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Subject: Four players, three of them new: it's important to share rss

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Dave Wilson
United States
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Since everyone else was still involved in a game of Carcassonne, the remaining four of us moved to the dining room and set up a new game of mine, Pandemic.

With four players we had the following roles: Carrie was the Medic, who could treat diseases in the cities more efficiently; Stiev was the Operations Engineer, who could build Research Stations without having to spend a player card to do so; Helen was the Scientist, who could cure diseases with four player cards of one color instead of five cards; and Dave was the Dispatcher, who could move other players' pawns on his turn. We started in Atlanta (presumably the Centers for Disease Control). The diseases started in Chicago (blue), Johannesburg (yellow) and Mumbai (black). Stiev began by flying to Mumbai to build a Research Center, and treat the disease that was flourishing there. Dave and Helen treated diseases in North America, and ended up in Mexico City to share knowledge, giving Helen a fourth yellow card already, so she could cure Yellow on her turn.

Unfortunately, finding a cure doesn't immediately provide relief. The disease can still spread if the infection cards show up, and they did. Johannesburg suffered an outbreak, twice, infecting Kinshasa and Khartoum. Dave made it his business to head down to South Africa to at least stabilize the situation, while in the mean time using his Dispatcher skills to get the others closer in order to share knowledge. Stiev and Carrie shared a couple times, passing the black cards of Baghdad and Tehran on successive turns (you can only pass cards of the city the two players are currently in), and that gave Carrie enough to cure black. During this time some of the black cities were starting to fill with cubes, and Dave was worried about running out of cubes, so he used his "One Quiet Night" to slow the spread of the disease, giving us time to treat more and reduce the risk of outbreak.

But meanwhile, a couple epidemics had struck. The red disease had erupted in Osaka, and Blue in Essen. In fact, Europe was starting to become troublesome, as the adjacent cities of London, Essen, and St. Petersburg suddenly had three blue cubes apiece, and were threatening to cause a chain of outbreaks. Thankfully, Dave had a couple of action cards. He first played and action card and we had One Quiet Night, meaning no infection happened on one turn, giving us time to treat London and Essen to lessen the impact of a possible outbreak.

So the blue disease had stabilized some, and Dave had settled yellow down some, and we were getting close to finishing the research to cure both black and blue. But a lot of folks were at or near Northern Europe, and the research centers were at Atlanta or Mumbai, which would require travel to complete the cures. We resolved that with some teamwork. Stiev had the Government Grant card, and with it created a Research Station at Essen. With that done, Dave, as dispatcher, got Carrie, Helen and himself all to Essen. Carrie, as medic, had been treating the blue disease, and was at London, so only needed to move one, and then Dave moved the other two to Carrie's player pawn. His final action was to share knowledge, giving Helen the Essen card, which was her fourth blue card. As a result, on the subsequent turns both black (Carrie) and blue (Helen) were cured. That just left red to cure.

But we then hit our third epidemic. Our concentration in Europe let yellow in Los Angeles and Bogota start to flourish, and they risked outbreak. Enter another special action card, the Forecast, which let Dave order the top six infection cards coming up. He was able to make sure that those two cities didn't have disease spreading for a while, to give us a chance to treat them. And that then let us focus on treating red.

This required a lot of coordination. For starters, Helen moved to Bangkok, and then airlifted Dave there, to share his Bangkok card. She also played the Resilient Population special event card to make sure that Toronto didn't have an outbreak. Next up, Stiev flew to Sydney (burning a red card to do it), and then moved to Manila and built a research station. That way, on Helen's next turn, she moved to Manila, shared knowledge with Stiev to get her fourth card, and then cured red in Manila's research station. That was our fourth cure. We saved the world!

This is a very good cooperative game, with plenty of tension in the game. We made really good use of our special actions, and coordinated really well, and still won only two turns away from losing. And that was with the game set on its easiest level. I'm looking forward to trying it again.
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