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Subject: Government Shutdown rss

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Annemarie Post
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‘Government Shutdown’ is a scenario that is available from Z-Man (http://www.zmangames.com/downloadable-files.html). In this scenario every character starts with only 2 actions. More actions become available when the situation in the world becomes problematic and the government realizes that the CDC needs more funding. On the 3rd and 5th space of the infection track and the 3rd, 5th and 7th space of the outbreak track, a number of markers are placed equal to the number of players. When you reach these spaces, these markers can be divided amongst characters as you wish, each marker giving the character one more action. Also, there are no event cards in the deck, but a number of event cards equal to 2 times the number of players is placed face up next to the board. At any time, you can buy an event card by discarding a marker and thus losing an action.

The characters in this game were the Generalist, Troubleshooter, Field Operative and Pharmacist. The event cards on offer were: special orders, rapid vaccine deployment, mobile hospital, emergency conference, government grant, new assignment, commercial travel ban, and sequencing breakthrough. Our starting research station was in New York (randomly chosen) and the cities starting with three cubes were Cairo, St Petersburg and Atlanta.

The start of the game is always difficult when playing ‘Government Shutdown’. Where you sometimes feel 4 actions is not enough to do anything useful on your turn, 2 actions is even more limiting. In the first turns, only the Generalist (who's ability we translated as 'gets one extra action for this scenario) would be able to reach one of the cities with three cubes (Atlanta) since we didn’t have good city cards to travel with. However, she was the last person to take her turn, since we were starting with the Troubleshooter who was sitting to the Generalist’s left. The Troubleshooter couldn’t do anything useful, so it was best for her to treat disease in New York (where there were 2 cubes) and then stay there. We then decided we needed to be more mobile and therefore we bought the ‘new assignment’ event card by discarding one of the Generalist’s actions. Now she had 2 actions, like anyone else, meaning that Atlanta was also out of reach. The new assignment was used to turn our Field Operative into a Operations Expert. It was decided that he should go to Santiago and build a research station there, since the Troubleshooter already had 2 yellow cards and needed another one. And then, before we could do anything about the cities with 3 cubes, the first epidemic came up.

Actually, this was not too bad. Including the epidemic infection, there were now 4 cities with 3 cubes and after 3 outbreaks we would get more funding/actions. This happened soon enough and gave us a bit more room to treat disease. Soon, we also unlocked more funding and at this point we started giving the pharmacist more actions than the other characters. The pharmacist (who can treat disease at a distant city by revealing that city card or remove a cube from a cured disease anywhere in the world) was a great help in keeping outbreaks under control. We were lucky that the city cards were distributed very fortunately and we didn’t have to exchange many cards. Soon the Troubleshooter had the cure for Yellow and since we had bought the ‘sequencing breakthrough’ event, we only needed 4 cards for the next cure and the pharmacist was holding exactly four black cards. From that point, the pharmacist could remove any yellow and black cubes, and additionally he had some great city cards to treat disease in cities that were in danger of outbreaks.

However, the Pharmacist could not control red (our last cure to be found), and 2 more outbreaks led us to the 7th space on the outbreak track. Only one more and we would have lost the game. Luckily, the Pharmacist was able to control all other cities with 3 cubes and when we drew our final epidemic, the only city with three cubes was the one we just infected: Tokyo. The problem was that it was a red city, and the pharmacist couldn’t do anything. The epidemic had been drawn in the generalist’s turn and since the Troubleshooter could take a direct flight somewhere without discarding the card and then use that same card to fly to Tokyo, we only needed to survive one round of infections to be safe again. At this point we bought commercial travel ban, meaning the infection rate is 1 for a full round. That meant Tokyo only came up after the pharmacist’s turn, being the third card in the deck. If we hadn’t used the event, we would have lost the game.

It was a tight and interesting game. The funny part was the role of the Generalist in this all. Where at first she was the strongest character, due to being able to do one more action, she soon became the weakest in terms of doing actions. However, by giving more actions to the other characters, they were becoming so strong that we didn't need the Generalist anymore and we bought event cards with her actions. At the end of the game, the Generalist had only 3 actions, while the Troubleshooter, Operations Expert and Pharmacist had 6, 7 and 10 respectively.
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The CDC is in Atlanta.

All characters start in Atlanta.

Where did you start?

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Annemarie Post
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We started in New York. Since the entire game set-up is random, we have played for a while now that we also pick starting research station random. This makes for a bit more variation, since you can get a better starting place than Atlanta (often) or a worse one (e.g. Santiago).
 
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