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Subject: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through August] rss

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Tyler B
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I bought "my wife" Pandemic:Legacy for Valentine's Day. I put my wife in quotes not because she isn't my wife, she is, but because it was really a gift for me and not her, as she'll be quick to point out. You see, part of our new year's resolutions, if you will, is to play more board games with each other. As such, we have set aside every Friday evening toward for homemade pizza and board games. Additionally, we will continue to have gaming groups come over on some weekends, but these Friday sessions do not preclude other sessions. I got P:L as a commitment for us to play together at least 12 times. It was a way to ensure we stuck to this plan and spent time together. That's how I rationalized it as a Valentine's Day gift anyway. Wow am I off topic.

Having never played P:L before, I wanted to start this thread to outline our successes and failures as we go through the campaign, along with our thoughts on things as they develop. Feel free to follow along. I will keep the title updated to account for the spoilers within.

Quick Board Status end of August
W|W|W|L-W|W|W|W|W|?|?|?|?
Starting Research Stations: Atlanta, Hong Kong
Starting Military Bases: Atlanta, Taipei, Karachi
Positive Mutations: Black (3), Blubonic Plague (3), Lemon Lyme (2)
City Zero: Ho Chi Minh City; Faded Cities: Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta, Osaka, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, San Francisco, Taipei, Sydney
Unstable (1): Milan, Riyadh, Kolkata, Osaka, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Instanbul, Moscow, Chennai
Rioting (2): Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok, Lagos, Madrid
Rioting (3): Tokyo, Beijing
Virologist: found
Immunologist: found




January (Early): win
Duane the Dispatcher (wife) and Michelangelo (Mikey) the Medic (myself)
Red = COdA (since we can't name it, we just refer to it as The Scarlet Letters)
eradicated black early (still no name)
3 Epidemics drawn
4 outbreaks
highest panic level on board = 1
no scars
End Game Upgrades: Local Connections for Mikey, Positive Mutation

The hardest part of this game was getting the Blue Cure. No blue cards were coming up. Mikey cleared the board while Duane was able to find the cure in a Research Station, finally. We thought long and hard about a permanent research station, but decided against it. We took a positive mutation while we had the chance and made our medic more useful because we knew we only had 2 players to cover the board.




February (Early): win
Mikey the Medic (wife) and Suzy the Scientist (myself)
Relationship between Mikey and Suzy: Co-workers (?) - the one that lets you Share Knowledge if only one of you is in the city
eradicated yellow (Lemon Lyme Disease) and black again (still no name)
2 Epidemics drawn
2 new outbreaks
highest panic level on board = 1 (6 cities)
no scars
End Game Upgrades: Positive Mutation on Black (2) and Yellow (1)

We thought this Relationship was a must have in a two player game so we could continue to cover the whole board. Since only two red cities came out in initial infection (1 cube each) we ignored the Quarantine Specialist. At the end of this game, we decided that we would NOT place another research station yet, because if we upgrade the Positive Mutations, we don't need them to cure - only for mobility. We decided that we would do whatever was needed to eradicate blue in March to get that mutation.




March (Early): win
Mikey the Medic (myself) and Suzy the Scientist (wife)
eradicated yellow (Lemon Lyme Disease) and blue (Blubonic Plague)
3(2) Epidemics drawn - see below
1 new outbreak
highest panic level on board = 1 (7 cities)
no scars
End Game Upgrades: Positive Mutation on Blubonic Plague (1) and Lemon Lyme Disease (2)

I (Medic) started with 3 black cards and wife (Scientist) started with 2 yellow and 2 blue. We thought it would be better for the 3 Black player to be the Medic as he's 2 away from cure (outside of turn order now) and Scientist was 2 away from 2 cures. This was the right move. After taking LA from Mikey on turn 1 and drawing another yellow, Lemon Lyme was cured on turn 2 and eradicated on turn 3. With only 2 red cubes on the board to start the game (in different cities), we again got to ignore those Scarlet Letters all game and just play our game. We put the initial Quarantine Marker on Lagos (3 cubes) which was a great idea because it came out after the first epidemic and with no more cubes, we could eradicate yellow early. After eradicating Blue and Yellow by turn 4 (around the table, not total) and having as little as 2 black cubes on the board AND having the black cure in hand, we decided to play with fire and try to eradicate all 3 diseases before the end of the game. The third epidemic was drawn placing the 4th city in the red region in a chain of 3 cube cities ready for a massive outbreak chain and death of the game. Before the infect cities part of that turn, I played the 5 blacked for the final cure and won the game. We checked. Red would have gone to shit. I'm not sure if we would have had enough cubes, but the 10 or so outbreaks would have killed us (from 2 red cards in the infection draw).
Thematically, we decided to only take one positive mutation each time we eradicate a disease. We know we could have taken both on blue or both on yellow, but it adds to the thematic flavor for us.

