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Applied
Virological
Containment and
Disease
Eradication


Presents

My name is Professor White. I am a Researcher.
In October of 2015 our planet was gripped by lethal plagues. I am assembling these notes to help prevent this sort of tragedy in the future. I can't hold back the disease alone. My task is to discover and share information - to arm my companions with the tools they need to win this war on disease, because the diseases will not play fair.

Pandemic is a board game for 2-4 players. The object is to find a cure to four diseases, before they are completely out of control. There are 48 cities worldwide that must be protected. The researcher, the medic, the scientist, the dispatcher, and the generalist work together, to solve the problem of disease within 20-25 turns, before any one disease is out of hand or the death count gets too high.

Each research topic will provide more tools, data and information to improve the odds of winning. As the year progresses, topics on the nature of the changing situation will be added.

Let's all work together to beat this pandemic.
- White


-----

This Session report will be one year and 2 months long, concluding in late December of 2016. Articles will be added when games are played. They are currently scheduled for the first and third Fridays of each month, but dates may vary.

Although I intend to post the [SPOILER] results of each given month, I will ask that no one else, of course, reveal the course of changes before its time. In exchange, I will provide the results of my own private research, which, excepting spoilers, I don't mind collaboration on.

There will be several articles on the game, as we play Pandemic Basic as described in the booklet, before January of 2016, and I continue to conduct research.

Please enjoy our struggle against bacteriological, virological, and possibly entirely alien disease.
 
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Session 11/6 - Pandemic Basic (Practice game)

Dad (the Scientist) managed to cure the Yellow disease.
Mom (the Medic) managed to cure the Black disease.
I (the Researcher) simply tried to be helpful.

But ultimately we lost due to repeated outbreaks. I conclude the cause was primarily drawing two Epidemic cards in one hand. Dad defused the dangerous second epidemic by discarding Resilient Population, but the damage had been done and we were forced to deal with a more virulent disease population than we could effectively manage.

Funding is now 6.

---

The Four Diseases

The four diseases, referred to in shorthand as Red, Yellow, Blue and Black, are identical in form and mechanic, but they are NOT the same. Each disease mainly infects 12 major worldwide cities.

These cities and their connections form unique patterns that give each disease unique opportunities. The notes taken here are not comprehensive of this layout; But seek to provide metric evidence of strength to be compared. If an outbreak should occur, then the total number of transmitted cubes matches the [Number of Connected Cities]. Also of note is the number of links present on connecting cities, number of Zone-Crossing Connections, and which links are Cross-Zone. The last two figures are the total of "Linked Links", and that total not counting cross-zone links if there are any.

[See Data Table 1, Following.]
These figures may be more and more useful as we understand disease behavior. However, we can say some things for certain. Outbreaks in Hong Kong and Istanbul are very dangerous, transmitting the disease in a wide area. Meanwhile, outbreaks in Osaka and Beijing, and Santiago, are somewhat "less" dangerous, as only two cubes are transmitted.

The safest location on the board may be St. Petersburg, the least safe, Hong Kong. At first glance, the Black Virus seems most dangerous, causing more average damage in Outbreaks and Epidemics (Where V is the total of Zone-Cross Connections in same-color and represents potential for Chain Outbreaks.)


Anatomy of a Disease

To comprehend metrics, let's look closer at an infection cycle. Each turn a given number of cards are drawn from the infection deck. They are then discarded. But when a player draws an Epidemic card, they are shuffled and put back atop the deck. This means that all sites infected since the last epidemic, will be infected again - and if there are 3 cubes, an outbreak will occur.

But this structure reveals two lesser, positive rules.
1: Until an Epidemic is drawn, Outbreak is impossible. There is only 1 of each card in the deck; no space will possible already have a cube when it is drawn. And the presence of disease will act as a marker that the location is a potential site for future outbreak after an Epidemic. This can be thought of as STAGE 1.

2: Until an Outbreak occurs, drawing an Epidemic will not cause Outbreak on its own - the illness will always emerge on a blank space.

However. Once an Epidemic happens, two infection cards are promptly drawn. If either matches the site of the Epidemic, a near-unavoidable Outbreak happens.

Once the first Epidemic comes out, the game is at STAGE 2.
The first Outbreak signifies STAGE 3.

At Stage 2, all previous sites are re-infected, in random order. If any have 3 cubes, Outbreak occurs and the game reaches Stage 3. While in Stage 2, the drawn Epidemic STILL cannot directly cause Outbreak, but it can happen indirectly. An Outbreak will move cubes onto outlying areas - areas that have not been circulating and may be on the bottom of the deck!

After the third Epidemic, the disease accelerates to STAGE 4. After the 5th, it accelerates to STAGE 5. If the Outbreak count is one away from loss, then the game is at STAGE 6. All that waits after, is Loss. Being aware of the changing state of the game is key to making decisions for your turns.

The infection pattern is nearly autonomous, very hard to influence as a player. The order of the Virus cards, and the timing and location of the Epidemics, will roll out a few locations at a time, repeat them, and challenge you to respond properly. The order of the falling cards is random, but there are no dice. No chances. We must outwit disease. Our very lives depend on it.

I will do my best.
 
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DATA TABLE 1: The Four Diseases
City Name - Total connections - Cross Connections [of different color] (Cross Connection Total / Same Color Total)

YELLOW
1. Los Angeles: 5 - 45543 (21/9)
2. Mexico City: 5 - 55454 (23/18)
3. Miami: 4 - 3455 (17/10)
4. Bogota: 5 - 45444 (21/21)
5. Lima: 4 - 5552 (17/17)
6. Santiago: 2 - 44 (8/8)
7. Sao Paolo: 4 - 5435 (17/12)
8. Buenos Aires: 4 - 2543 (14/14)
9. Lagos: 3 - 434 (11/11)
10. Kinshasa: 3 - 343 (10/10)
11. Khartoum: 4 -5333 (14/9)
12. Johannesberg: 3 - 434 (11/11)

TOTAL YELLOW CONNECTIONS: 46
Total Yellow Cross Connections: 8. Inter-regional: 17.
Total Yellow Valences: (Cross-Connection grand total) 150.

