Simon C
United Kingdom
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(Continuing the month by month session reports: see our other months here -
Early July
Late July
Early September
Late September
Early November
Late November)

We were there. The grand finale!

Well, possibly part one of two anyway. But we’d planned ahead – if we lost Early December, we’d have time to play Late December in the same day. However it went, this was to be our last day of Pandemic Legacy Season 1.

And to begin: a taunting message from Zodiac, and a complete reset of the objectives. For December there were just two objectives, both mandatory: find and destroy a secret stockpile of C0da variants in Atlanta through an elaborate and challenging looking search, and clear up the Faded once and for all via the vaccination of every single Faded city.

It was a lot to ask. We had a total of 20 Faded cities, only 7 of which were already Vaccinated. The search was long and arduous. And that was just the search – the mission was to destroy the stockpile; maybe an additional step would be needed after completing the search to actually destroy it! And while we no longer had to cure the other diseases, they’d still need to be kept in check to prevent us from losing.

Our opening disease spread threatened disaster with the very first card being yet again a Faded city (Baghdad), placing three figures down. We were just glad the network couldn’t expand there, with all the starting Military Base stickers gone! After that, though, the remaining cards were much nicer – the last three hitting a Vaccinated city, then a two and a one hitting further Vaccinated cities! Not that much infection after all.

We picked our characters: Iain the Immunologist was an obvious choice, but our second pick less clear. I was tempted to introduce a new character last minute – the dispatcher to help with the large amount of movement required through the Faded territory, plus popping back and forth between Europe and Atlanta – but Nicole brought me around to sticking with Tina the Quarantiner; preventing outbreaks remotely without having to spend time managing the other colours seemed like a win, plus ensuring there was no further Faded spread.

Our opening hands weren’t bad – for this game! We had a solid mix of colours each, which for a start on the search was just what we needed. I took Iain, also having in my possession a Blue card with which I could sabotage the military base remaining in Essen and the Shady Background upgrade. Essen’s base had to go: we had four Faded cities still to clear in Europe. The other remaining Military Base in Taipei could be ignored.

The final step before starting the game was our November win bonus – add 1 to all search tracks, or get three free vaccine pills at a pre-existing factory. This took a long time to debate, but eventually we came down on the side of the vaccines – we didn’t want to slow our progress in dealing with the Faded. Nicole once again picked the starting player at random and managed, to her chagrin, to pick herself. We were off!

Nicole began by jumping the search forward a few spaces, moving to Washington to clear a cube from the three placed there, and quarantining our three Faded in Baghdad. A good first turn when you protect all threes from the setup! The cards for infections started adding more cubes around Atlanta, and as our turns went on, it seemed maybe Zodiac was spreading some of their stockpiles – albeit not of full on C0da variants - directly around.

Meanwhile, I was picking up some Vaccines and headed to deal with the Faded. Iain’s abilities allowed me to wipe out the trio in Baghdad with ease, and with another action render it immune forever. Not least, that meant another infection card in the discard pile was harmless!

We worked together to narrow down the concerns. Nicole, while waiting for more cards to appear to continue the search, flew to our factory in Ho Chi Min and went to deal with the Faded in Hong Kong – not a game goes by without that card appearing! With that, the Faded were trapped – London and Essen could still be converted with an unfortunate outbreak but the Atlantic roadblocks meant that was an absolute limit no matter what happened.

Some elaborate flying patterns (Cairo to Ho Chi Min via shuttle flight; then to Essen via a charter flight – I was pleased to spot that) allowed me to take care of the Essen military base and also build a new Vaccine factory in its ruins, for more on hand pill production and an easy way back to Atlanta. Nicole had moved the search on some more, including with some binoculars, but we’d reached the twos and she was blocked on a pair I had. I headed over and dealt with them around as the second and very swiftly third epidemics came up. Sydney and Santiago were hit by clumps of cubes and had outbreaks – but we weren’t too concerned. The search was all that worried us, but Nicole had the cards and headed there to finish it.

She scratched the card and told of our successfully locating and destroying the stockpile. No further work required – one objective down!

And we didn’t have all that many cities left to Vaccinate. The only real issue was that a lot of yellow cubes had appeared while we were focussed elsewhere and we needed to handle those soon.

Fortunately, I was finding myself loaded down by Grenade Belts and Aerosol Units. As Nicole took charge of the yellow cube situation, I headed through the remaining Black un-vaccinated cities. Moscow, our City Zero, was treated – it felt satisfying placing that sticker – and I realised the end was in sight.

Deciding we were a distance from the fourth epidemic so keeping the piles small was a minor risk; Iain heroically took a scar to avoid the infection phase and prepared for the final turn. Drive to Karachi, Vaccinate; drive to Mumbai – spending one black card, as our second Collapsing city – then throwing two Grenade Belts to remove the Faded and the final action to Vaccinate the final city and win the game!

Early December and all done. Back to the legacy deck for the final step – “At last it’s over…” and a score card! A minute or two of totting up – including sighing at missing 80 points for leaving the final Military Base in place! – and we had our score.

807, narrowly pipping into the top rank

High fives and we were done. Pandemic Legacy Season 1…was complete.

But we’re not done. We also dug into the couple of bits that we hadn’t opened – the November catch-up card and the mysterious Box 8! Interesting, but not necessarily game changing.

And of course - I obviously had this final session report, but we also plan to do a little more. Nicole and I are going to independently write up our thoughts on the game as a whole – not strictly reviews, but commentaries. And then we’re on to the question of what we play next….

Onwards…to retrospectives, and Arkham Horror The Card Game!
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