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Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu» Forums » Rules

Subject: Game over after third "outbreak" or shoggoth escape? rss

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Jeff Khoury
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White Oak
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So, just read over the rules and components and I'm a bit confused/concerned about the harshness of loss conditions.

The way I'm reading it, there are 7 slots for GOO awakenings, and if the seventh slot is revealed (Cthulhu), the game ends in a player loss. There are 4 "Evil Stirs" cards which will automatically reveal 4 GOOs (going from Pandemic experience, it is possible to beat the game a bit early, but most often, you go through most, or close to most of the deck). This leaves only 2 slots to play with (sometimes 3 if the last evil stirs is buried in the bottom couple of cards) before you will just be doomed to lose.

Unfortunately (again, going on Pandemic experience) it can be really easy for outbreaks (awakenings) to happen and the margin for error in vanilla Pandemic is something like 7 or 8 outbreaks before loss. Also, there's the shoggoths to worry about, which is entirely luck-based as to where they spawn and what summoning cards are in the mix to determine how often they move. If a shoggie spawns too close to a gate, or if several movement cards keep getting reshuffled and placed back on the deck, you're going to have a bad time. Conversely, if you get shoggies spawning far away and/or you get few movement cards, you'll have an easier time of it. (This feels too swingy for me as there isn't a great way to remediate it if bad luck happens, and maybe too easy if good luck happens).

My concern is that when the cards turn against you, as often happens in Pandemic, there seems to be very little margin before you are doomed to lose because the loss timer is too short with too many things ticking it down.

Now, at first blush, many things do seem easier
1. Fewer spaces.
2. Easier fast travel.
3. Easier trading.
4. Relic deck rewards (although it has its downsides with potential 2 sanity rolls, 1 for fighting a shoggoth and a 1 for using a relic)
5. NO OUTBREAK CHAINING
6. Auto removal of cultists after sealing gates (although, this is offset by not being able to remove all cultists with one action like you can with a cured disease in Pandemic)
7. Fewer Pandemic/Evil Stirs cards, so a little less concentration of bad stuff.

Those easier elements do make me think that hotspots can be handled better in this game, but I am still leary of that short GOO track and that even a smsll run of bad luck can end a game.

So, how does it play? Am I just being paranoid, or hewing too close to lessons learned in years of Pandemic playing?
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Kevin B. Smith
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Morro Bay
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Perhaps a bit of paranoia is setting in. Apropos for the theme, I guess. goo

I have played 6 times so far, all 2 or 3 player. Three on easy difficulty level, with 3 pretty easy wins. Three on normal difficulty, of which one had a rules error so that win is with an asterisk. Of the other two, we won one and lost one, but our loss was due to running out of cultists (with 5 OO's revealed so far).

The balance is feeling good for me so far.
 
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Joshua C.
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I just got finished playing 3 times solo with 2 characters and yesterday I played it twice with 2 players.

After the second game I really got the differences from Pandemic down. The first few times I was on easy mode and the last game I played was normal mode.

One thing about the shoggoths I missed the first time was that they move to the Gate then have to move again to have an Awakening. The first time I played once they landed on the gate I was flipping the GOO. So you will probably have time to get to the Shoggoth if need be.

I have found moving around the board is actually pretty easy. This helps in prioritizing spaces with groups of 3 cultists or a shoggoth. The Hunter character is very helpful for this, but I always liked the Medic in Pandemic too.

However spending your Clue Cards to travel around the board is pretty costly. I won the last game in normal mode with only 2 cards left in the player deck and the other character I was using was the Detective which only needs 4 cards to close a gate. So I wouldn't have won if not for that.

The harshest thing I found in the game is getting back to back Evil stirs cards. You can end up flipping Multiple GOOs at once, but that should be rare.

I would say a lot of the luck is really in what relics you get and what GOOs flip over, some GOOs are worse than others.

In the last game I found the Elder Sign Relic which prevents cultists and shoggoths from being placed in the City after closing a gate. This was a game changer.

I like this game a lot. I like Pandemic, but always played a friend's copy. I especially enjoy this solo the smaller board and spaces make it very easy to set up and run through.


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JVKhoury wrote:
... Also, there's the shoggoths to worry about, which is entirely luck-based as to where they spawn and what summoning cards are in the mix to determine how often they move. If a shoggie spawns too close to a gate, or if several movement cards keep getting reshuffled and placed back on the deck, you're going to have a bad time. ...