RED
1. Beijing: 2 - 53 (8/8)
2. Seoul: 3 - 254 (11/11)
3. Shanghai: 5 - 23446 (19/19)
4. Tokyo: 4 - 3524 (14/10)
5. Hong Kong: 6 -545444 (26/22)
6. Taipei: 4 - 5265 (18/18)
7. Osaka: 2 - 44 (8/8)
8. Bangkok: 4 - 4644 (18/14)
9. Ho Chi Minh: 4 - 6454 (19/19)
10. Manila: 5 - 46434 (21/17)
11. Jakarta: 4 - 4434 (15/11)
12. Sydney: 3 - 453 (12/7)

TOTAL RED CONNECTIONS: 46
Total Red Cross Connections: 6. Inter-regional: 20.
Total Red Valences: 164.


BLUE
1. San Francisco: 4 - 4555 (19/5)
2. Chicago: 5 - 45533 (20/10)
3. Atlanta: 3 - 544 (13/9) * Research Station Present
4. Montreal: 3 - 544 (13/13)
5. Washington: 4 - 4334 (14/10)
6. New York: 4 - 3445 (16/16)
7. Madrid: 5 - 44544(21/13)
8. London: 4 - 4554 (18/18)
9. Paris: 5 - 44354 (20/16)
10. Essen: 4 - 4533 (15/15)
11. Milan: 3 - 456 (15/9)
12. St. Petersburg: 3 - 436 (13/4)

TOTAL BLUE CONNECTIONS: 47
Total Blue Cross Connections: 13. Inter-regional: 17.
Total Blue Valences: 138.

BLACK
1. Algiers: 4 - 5565 (21/11)
2. Istanbul: 6 - 333454 (22/16)
3. Cairo: 5 - 46434 (21/17)
4. Moscow: 3 - 364 (13/10)
5. Baghdad: 4 - 6435 (18/18)
6. Riyadh: 3 - 544 (13/13)
7. Tehran: 4 - 3445 (16/16)
8. Karachi: 4 - 4353 (15/15)
9. Mumbai: 3 - 434 (13/13)
10. Delhi: 5 - 44344 (19/19)
11. Chennai: 4 - 3544 (16/12)
12. Kolkata: 4 - 5464 (19/9)

TOTAL BLACK CONNECTIONS: 49
Total Black Cross Connections: 9. Inter-regional: 20.
Total Black Valences: 169.

 
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Session 11/15 - Pandemic Basic (Practice Game)

Mom played as Medic.
I played as Researcher.
Dad played as Generalist.

Mom cured the Blue Disease.
She then Eradicated it.
With a huge combo, I cured Black.
Dad cured Red.
Mom cured Yellow.
We've won... in this game we started with the Black Disease largely dormant and used all 6 funding cards to scrape out a win. Funding is now 4.

---

How to Schedule an Outbreak

The player deck contains 48 city cards, 5 Epidemic cards, and from 0 to 8 Player Cards. But these are not simply shuffled together - the Epidemic cards are set into even piles which are set on top of each other. This evens out the distribution of Epidemic Cards. Because the deck varies between 53 and 61 cards, exact figures are tricky. Using 58, there should be an epidemic within each 5-6 turn block of cards, as below:

[See Data Table 2]
In addition to the cards drawn, there are nine that are discarded at the game start. So, after an Epidemic, there are between 10 and 20 cards in the discard pile.

The game tends to re-infect about the same number of sites per period, generally about 16 or so. Each Epidemic card introduces at least one fresh site, and during the "initial calm", up to 10 more potential sites are added, before the play cycle drops to about half those sites, chosen at random.

At the start of the game, 18 cubes are placed on 9 different locations. It is relatively likely that one color will be on four different cards. If this is not the case, then there will be at last one color with three cards, more likely, 2 colors with three cards each. One color should be scarce, with 1 or no card. And one color WILL have at least five cubes on the board - probably six, in fact.
The color(s) with 5+ cubes re the "predominant" diseases for the game; those with three or more cards are "widespread". Diseases with only 1 card are "isolated" and those with no cards are "dormant".

Predominant: Early risk of Outbreak, focus on control.
Widespread: Likely to outbreak later in the game. Attempt to cure.
Isolated: Keep an eye on. Not overly concerning.
Dormant: Consider repurposing this color for now.

To prevent a loss from Time, cards have to be mustered into four melds of 5(4) cards each. You have between 21 and 26 turns to do it. Each turn cycles 2 more cards into the players' possession. However, players may only hold 7 cards, meaning that some cards will be discarded as the game continues. There are only 12 cards of each color. If 8 (9) cards of a color are discarded, then a Cure is now IMPOSSIBLE, and the game is eventually lost. Curing a disease is the only way to relieve hand pressure without losing cards.

Propagation Propaganda

To prevent a loss from Propagation, all diseases must be kept below a count of 24. Barring outbreaks, the total disease incurred on each turn is:

[See Data Table 3]
Note that when any one disease passes 24 cubes, then the game is over. At 97 cubes, total "pressure" has exceeded its maximum and a loss is inescapable.

Cured diseases can still multiply and outbreak. Eradication is required to stop this process. Even with a cure ready, a plague can still spread out of control. The Outbreak is the moment of dread; the time when things start to spiral out of hand. The number of Links on the average card is 3.916, or elegantly rounded, 4.

So the average Outbreak inflicts +4 Disease on the board. If an outbreak site has fewer links, then a "less severe" outbreak occurs. 1/3 or so of the board has sites like this; Red, Yellow and Blue have 4 such sites. Black has only 3.

On the other hand, a site with 5 or more links represents a major outbreak. Each color has 3 such sites.
So, by this initial observation as well, Black is significantly more dangerous than other colors.
 
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DATA TABLE 2: Expected Outbreak Timing model

Average game:
58 cards (5 Funding), minus 8 player cards (2 or 4 players)
50 cards

SET 1: 10 cards (1-10)
Epidemic 1: turn 1-5
SET 2: 10 cards (11-20)
Epidemic 2: turn 6-10
SET 3: 10 cards (21-30)
Epidemic 3: turn 11-15
SET 4: 10 cards (31-40)
Epidemic 4: turn 16-20
SET 5: 10 cards (41-50)
Epidemic 5: turn 21-25
Turn 26: Game over

Worst Case:
53 cards (0 Funding), minus 9 player cards (3 players)
44 cards

SET 1: 9 cards (1-9)
Epidemic 1: turn 1-5
SET 2: 9 cards (10-18)
Epidemic 2: turn 5-9
SET 3: 9 cards (19-27)
Epidemic 3: turn 10-14
SET 4: 9 cards (28-36)
Epidemic 4: turn 14-18
SET 5: 8 cards (37-44)
Epidemic 5: Turn 19-22
Turn 23: Game over

63 cards (10 Funding [Note: 2 Funding cards currently missing]), minus 8 player cards (2 or 4 players)

55 cards
SET 1: 11 cards (1-11)
Epidemic 1: turn 1-6
SET 2: 11 cards (12-22)
Epidemic 2: turn 6-11
SET 3: 11 cards (23-33)
Epidemic 3: turn 12-17
SET 4: 11 cards (34-44)
Epidemic 4: turn 17-22
SET 5: 11 cards (45-55)
Epidemic 5: turn 23-27 or defunct (last card, turn of loss)
Turn 28: Game over

If the deck is odd, then the game can end a turn early when a player goes to draw a second card, and cannot. The 5th Epidemic card can be concealed in this final draw, but is irrelevant if that happens.


