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Subject: Thoughts on the New Roles [SPOILER ALERT] rss

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David F
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The rulebook is up, and it looks absolutely salivating, so go read it if you haven't!

Not all of the new cards have been spoiled, but all of the new role cards have. I want to start a discussion about these new roles, and am reproducing their text below, so please click out now if you don't want to learn about them prematurely.











Archivist
- Your hand limit is 8 cards.
- Once per turn, for an action, you may draw the city card matching the city your pawn currently occupies from the Player Discard Pile.

Hand limit = 8 - The Scientist has a competitor!
I like the second ability, as it encourages coordination between players. I liked vanilla Pandemic less when the Researcher was in play, because I enjoyed finding those obscure combinations that allowed you to efficiently transfer cards. The Archivist will add to this enjoyment!

Overall, the Archivist seems really powerful, as the first ability is reminiscent of the Scientist, and the second is reminiscent of the Researcher. The Researcher-Scientist combo was always really powerful in the base game.

With the Archivist in play, players can fear less about Direct and Charter Flights.


Containment Specialist
- When you enter a city, if 2 or more cubes of the same color are present, remove 1 of them.

Like an alternative Medic. Makes Airlift a lot more useful if you draw it before anything has been cured. Weirdly enough, this guy almost becomes less useful after you cure a disease. I hate playing the Medic, so I'll probably hate this guy too (when you're the Medic, you basically become everybody's b**** as they argue for you to "go here! go there!". No decisions to make for yourself).


Epidemiologist
- You may take a non-matching city card from a player whose pawn is in the city you are in.

A reverse-Researcher. I don't like him, as it looks like you're just going to sit around and collect cards, and pick up 1 or 2 more to complete your set when you're lucky enough to nearly have a set.


Field Operative
- Once per turn, for an action, take 1 cube from a city you are in and place it as a "sample" on your Role card.
- You may cure a disease at a research station by turning in 3 cubes (from your Role card) and 3 cards, all of the same color.
- (Note: You may return cubes from your Role card back to the supply at any time.)

Scientist made fun! Don't like Scientist usually, since you just sit around collecting cards and don't stray too much from the Research Station. The Field Operative is a proactive Scientist!


Generalist
- You get 5 actions to spend each turn.

Awesome. 1 more action creates so many new possibilities. More possibilities = even better for a cooperative game.

Operations Expert
- You may build a research station in your pawn’s current city for one action.
- Once per turn, for an action, while your pawn is at a research station, you may discard any city card to move to any city.

My favorite role in the base game was the Operations Expert, and let me be first to say I hate the new and improved OpEx. His improvement was probably because so many people complained he was under-powered in the base game (I recognize that an OpEx fan is firmly in the minority). I liked the OpEx before, because there were tough decisions about whether to use a card to travel to more exotic locales and build research stations, or use the card for other purposes. There was a fine tension between going for more research stations or to use your precious actions to help out with other things. With this new OpEx, it just seems too easy for him to set up all 5 research stations in the first 3 turns, and less agonizing decision-making is involved. Becomes a loser after the first 2-3 turns.


Troubleshooter
- At the start of your turn, examine the number of cards equal to the current infection rate on top of the Infection Draw Pile and then replace them (in the same order).
- When moving to a city via a Direct (not Charter) Flight, reveal the utilized city card to the other players, but do not discard it.

The Troubleshooter would be absolutely devastating in a 2-player game, with his free Forecast ability every turn. Seems like a great tag-team with the Dispatcher: the Troubleshooter "scouts" out the problem area first since he doesn't need to waste a card, and the Dispatcher sends everybody else his way.

Bio-Terrorist

Absolutely friggin' brilliant! The problem with the base game was that it gets routine after a while, after you figure out all the tips and tricks and what you have to look out for. The expansion adds all this unpredictability, and to top it all off, if you're a real Pandemic master, you get to contend with the unpredictability that comes from a human player! Can't wait to try the Bio-Terrorist variant with experienced players.



EDIT: For the record, my favorite roles in the base game are Operations Expert and the Dispatcher, not because I believe them to be most powerful, but because I think the most interesting and frequent decisions come up with these two roles. This is the metric by which I judge the new roles, when I say "like" or "hate".
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Looks great!

I completely agree with you and the OpEx. It like playing it now. But with the new rules I think I could have 5 evenly spaced research centers by the end of my second turn. Then you bascally have no special function for the rest of the game.

