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Subject: Do we have what it takes to save humanity? Hmm, well... let me explain rss

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Xavier Salvador

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Thursday night we gave a first (and a second... and a third) try to Pandemic.

Quote:
Side note: I work in Barcelona (one of the hot spots in Europe for swine flu) for catalan Medicare equivalent (we “control” its evolution wow ). So I could not resist the temptation to buy the game (it had previously caught my eye, but we have such a long game waiting list, I had posponed the adquisition) and to bring it there. We obviously did not play it (we are serious professionals cool ), but it was quite a good opportunity to show my colleagues what are game simulations .

So I brought Pandemic to the club. Though we were 5 of us, we decided that it was indeed thematic in a cooperative game to share one of the roles! And we began the salvation of humanity.
Sorry about the quality of the images (low batteries: no flash).

1st try (Researcher inactive)
We fought a tough battle against the epidemics, but we did a couple of mistakes:

One: we spent much too time treating the diseases in situ, so the race to discover the cures lagged somewhat. In particular, we lost a little too much time making sure the Black Plague was eradicated. This alone could be coped, were it not for:

Two: We took an excessive tactical approach to curing the diseases. Believe it or not, each of the Medic, the Dispatcher and the Operations expert found a cure for Black, Yellow and (just after the photo, see left side of the image) Blue diseases... at a cost of 5 cards each! This was to take profit of the realtime card distribution among us. But we condemned the Scientist to a kind of inefficient Researcher role!


So there is no surprise that the deck was over before we could cope with the Red Infection.
By the way, the Yellow , while already cured, was on the brink of massive outbreaks, so the situation was doubly dangerous before the end.

Humanity 0 – Diseases 1 (Red Infection)


2nd try (Operations expert inactive)
So we undertook the salvation of Humanity-2, trying hard to avoid the mistakes of Humanity-1!

This time we carefully planed the discovery of the cures. The game had barely started and we had already won our last nemesis: Red Infection! We were so proud of the achievement, we overlooked the threat of disease dissemination (see photo, with just 3 black blocks left).


This time the game was extremely short. Humanity felt to Black Plague with just a couple of outbreaks.

Humanity 0 – Diseases 2 (Red Infection, Black Plague)

This was so upsetting we strived to reenact what governments do in cases like this: blame someone else. And we were absolutely successful: the Infection deck had not been properly shuffled after the first game and this explains such an improbable concentration of black cards! So we went for a:

3rd try (Scientist inactive)
This time we did had a plan, but the absence of the scientist was, after the experience of the first try, somewhat ominous.
Knowing it would be difficult to get 5 cards, we focused on the Researcher habilities, while the Operations expert quickly set a chain of Research stations. We had already a cure for Yellow Fever and Blue Mood and there was plenty of time to finish with our feared Black Plague and Red Infection.


We were perhaps were too confident and, with hindsight, we should have not ignored the risks of leaving the cured diseases unmolested. The expected Black and Red outbreaks became linked to those most unwellcome surprises with the diseases we had not yet eradicated. This Kinshasha Yellow Fever epidemic spred to Africa, and the previously quiet Blue Mood surprised us in London ... while we were busy in Asia!

For a couple of turns we used all possible special cards at hand (One Quiet Night and Forecast) to delay the 8th outbreak... but it eventually proved futile. The next draw included both Jakarta and Riyadh. So we managed to produce 9 outbreaks!

Final result:

Humanity 0 – Diseases 3 (Red Infection, Black Plague, Red-Black combo!)


Quote:
Final note: It is one of the few times we don't jump directly to the advanced rules of a game with as much optional rules as possible. We played the introductory game (with 4 Epidemics and all cards open) and still we managed to loose 3 games in a row, each with one of the 3 different defeat conditions gulp !
This experience deserves to be included in the Pandemic Lack-of-what-it-takes Hall of Fame blush !

What a great game, we need On the Brink right now!
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Paul Newsham
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I thought you were going to pull it out of the bag on the last one... never mind - maybe next time, eh? Nice session report.

Anyway, the main reason for replying was your subject reminded me of a session of Pandemic from the games club we run for children at a local school.

One of our most seasoned players has a bit of a favour for the more combative games. e.g. Heroscape and Pirates Cove.

When he checked the tag line for this game, his comment was, "Well, I don't really want to SAVE humanity...". They had a blast though, and won with the second game.

I can't help thinking of that now every time I get this game to the table.
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Jonty
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Nice report. I think Pandemic is actually more fun when one loses than when one wins. At least that's the way I feel sometimes.
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Xavier Salvador

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Newsh wrote:
I thought you were going to pull it out of the bag on the last one

Me too!
As you say, next time!
 
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Xavier Salvador

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jefftang wrote:
I think Pandemic is actually more fun when one loses than when one wins.

More fun to read, perhaps (and to writte, indeed). Because game stories with happy end tend to suck.
But yesterday we did not find it so fun. What we did find was the game was good. It offers an interesting challenge.
Next time, we'll win!
But we'll have to wait after this Serenity/Firefly RPG adventure we begin next week!
 
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