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Pandemic: On the Brink» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Is it possible to have "unsolvable games"? (poll) rss

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Geert Vinaskov
Belgium
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Following the correct* rules, is it possible to have a game that simply cannot be won?
In practice this would mean that the decks are in a very unfortunate order.

* The amount of action cards is dependent on the number of players, and random, so assume the worst ones are in the deck, in the worst order possible.
* The roles are random, so assume that you've drawn the worst ones.
* Cards are closed.
* The characters and action cards from the expansion are used. Other modules of the expansion (dangerous strain, purple cubes, bio terrorist) aren't.

Poll: Is it possible to generate an unsolvable game?
1. Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), with 2 players
Yes, in theory it is possible to generate an unsolvable scenario.
No, every scenario is solvable.
2. Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), with 3 players
Yes, in theory it is possible to generate an unsolvable scenario.
No, every scenario is solvable.
3. Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), with 3 players
Yes, in theory it is possible to generate an unsolvable scenario.
No, every scenario is solvable.
4. Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), with 4 players
Yes, in theory it is possible to generate an unsolvable scenario.
No, every scenario is solvable.
5. Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), with 5 players
Yes, in theory it is possible to generate an unsolvable scenario.
No, every scenario is solvable.
      17 answers
Poll created by Geert Vinaskov


(same question for base game here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1634753/it-possible-hav...)
 
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Geert Vinaskov
Belgium
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(oops, the brackets of these polls could be better worded. Assume the following: 20% means "approximately 20%"

Poll: What is the likelyhood of generating an unsolvable scenario?
1. on Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), 2 players?
100% (unsolvable games always occur)
90%
80%
70%
60%
50% (one in two games are unsolvable)
40%
30%
20%
10%
0% (unsolvable games are theoretically impossible)
2. on Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), 3 players?
100% (unsolvable games always occur)
90%
80%
70%
60%
50% (one in two games are unsolvable)
40%
30%
20%
10%
0% (unsolvable games are theoretically impossible)
3. on Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), 4 players?
100% (unsolvable games always occur)
90%
80%
70%
60%
50% (one in two games are unsolvable)
40%
30%
20%
10%
0% (unsolvable games are theoretically impossible)
4. on Legendary setting (7 pandemic cards), 5 players?
100% (unsolvable games always occur)
90%
80%
70%
60%
50% (one in two games are unsolvable)
40%
30%
20%
10%
0% (unsolvable games are theoretically impossible)
      5 answers
Poll created by Geert Vinaskov
 
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Michael Tyree
United States
Dayton
Ohio (OH)
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I'm not sure what exactly you're trying to figure out here. It is possible, though unlikely, to have an unwinnable setup that loses on the first draw regardless of difficulty or player count. While higher difficulty raises the possibility slightly, it still is a non-zero chance of occurring so the answer in all cases is, yes there is a chance of an unsolvable scenario.

If your question is what are the chances of said unsolvable scenario occurring, there are a lot of variables that factor in. The basic calculation for a one turn loss would be based on the odds of:
1) A major infection set up in the black territory as most likely, but possible in others.
2) The starting infections being all one color, or at least something like 7 of the 9 infections with all the 3 cube in that group.
3) The 3 cube infections all being adjacent, especially if they are adjacent to each other (ie a triangle rather than a direct line.)
4) In said case, the player cards do not allow a desperate treatment attempt to break up the imminent outbreaks.
5) A first turn draw of an epidemic. This can be possibly even on a later turn if the players do not have cards or abilities to travel and treat soon.

These are a lot of factors to take into account, and the difficulty really only affects #5. Short summary, too much math for me, but anecdotally, I would guess less than a couple of percent chance of being truly unsolvable. The odds of a game going quickly off the rails due to unforseen choices are much higher, but I don't think those cases started out at an unsolvable state.
 
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