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Subject: My 17 Days in the Lab - A lengthy session report rss

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John Mason

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One aspect of gaming that I like the most is the various stories that develop from certain games as I found in Infection: Humanity's Last Gasp. In the game, you are a lab director who manages a team of scientists working with an incubator to grow and harvest proteins that are needed to cure (destroy) molecules within the complex bacterial structure. You manage the meager resources and make the tough decisions about what equipment to buy, what personnel to hire, and what proteins to harvest. Once all the molecules within the structure are completely destroyed, you win. If you take too long, the bacteria spread throughout the world and cause a pandemic, with total extinction of the human race a distinct possibility. During the game, the bacterial structure mutates, causing you to potential change your approach. Here is a detailed session as an example of the story arc told by the cards in this game. I really like this solo-only game as it gives me a good story, win or lose.

Infection: Humanity’s Last Gasp

Day 1 – I arrived at the lab to find the bad news. We have isolated a tough bacterial strain that was previously unidentified and we have a limited about of time before this bacterial strain spreads throughout the world and kills everyone. My colleagues have identified the initial structure with a core of molecule L, surrounded by molecules B, G, K, D, E, and F. Based on this morning’s status report, the structure is stable. In the Lab, however, a power failure occurred which means that certain lab equipment can’t be used today. On the news, heavy rains in New Orleans have driven the rats out of the sewers, increasing the chance of the bacterial spread. We buy a Homogenizer to double the effectiveness of one protein (if we are successful in operating it) and harvest proteins for molecule G. The containment team fails to mitigate the spread of the bacteria



Day 2 – Overnight, the bacterium mutated to incorporate molecule I into the structure. A sprinkler system was accidentally set off in the lab, damaging the lab equipment, including the Homogenizer. We were able to harvest the proteins to complete molecule G, and start breaking the bacterial structure (and earning money for the lab). In the news, we learn that the Tamiflu shot in Canada seems to be helping the very young keep the bacteria at bay and the containment team were successful in keeping the spread down.

Day 3 – The bacterial structure mutated again overnight with 2 “F” molecules. Our team was almost down a staff member as Sylvia’s car broke down in riot-torn Queens, but a complete stranger gave her a ride to the lab to help with our work. We successfully used the Homogenizer to harvest proteins to complete molecule F and earn money by curing the 3 F molecules. Amid rumors that the President of the US has gone underground, the containment team was successful in minimizing the bacterial spread.

Day 4 – The bacterium mutated overnight with an I molecule replacing an E. Thankfully, no drama in the lab today, except the Marvin the Mouse learned to unlock his cage and sneak around at night. We bought an Aspirator to potentially disassemble an incomplete antibody (if needed, especially with the complicated K and L molecules tying up resources) and successfully used the homogenizer to harvest for the B molecule, which allowed for a cure for the B molecule. The containment team was again successful in minimizing the spread with the quick reaction to a man with a nosebleed getting off a plane in Hawaii.

Day 5 – The bacterial structure mutated again with 2 additional molecules (both “A”s) on the outer edge. For a little levity in the lab, Adam the intern made little superhero costumes for Marvin the Mouse. Our luck using the Homogenizer ran out and we ended up just harvesting 2 proteins for the A molecule. We did buy a Absorption SPM machine to potentially target molecules with less than 3 exposed sides. In the news, the development of a drug cocktail to fight the bacteria look promising and the containment team were again successful in their efforts.

Day 6 – Our woes continue with the news that the bacterial structure mutated overnight with the addition of 3 new molecules (B, H, and J) on the outside of the structure. For the day, we got to borrow a new electron microscope which would allow for the targeting of a molecule with 1 exposed side in the structure. Too bad it goes back tomorrow. We successfully used the Homogenizer to harvest proteins for molecule I and L, and used out existing knowledge to cure the B molecule. Although there was no news of contamination spreading in Russia, the containment team was unsuccessful in other areas of the world.

Day 7 – One week in and the bacterial structure keeps mutating, this time with the addition of molecule C to the outside structure. Although it’s the 4th of July, no one in the lab feels like celebrating. We successfully used the Homogenizer to harvest proteins for L and A, being able to cure A. We also bought a Chemostat, which potentially allows us to re-set the incubator with 4 new proteins. Bad news for the world outside the lab: The entire island of Ireland has been quarantined, which prompted the announcement that the bacterial outbreak has been elevated to a official Epidemic.

Day 8 – The bacterial structure mutation rate has slowed a bit with only one new molecule (G) being added to the structure. Adam the intern made a mistake while mixing a solution such that we ended up only harvesting one protein today (for molecule C), but we successfully used the Homogenizer to double the protein. Using existing information, we cured the G molecule that developed last night. Maybe we are making progress. News stories continue to tell of civil unrest, with the latest being a hi-jacking of food bound for survivors in Miami. The containment team reported a success today.

