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Subject: Why game store clerks should not work for the CDC rss

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Scott Mikula
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This isn't so much a session report as an account of my experiences trying to learn the game, but this seemed the most appropriate place to post it. As often happens, my wife and I and another couple of friends found ourselves at our FLGS eager to try out something new. We weren't really planning on playing a anything more than a filler game, but after a few minute's indecision and an enthusiastic sales clerk, we ended up with Pandemic in front of us.

Pandemic is one of the few cooperative board games I've played. The premise is that several diseases have broken out across the globe, and the players need to work together to eradicate them. You travel to different cities, trying to contain outbreaks and discover a cure, while the diseases keep spreading. Through a few simple mechanics, the game designer found great ways to simulate how diseases spread from region to region and keep popping back up in areas that you thought you had taken care of. Each player is given a role that gives them some special abilities, so there is a lot of discussion and teamwork in how to most effectively keep the pandemic under control.

The game made for a tense hour or so--we eventually lost--but oddly enough our greatest challenge came from the too-helpful employee that would occasionally drop by our game.

"Oh, did you realize that since you're in the same city you can trade cards and cure that disease right now?" she says.

"Really?" We were less certain. "But doesn't--"

"Oh, yeah, yeah, you can do it."

"But that's not what the rules say."

"No, no, you can do it. At least, that's how I was taught."

"But, here." We hold up the rules. "What the rules say is..."

Much consultation of the rules ensues. The helpful employee looks increasingly flustered.

"Dave?" she calls out. "Dave! Question about Pandemic."

We wait while Dave and Helpful Employee Girl* discuss our predicament.

"Oh," says Helpful Employee Girl, finally. "I guess you guys were right. The guy who taught me the game must have had it wrong." We go back to doing things exactly as we were in the first place.

Now repeat the above three or four times, and you'll have some idea how much "help" we got with our game. All that aside, I actually really enjoyed the game. Maybe next time we'll even manage to save the world.

* Some names may have been changed to protect the ignorant. That being said, I really don't mean any offense by the title of this article...I know that no one can be expected to know the rules of every game perfectly. Although if you're going to volunteer your advice, you should at least make sure that it's accurate!
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You can trade cards while you're in the same city but ONLY for that specific city's card. So she was probably just confused at the limitations rather than the rule, it sounds like.
 
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Scott Mikula
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wytefang wrote:
You can trade cards while you're in the same city but ONLY for that specific city's card. So she was probably just confused at the limitations rather than the rule, it sounds like.

Yep, that was exactly the confusion. It was only amusing because we were perfectly clear on the rules and were playing just fine before her help was volunteered.
 
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I've always been annoyed by un-requested help by so-called "expert geeks.' It's usually never terribly helpful.
 
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Barry Figgins
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Those unhelpful geeks are giving a bad name to those of us with great memories for the rules, who are sitting there clenching their teeth as you screw it up

I kid, I kid...but I have corrected a convention game more than once. Only when I'm right, though!
 
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