Spoilers are for movies. Who cares if you find out things about a game before they are out.
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Tim Earl
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Add me to the list of OpEx fans. I'll withhold judgment on the new version until I've actually seen how it plays out, but I do anticipate his usefulness disappearing early on, after an initial building frenzy.
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Daniel Kearns
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It's nice. If you you thought the OpEx was underpowered, then you can use the new role. I always thought the operations expert was quite good on his own so I think I'll use the first version with the expansion.

Either way, the new roles are great. cool

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I dunno, I really like the new OpEx! I don't see why he'll be so weak after 2-3 turns. He'll be able to bounce around using the fancy web he's created. Seems like he'll cooperate well with the Archivist as he can drop any card to go anywhere. Brutal.


I don't understand the wording for
Epidemiologist
- You may take a non-matching city card from a player whose pawn is in the city you are in.

Non-matching? What does that mean?
 
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Steve Wagner
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After reading the rules, this expansion went from I'll get it sometime to a must have. This expansion will give so much more life to the game.
 
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shumby wrote:


I don't understand the wording for
Epidemiologist
- You may take a non-matching city card from a player whose pawn is in the city you are in.

Non-matching? What does that mean?


A card that doesn't match the city you are in.

-MMM
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Gene Warren
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Looks great - I'll definitely have to pre-order this. The new OpEx makes me sad though - after twenty games, no one I've played with has ever thought the old one was underpowered. shake The new power enables the OpEx to get to anywhere on the board and build a research station in one turn, thus removing one of Pandemic's many great sources of tension - getting the player with 5 cards to a research station to cure a disease. (Or building a network of research stations to make this easy, but at the cost of taking time away from other actions)

I guess it might have value for newbies who both find the game too hard, and who find that difficulty off-putting rather than intriguing. I also can see it serving as another valuable balancing mechanism when new players are facing off against an experienced bioterrorist player, or with some of other new mechanics.
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Mike Krajewski
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Interesting that the Archivist can basically fly to any city to which they have a card for 2 actions (direct flight + reclaim used card).
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I remember when the base game out and all the analysis on what combinations of roles worked and what didn't. With eight new roles (well, six plus an upgrade plus a bad guy), people are going to go apey analyzing the combinations of eleven distinct roles!!!

To quote the cab driver in "Superman II": "Man, this is gonna be good!"
 
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My thoughts:

New OpEx: I'm kinda baffled; now this role seems almost too strong. The old OpEx was already a must-have in my group for 4p games... the new one sort of screams sequelitis in the "BIGGER BADDER AWESOMER" sort of way, but I guess I should try it and see.

Archivist was one of the few roles that actually impressed me. This one sounds interesting; not too powerful, but decent enough to be worth playing. And it will prevent the "Oh shoot, we flew too much with this color and now we can't win" problem, though admittedly that was some of the tension in the original. Plus, 8 card hand limit? Hold me.

Containment Specialist is an interesting idea, but I'll have to wait and see how it works in play to form a more concrete opinion. Would definitely be helpful when you have those several-outbreak-ready-cities hotspots and not enough time to fix them.

Epidemiologist: This is the role that made me WTF. This sounds like the Researcher's ugly step-sibling. The Researcher can GIVE non-matching cards on EITHER player's turn as MUCH as they want. The Epidemiologist may TAKE a SINGLE non-matching card on THEIR turn only. If you were totally secretive about hands, this would be more useful because at least you know what's in your hands, but lots of Pandemic revolves around knowing what everyone else needs, and so that's really lost. It just seems like the Epi is a Researcher wannabe that doesn't really hold a candle to the original role. Some of the other roles are neat, but this one seems poorly thought-out. Maybe in practice it'll turn out to be good, I don't know.

Field Operative: Awesome. This is the sort of original role that I was hoping for from the expansion. Doesn't seem too overpowered, has a nice balance (you're helping run out the cubes in that color by hoarding them!), and plays directly into the disease theme. thumbsup

Generalist: Gold star. Simple but so good.

Troubleshooter: Holy crap. The first power is neat and pretty useful, but the second power is just... maybe it's not as psychotically powerful as it seems at the moment, but wow. And basically, who needs an OpEx when you've got the Troubleshooter? "I fly to Algiers, don't throw out the card. Then I throw out the card to make a Research Station." ...oh. I think I just figured out why they upped the power on the OpEx. laugh

Bio-Terrorist: Seems equal parts fiddly and neat. I'm interested to try but doubt it would become a common thing in my group.