Take home so far: We have been EXTREMELY lucky with opening setup and card draws in games 2 and 3. We didn't even have to venture into COdA territory at ALL in game 3 and some selective quarantine markers in game 2 stabilized the whole region. We have never gotten a scar, nor even been in position to get one. The one time we were, Mikey took the cubes from Suzy's city as he was passing by with the Local Connection upgrade (the next card drawn would have given Suzy a scar). I know this luck won't last forever.




April (Early): Loss
Quinn the Quarantine Specialist (myself) and Suzy the Scientist (wife)
Relationship between Quinn and Suzy: Rivals
2 Epidemics drawn - ran out of CoDA cubes on second epidemic on about the 6th-7th character turn (we each only had about 3-4 turns)
6 new outbreaks - all in CoDAsia
highest panic level on board = 2 (Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City)
no scars
End Game Upgrades: Starting Military Base in Taipei; and Veteran Upgrade on Suzy

Welp, this one went fast. As I mentioned last time, the luck of the draw was not with us for the whole campaign. Starting infections put 8 adjacent cubes in CoDAsia: Manila (1), Hong Kong (3), Bangkok (3) plus some in Tokyo and Taipei came quickly after. We never really had a chance, but our best bet was to play the QS and drop a bunch of quarantines on the area. Quinn and Suzy became rivals, which was needed for some early game cures, but not much else. Quinn went second, and the quarantine markers just couldn't go down fast enough. Between the two epidemics, we drew (on the same turn) Hong Kong and Bangkok. Hong Kong was under quarantine, at first. An outbreak in Bangkok sent a cube to Jakarta and and a cube to Ho Chi Minh city. Then Hong Kong outbroke in this chain sending ANOTHER to Ho Chi Minh City. About 1 turn later we pulled an Epidemic and the bottom of the pile was... Jakarta. We lost due to cubes, causing an outbreak in Ho Chi Minh City without ever drawing it (Hong Kong was again under quarantine). So that's the story of how we lost before even seeing the Faded. I guess thematically it makes sense in our story. CoDA finally got really really bad... and is now a major concern. I still think Quinn will prove beneficial despite getting slaughtered the one time we used her. But that game set-up probably would have killed any combination of characters.

April (Late): Win
Mikey the Medic (myself) and Suzy the Scientist (wife)
eradicated black (pending) and blue (Blubonic Plague)
2 Epidemics drawn
0 new outbreaks
highest panic level on board = 2 (Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City)
no scars
End Game Upgrades: Starting Military Base in Atlanta; Positive Mutation on Blubonic Plague (2)

Phew. Back to our lucky days. 3 Faded to start game: 2 in Ho Chi Minh (now designated City Zero), 1 in Bangkok. This was a lot like February/March for us. The biggest scare was drawing the first epidemic on the first turn of the game and the second one so quickly that it must have been on the top of the second pile. Thinking ahead to not end in Bangkok/Ho Chi Minh City (to avoid scars at the start of the next turn) was fun. My wife was in Hong Kong and preemptively dropped a quarantine there to stop a potential faded invasion. Wouldn't you know it, Hong Kong was drawn on the infection phase of that turn! The biggest decision/challenge we had was whether we should eradicate black, or fly our asses to Miami where Miami and Bogota each had 3 cubes and HAD to be coming soon. We lucked out when we chose eradication (as a game objective) and neither city popped then Mikey took an Airlift (yay funded events!) to Bogota to clean up the mess. NA/SA still clean. Go team! Now that we don't need research stations to clear diseases, and Suzy is a veteran, we felt we needed to put a permanent military base in Atlanta. We'll start in the research station, but have increased mobility from the start. We saw that May needs 3 completed objectives, and if we don't get any more one of them is military bases, so we thought we'd also use the upgrade as a potential head start. This also means that we didn't take Positive Mutation 3 on either Blue nor Black as the opportunity cost there.