A double Awakening because an Evil Stirs spawns a Shoggoth which goes straight through a gate in the following Summoning step is always a possibility in this game. Unless you have the Alhazred's Flame Relic, I don't think you can avoid it. It's even worse when Hastur turns up. Initially I though it was fun and themey, but the novelty has worn off for me now. It's the thing I most dislike about this game.

Even ignoring the above, the game is a lot more luck based than regular Pandemic. Swingy is probably the word. Evil Stirs, Awakenings, Summoning and Sanity rolls can combine together in rather horrific ways. I suspect this is by design, as it fits in with the theme, and I rather like it. It can be mitigated by conservative play, but obviously you can't always be conservative in Pandemic.

My current cataclysmic record: what seemed like a minor risk resulted in five Great Old Ones being awakened off the back of a single Evil Stirs draw and subsequent Summoning step. It would have been six if old tentacle face hadn't made his appearance. I was doing really well up to that point too.


 
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Davi Rosa
Brazil
Brasília
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From the Dungeons and Dragons 80's cartoon. If only it was remade...
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This is supposed to be a short game either way, so it is not that bad if that happens, I guess. Better yet, it becomes a good tale to tell.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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JVKhoury wrote:
If a shoggie spawns too close to a gate, or if several movement cards keep getting reshuffled and placed back on the deck, you're going to have a bad time.

I just wanted to mention that as you close gates, it becomes less likely that a shoggoth will have a short walk to the nearest open gate. And if they're near an open gate, there's a chance an investigator might be able to travel through another open gate to meet them there.

In my games so far, we haven't had a single shoggoth escape. Of course, our unhealthy obsession with killing shoggoths immediately might have contributed to our losing due to having too many cultists on the board. And presumably makes us get closer to the end of the draw deck than we would if we were a bit more laid back about them.
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rcket scientst
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I am going to go with paranoid also, but that is part of the game.

It moves fast, which is a real plus for me. I have played probably close to ten games so far, a mix of solo, two person, and three person. I have won more than lost, but 60/40, so no sure thing. I think a shoggoth has escaped in every game but one. If you cannot get the gates closed fast enough, something will get you.

My feeling is the card removal mechanic is the best way to go, no need for more modifications. But, it is your game, so play it how you like. Last four games have been in difficult mode. I prefer a challenge, even if the calamari gets me rather than the other way around. The quickest ending I have experienced is two back to back sanity rolls from playing relic cards, with a paranoid result each time, on a space with three cultists already. Love the die.
 
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peakhope wrote:
I just wanted to mention that as you close gates, it becomes less likely that a shoggoth will have a short walk to the nearest open gate. And if they're near an open gate, there's a chance an investigator might be able to travel through another open gate to meet them there.


That's a great point, and a good reason to close gates as early as you can. Although, in one game I slightly delayed closing a gate so that a Shoggoth would have an even longer path to ooze to the next one, and I was able to ignore it for the rest of the game. "Take that you dumb blob!"
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Kirsten Blom
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linear wrote:
peakhope wrote:
I just wanted to mention that as you close gates, it becomes less likely that a shoggoth will have a short walk to the nearest open gate. And if they're near an open gate, there's a chance an investigator might be able to travel through another open gate to meet them there.


That's a great point, and a good reason to close gates as early as you can. Although, in one game I slightly delayed closing a gate so that a Shoggoth would have an even longer path to ooze to the next one, and I was able to ignore it for the rest of the game. "Take that you dumb blob!"


Owh good one. Going to remember that one lol!
 
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Dan Smith
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Kuess wrote:
linear wrote:
peakhope wrote:
I just wanted to mention that as you close gates, it becomes less likely that a shoggoth will have a short walk to the nearest open gate. And if they're near an open gate, there's a chance an investigator might be able to travel through another open gate to meet them there.


That's a great point, and a good reason to close gates as early as you can. Although, in one game I slightly delayed closing a gate so that a Shoggoth would have an even longer path to ooze to the next one, and I was able to ignore it for the rest of the game. "Take that you dumb blob!"


Owh good one. Going to remember that one lol!


It can backfire though. If you get a few Shoggoth movement cards in a row he can enter anyway. And if you're unlucky like me, he will reveal the old ones that requires an extra card to close the gate. And then you're double screwed.
 
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