Personally, I think the Virulent Epidemics are the part that sound most interesting to me out of the expansion. The roles are neat, but a bit overwhelming and water down the roles to cause some of the "must have" roles (Dispatcher!!!) to come out less. I'll probably do Draw-2-Choose-1 for roles if I end up getting the expansion. (Which, after reading the rules, went from a "Definitely" to a "Probably." Still sounds neat, but also sounds a lot more bloated when part of what I admired about the original game was its streamlined nature.)
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With over 100 plays of the base game, I too would like to chime in with my initial reaction to the new roles.

selwyth wrote:
The rulebook is up, and it looks absolutely salivating, so go read it if you haven't!

Not all of the new cards have been spoiled, but all of the new role cards have. I want to start a discussion about these new roles, and am reproducing their text below, so please click out now if you don't want to learn about them prematurely.


Archivist
- Your hand limit is 8 cards.
- Once per turn, for an action, you may draw the city card matching the city your pawn currently occupies from the Player Discard Pile.

Hand limit = 8 - The Scientist has a competitor!
I like the second ability, as it encourages coordination between players. I liked vanilla Pandemic less when the Researcher was in play, because I enjoyed finding those obscure combinations that allowed you to efficiently transfer cards. The Archivist will add to this enjoyment!

Overall, the Archivist seems really powerful, as the first ability is reminiscent of the Scientist, and the second is reminiscent of the Researcher. The Researcher-Scientist combo was always really powerful in the base game.


This is the role I'm most excited about. My main concern with the expansion was that it would abandon the interlocking nature of the variable player powers in favor of generic powers that are balanced and individually interesting without promoting team play. The archivist looks like a role that will allow the team to tilt in a specific direction because...

Quote:
With the Archivist in play, players can fear less about Direct and Charter Flights.



Quote:
Containment Specialist
- When you enter a city, if 2 or more cubes of the same color are present, remove 1 of them.

Like an alternative Medic. Makes Airlift a lot more useful if you draw it before anything has been cured. Weirdly enough, this guy almost becomes less useful after you cure a disease. I hate playing the Medic, so I'll probably hate this guy too (when you're the Medic, you basically become everybody's b**** as they argue for you to "go here! go there!". No decisions to make for yourself).


I don't share your hatred of the medic (I've never played in groups that order the medic around - that would be annoying). This role looks like a weaker alternative. It begins weaker than the medic and actually gets worse as cures are discovered. I'm not sure I see the point, since both roles are short-term front-men while the rest of the team works on the long-term objectives (curing).


Quote:
Epidemiologist
- You may take a non-matching city card from a player whose pawn is in the city you are in.

A reverse-Researcher. I don't like him, as it looks like you're just going to sit around and collect cards, and pick up 1 or 2 more to complete your set when you're lucky enough to nearly have a set.


Completely agree. Doesn't sound at all interesting. Some people thought the researcher was too powerful, and indeed, this role tones that power down a bit. But it also utterly destroys the researcher's interactivity. Here we have a solo card collector instead of someone who can facilitate the whole group.


Quote:
Field Operative
- Once per turn, for an action, take 1 cube from a city you are in and place it as a "sample" on your Role card.
- You may cure a disease at a research station by turning in 3 cubes (from your Role card) and 3 cards, all of the same color.
- (Note: You may return cubes from your Role card back to the supply at any time.)

Scientist made fun! Don't like Scientist usually, since you just sit around collecting cards and don't stray too much from the Research Station. The Field Operative is a proactive Scientist!


I really hate to go here before playing, but 100+ plays of the base game have my mind screaming "broken!!" in response to this role (in a two-player game at least). Much, more more powerful than the Scientist. Since more or less everyone can be expected to do a mere three treatments, this role basically amounts to "cure for three cards." About the only disadvantage it has is that it cannot pull the "cure-treat-cure" blowout move that the Scientist can. Perhaps the three-turn minimum will balance this role out. I have a hard time seeing how this role doesn't guarantee half the cures in six rounds. And it bugs me that the role may become radically underpowered in a four-player game.

Of course the real biggie is that players often amass three matching cards without a single trade. This role could turn out to be one big solo act, winning between 1/4 and 1/2 the game off in a corner while the rest of the team figures out the rest. Quite skeptical of this one.


Quote:
Generalist
- You get 5 actions to spend each turn.

Awesome. 1 more action creates so many new possibilities. More possibilities = even better for a cooperative game.


I had the opposite reaction. 5 plays means you get to play more. It doesn't promote any specific alliance, advantage, or teamwork. It's balanced but not inherently interactive. What possibilities are you thinking of? I'm willing to be convinced.

Quote:
Operations Expert
- You may build a research station in your pawn’s current city for one action.
- Once per turn, for an action, while your pawn is at a research station, you may discard any city card to move to any city.

