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Subject: Impossible to win... is it really that hard? rss

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Wendy
Canada
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I played this game with 2 people and 4 epidemic cards and it doesn't seem too hard. We have played 2 games and both times we won.

But then when I tried to play this game with 4 people and 4 epidemic cards, it felt impossible to win. We would either lose because of the chain reaction outbreaks or we would lose just because we run out of player cards! I think we played about 5 games with 4 people on Saturday and lost every game! We were only close to winning in 1 game.

I think the biggest problem we had was not being able to collect enough cards for a cure! Does anyone else have this same problem?

 
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Dave Eisen
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Not enough information to know if you got a rule wrong, but certainly playing four games and losing all of them is not enough evidence that you are doing anything wrong. I lost my first 10-12 games of Pandemic before I started winning one every once in a while.
 
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J A
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The game is designed to be incredibly tight with either the normal (5 epidemics) or hard (6 epidemic) variants.

We had a 4 player normal game yesterday with two new players and we ALMOST won. We had cured 2 diseases and had the cures for the other two diseases in hand. The infection deck dealt us a city with three cubes already in it which resulted in our 8th outbreak the turn before we were going to cure all the diseases.

Despite this loss, we are very happy to play the game again.

In reply to original question: the game is not impossible and we have not had troubles accumulating enough cards for cures.

- Jon
 
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Kevin Gordon
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Keep in mind that "mastering" the normal games means 4 players win about 40-50% of the time. So dont be surprised to only win 10% of the easy games at first.

That being said, take advantage of the dispatcher's ability to move to any other pawn. Might help trade some cards.
 
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Wendy
Canada
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Setup:
3 black cards - add 3 cubes to each city
next 3 black cards - add 2 cubes to each city
next 3 black cards - add 1 cube to each city
Everyone and also 1 research station starts at Atlanta

Begin:
We would perform 4 actions (you can do the same action multiple times)
Then pick up 2 cards, and once it's more than 7 after picking up 2. We discard.
Then the last thing is we pick up black cards based on the infection rate. (The infection rate only goes up when we pick up epidemic card right?)

If i pick up epidemic card, that means during that turn the number of black cards may go up based on the infection rate number.

We also found the share knowledge action useful for the person with the role card (researcher?..can't remember) who can pass multiple cards and doesn't have to be the card of the city you are in. Otherwise it seems really difficult for 2 players to be in a city and then pass only 1 card of that particular city.

Most of the time we lose because we run out of white player cards.
 
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Brad
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Quote:
I think the biggest problem we had was not being able to collect enough cards for a cure! Does anyone else have this same problem?


You really want to avoid relying on cards for movement. Establishing research stations is a must so you don't have to fly unless absolutely necessary. It shouldn't be terribly hard to collect cards if you do this, though the cards can be streaky sometimes.
 
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Andrew Snyder
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did you notice that you start with fewer cards in a 4 player game? that will change the balance of movement opportunities before you have to discard.
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Wendy
Canada
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Yes we started with 2 cards per player in a 4 player game. We try not to use the cards for movement but card collection was still a problem.

It felt like we were too busy trying to treat the disease so we don't have as many outbreaks and we didn't have enough cards for the cure. Not that we were using the cards to travel but b/c we use up all the actions to treat disease we didnt have actions left to trade cards. Is trading important to getting cures?

Or were we just really unlucky and not able to get 5 cards of the same color?
 
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Branko K.
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First, just to be sure, check out this thread. Perhaps you are making a tiny litte mistake which impacts the game severely. Pretty common with Pandemic.

But other then that, yes, 4-player games tend to be much harder to win then 2-player games, even though it seems counter-intuitive at first. It's much harder to cooperate succesfully and a lot of things may happen between two turns of one player. You should try to ditch 2-player strategies as much as possible and use the fact there are more players as much as you can. But yes, it's hard. Not impossible, but hard indeed.

 
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Leo Tischer
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It's a tough game. We played 5 games this past Sunday - three with 4 players, then two with 3 players. The first 4 games were with 6 epidemic cards, and the last one was with 5. We lost them all.

