Having just completed our campaign we got discussing how we would change things up for a 2nd playthrough now that we know the storyline.
Here's what we came up with:
Try to avoid outbreaks that bring cities to a panic level of 4 or higher
This hampered the end of our campaign as we had a line of 4's down Europe that made it difficult to move through the region. Level 1 is fine, and level 2-3 are okay as long as the city doesn't contain a starting research station.
Get your research stations out early, spread them across the globe, and work hard to not lose them
Of our 4 permanent ones that we got, the only one we lost was in Atlanta, which hindered the end of the game as we now had to waste actions walking there instead of flying. Of the 3 others, only 1 was at a level 1, and 2 had not panicked at all.
If you lost your Atlanta research station, build one in an adjacent city
This will help during the end when you have to spend actions in Atlanta searching. Being able to start near there, or move adjacent too it quickly is beneficial.
Go for eradication if possible, and mutate up to at least the 2nd level
We did this for a couple of the diseases and had the 3rd mutation on Yellow, and the 2nd on Red. We didn't have any mutations on Blue. Blue ended up being a pain in the butt to cure as we had a few cases where we won/and almost lost because we had to cure Blue in a research station.
Use military bases sparingly, but build one in City Zero
We didnt' have a problem wiping them almost all out, but could have saved some time if we had one in City Zero to aide in finding Patient Zero.
Keep Coda contained to a single color
Quarantine those border cities whenever you can. This helps later on as you have fewer places to vaccinate.
Use roadblocks sparingly
We didn't use any at all. A couple near the borders of COda between its color and an adjacent one could be fine, but don't go hogwild.
Stick the Paramilitary Escort upgrade on the character you don't mind losing
The colonel had it for us, and we didn't mind losing him even though we did use him twice.
Equipment is valuable, if you have any spare actions, get some equipment
We did this decently enough, but had to use some endgame upgrades to get all the vaccine equipment into the game in one shot.
If playing through a 2nd time, what would your strategies be?
I wear my Halloween costume all year round!
Interestingly, there's not really much that we'd change, other than the Paramilitary Escort.
I'm not even sure I'd avoid military bases. We had plenty of them all over the board, but they're pretty easy to destroy with the appropriate equipment. And destroying them actually contributes to victory for several months.
Most of the other stuff we did already, or at least tried to. We didn't succeed at keeping COdA contained, but that wasn't from lack of effort.
The one point that I disagree with is actually your first:
Level 1 is fine, and level 2-3 are okay as long as the city doesn't contain a starting research station.
We focused on minimizing outbreaks altogether, and plan to continue that strategy in future campaigns. Level 2-3 are definitely not okay, because that's where Level 4 comes from. There are going to be occasional unavoidable outbreaks, and the way to ensure that those are relatively harmless is to prevent any outbreaks that can be prevented.
I'm also not sure about equipment. I don't think equipment on a random card is actually any better than an available equipment sticker that can be put on a card as needed.
I think for the second playthrou I would try to do a lot different. Not necessarily better than the first time but different. Mainly to try out the other possibilities.
First time we mostly sticked with two highly leveled characters. Now I would not enhance the characters and use different characters every game.
At the end of our first playthrou we had two positive mutations, this time I would do this a lot.
Its a bit gamey, but the first time black was coda and for the second time I rather have it be a different color. So I would remove black cubes in the first rounds.
We lost (second outbreak) Atlanta due to an unpreventable epidemic/infection combo.
Focus more on containment on Cod4. Roadblock off the entrances to the Cod4 color to keep it from outbreaking. In our case it was yellow, so Cairo/Khartuum is something we should have blocked right away.
Continue to use military bases on Cod4 continents. Roadblocks are useful, and the 'quarantine adjacent cities while on a military base' combined with an invincible quarantine specialist makes Cod4 FAR more manageable. Military bases automatically pop up, so getting to put them where you want them is far more useful.
I agree about the eq cards. They are easy enough to put on when you want them, and it's super useful to have the guy who needs them put on.
Finish the game without the military bases: Seriously, this would have put us into the highest category, but we didn't do it because we just didn't think it would matter. Scoring-wise, I was a little disappointed that what we'd done with preventing disease spread (2 cities outside yellow infected) and character life (1 total scar amongst all characters) wasn't counted in the score. Preventing zombie apocalypse? 0 pts. Blowing up random people on a military base full of innocent people who are flying you around to fight the disease? 8% of total (40% of difference between A and B rating)
Better Permanent Base: We used Tehran, which was pretty awesome. Baghdad + Hong Kong might have been better, though.
No wasted games: We lost a few games trying to do weird things, like use the ops specialist to build stuff or using the colonel.
All in all, we played pretty close to optimally, except we didn't play to the right score goals