Note: This kind of loss in Early April was sort of a mixed blessing for the game as is. We were short 1 cube for the final outbreak in the chain and lost. Since they were COdA cubes, and it was the second epidemic card's resolution, if we had had just enough to finish the chain, then COdA would have mutated again. We wouldn't have lost on the next infection draw because they would have been Faded at that point, and the ways the rules were written (replacement of cubes with Faded when first drawn), we would have likely had many more Faded cities than the two we ended up with in the "easy" half of April. And likely many more outbreaks too. And we probably still would have lost in the end. So running out of cubes lost us the game, but because of card draws in the next game the board state looks a lot better than it could have.

One final thought on April. It's not part of the journal I'm keeping above, but... Zombies? Really? F---ing zombies added to Pandemic? shake I almost threw the game in the box right there... but I needed to save the board state to take notes and upgrades.




May (Early): win
Mikey the Medic (wife) and Oliver "Ollie" the Operations Expert (myself)
Relationship: Mikey and Ollie are now Rivals
eradicated black (pending) and blue (Blubonic Plague) ... on the same turn
4 Epidemics drawn
5 new outbreaks (2 in Tokyo, 2 in Beijing, 1 in Lagos)
highest panic level on board = 3 (Tokyo and Beijing)
no scars
End Game Upgrades: Positive Mutation on Blubonic Plague (3) and black (3)

Wowsa! That went real bad real fast. Luck was STILL on our side. Only 1 CoDAsian city came out in the opening infections, and with the April reward - only one faded on the board to start the game... 16 to end it though. We decided that since only 3 Faded existed on the board to go after the 6 Military Bases instead of 7 Quarantines as our third objective. Because of this, we took the Operations Expert with the Rivals relationship to the Medic (to facilitate card movement in a two player game). Because of the Player Deck = Faded figure enhancement, things in CoDAsia spread fast and hard. Our 4th epidemic must have been on top of the pile, because it came fast. Tokyo had two outbreaks, I managed to put roadblocks around Beijing before its second outbreak of the month. My wife managed to eradicate blue and black in the same turn.

Ollie took the most selfish move of the campaign so far. He could have quarantined Tokyo before the second outbreak of that city of the game. But that would have required ending in a city with a faded figure and gaining a scar... That was a tough decision, and may come back to haunt us later.

To go along with our earlier ideas, since we eradicated black and blue, we made them both easier to cure. We are now regretting making Suzy the veteran instead of Mikey though because now her "power" is lessened and Mikey could use the mobility... That local pressure (or whatever) end game upgrade is starting to look like a good idea to force quarantines to neighboring cities from Military bases. Based on how fast things spiraled out of control in CoDAsia... maybe next game we'll use the Colonel or Quarantine Specialist.




June (Early): win
Gigi the Generalist (wife) and Quinn the Quarantine Specialist (myself)
Relationship: Gigi and Quinn are now Co-workers (anything to facilitate card movement in a two player game!)
eradicated and blue (Blubonic Plague) ... on Gigi's second turn!
3 Epidemics drawn - 2 and 3 were 2 turns apart, causing 3 outbreaks and making the Black disease nearly spiral out of control
3 new outbreaks (Instanbul, Moscow, Chennai all now unstable)
highest panic level on board = 3 (Tokyo and Beijing)
no scars
End Game Upgrades: Gigi is now has Archive Access, and we added some equipment crates to Madrid (Grenade Belt), Ho Chi Minh City (Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells), and Beijing (Hazmat Suit)

Finally, a game that felt interesting, had hard decisions, and we didn't get super lucky or unlucky. We didn't know if we would win this month, despite eradicating the Blubonic Plague on the third turn of the game.

In the opening infections, our trusty military base in Taipei (1) got a Faded figure on its doorstep, as well as Jakarta (2). We threw up our game winning roadblocks from June to build an iron curtain across the western border of CoDAsia. The Soldier, while interesting, would mean that 1/2 of our players can't cure a disease ... not an option in a 2 player game, in our opinion. This is yet another card/role we are missing out on in this game. Something that looks interesting, but we don't even get a chance to play with it. That's a discussion for the end of the year and final ranking of the game though.

After seeing the board decay last month due to Accelerated Incubation we thought it would be a good idea to get Quinn back into the game. Funnily enough, Quinn spent 1 turn actually in CoDAsia - the final winning turn to quarantine cities 6 and 7. Africa was a pain in our ass this game after Johannesburg and Khartoom came out in the initial infection (2, 3), but Quinn was able to keep it under wraps while Gigi eradicated the Blubonic Plague and headed to CoDAsia. Our strategy in dealing with CoDAsia was always to end in a city without a faded figure and a with a quarantine. Gigi's 5 actions were helpful in this regard. There's still a chance to get a scar if the city comes out in both the Player and Infection decks, but that only happened with Sydney, and with Quinn in the game for the next turn, it was manageable.