Day 9 – Only one new mutation today with molecule I replacing molecule K at one location. We are down one team member as Sylvia called in sick, but thankfully it was only a cold. We developed an anti-bacterial cocktail that we hope to use to slow the spread of the bacteria, but it only a one-time use item. We were able to buy an upgraded Homogenizer that runs automatically, and used it to double a protein on the H molecule and harvested a protein for the I molecule, which allowed us to cure I, although one of the I molecules was too embedded into structure to be treated. In the news, a fire raged in Berlin as there are no available people to put it out. The containment team would have failed today had it not been for the prudent use of the anti-bacterial cocktail we developed.

Day 10 – The mutation rate has slowed, such that there was no mutation overnight. Team member Melinda Yee needed to be with her mother so she was not available today. We harvested enough proteins to cure the L molecule, which allowed us to free up the last I molecule so we could target that one as well. The containment team fails again today as the bacteria strain hits the highly populated areas of France, including Paris.

Day 11 – The bacterial structure did not effectively mutate overnight. Adam the intern found some news about the bacterial spread into the water supply in Chicago, which devastates Sylvia as she tell us her extended family lives in Chicago. We all hope to end this soon. Used the Auto-Success Homogenizer to double a protein used for the H molecule and also harvested a protein to finally cure the C molecule.

Day 12 – The structure has mutated slightly overnight with the H molecule appearing on the outside. We find that someone has left Marvin the Mouse’s cage open and he is AWOL. We harvested proteins for the H and J molecules. Despite the fact that the National Guards desertion rate is low in support of the containment efforts, the containment team has failed again and we have reached the Pandemic stage. We have to end this!

Day 13 – The structure has mutated with molecules C and E now incorporated in the inner circle. But Eugene worked overtime for us to harvest 3 proteins from the incubator today allowing us to harvest the needed proteins to cure molecule E.. Also used existing formulations to cure C as well. I think we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, which is good considering the containment team continues to fail, with more of the bacteria showing up in Vermont.

Day 14 – The bacterial structure has stabilized. The overtime Eugene did yesterday has taken its toll and he is exhausted. Harvested proteins for the H and J molecules, which was enough for us to cure the H molecule. Better news from the containment team as they were finally successful again after Italy agreed to close it’s borders.

Day 15 – Molecules J and A were found in the structure this morning. Eugene is now rested and is trying out new growth cultures, which has allowed us to harvest proteins for no cost. We take advantage of this development to clear the incubator using the Chemostat and grow 2 needed proteins for the J molecule. We successfully cure the J molecule and take a big chunk out of the structure with the additional targeting of the A and E molecules. The containment team is again successful, with additional news that there were no more deaths reported in the Congo as the bacterial spread has nearly stopped.

Day 16 – In a last ditch effort, the bacterial structure has mutated with molecules D, E, and C being added to the outer ring. A touching moment in the lab where Sylvia gently covers an exhausted, sleeping Adam the intern with a blanket. We harvested proteins for molecule D and cure molecules E and C using the existing cured. The containment team had a setback and failed in their containment efforts.

Day 17 – Today is the day! The structure did not mutate overnight and we were able to harvest the remaining proteins for the D molecule, despite Robert refusing to fix the broken centrifuge. We cure the last D molecule and have unlocked the needed cures for this bacterial strain. We announce the news that we have saved humanity with only a few days left before total annihilation. Tomorrow looks to be a little brighter.
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Mark Robinson
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Lancashire
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Cracking session report! Loved the storytelling. cool Thanks.
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Don Barree
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General Bonkers says the War on String may be unwinnable. Detractors worry that his statements will embolden string.
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John,

Nice to see your session report. Thanks for posting it. I just played this game last night for the ninth time. I have won seven times against the bacterial board and am thinking it's time to try the viral side. I am wondering if you've played with the viral board yet and how much more difficult you've found it to be.
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John Mason

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I played the virus side a couple of times. Much more difficult as the money is tighter and the molecules are a little tougher. There is a variant that I was reading about where you can play the bacterial side, but not get the money every round in the Outbreak and Epidemic stages (just the money for curing). That seems like a good transition into the virus stage. Good luck!
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Joseph Betz
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Hamburg
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This is a good game. I need to break it out again soon. Nice session report!
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This game worth expansions whistle
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John Gibson
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Calgary
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John,

Great session report. Now I want to see the movie!

I spent about 3 days working on the flavour text of the Status Report Cards. As an aspiring authour it was a lot of fun trying to create a narrative in a couple of sentences that still worked when the cards could be read in any order.

Cheers,
John "That Cowboy Guy" Gibson
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