide panic' infection cards
the only issue I see is that you wont have enough event cards for the proper setup of a 5 player game, but you can always just use a couple team bonus cards instead

if you get itl without otb, be sure to read the otb rules online to learn the virulent strain and mutation challenges, as well as the 5-player rules and new events setup

the new roles are also my favorite part of any pandemic expansion
and imo, they get better with each expansion
though otb has the most roles, I think itl and soe's roles are more fun/interesting
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N Bash
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Hi!

Regarding the roles, almost all of the roles from the expansions can be played in a standard game. Two of the roles from State of Emergency can only be played with game modes associated to the expansion. Some of the roles from In the Lab (including revised versions of old roles) have an extra ability if you play the Lab Challenge, because it reduces the importance of card trading a great deal, but they can be played without issue without using the Lab Challenge. The roles from On the Brink are pretty standard, except for Bio-Terrorist - which of course is only used within its own module - and Field Operative, which can't be used with Lab Challenge(but works for anything else).

As for the contents of the expansions:

On the Brink - This expansion just feels essential to me. Like with most board games, the base game will get a bit too repetitive eventually. Four diseases that are always pretty much the same, the same few event cards, not many roles(especially in the first edition). OtB gives Pandemic longevity by adding the variation it needs. Roles, events and challenges. We pretty much always use Virulent Strain just to make sure things get interesting. Mutation Challenge is cool, but too random. Sometimes you breeze through it because it hardly appears, and sometimes it completely overwhelms you instead. Bio-Terrorist is a bit flawed, but fun to try. Rules for five players is irrelevant to me, but I've heard it can make the time between turns become a bit long.

In the Lab - While OtB feels like a requirement, ItL is the best expansion. Why? Several reasons, but the biggest one is Lab Challenge. It's totally a personal opinion, but Lab Challenge shifts the importance of card trading to working a lab efficiently. Having to put two players in a city to trade one out of ~five required cards is, to me, more frustrating than a fun challenge, especially since you usually have to do it because you get unlucky with your draws. Working the lab causes more interesting choices, it feels more thematic, it reduces the frustration in hand management without removing the challenge, it usually makes cures the results of teamwork rather than one person just waiting for draws, and it makes sure you work for the cures(no cure on the first turn because of luck with Scientist and Researcher).
But wait, there's more! Worldwide Panic is the modified Mutation Challenge, and it works much better. We've had none of those rounds with purple cubes barely showing up since we started playing With WWP. They always show up, and they always give us hell.
The Team Game rules are pretty nice as well. Not sure if they're totally fair, you might be at an advantage with particular combinations of goals and roles, but it still makes a fun game when you want to go competitive for the variation, but still play Pandemic.
Some new events, Virulent Strain cards and roles. And the roles are great, they are more exciting than before. The ones from base and OtB make me go: cool, this should make a solid contribution to our team. The new roles make me go: oooh, I wonder how I'll get to utilize the strength of this role in this game! This doesn't mean we avoid the old roles, but we pick them because we know they'll be useful in the composition rather than because they'll be exciting. (When we deal role cards, we deal two per player and choose one each. Or if we're using two roles each, we deal three cards per person and pick two.)

State of Emergency - Got my copy yesterday. Haven't played it yet, but I read the rules and it seems very interesting. I like the fact that there's a module that makes the game easier ... which to me means that you'll able to also add other challenges to compensate. devil
And as for the roles: they seem to be as exciting as the roles from In the Lab!


So in short: In the Lab is the exciting expansion. On the Brink is the required expansion. State of Emergency is something I look forward to trying out ASAP.
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