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Pandemic: The Cure» Forums » General

Subject: IS this game super hard? Or are we just unlucky/bad at it? rss

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Tom Bruno
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An easy Co-op is no fun at all, but we have really struggled at this game. I re-read the rules so many times assuming we were misplaying something. Apart form on the first go not playing the rule on treating diseases with know cures, we have so far as I can tell been playing the right rules.
I watched a dice tower explanation of the rules and sure enough it we were playing correctly. I noticed Tom Vassel said something like "if you have any sense you'll play on intro" which I guess means its hard, we can't even beat intro without cheating

Are we unlucky?
some times we have just really struggled with horrible roles. One game we went from drawing 3 dice at the end of a turn to drawing 5 in about the space of 3 turns. another time we struggled to cure a disease rolling 5 or 6 dice. seems sometimes like the worst possible outcome happens a ton of times.

Are we just bad at it?
Not found a good strategy for this game. AT first I think we were too cautious, curing diseases one at a time. Maybe the idea is the diseases will go out of control regardless and we need to get wreckless taking samples to win before all goes to hell

Are we playing wrong rules?
Some of this game's rules seem really nasty. Like if you have a bunch of treated dice, then an epidemic happens, you have to draw upto five dice, roll them and the ones in the treatment ring, then draw another 5 dice at the end of the turn. one time we put 18 dice into regions in one turn.
Also the outbreak chain reactions, you can go halfway down the outbreak track in one turn. should that be only one move on the track or do you move it once for each region to have an outbreak?

Any Tips
- any tips for newbies to the game?
- do you house rule anything?
- are there rule updates we should know about?

Thanks in advance guys. co-ops are good for that panic, "we're all going to die" feeling but this has been the most ruthless in its difficulty, other co-ops I like like forbidden island and dead men tell no tales, they have been hard and I often loose, but with them it is usually a case of being very close to the line at the end. Mostly with the cure, we haven't come anywhere close.
So far we have concluded that dice hate us.
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Jason Reid
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My win rate went up significantly when I learnt the following guideline:

Don't always try to force yourself to spend all of your dice. Often its better to keep a player in a "hot spot", even if there's nothing more they can do there this round, than it is to move them somewhere less important but where they can "do" something with the dice they have remaining.

Also, yes, depending on the # of players, focus on curing one or at most two diseases at a time.
 
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Andrew
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We've won 7/15, and all our plays have been at 2 or 4. I actually thought it would be more than that given my recency bias, but ~50 percent isn't too bad. Some roles/combos definitely feel easier (whether that's true or not) - we've found the containment specialist who treats every time he enters a region, when paired with the dispatcher is solid gold because the dispatcher can send the CS to a trouble spot, use a plane or helicopter to go there too, and then send the CS somewhere else, then follow...and so on. In terms of curing, we're usually working on one disease at a time, maybe two...but unless an obvious opportunity presents itself we usually hold off on the second until we're sitting pretty with the first (this means 4 or 5 dice, which can still miss sometimes but usually comes out in our favor). The biggest 3 pieces of advice I can offer are:

1. Aside from combos that work for you (see ours above), keep yourselves spread out over the world so that someone is always available to move to a trouble spot and help out. If someone is tied up in sampling, they obviously won't be able to help out in this regard.

2. Don't ignore the dice in the middle. It feels more progressive to be treating the regions, but you have to do both. It's devastating to have all those dice come back when you get an epidemic. This of course becomes way easier when you've cured a disease and it's no longer 1 for 1 in treatment.

3. Don't be afraid to spend your crosses! I am one who likes to hoard, but one of our players constantly advocates for spending them almost as fast as we get them, and the resulting balance means we're usually playing at least half to three-quarters of the cards each game.

Hope this helps! Great game - our group likes it more than its big brother!
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Jim Greenwood
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UNLUCKY? Well any dice game is luck of the roll dependent, you can take steps to mitigate the effects in numerous ways. The game is meant to be a good challenge, so expect to lose more than win.

Several to consider.
- Position player pawns to be able pass dice and let the next player "roll for the cure". Don't try to do it all yourself. This allows for working on a couple of cures at a time. It also allows players to assist in likely threat outbreak areas.
- Pay attention to each area's percentage "likelihood" of the what color die. (i.e. - area 3 has a 3X higher risk than areas 4 or 5 for the "Black Plague" to appear. Areas 1 & 6 is 2X more likely for the "Red Death", etc.)
- Once you have multiple outbreaks cascading it's almost impossible to recover. So prevent... prevent... prevent.
- Don't forget the Event cards. Use them when possible and get the next one out. It often will help defuse a volatile situation.

There's plenty more to say but I let the others gamers give you their own advice. We actually enjoy this version more that regular Pandemic. But you have to be into the "chaos" aspect of the dice effect.
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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One very common mistake people make is that an outbreak only occurs if you have more than three dice of the same colour on a location. This seems to be one of the most frequent reasons people think this game is too hard. If you have 2 blue and 2 black dice on a location, no outbreak, however 4 blue dice is an outbreak.

And yes, you move the outbreak marker for each region that has an outbreak.
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Dan C
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I think it's harder than the typical co-op at least on normal setting.

I don't know what skill level you play at. But we've done about five games on novice and won all but one of those.

We've played five games on normal and lost them all.

So our experience is that there is a big difference in difficulty between the two.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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I have played 16 times. Twice on easy mode (both 5p) when we first got the game, where we lost once (playing an important rule wrong), and won once.