----
DATA TABLE 2-B: ESTIMATING THE SPREAD OF DISEASE

Using the Average Game calculation.
58 cards (5 Funding), 50 card player deck.
Up to 25 turns.

Number of cards in discard: 9 starting cards in the discard pile, plus the Epidemic card, plus 2/2/2/3/3/4 per turn at 0/1/2/3/4/5 epidemics

Epidemic 1: turn 1-5, 2 cards/turn
Early: 10 cards (Up to 10 Fresh)
Late: 18 cards (Up to 18 Fresh)

If Epidemic is turn 1, then 9+Epidemic card are put in discard.
If Epidemic is turn 5, then 9+ (4x2) + Epidemic are in.
These are all new cards.
Between 10 and 18 Stack Cards are revealed during the E1 Cycle.

Epidemic 2: turn 6-10, 2 cards/turn
Early: 2 cards (None fresh)
Late: Up to 18 cards (Up to 8 Fresh)

If Epidemic is Turn 6, and last Epidemic was Turn 5, only 2 cards are put in discard, from 18 possible. No fresh cards are added.

If Epidemic is Turn 10, and last Epidemic was Turn 1, then 18 cards are put in discard, including the previous 10 and 8 new cards.
18 disease sites, is the maximum distribution width by Epidemic 2.

If Epidemic is turn 6, and last Epidemic was Turn 2, then 12 cards are put in discard, from 12 possible.
12 disease sites, is the minimum distribution width by Epidemic 2.




Epidemic 3: turn 11-15, 2 cards/turn
Early: 2 cards (none fresh)
Late: Up to 20 cards (Between 2 and 8 fresh)

If previous disease sites was 12 (Turn2->Turn6) and the Epidemic happens on Turn 12, then the same 12 cards are put in discard. If it happens on Turn 11, only 10 cards are put in discard.
The minimum distribution width by Epidemic 3 remains 12.

If previous Epidemic was on Turn 6, and the Epidemic happens on Turn 15, then 20 cards are put in discard (at least 2 fresh, up to 8 fresh).
The maximum distribution width by Epidemic 3 is 20.

Epidemic 4: turn 16-20, 3 cards/turn
Early: 3 cards (none fresh)
Late: Up to 30 cards (up to 10 fresh)
If previous disease sites was 12 (Turn 12) and the Epidemic occurs on Turn 16, then 12 cards are put in discard (the same 12). However if it was 12 (3rd outbreak on Turn 11 instead) and the outbreak occurs on Turn 16, then 15 cards are put in discard instead (3 fresh)

The minimum distribution width by Epidemic 4 is 12 (by extreme luck)

If the last Epidemic occurred on Turn 11, and the Epidemic happens on Turn 20, then 30 cards go into the discard pile. This can be a drastic increase from previous width as little as 12, with 18 new sites.

The maximum distribution width by Epidemic 4 is 30.


Epidemic 5: turn 21-25, 3 cards/turn

If the previous disease sites was 12 (Turn 16) and the outbreak occurs on Turn 21, 15 cards are put in the discard (3 fresh).
The minimum distribution by Epidemic 5 is 15.

If the last Epidemic occurred on Turn 16, and the Epidemic happens on Turn 25, then 30 cards go into the discard pile.
The maximum distribution by Epidemic 5 is 30.

If the MINIMUM distribution is met (Turn 21 Epidemic) then 20 cards will be drawn before game's end, and 5 additional new disease sites will be added before the game ends.

if the MAXIMUM distribution is met (Turn 21 Epidemic) then only 20 of the 30 cards will be drawn before game's end.

If the previous disease sites was 15, (Turn 17) and the outbreak occurs
on Turn 22, then only 16 sites will be drawn before game's end.

Epidemic Turn 2 - 12 cards
Epidemic Turn 6 - 12 cards
Epidemic Turn 17 - 15 cards
Epidemic Turn 22 - 15 cards
Final Draw - 16 cards

or

Epidemic Turn 16 -> Epidemic Turn 25 - 30 cards



TL;DR Facts and Figures.


Minimum and Maximum rates of infection, in a 58 card game (Average)

Epidemic 1: From 10-18 sites
Epidemic 2: From 12-18 sites
Epidemic 3: From 12-20 sites
Epidemic 4: From 12-30 sites
Epidemic 5: From 15-30 sites
Final stage: From 16-20 sites out of up to 30

The absolute minimum sites possible infected worldwide across an entire game, is 16.
The absolute maximum sites possible infected worldwide across an entire game, is 30.

There are always at least 18 sites left undrawn.

This figure table is for the listed "Average" game.
By adding more cards (High Funding), you widen the disease propagation rate.

By removing more cards (Low Funding), you tighten the disease propagation rate.

 
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DATA TABLE 3
TOTAL DISEASE INCURRED PER TURN
(Based on Average model, similar to above)

1st Epidemic
Early: 23
Late: 33

2nd Epidemic
Early: 38
Late: 48

3rd Epidemic
Early: 59
Late: 69

4th Epidemic
Early: 80
Late: 90

5th Epidemic
Early: 107
Late: 117

Note that when any disease exceeds 24 cubes, the game is over. At 97 cubes on the board, "Pressure" is over the maximum and loss is inescapable.


Another Look at Propagation

The chances of an Outbreak leading to additional Outbreaks, on the ame or future turns, is the true risk. When sites connect to lots of sites with lots of links, risk escalates fast. On the other hand, links to Out-of-Zone spaces don't carry significant risk of Chain Outbreak.

Two ways to tally this risk include the Cross-Link list, and total total links not counting Cross-Zone links, reveals...

The average number of Same Color Links (Chain Reaction Risks) is 3.166 or a bit more than 3.

Blue has 5 Cities below that average, and 4 above it.
Yellow has 3 Cities below that average, and 4 above it.
Red has 3 cities below that average, and 5 above it.
Black has 3 Cities below that average, and 6 above it.

