al Cann
United States
Warwick
New York
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PL Season 2 Veterans:

As a solo player, I have a few comments and questions that I'd love to hear reactions and answers to ... since I have no one to talk about the game with. Once again, there are spoilers abound, so please click out of this if you haven't finished the game.

Ease of the game -- I finished with a 12-6 record, winning March, June, July, October, November and December on the first tries. I finished with 685 points, just shy of the minimum threshold of the next victory tier. I probably could have scored more points thinking in the back of my mind all the while that the Forsaken Cities would be a scoring negative in the end, but I focused more on completing the mission than scoring. I did not win PL Season 1, so in that regard, I felt this season was easier.

God-like characters. By the end of the game, only one of my starting 4 characters died and that was the doomed supply carrier, meaning that I played with the same 4 characters the entire 18 games of the campaign. And these guys were beasts:

Instructor: Also the Outrider, Facilitator, Lookout, and Scout before being crippled by the double scar as the carrier. She was constantly giving and taking a cards, recon with one fewer card (huge when there was only one or two red cities on the map to recon Jakarta and then to discover Topaz). The Lookout skill enabled her to vulture newly connected red cities player cards that were just placed into the player discard pile and the Scout ability prevented me from needing that Supply Center to recon late in the game.

Administrator: Also the Architect, Record Keeper, and Soldier. Never needed the Soldier upgrade but the Admin power constantly pulled characters out of infested and plague infested cities. As a result, I suffered only 10 exposures for the entire game 9 if you discount the automatic "exposure" that the carrier endured when she injected herself. The Admin/architect combo had this guy building supply centers left and right during that long stretch of the game where that mandatory objective was a constant. Naturally, he built the supply center in Johannesburg that was needed to win the game.

Farmer: Also the Courier, Runner, Investigator. This guy constantly was throwing cubes into adjacent cities (once per turn of course) with the Farmer/Courier combo. Add the bonus after finding the Opal Lab of producing 2 cubes per make supply action, this was a tremendous power. Never really used the Investigator power but the Runner allowed me to move anywhere on the grid from a haven or supply center, simply by discarding a city card. Funny: Can't fly from a haven to a city if there is no supply center there, can't charter from seaport to seaport unless connected, but I can "run" there with this power.

Laborer: Also the Smuggler, Navigator and Supplier. Never needed the smuggler action as the discovered havens and their 30 additional cubes to the stockpile were sufficient. The Supplier ability was very useful as I usually launched a supply cube to a "naked" city, once a turn in the final few months. The Navigator power really helped in the red cities when I needed to draw a path to Shanghai.

As long as these guys stayed healthy, and they did, I was unstoppable in the end game.

Couldn't understand the benefit of inoculating infection deck cards. Yes, it would help those cities, but at the same time it would concentrate the infection possibilities in the non-inoculated cities. I also never then had to worry about the fact that the inoculation wore off for the infection deck in the end. Similarly, after at first trying to drop some player cards into box 6 due to inoculation, I stopped realizing that it was of marginal use. Yes, it spread out the possibilities of drawing an unrationed event, produce supplies card, or antiviral card, but what I could do with those colored cities more than made up for it.

Don't know how I could have been able to win the game without stumbling onto the Topaz lab. And again, it was a simple 1 red card recon by the Outrider character. In December, a game that I had to endure 6 epidemics, I just kept discarding city cards to keep cubes in those cities. I couldn't prevent hollow men from being placed and I couldn't stop plague cubes from being placed once they took hold, but I could keep at least one cube in many cities by discarding matching color cards, sometimes 3 and 4 per infection step. I saw nothing in the rules that prevented me from using this power multiple times during the infection steps, as long as I had the cards to do so, and I didn't see anything preventing me from using this on the city pulled from the bottom of the deck for an epidemic. For instance, let's say NY was pulled from the bottom of the deck and there were 2 o4 3 cubes in NY. Since Topaz allows a card to be played matching the color of NY to prevent one supply cube from being removed from the city, I could play a blue card to leave 1 cube in that city after the epidemic. Again, saw nothing preventing this ... hope that was a legit move.

The Hollow Men -- Early in the game, shortly after their initial appearance, I realized that their presence actually helped forestall the plague and thus the movement of the incident marker. They ended up being pseudo allies in the end, but this was the first hint that they might actually help. Yes, they would still expose a character if leaving a city but I was lucky not to get caught and when I did get caught, it was late enough in the game that I could drop a shelter into that city for protection.