My favorite role in the base game was the Operations Expert, and let me be first to say I hate the new and improved OpEx. His improvement was probably because so many people complained he was under-powered in the base game (I recognize that an OpEx fan is firmly in the minority). I liked the OpEx before, because there were tough decisions about whether to use a card to travel to more exotic locales and build research stations, or use the card for other purposes. There was a fine tension between going for more research stations or to use your precious actions to help out with other things. With this new OpEx, it just seems too easy for him to set up all 5 research stations in the first 3 turns, and less agonizing decision-making is involved. Becomes a loser after the first 2-3 turns.


Completely Agree. The original OpEx is a great role!! This revision is for people who feel that the logistics function of the original role was boring.

The new ability is absurdly powerful.

Quote:
Troubleshooter
- At the start of your turn, examine the number of cards equal to the current infection rate on top of the Infection Draw Pile and then replace them (in the same order).
- When moving to a city via a Direct (not Charter) Flight, reveal the utilized city card to the other players, but do not discard it.

The Troubleshooter would be absolutely devastating in a 2-player game, with his free Forecast ability every turn. Seems like a great tag-team with the Dispatcher: the Troubleshooter "scouts" out the problem area first since he doesn't need to waste a card, and the Dispatcher sends everybody else his way.


I'm curious about this one. I think the first ability is good for team play, which by now should be clearly established as my key criterion. Then again I can see the ability leading to some seriously boring games (where's the tension if you know exactly what's coming?). The second ability seems good but not too good, but I dislike it because it seems to create a second OpEx. After all, the direct flight + research station is the OpEx's primary move.

Quote:
Bio-Terrorist

Absolutely friggin' brilliant! The problem with the base game was that it gets routine after a while, after you figure out all the tips and tricks and what you have to look out for. The expansion adds all this unpredictability, and to top it all off, if you're a real Pandemic master, you get to contend with the unpredictability that comes from a human player! Can't wait to try the Bio-Terrorist variant with experienced players.


I'm excited to try this as well!



Quote:
EDIT: For the record, my favorite roles in the base game are Operations Expert and the Dispatcher, not because I believe them to be most powerful, but because I think the most interesting and frequent decisions come up with these two roles. This is the metric by which I judge the new roles, when I say "like" or "hate".


I hear you.
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David F
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Draw-2-choose-1 sounds like a great idea for 4 or fewer players. Shadows over Camelot: Merlin's Company did this when it introduced a new set of roles to the game.

Good point about the Troubleshooter. I guess in the same way the Archivist and Field Operative are more Scientist-like, The Epidemiologist is Researcher-like (though crappy), and Containment Specialist is Medic-like, the Troubleshooter is Operations Expert-like.
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Quote:
I had the opposite reaction. 5 plays means you get to play more. It doesn't promote any specific alliance, advantage, or teamwork. It's balanced but not inherently interactive. What possibilities are you thinking of? I'm willing to be convinced.


5 actions increases your range and what you can do (for example, you can remove cubes from 3 cities in a turn now, instead of 2). True, the text is not inherently interactive, but I find what to do with your 4 actions every turn always very interactive as you discuss with teammates and work out possibilities. 5 actions means your discussions are longer and cover more options.
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Cameron McKenzie
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The Epidemiologist is way better than the Researcher, I think. Getting a set of 5 is a lot easier when one person is collecting cards rather than one person giving them all out. Basically, he turns everyone else into a less versatile researcher.

Field Operative doesn't seem THAT good. You can only pick up one sample per turn, and it requires you to spend all three turns in the region where you want to collect samples. A big part of this game is adapting to what infections get drawn in order to prevent outbreaks. In order to use his power effectively, the Field Operative essentially stuck in one region. I think it's a bigger weakness than you might think.

Containment Specialist does seem weak, but not too bad when you think about how much of the game you often spend running between cities with 2 or 3 cubes to lower the threat. You often ignore cities with one cube, even passing right over them and doing nothing. It's inefficient, but on the other hand the game usually IS lost due to outbreaks. Containment Specialist is less "efficient" than the medic but more versatile. He has to advantage of being able to remove cubes from more than two different cities in a turn, or two cities that are pretty far away, which is kind of ideal for preventing outbreaks.

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David F
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I guess the Field Operative would be more useful with more players in the game, as it's easier for him to specialize in a single color. Note though that he doesn't have to be stuck in a single color-region. He can just go around and help out in general, and just pick up the cubes as he treats diseases, for use later (with a supervision of the supply level). It's like having a second hand of cards, except these cards are used only for curing, not for traveling.

The Containment Specialist is definitely useful. There have been many situations where right after an Epidemic, there were 2-3 cities ready to explode, and the Medic could do nothing about it, as it required too many actions. So we usually had to "pick our poison" and cover our eyes in the Infector phase. The Containment Specialist would help out greatly here.