Blue Outbreaks will tend to shift disease into areas where an Outbreak will NOT OCCUR. Meanwhile, Red Outbreaks are somewhat more likely, and Black Outbreaks much more likely, to cause Chain Outbreaks.

This second case model, then, supports Black as the more lethal disease, and suggests Blue is least lethal.

However, a City-by-City analysis indicates the single worst place in the world for an Outbreak is HONG KONG, a Red city. So if Red does Outbreak there, it will be significantly worse than other locations.

 
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SESSION 12/10 - Pandemic Basic (Practice Game)

Dad played the Medic, Mom played the Dispatcher, and I played Researcher.

Dad cured the Blue disease early. Then Mom cured the Black Disease.
Dad managed to Eradicate the Blue disease and named it "****". (Practice)
Mom cured the Red Disease next.

But then something terrible happened.
We lost to SIX CONSECUTIVE OUTBREAKS over the cities of Kinshasa and Khartoum.

Yellow went crazy, and in a matter of moments we reached a total of 8 Outbreaks.

Our funding level is now 6. We will need to try again.
This failure has revealed something dangerous.

----

Double Doom - the Hidden Outbreak Threat uncovered
The Outbreak threat can develop extremely quickly towards the end of the game. How much damage can be done?

Assuming the initial Epidemic occurs on an area with disease already present, it will cause an outbreak, and drive neighboring areas to 1 additional cell. If the first infection card drawn is that site again, a second outbreak happens and all those same sites are now at 2 or more cells. If this happens to three 3-cell locations, it's an instant loss.

Chain Reaction is the name of the threat. if a 1-point disease location is next to a 3-point, and is the site of Epidemic, that causes 2 outbreaks. Draw it again, and that's 2 more Outbreaks. If those 2 locations shared a site, that's 5 total now due to inevitable chain reaction. If they shared 2 sites, it's 6 total. This danger is easy to overlook.

In order for this risk of instant circular outbreak to happen, there must be 2 adjacent cities that share 2 connections. One of these cities outbreaks, putting a cell on the other. If that second city is drawn for Epidemic, it will cause instant outbreak in both itself and its neighbor (3 Outbreaks total so far) and primes both shared neighbors for outbreak. Then, if any of the 4 infected cities are drawn, FOUR MORE outbreaks occur (The total becomes an unforgiving 7!!)

This structure, I have nicknamed a "DD" - or Double Diamond/Disaster Diamond.


A "DD" requires all 4 links be the same color and form essentially a diamond shape with a line across the middle of the diamond. The 2 cities connected by the center line are the big risk.

"DD"s exist on the map in the following locations.

BLUE
London-Madrid, 1+2 Collateral cities hit
London-Paris, 2+1 Collateral cities hit
Paris-Essen, 2+1 Collateral cities hit

YELLOW
Mexico City-Bogota, 3+1 Collateral cities hit
Mexico City-Lima, 2+1 Collateral cities hit
Kinshasa-Khartoum, +1 Collateral cities hit

BLACK
Istanbul-Cairo, 3+2 Collateral cities hit
Cairo-Baghdad, 2+1 Collateral cities hit
Delhi-Karachi, 3 additional cities hit
Delhi-Mumbai, 2 additional cities hit
Delhi-Chennai, 2+1 Collateral cities hit

RED
Bangkok-Ho Chi Minh, 1+1 Collateral cities hit
Hong Kong-Ho Chi Minh, 3+1 Collateral cities hit
Hong Kong-Manila, 3+2 Collateral cities hit
Hong Kong-Taipei, 3+1 Collateral cities hit
Shanghai-Seoul, 2 Collateral cities hit

Also listed are the total cities not part of the DD structure that receive disease cubes from the outbreak blast, and collateral cities (cities of a different color). This estimates the total disease counter damage inflicted in addition to extreme escalation of Outbreaks!

Note the extremely dense DD structures near Delhi and Hong Kong.

The total disease output of these cities is very high. Given the option of resolving problems there, or somewhere else, I might opt for the High Risk locations.

Meanwhile, the Yellow and Blue disease seem to be at a lesser risk, but do not forget this incident first occurred in the Yellow part of the board. Paris, London, and Mexico City are also hotspots.
 
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SESSION 12/25 - Pandemic Basic (Practice game)
Dad played the Medic. Mom played the Scientist. I played the Researcher.

Dad cured the Red disease on Turn 2.
Dad cured Blue, and Eradicated Yellow.
I eradicated the Red disease.
Dad cured Black.

During this game, we drew 2 Yellow cards for Epidemics, while it was Eradicated. (!!)

We are about as ready as we are going to get.

---

Considering an Unseen Risk

While the Black Virus seems poised to run the players down via Cube Count, and the Red Virus's possession of Hong Kong and Wheel-like layout suggests a severe risk that you could lose to chain reaction Outbreak, the Blue virus seems comparatively benign.

The Blue Virus has fewer dangerous Outbreak sites, fewer connections, safer cities, with less risk of Chain Outbreak, and less internal connections as well. It is also host to the research center (Atlanta).

However, I am beginning to suspect this is to lull players into a false sense of security.

After thorough examination...
I believe Blue, is a RETROVIRUS.

Its primary goal is to force a loss, via Out of Time.

Virtually all color sections of the board can be crossed in 5 turns, but Blue takes 6. A Blue Outbreak scatters disease in areas that might be inconsequential, but like Black, Blue has slightly more total links than average. Moving between all these sites, trying to keep the virus in check, tempting players to just spend a Blue card and fly... cities that seem like less of a risk... perhaps you can just wait to discover Blue's cure...

This is the snare. It takes more actions on average to clear Blue disease, more actions than average to share Blue cards, and the temptation to discard Blue is stronger than average.

The Unseen killer is at last seen.
But how significant is the risk?

RED is connected to 4 other, non-red sites, with 16 dispersion.
YELLOW is connected to 7 other, non-yellow sites, with 19 dispersion.
BLACK is connected to 8 other, non-black sites, with 20 dispersion.
BLUE is connected to 9 other, non-blue sites, with 21 dispersion.

YELLOW has 1/1/6 points of contact to Black/Red/Blue.
RED has 1/2/3 points of contact to Yellow/Blue/Black.
BLACK has 1/3/5 points of contact to Yellow/Red/Blue.
BLUE has 2/5/6 points of contact to Red/Black/Yellow.

