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Subject: First win ever for a new board gamer couple! 2 player, no expansion rss

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M Ponty
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Hi all, a session report from newbie board gamer. This might not be a very detailed report as I didn't plan to do this at first and also I have not so good memory. Just want to share a bit of stories of me winning the Pandemic (almossst) legitly for the first time.

Intro:
I just started playing boardgame around 2 months ago, mostly play with only my wife, and Pandemic is one of the game we played when we visited FLGS for the first time. And obviously, we lost the game on that first time. Right after that we found someone selling Pandemic with good price and since we thought this co-op thing is a very cool gameplay, we grabbed it right away, and it became our first board game. Once the box opened, we tried to play it 2-3 times with my sister which make it 3 players. We won once quite easily, but then we realized we missed some rules and make the win not legit (we didn't follow the rule to distribute the epidemic card 'evenly' into the deck, and we were lucky that all the epidemic goes to the bottom stack. In one session we followed this setup, then we lost). We were keen on trying it again but then we bought some cool competitive games: Splendor, 7 Wonders Duel, Istanbul. The Pandemic somehow got forgotten, until yesterday we try to force ourself play this game again to give it some love...

Session Report:
I played only with my wife, so it was 2 player session. We have no plan on how many times we would like to try the Pandemic on this session, so we just go for it and try our luck. We played 4 epidemic cards, and with open hands, with both of us always discuss the plan of what to do even though it's not our turn.

1st session:
Scientist + Operation Expert
For the first session, since we thought we know how the game already (which actually not really), we decided to pick random role. We got Scientist and Operation Expert. Not so bad, one role good in curing, and the other will make traveling easier. The game run smoothly, we can control all the hotspot and with scientist it's quite easy to find cure without needing much to trade card. Also with Operation Expert we build additional 4 research station easily (why not 5? since we still wasn't really sure where the best location to distribute them). However, later after taking the third epidemic card, things got messy and we tried to fix the hotspots and wasting our turn. We end up finished our player deck with only 3 cures found. Well, it's still first game, so it's ok, we can try again.

2nd Session:
Quarantine Specialist + Dispatcher
Losing at first game, we decide to just choose roles and use our favorite character: my wife used Quarantine Specialist, and I used Dispatcher. Just like before, all run smoothly, and the Quarantine Specialist proofed to be a good choice as we managed to handle first and second epidemic by putting her in right place using the Dispatcher + event card. However, on the third epidemic, we can't prevent outbreak from happen in the yellow area. Cubes are getting scattered and we didn't managed to put enough Research Station around the map. Then on the last epidemic card, I encounter something I've never experienced before: during the epidemic-infect step, we drew a city that already have a cube on it (!) and make it straight away goes to outbreak. I never thought that the infect step won't cause outbreak straight away since the bottom card supposed to be a card that hasn't been played yet, but I then realized that actually it can happen if there's breakout on other linked city. Actually I forgot for this session whether we lost due to too many outbreaks, or due to not enough yellow cubes.

3rd Session:
Medic + Contigency Planner
After 2nd session I took a bit time to read rules again regarding infect cities step. Then I realized that eradicating a disease means that we don't need to put any cubes for that color anymore (I'm surprised that I just noticed this rule! I've learnt this before, but somehow I forgot about it). Learning from that, I browse through the role and pick Medic (we never used before). Then since I missed a role that can easily build Research Station, plus want a role that can handle epidemic well, then I chose Contigency Planner. We stop building research station once we've built 2, planned to just wait for the Government Grant event card to build 2 more (as we can reuse the grant card). But... bad bad decision (and luck). The Government Grant card is stuck on the bottom most of the player deck (notice this at the end of the game), ruining my plan. The event card also not appear when we need it the most. The medic cannot perform so well also as it's movement is limited with the few Research Station. No need to say, we lost this game again, if I'm not mistaken due to not enough yellow cubes.