We were close most games, usually managing to cure two diseases, but the outbreaks beat us everytime!
 
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Wendy
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Thanks for the link to the Common Mistakes post. I have actually read it before. I think we have been playing with the correct rules. I guess the game is harder to win than i expected.

I remember playing shadows over camelot, It was hard at first but after a few games we pretty much figured out what to do and was able to win it most of the time (3 players and 6 players). Even if we lost, we know why.

But with Pandemic, we are not sure what else we could have done to win the game. The card collection seems to be the problem, we never had a chance to get 5 cards of the same color unless we spend more turns doing trading. Is that what we should be doing? We can't seem to figure out what we are doing wrong to lose all these games!

Wendy
 
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I agree with the OP - I've now played over 20 games with varying co-players of all kinds of skill levels and/or experience with the game itself and have lost every time. We play on Normal, we know how to play the game (I've researched everything to make sure I'm not screwing up the rules) and no wins.

It's still a cool game based on the great theme that matches the gameplay but I've definitely lowered my score on this game in light of the bizarre difficulty levels.

For Co-op games we now turn to Shadows Over Camelot or even better, Battlestar Galactica. And sometimes to Red November.
 
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Branko K.
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Sometimes Pandemic is unwinnable. The cards will turn against you whatever you do. Sometimes you'll win in by a dog's hair. And sometimes it will be a walk in a park. While some folks hate this, I personally love it - it's not about the destination, it's about the journey, and many losses make a win feel more rewarding.

As for what particular mistakes you are making, this is hard to tell. It pays off to see a particular reason of why you lost, and then backtrack to see if this could have been avoided. Using the role's strengths is also often important, but one shouldn't be constricted by it. I've seen many games lost because medic always thought he had to constantly go around curing like a maniac, forgeting the point of the game is creating cures, not healing the cities.

Enjoy the losing why you can and try to discover strategies on your own. Pandemic shouldn't be a puzzle, a search for "optimal" solution, because, hypothetically, once you find it there's no reason to play it anymore.

Edit: Anthony, I have suggested a few small suggestions how to fine tune the difficulty levels in this thread. But I must say you make the game seem harder then it really is. For instance, my win/loss ratio on 2-player 4-Epidemics game with random roles is currently around 70/30 and over 80/20 if we pick our own roles. Nowhere near "bizzare" difficulty...
 
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Wendy
Canada
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I don't think i am playing this game wrong that's why i feel a little frustrated since we can't figure out what we did wrong to lose all the games.

I guess I will keep playing until i can figure out a way to win at this game!
 
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ŁṲÎS̈
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Mesa
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Our first four games (all 3 player) we thought the game was extremely difficult. We we're about to go down to one epidemic card when I re-read the rules.


major ooops:

I thought the infection rate was how many cubes you place down on the board and that you always take three cities from the infection deck.


When we started placing only one cube at a time, the game immediately became winnable
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Chris Pua
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I've only played a few times, but with 4 players, it seems that efficient use of each role's special abilities is key. The Medic can roam the board treating diseases while the Researcher should usually be specializing in supplementing everyone else's hands with the cards they need for cures. The Dispatcher and Operations Expert facilitate movement so that you're not burning city cards unnecessarily.

If you're having trouble getting enough cards for cures, make sure you're communicating on who has a good number of any particular color, then use the dispatcher and the researcher together to get the right cards to the right people.

(By the way...first post! I am no longer anti-social. Sort of.)
 
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Wendy
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I haven't played with 3 players only 2 and 4. 2 players seems to be a lot easier.

We were actually playing with the card open on the table. We weren't able to get anywhere so we decided to play the intro game with open hands!
 