RED has 6 cross-contact lines over 4 sites.
YELLOW has 7 cross-contact lines over 7 sites.
BLACK has 9 cross-contact lines over 8 sites.
BLUE has 13 cross-contact lines over 9 sites.


Blue's tendency to spread over a wide area, its interconnection to other zones, even its potential to cross-contaminate and cause a full blown outbreak in a non-blue zone, is much higher than other colors. And even once cured, the Blue virus is significantly harder to Eradicate, requiring more travel and more actions, more likely to place foreign virus offshoots in neighboring zones and linger on, persisting to the point of resource exhaustion.

The "dispersion" is the total number of potentially infected cities in an outbreak situation. The high amount of Blue contact, and high density of external contact, increases the unpredictability of the Blue virus. Its unusual behavior may at times encourage discarding of not only its own color, but other colors, in an attempt to curb sudden, foreign viral threats.

So the following general statements can be made about the 4 viruses personalities, before even beginning the game.

BLACK Kill Method: Too many cubes (over-propagation)
RED Kill Method: Too many outbreaks (global crisis)
YELLOW Kill Method: Balanced/Generic
BLUE Kill Method: Out of Turns (Vectoral Cementing)

You can use this information, in concert with knowledge of which viruses are stronger at the start of this game, to select characters and bonus cards wisely.
 
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Choices and Decisions

It is very important to FIRMLY grasp the sequence of events during the game setup. Beginning a game by saying "So, what do you want to play this time?" causes the loss of a very real, very significant tactical advantage.

To fully grasp your advantages, follow the setup sequence exactly.

0. (Prepare and shuffle the virus deck)
1. Select the 9 infected cities. Set forth the Virus Cubes.
2. Select the player Bonus Cards allowed by current funding. Add these to the player deck.
3. Draw the players' initial hands.
4. Select your characters and start locations.
5. Split the deck for Epidemic cards, shuffle each mini-deck, and stack these mini-decks upon one another.
6. Randomly select who acts first.


This exact order reveals some potential advantages.

- You do not have to choose your Bonus Cards, until you know where the initial infections are, and which colors they are. Certain Bonus Cards are more powerful against certain types of infection, and/or certain layouts. Being aware of the natural differences between diseases can help you select advantage cards that give you the upper hand against a disease's natural trend.

- You do not have to choose which character you are playing as, until everyone knows which cards they start with. Your hand, as well as that of your teammates, and the board situation... may suggest an advantage to playing a specific role.

- You also do not have to choose where to start play from, until the board is well laid-out and the flight cards you have available are known. Later on, it is possible to add Research Stations to new areas of the board, so whether to start play from Atlanta, or a different city, can be decided just before starting the game.

There is also one specific disadvantage that must be laid bare, in all fairness.

- You may not choose who plays first.


9 of 48 cards reveal the initial setup, before players must choose which cards to add to the deck. And the choice of character can wait until each player sees what cards they have drawn. There are 5 characters.

The Medic - A defense-oriented Cube Control specialist, the Medic is more effective at shutting down dense, localized infections... and less effective at chasing evenly widespread disease across the board.

The Medic might be an excellent choice, for example, if there are 9 or more Red Cubes in play at the start of the game. It might be a weak choice if the disease is very widely and evenly scattered across the board.

The Medic and the Dispatcher are a strong combination.


The Scientist - An offense-oriented class, the Scientist needs fewer cards to cure diseases. This motivates the Scientist to quickly swap cards and amass combinations of 4 to expunge certain diseases. 4 of the same card fits much more easily into the hand, and makes the Scientist a highly efficient disease fighter.

If cubes are set too densely packed, Scientist may not have the time needed to both cure disease and defend against viral threats. If the viruses are distant from Research Stations, the Scientist will have to choose between going to help fix the disease problem, or hanging back with fingers crossed, hoping to draw the missing card.


The Scientist and the Researcher are a strong combination.


The Researcher - An offense-oriented class, the Researcher can pass cards to other players much more easily, and can help cure diseases much quicker.

The Researcher tends to spend time around other players more often, and when viruses are widely spread over many areas, can feel quite exhausted.

The Researcher and the Scientist can dramatically reduce cure discovery time when combined.


The Dispatcher - The Dispatcher increases the mobility of all players. This ability to move others can be invaluable in situations where viruses are widely spread, or simply eliminating the last of a troublesome virus.

If the Dispatcher gets a bad draw of cards, or uses too many carelessly transporting players around, they can find themselves unable to complete melds in time to establish cures.

The Dispatcher can help a Medic Eradicate a cured virus very quickly, by moving him to sites infected with the cured disease (which clears them)... and this tends to make the game much easier.


The Generalist - The Generalist is a balanced class which receives 20% more actions than any other class. (5, not 4) The added actions aid in mobility, disease control, card passing etc. Having a Generalist also results in getting more total actions for your team before Game Over.

However, those actions are spent on a character with no significant advantage. It also doesn't harmonize especially well with any class.


There are also 8 bonus cards to consider.

Airlift can improve mobility at a key moment, and is most useful against widespread viruses. (Blue, Yellow) But it is a strong card in virtually every game. Even the Dispatcher can make excellent uses of this card.

Flexible Aid can afford you a few extra actions. However, you must discard cards to do this, so it can only be efficiently used when a virus has already been cured. This makes it a risky card in a difficult game, and a choice one in what will probably be an easy game.

Forecast lets you rearrange the top 6 cards in the Infection Deck. Prior knowledge of what is about to be infected can help stop colors that tend to rampage when they Outbreak,(Black, Red) maneuver efficiently against the disease, and is effective in games that end early. It is far less effective later, when the infection rate is higher. A potent, important card when facing densely packed infection sites of the same color.

Remote Treatment cancels out 2 Virus Cubes. Though this can be used to control Outbreaks, it doesn't buy you very much time in total if you were already mobile/efficient. For the Scientist/Researcher team, this card is powerful. Not as much so for the Medic/Dispatcher team.

Borrowed Time can be important if you feel pressed to keep up with a widespread virus, or your characters have poor action efficiency. It's a modestly powerful card.

One Quiet Night can be handy ... or it can be disastrous. It ALWAYS results in 2-3 fewer sites within the infection Deck when an Epidemic hits. Used incorrectly, it can all-but-insure the Epidemic site has an Outbreak... If the game isn't on the line, it might not be time for One Quiet Night yet. On the other hand, if the sites in the Infection Discard are all safe/eradicated, then One Quiet Night can help seal the game away as a victory. Powerful for Medic/Dispatcher teams. Not so good for Scientist/Researcher teams.