More powerful roles aren't a bad thing by the way, since the game can be made harder now. Better than Shadows over Camelot: Merlin's Company, which gave you a harder game, and weaker roles.
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Quote:
The Epidemiologist is way better than the Researcher, I think. Getting a set of 5 is a lot easier when one person is collecting cards rather than one person giving them all out. Basically, he turns everyone else into a less versatile researcher.


I would agree except for the "once per turn" limitation. As it stands, I think the Researcher can help multiple players reach five cards faster than the Epidemiologist can get them on his own. And of course, the Epidemiologist does not combo with the scientist. That's one of the big concerns I have with the expansion (the lack of direct interactions among the variable player powers). A researcher and a scientist can often cure a single disease in Atlanta before a single pawn has moved. How can the Epidemiologist compare with that? A researcher/scientist can also set up two cures on a single turn.

Perhaps it's just my instinct to exploit the heck out of the researcher. Nearly all of his cards should be routed to other players, unless there is an impending game-loss from outbreaks or the disease in question is already cured.
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I played several games with my own roles, one of which was similar to the containment specialist. Mine lacked the 2+ cubes restriction and removed all cubes once it was cured. (it only did one color of cube though.) So my version was way better than this one. It was still worse than the medic! This is going to be a weak role.
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Quote:
I guess the Field Operative would be more useful with more players in the game, as it's easier for him to specialize in a single color.


With more players? Seems just the opposite. With more players those three turns come around less often. A cure after eight cards have been drawn is much better than a cure after 12 or a cure after 16. His efficacy is a four-player game is cut in half relative to the two-player game. This also means that in a two-player game against 6 epidemics, the Field Operative should, in most cases, have two cures in place before the third epidemic hits. That's huge. It is true that his ability to respond to the board may be limited, but that pales in comparison to the advantage he provides. Barring an impending game-loss, all roles should be using their special powers on their turns.
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JohnRayJr wrote:
That's one of the big concerns I have with the expansion (the lack of direct interactions among the variable player powers).


Wait until hundreds of games of this have been logged. I have great faith that people will find those direct interactions.

~Josh
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I've been thinking about the new OpEx and I could see using him in a 3-player game against six epidemics. There might be some fun in using his new power against the insane difficulty of 3P6E. Otherwise I think I'll probably ignore him (for base game rules, anyway).
 
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Outside Lime wrote:
JohnRayJr wrote:
That's one of the big concerns I have with the expansion (the lack of direct interactions among the variable player powers).


Wait until hundreds of games of this have been logged. I have great faith that people will find those direct interactions.

~Josh


I hope so!
 
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Archivist

It could lead to some browsing through the discard pile over and over, with the corresponding downtime. This one seems very powerful.


Containment Specialist

I don't think this one's weaker than the medic. Sure, it takes 2 actions to remove 3 cubes, but you can remove the 3rd cube from up to four cities in a single turn. That's a lot of troubleshooting where several adjacent cities got to 3 cubes at the same time.


Epidemiologist

It's strange this one is designed weaker than the Researcher (given you can only take one non-matching card per turn), as I'd say their powers are quite symmetrical to each other.


Field Operative

Interesting, balanced and very thematic.


Troubleshooter

The ability to scan for trouble and they flying there sound very powerful.


Operations Expert

I'm one of those who don't get terribly excited about playing as the OpEx. I don't find anything particularly exciting about deciding when adn where to buidl reasearch stations. The new OpEx is more powerful, but the fact that building RS is easier doesn't mean it's any more interesting.


I'd say the new roles could make mandatory to choose roles and not to deal them at random (specially in 4-5 player games), as I don't see a Medic and a Containment Specialist fitting in the same game.
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Joshua Hammack
United States
Seattle
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The roles sound cool. I am not going to scream the game is broken, or any thing else.

I am going to play it first. The trouble shooter doesn't sound that powerful. For the first couple of rounds, you will only get to see what cards are going to come up for your own infection phase. So what if you see Moscow is going to outbreak, you are in Lagos, and don't have the cards. I guess you can see how the board will humiliate you in advance.

I don't think the Operations Expert seems too powerful with the new incarnation. I know many people of group disliked the role. I was not one of them, but maybe I won't hear their groan. I am going to wait and see.
 
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Железный комиссар
United States
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hedonisticnihil wrote:
The roles sound cool. I am not going to scream the game is broken, or any thing else.


Then why didn't your post end here? In fact, why did you post at all?

I'll happily play the expansion and I'll happily discuss it both before and after.
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