Once again, that fifth yellow card could not come out fast enough. In the time that final card came to cure Lemon Lyme disease we went from 6 quarantined faded cities to 2 and had to get back to 7 while the black disease spiraled leading to 3 outbreaks and only 4 cubes left at the end of the game.

When it came to game end upgrades, we knew at least 1 had to go onto Gigi. Once you play the Generalist, you almost have to commit to making them a super player to give them more abilities to use in their 5 actions. We gave her Archive Access as my wife threw away 3 cards this game: when you start with 4, you get to 7 pretty quick. We had no new Military Bases nor Research Stations built to make permanent. We didn't want the level 4 mutation on the Blubonic Plague, we want it on Black. We could have made the Iron Curtain permanent, added a funded event, added equipment or added a 2nd ability to Gigi. Ultimately (to the chagrin of my wife), we took the equipment. She wanted Gigi to get Local Pressure in order to quarantine 5 cities in CoDAsia in 1 turn. If she were also a Veteran, we would have done it. Gigi I wanted to go with equipment for the simple reason that we could upgrade 3 cards (as opposed to unfunded events) so we would at least be more likely to see them. We never considered Unfunded Events worth it because there's only a 50-60% chance we'll see it in a game (based on our game history). When it came to which cities, it was simple .. take a couple Faded Cities that we cannot fly into due to panic level, and another (non-yellow, non-black) city that wouldn't be a huge detriment to lose as a flight option but was still accessible enough to trade cards with Co-workers if needed. We thematically put the Hazmat Suit in Beijing, because it's the most likely city for us to lose and just quarantine off. We put the Stem Cells in Ho Chi Minh City because, as City Zero, that's where this all started. We put the Grenade Belt in Madrid for the aforementioned reasons.

Our strategy seems sound enough for now... which can only mean the game is about to throw another wrench our direction in July. Sidenote: we finally won a game with Mikey on the sidelines.




July (Early): win
Gigi the Generalist (myself) and Quinn the Quarantine Specialist (wife) - coworkers
eradicated blue (Blubonic Plague) ... on the second player turn of the game! Gigi's FIRST turn
1 Epidemic drawn - yawn
0 new outbreaks - yawn
highest panic level on board = 3 (Tokyo and Beijing)
no scars - yawn
June Win Bonus: Hazmat Suit on Lima, because Gigi had Lima in hand and Quinn had Madrid's Grenade Belt reduce chance of scar from Accelerated Incubation because Quinn could protect a quarantine in place, and Gigi had the grenade belt to be played at any time (before turn start).
End Game Upgrades: Pilot Upgrade on Gigi - now she can have 8 cards, and not have to discard to fly somewhere. Paramilitary Escort on Quinn - now she can destroy some faded figures and make it easier to search for the virologist next month.

Now we have to find a virologist. This is an interesting mechanic that we couldn't make any headway on. We only saw 3 CoDAsia cards the whole game before we accidentally won by quarantining our 7th city (after finding 3 cures and an early eradication). We wanted to , but because of how the rest of the board was, we knew the next epidemic was coming and we only had very few red cards to deal with. With our only research station being in Atlanta, we're going to have to use a lot of red cards to find the Virologist (or get lucky and build a research station in San Francisco to ditch Blue cards). We made the decision to just win and move on by quarantining rather than risk everything spiraling out of control. This was probably a poor decision, but we did it anyway. (Side note: we checked the player deck and we would have had 2 epidemics in the next 3 turns with no red cards to search with).

General Thoughts: we're wishing we were playing 4 players (we don't want to change to 2 each this late). Some of the new characters look fun (Soldier and Colonel) and useful, but not having a way to cure diseases in a two player game seems like suicide. (Also, 40 minutes in new rules/bookkeeping, 10-15 minutes play time this month).

We used coworker relationship twice this game: once to move a yellow card to Gigi's hand to cure. And once more on the same turn to move a red card to Quinn's so she could fly back to CoDAsia.

Next month, we're going to make a concerted effort to find the virologist. Hopefully it's not too late. But being able to eradicate blue in July was too good to pass up (single infected city was Chicago, and more came up in the infection deck that we could ignore).