Government Grant can be important for mobility and virus elimination. It's a modestly powerful card for any set of players, and especially powerful early in the Legacy Campaign. Later, when additional sites are set up, its power is lessened some.

Resilient Population is probably the single strongest bonus card available to you. You can permanently eliminate one infection site as a threat when it's used, and you can use it just as an Epidemic hits. This can help prevent cascade Outbreaks, and rescue the game.


When choosing between these 5 characters and 8 bonus cards, you should generally consider the following:

- Dominant Diseases, which colors are most common? And by how much?
A high density of a specific virus, may indicate a need for immediate defense. (Med/Dis)

- Dormant colors, are there colors of disease that are not on the board yet, or have low current significance?
If some colors are dormant, it may be easier to establish early cures and/or Eradication, and an offense-oriented game may be wise. (Sci/Res)

- Clustering, is the disease clustered up? If the disease is gathered in one area, it might be quickly and easily treated. (Medic) If it is widespread, then assistance with mobility could be wise. (Dispatcher)

- Card hands, what did each player get? If a player has a collection all of one color, they might go on early attack (Scientist) If a player has drawn a wide range of colors, it might be more useful to donate those cards one-by-one to other players (Researcher)

The more you plan to win, the more likely you will see the obstacles in your path... and the opportunities just around those obstacles.
 
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Fact allocation: Useful tips from the Pregame Studies

Did you TL;DR? Looking for some good tips?
Here's what I came up with in the months before it all began.





Terminology

THE STAGES OF PANDEMIC

STAGE 1: Until an Epidemic is drawn, Outbreak is impossible. All infected sites are prone to re-infection after Epidemic, but otherwise will not be re-infected.

STAGE 2: An Epidemic has occurred, but an Outbreak has not. There is a chance that an Outbreak will immediately occur at the Epidemic site - It must immediately be drawn for that turn's Infection cards. Until an Outbreak occurs, an Epidemic will not directly cause Outbreak - the Epidemic always emerges on a new location. But there is always a risk it will be immediately drawn for Outbreak, and this risk tends to be between 10 and 20%.

STAGE 3: Both an Epidemic and an Outbreak have occurred. Disease has now spread to new areas. Drawing an Outbreak-infected site for Epidemic, will cause immediate Outbreak, and can cause repeated Chain-Reaction Outbreaks if the site is drawn again.

STAGE 4: There have been 3 Epidemic cards. Infection rate accelerates.

STAGE 5: There have been 5 Epidemic cards. Infection rate is very high, and few turns remain.

STAGE 6: There have been 7 Outbreaks. If one more Outbreak occurs, the game is lost.


Initial Disease States

Colors with 5+ Cubes are "Predominant".
Colors with 3+ Cards are "Widespread".
Colors with 1 Card are "Isolated".
Colors with no Cards are "Dormant".


Major Risk Factors
A game will be lost if more than 21-26 turns pass.

If more than 8 (9 with Scientist) cards of the same color are discarded, a Cure is impossible and loss is emminent.

If more than 24 Disease Cubes of any color are present, the game is immediately lost. If more than 97 total are allowed to emerge without treatment, the board will certainly exceed its capacity.


Factoids

Outbreaks in HONG KONG and ISTANBUL are very dangerous, transmitting disease in a wide area.
Outbreaks in Osaka, Beijing, and Santiago, are somewhat "less" dangerous.

The safest location on the board may be St. Petersburg.

By Analysis 1, the Black Virus seems most dangerous, causing more average virus damage in Outbreaks and Epidemics.

The game tends to re-infect about the same number of sites per period, generally about 16 or so.


The Board starts with 18 Disease Cubes and gains 2/2/2/3/3/4 per turn with 0/1/2/3/4/5 Epidemics. It also gains 3 per Epidemic card drawn (for a total of 15 Disease directly from Epidemics.)

The average Outbreak inflicts +4 Disease on the board. At 7 Outbreaks, the board will have sustained an average of +28 Disease.

Red, Yellow and Blue each have 5 average cities. Black has 6.
Red, Yellow and Blue each have 4 cities that cause less severe outbreaks than +4. Black has only 3.
All colors have 3 cities that inflict more severe outbreaks than +4.

By Analysis 2, the Black Virus seems more dangerous than other colors.


The absolute minimum number of cities infected worldwide in an average game (2 or 4 players, 5 Funding) is 16. The maximum number is 30. 18 sites are always left undrawn.
More cities are drawn with higher funding. Fewer are drawn with Low funding.

The average number of Same-Color Links (Chain Reaction Risks) is 3.166, or 3.

Blue has 5 cities below that average, and 4 above it.
Yellow has 3 cities below that average, and 4 above it.
Red has 3 cities below that average, and 5 above it.
Black has 3 cities below that average, and 6 above it.

By Analysis 3, Black is the more lethal disease, and Blue is least lethal.

City-by-city analysis indicates the single worst place in the world for an outbreak is Hong Kong, a RED city.

DD structures - a Diamond shape with a line across the middle of the diamond - represent a severe risk of chain outbreaks spiraling out of control. The 2 cities connected by the center line are the big risk.

Blue and Yellow each have 3 DDs, Black has 5, and Red has 5.

London and Paris (BLUE), Mexico City (YELLOW), Delhi (BLACK), Ho Chi Minh and Hong Kong (RED) are major potential incident sites.


By Analysis 4, RED is host to many dense, high-risk DD structures and poses the highest risk of cascade Outbreak.

Blue appears to be laid out to waste time, with high amounts of cross-contact lines, to many sites, a spread out area, and very high disease dispersion.

By Analysis 5, BLUE seeks to force loss by causing Out of Time. It is a RETROVIRUS.


The Primary Kill Methods are known for the 4 main viruses:
BLACK: Too many Cubes
RED: Too many Outbreaks
BLUE: Too many Turns
YELLOW: Balanced



Start your games in the right sequence to maximize advantages.

- You may choose your Funding Cards AFTER you know where the initial infections are, and which colors they are.

- You may choose which Character to play, AFTER everyone knows which cards they start with.


- You may choose where to start the game AFTER the board is laid-out and the cards you have available are known.


However, please remember:
- You may not choose who plays first.



Consider playing a Combination of the SCIENTIST and RESEARCHER.
This gives you powerful Offense against the diseases, finding cures much faster.

Consider playing a Combination of the DISPATCHER and MEDIC.
This gives you powerful Defense against the diseases, Eradicating disease much easier.


RESILIENT POPULATION is probably the best Funding Card.