4th Session:
Medic + Dispatcher
Having been lost 3 times in a row really drop my moral and want to call it a day. But my wife still curious and ask to have one more try. I agreed. I feel the need to replace the Contigency Planner as we think he was not powerful enough. Then I got an idea to replace it with the Dispatcher as I feel it will be very handy to have the medic going around the map for the already cured disease. Before that, I browse through BGG to make sure that trick is actually legit. Having confirmed that it's legit, we try straight away with that combo with optimism (plus, I read a bit how Medic + Dispatcher is a powerful combo). First draw... EPIDEMIC. Damn, we even hadn't clear up those 3 cubes yet! I forgot how it was whether it caused outbreak or not (I guess yes) as my moral drop straight away with this and lost my willing to play. But okay, I just continue without much expectation. We spent some of our card in hand to do charter and direct flight, to make sure the medic can go the the hotspots. Build some research station. Seems good. Next epidemic came quite fast, but not so much impact as most of the hotspots are secured already. Now I feel luck came to us, we didn't encounter the third epidemic for a while, long enough that we managed to found enough 2 cures. I still kept my expectation low as it was still half of the game. We got a bit lucky also as the drawn cards mostly are the color that we were collecting by that time. And happened twice, that when we plan to meet each other to swap card, then the right card came just before that turn, making us saving a turns. Just right around the third epidemic we got one more cure, but we can't be happy yet as now there are some hotspots on the black area. We need to be careful as I have a feeling that the fourth epidemic might come so soon since the third epidemic came quite late. We just tried to be safe, and thanks GOD it's so easy to clear out those black hotspots like magic. We have one more cure left - blue one, and I already have 4 blue cards on my hand. And the moment came where I drew that last blue card, YES, I can start to feel the victory! We just need to do one more turn and FINALLY we won the Pandemic for the first time!

----------------------------------------------

After this session, I feel we might be playing Pandemic more often. The time we lost the game 3 times in a row, I would like to just forget this game (read: sell it away) as maybe it's not so good with 2 players only (as I mostly play only with my wife). But now it seems won't happen so soon, as now we know that it's actually possible to win

Well to be honest, I still missed one rule in the games during that last session, but I know this is my most legit win so far. This is the rule that I missed: There was one time when my wife taking a card while she actually already have 7 cards on hand, making it 8. But since with that one card she can make a cure already and she's already at a research station, she straight away discard 5 cards, left only 3. We got this rule wrong, as the hand limit supposed to be effective once we do the swap. So she supposed to discard 1 out of 8 card, left it 7, then only after that she can do other action. We got this wrong since on the info on the board, discarding to 7 card is happen after the draw card step.

Even though I realized that I still miss that one rules, I'm so happy that I feel want to share the session above with all of you. So my next target is to win the game again without any rule flaw, and maybe with random role. Wish me luck and thanks a lot for reading!
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Juzzo Hawkins
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Welcome to the rabbit hole that is Hobby boardgaming! Congrats on the win and I hope you have many more adventures. Pandemic is very much a personal Favourite in house.
Enjoy!
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M Ponty
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Hi, thanks for the warm welcome!
Yeah it seems Pandemic will stay a bit longer in our house. Played again last night, won, and now I start to read about the expansion pack. Looks tempting but seems I will buy it later when we got bored with the base game. Not to mention about the budget issue also laugh
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Juzzo Hawkins
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mponty wrote:
Hi, thanks for the warm welcome!
Yeah it seems Pandemic will stay a bit longer in our house. Played again last night, won, and now I start to read about the expansion pack. Looks tempting but seems I will buy it later when we got bored with the base game. Not to mention about the budget issue also laugh


My recommendation on the expansion to buy first is "On The Brink". Heaps more roles included and the mutating disease and virulent strain. I now never play with out at least either the virulent strain or mutating disease, and most of the time , both.
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M Ponty
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Misguidedbow wrote:
mponty wrote:
Hi, thanks for the warm welcome!
Yeah it seems Pandemic will stay a bit longer in our house. Played again last night, won, and now I start to read about the expansion pack. Looks tempting but seems I will buy it later when we got bored with the base game. Not to mention about the budget issue also laugh


My recommendation on the expansion to buy first is "On The Brink". Heaps more roles included and the mutating disease and virulent strain. I now never play with out at least either the virulent strain or mutating disease, and most of the time , both.


I see. Will keep that in mind Thanks a lot for the recommendation!
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Matt C
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Welcome to the fabulously thrilling and frustrating world of Pandemic! I am glad you didn't give up on it after those losses. Once that first win comes, though, it is hard to put it down. I personally love playing this game with my wife, but introducing it others is a great joy, so we try to play it with 4 players almost always.

One thing I wanted to mention regarding your discard issue..

mponty wrote:
Well to be honest, I still missed one rule in the games during that last session, but I know this is my most legit win so far. This is the rule that I missed: There was one time when my wife taking a card while she actually already have 7 cards on hand, making it 8. But since with that one card she can make a cure already and she's already at a research station, she straight away discard 5 cards, left only 3. We got this rule wrong, as the hand limit supposed to be effective once we do the swap. So she supposed to discard 1 out of 8 card, left it 7, then only after that she can do other action. We got this wrong since on the info on the board, discarding to 7 card is happen after the draw card step.