Then I have played 14 times on normal mode, with 10 wins and 4 losses. Half of the wins were very nearly losses, while the other half were pretty decisive. At 2p I'm 8-2; at 3p 1-1; at 5p 1-1. Some of our losses were due to some clearly terrible rolls, but most just felt like we were slowly overwhelmed.

With 2p, we only work on one cure at a time. With 5p, we work on 2. With 3, I think we focused on one, and started a second before the first was complete, but I could be wrong. We definitely hand over a lot of samples, to get the cures as quickly as possible. We also tend to heavily use the role special abilities.

Generally, we either end the game with 6+ outbreaks, or just 1-2. I like the Reverend's point that outbreaks only happen based on color. If you're playing that rule wrong, your woes are easily explained.
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Tom Bruno
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Thanks guys. A lot to take away there

I think we have been playing the rules right. Sure we have had some bad luck, but haven't helpded ourselves in that regard. Someone made the point that sometimes you are better to not use a dice and sit in a hotspot. Where as we have often re-rolled the same dice a bunch of times trying to get what we want, sometimes you kinda have to, but we only have ourselves to blame when we roll more biohazards than we should. It is a push your luck game, and you won't always be lucky when you push

I think we have been stuck in some bad tactics for a while. We tend to panic and rush over whenever a region gets 3 dice of one colour. I knew about the odds markers for colours and have recently tried to advocate taking risks, leaving places where there are 3 of one colour, but low odds to roll another, or very few of that colour in the bag.

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Kevin B. Smith
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cmdaltgamer wrote:
Where as we have often re-rolled the same dice a bunch of times trying to get what we want, sometimes you kinda have to, but we only have ourselves to blame when we roll more biohazards than we should. It is a push your luck game, and you won't always be lucky when you push

So true. It's not your fault if you roll 4 biohazards on your initial roll (as my wife did once). But if you re-roll a lot and end up with a lot of biohazards, that's on you.

Good luck!
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Simon Maynard
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I've just got this game and played it a few times (either solo [three roles] or 2 player). We've won a couple of times on Intro level but have been crushed every time on standard level.

It's always losing by too many outbreaks. Never getting to the end of the infection track or because there's not enough dice in the bag. Is that normal or does it suggest that there's a weakness in our tactics?
 
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Fried Egg wrote:
I've just got this game and played it a few times (either solo [three roles] or 2 player). We've won a couple of times on Intro level but have been crushed every time on standard level.

It's always losing by too many outbreaks. Never getting to the end of the infection track or because there's not enough dice in the bag. Is that normal or does it suggest that there's a weakness in our tactics?
I haven't played this that many times, but from my limited plays, it's been Outbreaks as well. Of course, sometimes people are too focused on stuff like ensuring they have enough dice in the bags (I've pointed this out to the other players in some of my games), so it's possible that causes folks to lose sight of other issues, like the Outbreaks.

For this, I'd say
--make sure you're keeping infection dice from piling up to 2 per color.
--Make use of events that help keep those numbers down (like if it help remove them remotely, saving even more dice actions in the process)
--exploit character abilities, like Medic and Contingency Planner to keep Infection dice more under control
--Get rid of Infection Dice in the Treatment Center, as those come back and bite you when it's Epidemic time
--Consider not risking rerolling when you're close to an Epidemic
--remember that when you find a cure to a disease, you only need a single Treat action to put all dice of that color from the region to the Treatment Center. Likewise, it's only 1 Treat action to put all Infection dice of that color from the TC back into the bag.
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Simon Maynard
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Well, finally managed to beat the game on Standard level.

I'm not sure what did it but one thing I've tried changing is collecting samples for more than one disease at a time. I'm not sure what the optimum is (or if there is an optimum) but I wonder whether the number of samples you should be collecting simultaneously is some sort of function of the number of players/roles in the game?
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Kevin B. Smith
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With 2p, we tend to focus on 1 color at a time. With 4-5p, we are usually collecting 2. It varies depending on the roles and situation, though. We also tend to gain more samples than we might need, because failing to cure is so demoralizing.
 
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Cody Knox
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I've now played this four times, three times with 2P, and once with 3P. In each game, we lost HARD by outbreak. Farthest I've gotten is curing two diseases. Feels insanely hard to me, but I'm apparently in the minority.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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cknox77 wrote:
In each game, we lost HARD by outbreak.

Sounds like you might need to focus more on treatments, and less on whatever else you have been focusing on. meeple
 
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Reverend Uncle Bastard
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cknox77 wrote:
I've now played this four times, three times with 2P, and once with 3P. In each game, we lost HARD by outbreak. Farthest I've gotten is curing two diseases. Feels insanely hard to me, but I'm apparently in the minority.


Are you triggering outbreaks only when there are more than 3 dice of the same colour on a region?
 
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Cody Knox
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I am, yeah. Just now played another game, trying a new combo of characters (Quarantine Specialist, Troubleshooter, and Dispatcher). Got farther than ever before, curing 3, but lost at the very end. Both tracks were nearing the endgame when an epidemic blew the final outbreak.

Oh, and I cheated badly and still lost. Couldn't bring myself to do the epidemic steps once. In my defense, there were several rolls where 2 or 3 of the dice were infection symbols. Bad luck, but DAYUM, this game is rough.
 
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Scott Hill
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When I first played this game we lost a lot. But the more I played the more we won.
 
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fortheloveofdice
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Yes it is a hard game!

I seem to do pretty terribly if I haven't played for a while. With more play you can expect to get better - yeah I have occasionally lost or won a game based on some unlucky rolls, but usually it comes down to how you play.
 
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