Satellite towers and supply centers Erecting permanent towers and supply centers was vital. Eventually, I had one of each in a Lagos (yellow), Cairo (black), and London (blue). I could hop from supply center to supply center and then transmit a color card anywhere on the grid. That certainly made distributing cards easier. I don't think you can win without that strategy.

Produce Supply Cards -- Early in the game, without knowing that there would be way to replenish the supply stockpile, I saw the dwindling number of cubes as the year went on. So I figured that the System Wide Production uses would be more worthwhile early in the year when there were enough cubes. As a result, I was not shy about using them despite exhausting some cards that way. I finished the game with 3 produce supply cards left in the deck, and 4 System Wide Production uses left. My advice to PL season 2 players is not to save them. I didn't use any of those cards past June.

Finally the epidemics -- With the help of the Hollow Men, having 9 and 10 epidemics in my player deck in the last 3 months, and no fewer than 7 in the deck from the time the "Spread too thin" sticker was placed, the epidemics were my friend. They kept recycling the Hollow Men Gather cards that extended the game by insulating me from plague cubes.

So the end result was that I really enjoyed this game, but it was a little "gamey" in the fact that I could use the Hollow Men and the epidemics to my advantage ... whereas in no Pandemic Game I have ever played, including PL season 1, would I ever root for an epidemic or a faded figure to be placed.

Thanks to anyone who has persevered through this long winded group of comments and questions and I would very much appreciate feedback.

Thanks!

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Matthew McGeehin
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Pennsylvania
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We varied our characters each game. But we used the Scientist a lot when we got her. I know it would make more places need infections, but the ability to never need to go a city ever was useful. We'd removed Africa and the Middle East completely (sans Kolkata), which was good because those cities were infested, so never needing to go there really helped us avoid exposure.

We also used Produce Supplies cards early. One time we saved a late game for a fortunate occurence when we drew two Portable Anti-Viral labs in the late game. We gave them to the Immunologist. Making Supplies at a Haven let us take ten cubes from the reserve. And the Radio Operator did the rest.

Speaking of the Radio Operator, he was awesome. He was the Outrider as well, but his job was to go around and make sure everyone could keep our cards together.

We had permanent towers in four cities as well, right next to havens or permanent supply centers (Chicago, Lima, Istanbul, Ho Chi Minh City) to go with our permanent supply centers (Denver, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires, Johannesburg, Kolkata, and Hong Kong, we weren't worried about Middle East since Scientist destroyed most of those infection cards). We were worried about Forsaken cities on player homebases, so we ensured that would never happen.

Epidemics weren't too bad for us. We had a plan for Monitoring that helped get rid of them in the later months, and we skipped a fair chunk of them.

In the end, we never lost a game.
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al Cann
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Warwick
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Matt620 wrote:



In the end, we never lost a game.


How'd your final score end up?

And thanks for your input!
 
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Matthew McGeehin
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Pennsylvania
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984. (4 players)
 
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Cameron Chien
United States
Rancho Cucamonga
California
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Al: Were you remembering to drop the population of cities that had Hollow Men in them at the end of each game?

Matthew: You can't use Monitoring anymore once you've scratched off every space on that card. We had one space left at the end of our season.
 
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al Cann
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Zeede wrote:
Al: Were you remembering to drop the population of cities that had Hollow Men in them at the end of each game?


Yes ... usually had enough supply centers on the board that the important cities stayed the same regarding population even with the Hollow Men.
 
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yita dos
Spain
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albcann wrote:

I probably could have scored more points thinking in the back of my mind all the while that the Forsaken Cities would be a scoring negative in the end, but I focused more on completing the mission than scoring.


So you let people suffer and die in fallen cities because it wasn't in your score bonus, is that what you mean?
Or maybe you sacrificed them so others could survive?

For us theme was a big part of the game. We were not just moving cubes, we were saving the world!! In several games we forced several extra turns just to save a couple of cities from losing population.

We also didn't get the point of inoculating cities. After finishing the game with the highest tier score, we still don't. I actually think that not doing it played a big part in our victory.

I think the game is much much harder without any of the three labs; Topaz being the most overpowered of them.

We used ONCE the global production. Never needed it. There should be somehow a remark to use them in the beginning. Maybe a expiration date?


 
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Jeremy Lennert
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California
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I am fairly surprised that Matt620 spent 9 more production units than me on permanent satellite towers and still ended up with 20 more population than me. I thought I was pushing population pretty hard! (Connected all cities except Khartoum, spent 31 production on migration over the campaign, built all permanent supply centers, and had one game where I built 6 supply centers even though I only needed 3 to win.)

Do you happen to know how much production you spent on migration, or how much you lost to plague and hollow men?
 
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