I noticed you might have another rule you need to correct as well. You mentioned that your wife immediately cured the disease after drawing the two cards that gave her 8 cards. If it was done on the same turn, rather than her next turn, this would be illegal. All four actions, which includes curing a disease, need to be completed before the Draw Phase. That's why the hand limit becomes tricky, as you have to decide which cards will help you most on the next turns. The only exception to this would be Event cards, which could be played immediately when draw unless stated otherwise.

I second the comment about getting On the Brink. It gives you a lot more Role cards and Event cards. That alone makes the game even more fun to play!

You CAN save humanity!
 
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Juzzo Hawkins
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VirulentStrain wrote:
Welcome to the fabulously thrilling and frustrating world of Pandemic! I am glad you didn't give up on it after those losses. Once that first win comes, though, it is hard to put it down. I personally love playing this game with my wife, but introducing it others is a great joy, so we try to play it with 4 players almost always.

One thing I wanted to mention regarding your discard issue..

mponty wrote:
Well to be honest, I still missed one rule in the games during that last session, but I know this is my most legit win so far. This is the rule that I missed: There was one time when my wife taking a card while she actually already have 7 cards on hand, making it 8. But since with that one card she can make a cure already and she's already at a research station, she straight away discard 5 cards, left only 3. We got this rule wrong, as the hand limit supposed to be effective once we do the swap. So she supposed to discard 1 out of 8 card, left it 7, then only after that she can do other action. We got this wrong since on the info on the board, discarding to 7 card is happen after the draw card step.


I noticed you might have another rule you need to correct as well. You mentioned that your wife immediately cured the disease after drawing the two cards that gave her 8 cards. If it was done on the same turn, rather than her next turn, this would be illegal. All four actions, which includes curing a disease, need to be completed before the Draw Phase. That's why the hand limit becomes tricky, as you have to decide which cards will help you most on the next turns. The only exception to this would be Event cards, which could be played immediately when draw unless stated otherwise.

I second the comment about getting On the Brink. It gives you a lot more Role cards and Event cards. That alone makes the game even more fun to play!

You CAN save humanity!


I think he meant it was a share knowledge action rather than drawing cards. not that it matters, im sure he will clarify.
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Matt C
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Sorry about that. I probably misunderstood what he said. Like you said, it doesn't really matter. I am pretty sure we accidentally broke a rule or two during our first win also. Thanks for helping me see what I missed.
 
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Juzzo Hawkins
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VirulentStrain wrote:
Sorry about that. I probably misunderstood what he said. Like you said, it doesn't really matter. I am pretty sure we accidentally broke a rule or two during our first win also. Thanks for helping me see what I missed.


no stress, im pretty sure i break a rule every time ...hahah
 
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M Ponty
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Misguidedbow wrote:
VirulentStrain wrote:
Welcome to the fabulously thrilling and frustrating world of Pandemic! I am glad you didn't give up on it after those losses. Once that first win comes, though, it is hard to put it down. I personally love playing this game with my wife, but introducing it others is a great joy, so we try to play it with 4 players almost always.

One thing I wanted to mention regarding your discard issue..

mponty wrote:
Well to be honest, I still missed one rule in the games during that last session, but I know this is my most legit win so far. This is the rule that I missed: There was one time when my wife taking a card while she actually already have 7 cards on hand, making it 8. But since with that one card she can make a cure already and she's already at a research station, she straight away discard 5 cards, left only 3. We got this rule wrong, as the hand limit supposed to be effective once we do the swap. So she supposed to discard 1 out of 8 card, left it 7, then only after that she can do other action. We got this wrong since on the info on the board, discarding to 7 card is happen after the draw card step.


I noticed you might have another rule you need to correct as well. You mentioned that your wife immediately cured the disease after drawing the two cards that gave her 8 cards. If it was done on the same turn, rather than her next turn, this would be illegal. All four actions, which includes curing a disease, need to be completed before the Draw Phase. That's why the hand limit becomes tricky, as you have to decide which cards will help you most on the next turns. The only exception to this would be Event cards, which could be played immediately when draw unless stated otherwise.

I second the comment about getting On the Brink. It gives you a lot more Role cards and Event cards. That alone makes the game even more fun to play!

You CAN save humanity!


I think he meant it was a share knowledge action rather than drawing cards. not that it matters, im sure he will clarify.


Haha yeah right, it was using share knowledge action, thanks for pointing it out. Sorry for the confusion. It's my first time doing this kind of writing, I should've been more cautious regarding this kind of terms and grammar to avoid confusion. laugh
 
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M Ponty
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VirulentStrain wrote:
Welcome to the fabulously thrilling and frustrating world of Pandemic! I am glad you didn't give up on it after those losses. Once that first win comes, though, it is hard to put it down. I personally love playing this game with my wife, but introducing it others is a great joy, so we try to play it with 4 players almost always.

