Simon C
United Kingdom
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(Continuing the month by month session reports: see our other months here -
July onwards: to come!)

We’re back! It’s been a few weeks since the last game due to real life stuff (Nicole and I moved in together!) but having finally caught up with the real-life year with our May game at the very end of May, we managed to play June on…2nd July. Ah well, close enough to catch up soon

We’d been living a bit of a charmed life going through the games so far, but would that change this month? The Legacy Deck had a bit of a reprieve for June, with only new options for players revealed; nothing making things harder for a change. Equipment looked fun and gave us a new use for Research Bases – good, since with the first level positive mutation for each of our non-C0da diseases, they’d become a little pointless. The Soldier, meanwhile, went alongside the Colonel onto the pile of “interesting, but not likely with only two players” – having a character unable to cure is an issue.

Opening set-up wasn’t bad either – spread out between all four colours, the only Faded being two singletons in the middle of Black (albeit adjacent – Baghdad and Riyadh) and the only real issue being two adjacent threes in Tokyo and Osaka (both cities already on level 1). We decided to defend against that by sticking one of our May win bonus roadblocks between the two; the other two went in Black between Cairo (our starting Research station) and the infected cities from the start-point. Our opening hands seemed blessed again - for the second game in a row, we had an opening hand of four of the same colour (this time, I had four Blues!).

This time, though, we decided to go for a slightly different route – rather than relying on achieving another eradication, we would try to go for the Quarantine markers. I picked Mike the Medic, finally having a chance to use his Veteran status we awarded him in March, and Nicole took Tina the Quarantiner. From our February game, we were already Rivals. We began in Atlanta and I led, dashing off to Tokyo to treat the first three. In the first draw, we got the initial Epidemic – what a welcome back to playing! Another three cubes popped up in Miami and the cycled cards immediately put a cube back in Tokyo – I was glad I’d treated that immediately.

Tina moved into Miami to clean up some cubes and begin placing some quarantine markers remotely – although rather than going straight for Faded cities, she placed her first on the remote opening three in Khartoum. Then back on my turn, we discovered the issue with Roadblocks – to remove the three from Osaka, I had to spend my entire turn dodging the roadblock and treating; a process that would have taken only two actions normally! It was worth it though – Osaka appeared a moment later.

We cured Blue at the end of Nicole’s second turn – discarding the blue she had in hand due to too many cards, allowing me to grab it with Rivalry and instantly cure it – and some smart moves with Mike’s Veteran status allowing Military Shuttle Flights meant we eradicated it a couple of turns later. Not so hard after all – and just in time, since the second Epidemic turned up high in its pile and missed putting cubes onto Milan. Red cards were throwing themselves into Nicole’s hand and before we knew it, Red was cured. We only had to wait for Yellow cards to show up, and complete one of the other two tasks – presumably quarantines.

With the non-C0da areas completely under control and a bit of a waiting game required for Yellow city cards, I decided to head into Asia to assist with quarantine placement. I was at our Paris military base, about to move in, and deciding whether I should make a Grenade Belt to help me if a Faded suddenly appeared on an empty city I would finish my turn in. I decided instead though to use Quarantines – the extra action would mean I finished my turn on a Quarantined city, instead of it waiting for the following turn, and then if the city I was on didn’t suddenly spawn Faded, I was actually achieving the goal. Much more sensible.

So as Mike the Medic I wandered into the Black region, navigating carefully to the north of the growing numbers of Faded in Baghdad and Riyadh. Tina was over in east Asia, cleaning up red cubes (yeah, we were the wrong way around) and dropping some quarantines on the infected faded cities to help, but Baghdad and Riyadh kept coming up and removing them. They were at three and only Baghdad quarantines, while I sat on the empty, quarantined Karachi.

And then – finally – our luck ran out.

The card draw was Karachi and the third Epidemic card. Karachi removed the quarantine marker from under my feet. The Epidemic card stuck three Faded figures over in Chennai, on the Eastern border of the C0da region. And then the infection phase drew both Riyadh and Chennai.
A Faded appeared in Karachi with Mike, and removed the Quarantine from Baghdad. Faded spread out Chennai, converting Bangkok and Hong Kong to Faded – our first non-Black Faded cities. Our board suddenly seemed horribly overrun by Faded and under-covered by quarantine markers.
Mike gained our campaign’s first scar: Regretful (discard a card when leaving a city with three cubes of the same colour). From a gameplay perspective, we figured he was relatively unaffected by this one – how often does the Medic leave a city like that? And from a thematic perspective – clearly he was regretting not picking up that Grenade Belt earlier

We re-evaluated our options. Quarantining was becoming extremely difficult and there were far too many cities with two or three Faded figures for our taste. We decided to abort that approach and go back to building Military bases – Mike was able to build a couple easily (helping him escape Zombie central at the same time) and we had three from the start of game due to previous upgrades. The only tricky one was for Africa – we were still waiting for Yellow cards for the cure, so didn’t want to spend one of the four Yellow city cards on building it, and we’d already discarded the Cairo card. Algiers was an option but already had a Faded in it – it would have to be a case of dodging in, building and dodging out by Tina.

Fortunately we started finding the Yellow city cards, and although we’d been making plans for applying the Medical equipment to one of Tina’s other cards to make it valid for all colour cures, we suddenly found that was unnecessary as she jumped from four to six in a draw. She dived into Algiers, built the Military Base, discovered the Yellow cure and we’d won. Six for six!

But although it was a fairly comfortable win in consideration of that game (only three outbreaks, loads of each disease marker left, and hadn’t even reached the fourth Epidemic) it felt like a much worse win than any other for the campaign. A scar, two non-black cities Faded, and a second city beginning Rioting (Baghdad having reached 2). Can we keep up our successes with flawed victories like these?

Our end-game upgrades included taking a fourth starting Military Base – this time in Riyadh, so we don’t have to worry so much about building one in Faded Central in future games – and the Local Pressure character upgrade for Tina – with the thought that she can sit on a quarantined Military Base entirely safely and simply spam out Quarantine markers elsewhere without moving.

Onwards to July!

Update: July has now been played and chronicled here
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