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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I lost the first dozen games I played, but then started winning pretty regularly, even on the Heroic level. As others have said, it's a matter of maximizing the abilities of each player and planning ahead. You also have to weigh the importance of when to meet up to exchange cards against what needs to be done at the moment to prevent outbreaks... it might be better to wait a turn or two to cure something in order to keep a couple of outbreaks from happening. Also, be careful about the value of eradicating something versus the time it will take to do it... if you can easily eradicate a cured disease, it can be a huge help, but if you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to eradicate a cured disease, it might cost you the game.

I do think the game is somewhat easier with only 2 players as opposed to 4, because although you get the additional abilities with more roles, you have fewer chances to use them, and it requires greater coordination between all players in order to be successful. With only 2 players, if one of them is the Medic, for example, they can be treating cities every other turn.

But if it's any encouragement, I have been winning about a third of the time on the Heroic level... so it definitely can be done.
 
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Steve Duff
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The game is difficult, but certainly not "impossible".

It's amazingly tightly balanced, as a player you have to find that perfect sweet spot between treating disease cubes to keep things under control, but not too much so that you're not spending enough time curing. Similarly, you can easily go the other way, spend too much time moving around trying to swap cards and cure, and not spend enough time on treating.

denwishy wrote:
Setup:
Then pick up 2 cards, and once it's more than 7 We discard.

Most of the time we lose because we run out of white player cards.


One note on discarding cards. A discarded card is a complete waste, you've got zero benefit out of that card. And Pandemic doesn't tolerate waste very well.

I usually attempt to never have to throw away a single card during the game. If I have six cards at the start of my turn, I know that I'm almost guaranteed to have to throw one of them away at the end of my turn if I don't use it. So, I'll make sure I use it. Say I spend a card to travel two spaces, even if it doesn't seem like it does very much, it saves me one action instead of moving twice.

It sounds like you're playing correctly. I'd say you're just slightly not spending enough time working on the cures. Try and think a few turns ahead (Bob will travel here on his turn, Nancy will cure these cubes on her turn, Anna will move here and build a research centre, then Bill will meet up with Bob and exchange the black card, move to the research centre Anna built and cure Black!)

I'd love it if Wendy and Anthony would join my online game thread I just posted:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/364070
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Joe Grundy
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We've won all but one of quite a few plays. Mostly two player but some three player also. I do have the impression it's harder with more players.

I think it's ok to get a couple of outbreaks if it means you are getting one disease cured as early as possible.

We are incredibly miserly with playing cards for movement.

We've had the role to establish Research Stations in most games, and that player pretty much sets up a network of research stations and until that's done ignores treating anything unless it's Really Urgent (to prevent chain outbreaks, not to prevent a single outbreak).

The same cities will always cycle through. The research stations should be set up in the heart of the action.

We rarely treat a city that has only a single cube. Remember those black cards need to cycle back onto the deck and come out again two more times before they'll trigger an outbreak. ie those cities are at least two Epidemic cards away from triggering an outbreak.

We often don't bother treating rush to treat a city that reaches two cubes especially if we've recently had an Epidemic card. It's more economical to treat the city if a cure has been found. Also it's more economical to treat cities where you already are rather than rush over just because one city got a second cube. I'd rather suffer one isolated outbreak than have someone spend a bunch of valuable actions to prevent it.

We like to eliminate ONE disease fairly early. If we can, we coordinate eliminating a disease that's shown lots of activity. To do that, consecutive players may have to pretty much ignore everything else and only treat that disease. We don't bother trying to eliminate any more than one disease, though it does happen.

It's ok to get isolated outbreaks. It's not ok to let a region reach a chain reaction state. When choosing cities to treat, treat the ones that are near you, are on two cubes, and you haven't seen their black card since the last Epidemic. Resist treating anything else.

Edit: I forgot... each role has a special ability. USE THEM!
 
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Wendy
Canada
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Yeah I will keep playing. We do allow for outbreaks but if they are not treated soon, it often leads to chain outbreaks which is bad!

wow you win most of the games? That's pretty good. I guess we can only keep trying!
 
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Joe Grundy
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denwishy wrote:
wow you win most of the games? That's pretty good.
I cautiously always say "we've won most of our games" rather than "we win most of our games".
 
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