August (Early): win
Gigi the Generalist (myself) and Quinn the Quarantine Specialist (wife) - coworkers
eradicated: none
3 Epidemics drawn
2 new outbreaks - both in Madrid
highest panic level on board = 3 (Tokyo and Beijing)
One Scar: Self-Sacrifice by Gigi
July Win Bonus: permanent Military Base in Karachi
Mid-Game equipment: Mumbai got a Hazmat Suit in Hong Kong
End Game Upgrades: Permanent Research Station in Hong Kong; 3 new pieces of equipment: Binoculars in Algiers and Washington, Grenade Belt in Johannesburg

Finally a game that had us (figuratively) sweating. Without "Eradicate a Disease" option, we committed ourselves to finding the Virologist and the Immunologist. Lucky for us, the Faded had spread to San Francisco in a previous month which allowed us to turn in a lot of early blue cards to find the Virologist before the epidemic made it harder to find her. We didn't know if we were going to be able to find the Immunologist, especially after 3 epidemics. We were able to cash in two cards in their own rioting cities for 6 of the 11 we needed though. We got it done right before an epidemic would have made it impossible to find him in August. We feel caught up from "taking it easy" in July.

This searching didn't come without consequence. Starting draws had neighboring Black cities to deal with that fortunately never had an outbreak. The same could not be said for Madrid, which had outbreaks on back to back turns thanks to poor shuffling luck, I guess. Quinn went to Sao Paulo to clean up the mess of 3 Lemon Lyme and 1 Bluebonic Plague, which was almost disaster since Sao Paulo was one of 3 cards that could have been drawn after the second epidemic. Unfortunately Madrid sent another cube her way, but she was spared a scar. However, Gigi's next turn had no way of quarantining Sao Paulo, so Quinn was a sitting duck. Rather than taking the outbreak(s) and the scar in Sao Paulo, Gigi took a scar instead and became a little bit paranoid. Since it's a two player game, Gigi will most likely always have a relationship with her teammate, so hopefully this won't bite us in the ass. Gigi has another relationship slot open for a new character as well. Quinn got back to Rioting Beijing to finally find the Immunologist and ended the game right before she would have drawn the epidemic that would have put the game out of reach. On the next turn, the 7th Quarantine could have been dropped to still win the game though.

Finally a game that was interesting in the decisions to make during and after the game. As much as the roadblock unfunded even sounds, as well as giving Gigi her scar back, or another upgrade, we thought we might need to search for a couple more missing team members (since there are 4 of each search token) so added Binoculars to help. We also were out of Hazmat Suits. And the next best thing is a Grenade Belt (not the Med Kit, because that takes 3 cards rather than just killing a faded figure to start your turn). We took another starting research station, finally, so that we could start a game not in Atlanta if needed, and to give Gigi some movement flexibility. Plus, we don't want to have to build one later in case we need it (which we might, otherwise the Field Hospital wouldn't exist).
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Stu Heath
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Re: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through March]
How was April - we are also doing 2 player campaign (just finished August) soo am interested to how its going for you guys
 
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Tyler B
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Re: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through March]
Darkangeldown wrote:
How was April - we are also doing 2 player campaign (just finished August) soo am interested to how its going for you guys


I'll let you know when we get there. I'll keep this updated as we play.
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Tyler B
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Re: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through April]
scottishduck wrote:
Darkangeldown wrote:
How was April - we are also doing 2 player campaign (just finished August) soo am interested to how its going for you guys


I'll let you know when we get there. I'll keep this updated as we play.


April added.
 
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Kevin Youells
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Re: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through April]
Darkangeldown wrote:
How was April - we are also doing 2 player campaign (just finished August) soo am interested to how its going for you guys


My wife and I are also doing a two-player campaign. April was rough.
 
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Tyler B
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Re: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through May]
May Added.

Hardest month so far. Harder than the month we lost even.

Still, another month of more game setup than game play (50 minute setup, 40 minute playtime). For this reason alone, I'm not in love with the legacy aspect. That said, we are definitely enjoying the ramped up difficulty. The story? meh.
 
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Re: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through June]
June finally played and added.

Added some equipment at the end of the game, honestly, for flavor. If we kept upgrading characters and diseases, we wouldn't get to use any of the fun new toys the game keeps giving us. It was a suboptimal add, I think. But oh well.

Black nearly lost us the game while we AGAIN were waiting on a cure for Lemon Lyme disease. shake
 
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Re: my two-player legacy campaign [spoilers through July]
July Added.

Meh.

45 minute bookkeeping. 15 minute playtime before winning.

Next month will be harder, I know. (it has to be).
 
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August added.

Finally a fun and challenging game.

Somehow, someway, Hong Kong, the most connected city in CoDAsia, is resisting the Faded and still hasn't turned. Not from Accelerated Incubation, Infection, nor an Outbreak.
 
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