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Subject: REVIEW ON COMPONENTS: the good (and some bad) but no ugly! rss

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Flawed Hero
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Much has been said about this great game, and I'm not going to get into the gameplay of Pandemic here. Suffice it to say it is a blast, plays well with 2-4, and plays quick enough where everyone will want to try it again.

The components are interesting, to say the least. Everyone I share the game with reacts differently to them. Either a "Whoa," or an "ooh!", or a "WOW!", and sometimes a "huh"?
I thought that the components themselves were so diverse, so innovative, that they warranted their own review.

Before we begin with specific parts, I want to say that, curiously, the entire game SMELLS. I am a self-confessed "new game smeller" -- I like to take in the fresh scent of a set of brand new game instructions, cards, board, whatever. Yup, I'm weird like that. So, upon opening the Pandemic box and taking a whiff, man was I repulsed! It smelled like, I don't know, oil or gas or something. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it's been over a month since we got the game, and the smell is just beginning ot wear off.

Anyway, let's start with the board. It is a four-fold board, about the size of the board from St. Petersburg. The colors are attractive and vibrant, and the artwork is futuristic-looking and very well done. The big beef I have with it, like Age of Empires III, the countries are cramped and it is difficult to squeeze the player's pawns onto a city with disease cubes already there. Often you'll have to move things to read the name of the city. Also, where the board breaks to fold, the edge of the printed part is starting to peel *JUST* a bit. Not a big deal, but just something I noticed last time we were putting it away.

Being a card-driven game, you're going to hope that the cards are nice, sturdy and will hold up for years to come. For me, there's no problem there. The Infection deck is printed on nice stock, but this is the less-used of the two decks. The player dock seems to be printed on a different stock altogether. At first, the cards felt rubbery, although they did feel sturdy enough. I had a difficult time shuffling them because they were so...rubbery. Not flimsy, just rubbery. I can't even think of another adjective for it. After some plays, though, the feel wears off and they start taking on the feel of a normal deck of cards.
The artwork on the cards is as good as on the board, and is again very well done. However, some of the lettering looked a bit offset and blurry, and you can actually feel the print on some of the city names on the cards. I'm a little worried the print here may start to show signs of wear in the future.

I ended up almost throwing away the USELESS white insert that is supposed to "hold" the cards. In reality, they will just fall through the bottom and slide around the game box. So, I ended up using two plastic card boxes which work out well. I kept the white insert, tore the divider strip off it, and put one of the plastic card boxes in it. I did this so the plastic box wouldn't slide around. I put the other plastic box at the top along with a bag which holds all the bits.

The game also came with a strange, rubber-ish black foam thing, whose function still eludes me.

I absolutely love the players pawns and cubes. Something about the colors really rocks. I love the bright red and blue colors used on the cubes. The green pawn is awesome too. Jury is still out on the strange shade of lavender they used for the Dispatcher pawn...and anytime I see brown used as a marker, I just get grossed out. yuk Shoulda used Gray!
I don't think the pawns or cubes are plastic, but neither are they wooden. They appear to be a resin-like material which works well. The research stations are wooden.

Everything in the game has a neutral look and feel (even when it comes to the absence of names for the diseases), which was a good move on the part of the designers. At first, seeing the players pawns on the board, my boys thought they were missles. Now THAT would rock...variant comes to mind...nuclear Pandemic...biological weapons....yeeeesssss..... devil

The small circular bits used as Cure, Outbreak and Infection markers are done on a good quality cardboard and there are no complaints there.

The instructions are perfect in every way. They are bright, colorful, and really get you in the mood to get into it and start curing diseases! (which is saying alot). They are 8 large pages, but most are filled with examples and pictures. They even include a full page showing the game set-up summary. Everything is laid out well and clearly explained.

On a final note, the very very minor beefs I have are almost completely outshined by the merits of the game's components and gameplay. As it's been said, any game that makes the players want to play it over and over again has done its job well. Many have reported missing bits when they opened their games, such as a missing cube, or a missing card (My copy was missing the Riyadh card from the Player deck). But on all accounts, Z-Man Games has taken care of this immediately and made good on all missing parts, including my card. Hopefully though, the second printing will eliminate these mispackings.

The price tag on this game is 100% right. In fact, for a game so fun and one that we've played so much, it's a very small price to pay. Well done Z-Man!!
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Tim Thorp
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Excellent. Definitely nice components, and the positives outweigh the negatives. The cramped board is no biggie for me, but I see where you're coming from. The smell must be the ink. It's finally wearing off, but for awhile, I knew how huffers must feel!

I wish I knew where to get replacement pawns, as I'd like to get a nice dark blue one to got with the CDC agent that someone came up with.
 
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Bill Bennett
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Quote:
I ended up almost throwing away the USELESS white insert that is supposed to "hold" the cards. In reality, they will just fall through the bottom and slide around the game box.


