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Subject: My First Experience With Pandemic rss

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Peter
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OK so I just picked this game up from my FLGS. Believe it or not I had heard nothing about it game prior to seeing a stack of 10 of them being pulled out of a box the owner received from his distributor. I say, “Is that a new game?” He replies, “Newer yea. I can’t keep it on the shelf. I sold out twice before and five of these are already reserved.” So I ask to see the box and the teaser on the back certainly appears intriguing. Now normally I don’t give into hype. And I almost never buy a game without reading about it first or at least checking out a demo. But as I was reading the box, another customer walked by and says, “Ooooh Pandemic, I’ve been looking for that! That game is awesome!” then proceeds to grab one of the unreserved copies the owner just placed onto the shelf for purchase.

Well I couldn’t help myself. With a slight hesitation, and some internal chastisement, I bought the game. The whole trip home I’m feeling buyer’s remorse about shelling out money on a game that will probably turn out to be a real crappy one. Every time I’d purchase a game without doing research in the past I’ve regretted it. Anyway I get home and put the game up until I have some time later.

A few days later I’m home alone, wife’s working late, and I decide to read up on some game rules for games I haven’t played in a while to keep them fresh. Often times I end up playing one of my older games solo just for kicks. I walk into the game room and what do I see but Pandemic sitting on the table. My wife must have seen it and thought it looked cool, deciding to pull it down and look it over before going to work that day. I consider this a sign and decide to pick up the rule book and read it. Wow, I was really intrigued I had to try this game. Also, being a coop game meant it could be played solo without any real concern.

So I set up and introductory game and pick three ‘Roles’ at random for me to play. I get the ‘Dispatcher’, ‘Researcher’, and ‘Scientist’. Out of curiosity I look at the other two roles to see what I missed out on, ‘Medic’ and ‘Operations Specialist’. I was worried when I read their special powers as the Medic looked like he might be too valuable to pass on, but I decided to stick with what I got. I looked at the board; Moscow, Beijing, and Madrid where hotspots with three counters each, the rest of the counters where in red and black cities with only one yellow in Lima. It looked like red and black were my trouble diseases. Since it was just me, of course I played the cards open hand but the introductory game allowed for that anyway so no real cheating on my part. The Scientist had two red cards, and one blue. The Researcher had one red, and one blue card and the Forecast card. The Dispatcher had blue Atlanta card, a yellow card, and a black card.

This looked like the perfect starting hands and it certainly helped greatly. The order the ‘Roles’ where picked is the order I played them, being Scientist, Researcher then Dispatcher. The Scientist activated two exchange information actions and the Researcher gave over the red and blue cards, and then passed on two actions. I had the Researcher play the Forecast card and looked through the pile. There where two blue two red and a single yellow and black infections coming up. I placed the blue on the bottom and red on top. I was going to try and put out the fire in South East Asia first so I thought it might be good to have it flare up in the area I was going to clean up at. Secondly I was hoping to cure blue before it spread. Draw two for Scientist and get red and blue. Perfect, the Scientist has four red for cure, and three blue, Looking good. Researcher foots it to Manila and cleans up the only red token there. The draw produces a black and a blue card. Hey a cure for blue is on the way too. I was worried the Dispatcher would have to sit in Atlanta for a turn because giving the blue Atlanta card to the Scientist would require the scientist to discard, but as it was I could move the Dispatcher to clean up now. The Dispatcher used the blue Atlanta card to Direct Flight the Researcher back to Atlanta. Next, I used the yellow card for the Dispatcher to get into Johannesburg which had just acquired a yellow disease token at the end of the Researcher’s turn. The Dispatcher drew Ho Chi Mihn and Beijing (reds). The next infections were Washington and Paris which was the last of the Forecast. End of first round of turns.