ONE QUIET NIGHT is powerful for Medic/Dispatcher teams.
REMOTE TREATMENT is powerful for Researcher/Scientist teams.

AIRLIFT is a good card for spread out viruses. It tends to be handy versus Blue and Yellow.
FORECAST is a good card for densely packed viruses. It tends to be handy versus Red and Black.

GOVERNMENT GRANT is powerful early in the campaign. It's less useful later.
FLEXIBLE AID gambles on having an easy game - it's less useful when the going gets tough.

BORROWED TIME should probably be taken as a filler card.




------------------------------------
====================================
--WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING--
-----THIS IS THE SPOILER LINE-----
====================================
------------------------------------





Beyond this point, the game begins in Earnest, starting with the first game on 12:01 of January 1.

If you don't want the Pandemic: Legacy Experience spoiled for you, please be cautious proceeding beyond this point.


You have been notified.

 
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GAME 1, JANUARY-A
1/1, 12:01 AM

Funding: 4

... The alarms are ringing. It's finally time. We have our marching orders and our Goal card is revealed. Fortunately, things could be worse. We have drawn up multiple potential scenarios, and we are quite well prepared.

There is a dense concentration of Virus in the RED section of the board, and Dad has decided to play MEDIC to resolve the issue. Mom has drawn several Black cards, and there are few Black disease spaces out there right now. She has opted to play SCIENTIST, and I have chosen to play RESEARCHER - In my first turn, I can give her the tools to cure BLACK, and we can Eradicate the (theoretically) most dangerous virus before the game gets too far along. Meanwhile, Dad will focus on shutting down the virulent RED before it can outbreak.

I am luckily selected to go first. I pass Mom the tools she needs, and on Turn 2, the Black Virus is Cured.

There is a YELLOW Epidemic in Santiago, which causes an immediate Outbreak. PANIC LEVEL in Santiago rises to 1. This is not much cause for concern, however - there is no other disease in that area. We get it under control, while not devoting too much effort to the issue. The RED disease is shut down, and Dad, at my advisement, builds a Research Station in Hong Kong.


Then it happens.
We get the news.

... I thought I had each virus figured out.
The Black Virus, seeking to spread rapidly. The Red Virus, explosive and dangerous unchecked. The Blue Virus, lingering and difficult to stamp out.

But I had neglected the one in the middle. YELLOW. It seemed... generic.
... Now it can't be cured. That's anything but generic, and leaves us with four major threats instead of three.

Four, but not in this game. With one virus down, we redouble our efforts. The Black Virus is Eradicated, nicknamed "Eastish" by Dad.

We cure Blue... and then Red. There are no further incidents - no Outbreaks or unmanageable problems. The YELLOW virus, thankfully, remains quiet.

It's over, for now. We've won. But we have a major problem going forward from this. Worse, perhaps, than our ever-waning Funding.

The Yellow Disease is incurable, and very difficult to treat.

We are awarded a scratch-off card, which seems quite handy given the situation... one fewer cube in February.

The less Yellow, the better.
We opt to upgrade the Medic to be able to treat disease in neighboring squares. This upgrade is a no-brainer - his Treat Disease skill is miles above everyone else's. This extra power will make the MEDIC a staple of future games. We also permanently install a Research Station in Hong Kong. This will help arrest the RED Virus, as we will be able to reach it sooner.

... I need to sit down.
An incurable virus.

What the hell are we going to do?


RESULT: VICTORY
 
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January - Incurable

COdA-403a. The CODA virus.
At first mention of an incurable virus, I was thrown into panic.

Now I realize, after careful consideration... that things might not be as bad as I initially thought.

After all, we now only need 3 melds to win. That is actually a major decrease in challenge.

We won't receive cards for Black, Red or Blue any faster, but now there is less confusion about whether we need to keep Yellow cards - we don't. We can use them to fly about. Or discard them to make space for melds.

The time-consuming nature of combating the Yellow disease - 2 actions per treatment - makes it obvious that we'll be playing a minimalist defense approach while sprinting to take out the other three colors. Containment will be the name of the game; The REMOTE TREATMENT card will likely be a must-take. Depending on board layout, we can expect to select probably that card and either RESILIENT POPULATION if further hampering of Yellow is needed, or AIRLIFT for some express Medic extermination without having to break up the Sci/Res combo.

It's painful, though, that we only have 2 cards to play from.
We have done ALL that we can to shift the odds in our favor - a new Research Station in a choice location, a powerful Upgrade to the Medic, just in time to keep him out of harm's way while controlling this rogue virus...

But... luck will play a major factor in the coming game.

CODA takes twice as much effort as any other disease to manage.
If it establishes itself as predominant or widespread, we will have a hell of a time keeping it contained.

I find myself crossing my fingers, hoping the other, "more dangerous" diseases are more prevalent in the next game.



 
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GAME 2, FEBRUARY-A
2/26, 10:35PM
Funding: 2

... They say fortune favors the bold.

I say, it favors those who do lots of prior planning, and then have the smarts to make the right choice, at the right time.

We have clearance.

QUARANTINE is available, and thank god, it's in the nick of time. This is EXACTLY the tool we need to contain this CODA virus!

Enter a New Character - The QUARANTINE SPECIALIST.
And I leap all over this girl. This is just what we needed.

There's a 3-block infection of CODA at Kinshasa. We use our Scratch card to tune it down to 2. We decide on AIRLIFT and RESILIENT POPULATION.

Dad draws AIRLIFT on Turn 1 and chooses to play MEDIC. Mom opts to play as the new Q.SPEC, though I cheerfully note that the new Quarantine action is a fine way to spend an extra action instead of moving for all of us. I choose to play RESEARCHER, and we form a unique BOND between the two...Co-Workers. This lets the RESEARCHER pass any card to the Q.SPEC, as long as she is in the same city as a card in her hand.

As Dad set about to resolving disease concentrations worldwide, Mom quickly started curing off diseases, fed cards by me. BLACK was first, followed by BLUE. As CODA resurged, we used Quarantine markers to control it. Much of the disease recurred around Hong Kong, exactly as I predicted, and Dad was able to corral it effectively, making full use of his Upgrade.

"Eastish" (BLACK) was once again Eradicated. I passed cards rapidly to Mom who spent her turns either dropping Quarantines on YELLOW sites, or curing diseases. Dad tried to Eradicate the BLUE virus also, but true to my earlier suspicions, it proved elusive and slippery, always re-emerging just before it could be pinned down.