One thing I wanted to mention regarding your discard issue..

mponty wrote:
Well to be honest, I still missed one rule in the games during that last session, but I know this is my most legit win so far. This is the rule that I missed: There was one time when my wife taking a card while she actually already have 7 cards on hand, making it 8. But since with that one card she can make a cure already and she's already at a research station, she straight away discard 5 cards, left only 3. We got this rule wrong, as the hand limit supposed to be effective once we do the swap. So she supposed to discard 1 out of 8 card, left it 7, then only after that she can do other action. We got this wrong since on the info on the board, discarding to 7 card is happen after the draw card step.


I noticed you might have another rule you need to correct as well. You mentioned that your wife immediately cured the disease after drawing the two cards that gave her 8 cards. If it was done on the same turn, rather than her next turn, this would be illegal. All four actions, which includes curing a disease, need to be completed before the Draw Phase. That's why the hand limit becomes tricky, as you have to decide which cards will help you most on the next turns. The only exception to this would be Event cards, which could be played immediately when draw unless stated otherwise.

I second the comment about getting On the Brink. It gives you a lot more Role cards and Event cards. That alone makes the game even more fun to play!

You CAN save humanity!


Yeah I can feel that now I see Pandemic differently after that one win. Most of the times we prefer to play competitive games, though. But I'm sure now we'll play it more often than before.

Thanks for pointing that 'rule break' out, I've clarified it on my comment above.

Surely will out the On the Brink on the list! Does that expansion give enough meat for 2 player also?

BTW just curious: the whole game we discussed about each other move thoroughly. Will this behavior lead us to have tendency of alpha gamer in future? We do give each other lots of suggestion and still have our own decision, though, but it became doesn't matter too much about 'whose player turn it is'. Instead, 'what role turn it is' became more important. I end up think that actually this game can be played alone, but I can imagine it will become more tedious and we'll receive less opinion that usually come from other player.

Does this game supposed to be played 'silently'/more individually, meaning we just swallow up other's player move even though it will lead us to losing? Playing with closed hand and less discussion doesn't seems make much sense if our objective is to try save the world
 
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Matt C
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mponty wrote:
BTW just curious: the whole game we discussed about each other move thoroughly. Will this behavior lead us to have tendency of alpha gamer in future? We do give each other lots of suggestion and still have our own decision, though, but it became doesn't matter too much about 'whose player turn it is'. Instead, 'what role turn it is' became more important.


As far as discussion of actions, you two seem to be handling it well. I will admit to having an alpha gamer streak because I am a certifiable Pandemic junkie, from having logged an unknownable number of games on the Pandemic app and spending way too much time here on BGG forums.laugh From my experience, this becomes more of an issue if you decide to include others in your games and need to teach the game.

I think the best thing to do is always ask the other player what they want to do first. If they have a good plan, then nothing else needs to be said. If they have missed something minor that won’t immediately hurt the progress, just let it go. However, if something major gets missed in the plan of actions, the easiest way to bring attention to it is, “What about this over here?” or “I had this in mind for my turn. Do you see a way you can help me to do that?”. Just because one might see the big picture doesn’t mean others see it the same way.

mponty wrote:
I end up think that actually this game can be played alone, but I can imagine it will become more tedious and we'll receive less opinion that usually come from other player.


You are correct that it can be played solo. You have a couple of options for this. First, you can select however many roles you want to use and then control all of them. I personally don’t feel this is ‘true’ solo mode; it is more a ‘simulated’ game. Second, you could use the Solo variant from the expansion, In the Lab. If you don’t want to buy that expansion yet, you can take a look at the rules for that expansion on the Z-Man website. The rules are very easy to follow and the variant is a true solo mode. I personally liked the feel of it when I played it.


mponty wrote:
Does this game supposed to be played 'silently'/more individually, meaning we just swallow up other's player move even though it will lead us to losing? Playing with closed hand and less discussion doesn't seems make much sense if our objective is to try save the world


The closed hand rule just means your cards are not directly visible; you can still talk about what is in your hand. I have yet to play with closed hands (due to teaching and trying new expansion challenges). The idea of closed hands is really a good way to curb the alpha gamer tendency. Even if that isn’t an issue for you,it also increases the difficulty of the game a small notch. More communication is required and each player is allowed to think about their actions without immediate input from other players. However, there is nothing that says you HAVE to play this way. I would encourage you to try it that way and see if you like it; if not, play with open hands.
 
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