The Scientist used an action to find a cure for red, then exchanged information to get the blue card from the Researcher and then found a cure for blue. Finally the Scientist drove to Washington in hopes of setting the sun on the Blue disease. The two drawn cards were black and Epidemic. Daooh! Jakarta broke out as a three token hotspot. Infections spread in Santiago and Ho Chi Mihn. This was a problem because Ho Chi Mihn was a two token city from the game setup. This meant three tokens here as well. Bangkok had two red tokens and Sydney had one. It suddenly occurred to me I was in serious trouble in the South East. I made a big mistake here. I gambled to get a cure for black and try to put the lights out on blue. I had the Researcher move to Washington, give the black card to the Scientist and finish the move in Madrid. The Researcher’s two cards were a yellow and ‘Resistant Populace’. I decided to remove Ho Chi Mihn from the game to reduce the threat to that area. Infection time, sure enough Jakarta comes up. Outbreak in Jakarta which chain reacts in Ho Chi Mihn which then chain reacts in Bangkok. By the time I was done placing down tokens, I only had one red token left off the board. To make matters worse Moscow also came up which was an Outbreak as well. 4 outbreaks in one infection draw. Ouch. The Dispatcher needs to do clean up, fortunately he has just the right cards. He flies to Beijing and eliminates three tokens there, then to Ho Chi Mihn to get rid of three there. I draw two cards getting ‘Government Grant’ and Delhi (black). I immediately place a research station in Delhi. The infections spread in Lima and Santiago. This ends another round of turns.

The Scientist cleans up Washington, drives to Atlanta, shuttles to Delhi, and cleans up one black token from Delhi which is threatening to outbreak. Scientist draws a black card and Epidemic. This time Chennai ends up with three black tokens. I shuffle the small pile of Infection cards and wouldn’t you know it. Moscow and Chennai come up causing both to outbreak, but no chain reactions luckily. I’m up to 6 on the outbreak meter, both red and black are low on tokens and I’m getting worried. Researcher puts the lights out on Blue, and travels to Lima to try and slow down yellow. I draw two yellow cards and two blue infections. Whew, I could use the breather. The Dispatcher moves to Bangkok cleaning up and then on to Delhi with the Scientist. Dispatcher drew Calcuta (black) and a blue card. The infections increased but no outbreaks. End third round of turns.

The Scientist exchanged info with the Researcher getting a fourth black and cured black. Then moved and cleaned up Chennai. The Scientist drew yellow and red. The infections were blue and Bangkok which was cleaned just before. The Researcher Moves and cleans up South America a little, and then draws ‘A Quiet Night’ and a blue card. The infections are in the South East Asia bringing it back into a chain reaction threat. The Dispatcher moves the Researcher to Calcuta by direct flight and has the researcher drive to Chennai to meet up with the Scientist. (This is where I think I might have abused the rules. I had the Dispatcher activate the Exchange Information action twice even though the Dispatcher was alone. But the Researcher special ability states it can exchange information on any player’s turn during an Exchange Information action. Using this I had the Researcher give two yellow cards to the scientist.) I then played the Quiet Night card to skip infections, ending the fourth round of turns.

The Scientist activated the Exchange Information action gaining the third yellow card from the Researcher giving the Scientist four yellow cards. The Scientist then moved to Delhi and cured Yellow for the win.

All in all I really liked the game. Cooperation games, good ones, are rare and I think this is definitely a good one. I’m having trouble imagining winning an advanced game with 6 Epidemic cards in the draw pile. And playing with closed hands can cause for confusion and mistakes in a game which doesn’t allow for many mistakes.

Needless to say I set the game up again and as soon as my wife walked in the door I made her sit down and play with me. We each drew two roles and played alternating turns. We got owned by the diseases but had fun never-the-less.
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Brett Myers
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Astinex wrote:
Cooperation games, good ones, are rare and I think this is definitely a good one.


Well, they were until this year, with 5 or 6 new ones released!
 
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Steve Duff
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Astinex wrote:
(This is where I think I might have abused the rules. I had the Dispatcher activate the Exchange Information action twice even though the Dispatcher was alone. But the Researcher special ability states it can exchange information on any player’s turn during an Exchange Information action.


Yes, the researcher can give cards on another player's turn (it still costs 1 of that other player's actions each), but both players must be in the same city. The researcher role card says that specifically.
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Michael J
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disclamer wrote:
Astinex wrote:
Cooperation games, good ones, are rare and I think this is definitely a good one.


Well, they were until this year, with 5 or 6 new ones released!


The new focus on interesting cooperative games is very cool. There weren't many good ones in the past. I, for one, do a lot of solo gaming, and cooperative games are perfect for those solo days.

Glad you liked Pandemic. I think it's a great game too!
 
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Eric Haskins
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disclamer wrote:
Astinex wrote:
Cooperation games, good ones, are rare and I think this is definitely a good one.


Well, they were until this year, with 5 or 6 new ones released!


I'm always on the look out so I'd love to hear which ones are good to you?
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