If you print out the "Pandemic Tuckboxes by Carl" from the Files section, they fit nicely in the insert openings. Way to go, Carl!
 
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Jeb Adams
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The black foamy thing is a spacer to make the card packs the same height when you first open the game--there are more cards in the player pack than the infection pack. It just sits under the infection pack for aesthetics.
 
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Rob Robinson
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Jim K wrote:
So, upon opening the Pandemic box and taking a whiff, man was I repulsed! It smelled like, I don't know, oil or gas or something. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it's been over a month since we got the game, and the smell is just beginning ot wear off.


The smell doesn't wear off, you just get used to it as your body absorbs the toxic poisons it is coated in.

Your friends & family are also quite possibly infected.
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Flawed Hero
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zombiegod wrote:
Jim K wrote:
So, upon opening the Pandemic box and taking a whiff, man was I repulsed! It smelled like, I don't know, oil or gas or something. Can't quite put my finger on it, but it's been over a month since we got the game, and the smell is just beginning ot wear off.


The smell doesn't wear off, you just get used to it as your body absorbs the toxic poisons it is coated in.

Your friends & family are also quite possibly infected.



mmmm....toxin absorbtion. oh well, small price to pay for a good game. Hopefully we'll find the black cure in time.
 
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Just Another User
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I agree with most of your comments, and I love the game. For the cards, I find that I rarely shuffle the whole deck all at once (only during initial setup), so I use card sleeves. They make it very easy to shuffle 3-15 cards via riffle-shuffling (i.e. infection discard pile after pulling an Epidemic, or the player card piles with epidemics at the start of the game). It's very difficult to shuffle normally, but it's easy to force the cards together from the side. I use generic clear plastic sleeves, $2/200 at TRU.
 
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Matthew Holley
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I'm not at home and so I can't look in the box to see which role has which pawn, but does no one else have the purple pawn = pink role card issue? That's one of the two minor issues I have with my game (the pawn will be painted.)

I also seem to be the only person that doesn't really appreciate the board artwork. The area around the countries is sort of 'sloppy' looking. i realize its for effect, but it just screams 'CRAYON' to me.

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Flawed Hero
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stjase wrote:
I'm not at home and so I can't look in the box to see which role has which pawn, but does no one else have the purple pawn = pink role card issue? That's one of the two minor issues I have with my game (the pawn will be painted.)

I also seem to be the only person that doesn't really appreciate the board artwork. The area around the countries is sort of 'sloppy' looking. i realize its for effect, but it just screams 'CRAYON' to me.



The dispatcher is the lavendar/pink pawn. It's not really an issue with us; it's a diferent shade but it's still obvious which pawn belongs to the card.

I know what you mean as far as the background on the board. It does look like an art crayon or something, around Greenland and the oceans, etc. But unless I'm staring at those sections of the board, I don't notice it. All I really notice while playing are the continents and the cities, which are well done in my opinion.
 
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Jason Wilsey
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After 3 months of ownership, the board has warped itself into a bowl or curved plate shape. After everygame it have been placed into the box and everytime it comes out its a little more warped. It is literally ripping itself apart. I have just emailed zman about it. They are a great company and I hope I can get a new board soon.

LT
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Jason Wilsey
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WOW That was a quick response. They are shipping me out a new board as soon as they get them in. I love this company.

LT
 
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Matthew Holley
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Yeah, I dig the company as well. My replacement cards came in the mail less than a week after I emailed Z-Man about it. Why can't more companies be as responsive to their customers?
 
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Rob Robinson
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LordTennyson1971 wrote:
After 3 months of ownership, the board has warped itself into a bowl or curved plate shape. After everygame it have been placed into the box and everytime it comes out its a little more warped.


I'd be interested to know how you store the box. Flat or on edge?
 
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Jason Wilsey
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This game is stored at flat. I do not think that is the issue. There is so much extra space in the box to allow the board to flex and warp. The only thing I can think of it to buy a 4way rubberband and band the board after every game.

LT
 
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Rob Robinson
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You could try sandwiching it between two plates of Plexiglass, and then bind it with elastic...
 
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Chad Denton
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Jim K wrote:

The game also came with a strange, rubber-ish black foam thing, whose function still eludes me.


That is the "smell holder". I got rid of mine ASAP and the smell has pretty much worn off my copy of the game after a few weeks.

The only component I would like to change would be to make the board about twice as big. Not sure if there would be an easy way to go about that.
 
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Tim Collett
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I had considered getting the actual board copied and blown up to a much larger size. Since I am into woodworking as well, I considered taking the new larger size board (on something like poster paper) and applying it, gluing it, etc. to a finished board made from something like 3/4" pine. Then I would laminate and seal the whole thing well. This way I would have a bigger board and it wouldn't fold. Storage would now become an issue. Has anyone else done this?
 
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