We ended the game quickly, just before the 4th Epidemic card.
There were ZERO outbreaks. A Perfect Game.
All our previous decisions, and new tactics, fell into place together.

We upgraded the MEDIC again, giving him the PILOT perk, making him yet more powerful by eliminating some of his mobility issues.

And we WEAKENED the "Eastish" virus. We have detected its common structure - and made it curable without being present at a Research Station.

We're taunted by the presence of these new Bonus Cards. Our Funding is ZERO now, but remote quarantines seem consistent and powerful - and the ability to switch characters is interesting, if not inconsistently useful.

I feel there will be dark days ahead. We still have no answer to this CODA virus.

But tonight, the skies are clear and quiet.
Tonight... We worked hard, and we have earned our win. We tear up our free cube removal card in favor of a free quarantine marker card.

RESULT: VICTORY
 
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February - Containment

So CODA has reached variant 403b.

We've had unprecedented success. I worry this is going to be just like hurtling into a brick wall if we don't prepare thoroughly. There's simply no money left, we can't afford a sandwich to split between the three of us.

Comprehending Quarantine is first and foremost, so let's examine what this does from all angles, and what its weaknesses are.

Quarantine prevents a single Cube (or 3, in the case of Epidemic) from being placed on the board. It is roughly as-efficient as a Treat Disease action, except it is queued - it remains there until used. In this sense, it is advantageous to Quarantine areas where disease will likely recur, but in places where a Disease Cube can instead be removed, there's no reason not to do that instead.

Constantly Quarantining slows down response to actual disease, if that happens to be out of control.

However, in particular, when moving about, there's often "bad binary" when it's dangerous to move into a disease-ridden site with no actions remaining to actually remove that disease. This odd, leftover "Last Action" can now be spent dropping a Quarantine Marker even on blank locations, since they can be relocated, from anywhere, as needed.


For the Medic, Quarantine is a double-edged sword. It has the same value as a single removed cube, so it is less efficient than a Treat Disease action on a 2+ cube site. On the other hand, he can treat and quarantine a 3-cube site in 2 actions, and slow threats down drastically. This might make disease Eradication easier. And with his distinctly high-powered cube clearing, more players will find themselves dumping off Markers.

The turn-by-turn decision, "Do I move on? Try to reach another area and clear it? Or should I just drop a marker here?" is a fun option, and more often than not, a marker is the right answer.

Against COdA-403b, Quarantines are the only tool available - prevention instead of cure. And to this end, the Q.SPEC is a defense-oriented character, similar in power to the MEDIC, but better at defending widespread disease while the MEDIC is better suited to defending dense concentrations of disease. A Combination of the two can lock out all sorts of threats and make for a calm, safe game - as long as some way to complete the 3 melds is found.

NEW CHARACTER BIO
QUARANTINE SPECIALIST - a tough, defensive character which specializes in widespread disease. It is also highly effective against the COdA-403b virus, which cannot be arrested any other way. At the moment it unlocks, relationships also unlock. This allows the Q.SPEC to form connections with the other characters. This is free power and should always be done when starting a game as a Q.SPEC for the first time.

The Quarantine Specialist is also effective at preventing a single site on the board from any sort of disease-related damage. By Quarantining, no disease damage can be inflicted. (The Quarantine blocks the disease, and does not lift) This makes the Q.SPEC uniquely safe when blocking disease in a dangerous area - as long as she deploys a Quarantine before her turn ends.

In the month of February, the Q.SPEC IS EXTREMELY STRONG and should almost certainly be selected to play.


The next game inches closer... March is already here.

The AIRLIFT was key to last game. How will we win this one, with no funding cards? I've done the math - I know how ugly a 53 card deck can get, especially with 3 players.

The draw pool's going to be 44. 4 9's and an 8.

We're only getting 22 turns. 7 each.
And if we draw double Epidemics on turns 5 or 14...

Let's just say, the last time that happened, it didn't end well.
The odds of it happening are 4% each.

Last time, I had something to plan around. A virus that was tough, but at least, I could come up with a game plan. It gave me a focus, something to latch onto and work through in my mind.

But this time, all I have is my glorious success last time, like the light peeking through a slowly closing door.

This time... I'm flying blind.
My only hint hides on the game board... 2 stars.

There's going to be a second objective.
And I've got to be ready for anything.


We have incentive to consider the DISPATCHER and GENERALIST now.
The incentive is twofold... When introducing a new character, we can now assign relationship bonuses. We can't do that if we pick one of the four established characters. (MEDIC, Q.SPECIALIST, RESEARCHER, SCIENTIST)


The other half could be viewed as pessimistic... or as realistic.

Next round is going to be very hard to win. We may need to decide early, between playing to win, or playing to BUILD.

Minimizing risks and panic/board damage, focusing on controlling Outbreaks, possibly weakening the Black Virus further or perhaps establishing some new Research Stations, such as in Delhi or St. Petersburg... and ensuring the safety and health of the few characters we have... These are all potential alternate objectives to a focus on winning.

Taking a loss when a win is too difficult, may set us up for future victories down the road.

Of course, there's no reason to avoid winning when you can win! It's not like they can reduce our funding any further anyway!

But depending what sorts of curve balls are thrown at us this time, we may need to take a hard look at winning the war on Disease rather than any one battle.

One major action we could take, would be to assign RIVALS to the DISPATCHER and SCIENTIST.

Since the Dispatcher is currently unplayed, setting the two as Rivals will allow the Scientist to pick up cards the Dispatcher uses, and vice versa - though at the price of 2 cards. This might be highly useful for finishing melds, but this is a rather sacrificial strategy...

It means leaving out either the MEDIC (our strongest character, with 2 skills) or the Q.SPEC (highly strong, the only way to keep COdA in check)

We should resolve early on whether a win is possible or not.

If things look grim, then playing DISPATCHER/SCIENTIST/MEDIC would let us focus on Eradicating the Black Disease, "Eastish", again, and weakening it further, and also setting up the board with Research Stations in convenient places, while holding back the risk of Outbreak efficiently... I hope.

But we might lose to COdA-403b before we get that chance, and it might cause a lot of board damage.

Our other option is to play our prime team - Q.SPEC, MEDIC, and either RESEARCHER or GENERALIST.

... the path to victory will perhaps become clearer when the game is upon us.
 
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Robert Stewart
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Small rules point: A researcher can give any city card to her coworker, regardless of which city each of them is in - it's only when the card is coming from a non-Researcher to their coworker that it matters which city is being passed (either of the cities the two of them are in).

Good luck with March
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Thanks for that clarification!
 
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