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Subject: My experience of Pandemic as a game for 2. rss

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Aleyd Lubeck
Australia
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Before the Acquisition:

A week ago I stumbled onto BGG, and was delighted to find so many comprehensive reviews of games. After much ‘research’ I came to the realization, that our Collection ‘needed’ Pandemic. Then, all I had to do was convince my husband that a game I had never heard of a week before was something we could not live without! So, the casual mentioning of how many positive reviews Pandemic has on BGG and how a co-operative game would bring so much to our gaming started. Then on Saturday I brought out the good old ‘How about we pop by the Games Store on the way to X to just see what they have. Honestly, I just want to price Pandemic, so I can save up for it.’ Well, Hubby’s not silly, so I’m sure he could see my true agenda from the start! Fast forward to the Games Store. I’m clutching Pandemic tightly and doing my best attempt at the ‘adorable Puss In Boots eyes’. Hubby says I can get it if I really really want to. Financially the timing was lousy. But, clutching the box I realized how disappointed I’d be if it sold out before we got a copy.




Based on quite a few games with 2 players (my husband and me)…


My Verdict:

Pandemic is perfect for our interests and style of gaming.


Overall:

Really love a game where we can work together, communicate, plan ahead, whilst knowing we may have to change everything if a different region starts getting out of control.


Words that spring to mind include:

Engaging, Addictive


Set-up:

Is quick once you get in to a rhythm. And, we share set-up tasks.


Variety / Re-playability:

Every game is different depending on initial placement of Infection Cubes, timing of drawing Epidemic cards and Roles received.

I really like how the difficulty level can be tweaked by varying the number of Epidemic cards used, and level of communication between players.


Game Duration:

Often less than the 45 minutes listed on the box.

We have been defeated in under 10 minutes, but I found it actually more impressive and inspiring that the game could overwhelm us so entirely, so quickly. [After (somewhat foolishly) commenting that Black had never caused us any issues at all, it went and THOROUGHLY swamped us, making us run out of black cubes quickly, and therefore face defeat.]


Difficulty:

Rules are easy to remember and are A4 size.

Even if you make a ‘mistake’, it is usually not the end of the world. In fact, it can be fun to try to come back from it.

Will definitely pull it out with Non-Gamers. Very serious Strategy Gamers would probably find it too light though.



Cons:

The ‘problems’ I have with Pandemic are fairly superficial.

Contrast between the Black Infection Cubes and the Board is not great.

Player token aren’t very nice. I find the colours uninspiring (Brown is downright ugly), they are too chunky, and very old-school (not ingenious like a Meeple!). Am very tempted to substitute these for slimmer tokens.

It can be fiddly with 3 Infection Cubes (not to mention a Player Token on a city). City name can be covered up, Cubes knocked to surrounding Cities etc.

Doesn’t come with a holder for Infection Cubes.

On the more expensive end of card and board games. (Though on par with most larger non-traditional board games.)



Things I have done (so far!) that frustrate my husband: blush

Trying to put 3 cubes (instead of 1) on each City drawn in my Infector Phase.

Trying to ‘help’ by placing Cubes when an outbreak occurs, causing us to lose track of which Cities have received their Cubes.

I had had the same Role for 2 games in a row, then on the 3rd game when I had a different Role with entirely different abilities I (quite seriously) kept suggesting we do an action that could not be done in my current Role.

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Steve Duff
Canada
Ottawa
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Great review. I can just see you clutching the box at the store. thumbsup

I really must work on my puppy dog eyes.

Aleyd wrote:
It can be fiddly with 3 Infection Cubes (not to mention a Player Token on a city). City name can be covered up, Cubes knocked to surrounding Cities etc.


I suggest "going vertical" (stack the 3rd cube on top of the other two in a pyramid). Looks cool, saves some space, and helps game play in that it really shows the current danger spots well.
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ErikPeter Walker
United States
Rochester
Minnesota
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You're going to really like the expansion. It remedies many of the issues you faced (pawn size, infection cube containers).

I'm surprised you had such a good time with only 2, it always seemed to be lacking actual cooperation for my wife and I. Way to go.
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Aleyd Lubeck
Australia
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Great idea! Will give it a go.
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Aleyd Lubeck
Australia
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Am very excited about the Expansion now!

With the cooperation, we kinda do the following, which may be over-talking, but works for us.

"So, do you reckon I should continue to mop up cubes over here, or make my way over there and do x, y, or z?" Conversation runs (fairly quickly we don't overthink it) over some pros and cons and we continue.

We don't do this for each turn, just when we want a 2nd opinion, or want to feel a bit more like a team.

With regards to cards we tend to ask what colours and how many the other has and discuss best colours to discard if we need to get rid of cards.

Even though we are a team, we also pay each other out (in a fun way) when an Epidemic card is drawn, or one of us triggers a really bad outbreak. Last night Hubby drew every Epidemic card in the first match. In the 2nd I eventually got one, but he was doing all the damage!

Guess it depends on personality and how much talk you want to allow.

Hope you enjoy it with 3 or 4 though. Am keen to rope some friends or family in to playing with us. I imagine the game will be quite different. At the moment, I kinda love that my next go is never far away, so game flows quickly.
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Kevin Lloyd
United Kingdom
Penmaenmawr
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Completely agree Aleyd - my wife and I love this game and we seem to play with the same style as you and your other half.

I must admit to being a bit dubious about the expansion as some of the mechanics seem like they might change the game into something that may not have the same attraction. That said, I'll probably get it.
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Chris
Netherlands
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Exactly how I feel about the game!
 
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Pete
Australia
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Pandemic is indeed a great 2-player game. I've been playing 2-player pandemic with my wife and everytime we play we have a great time.

Welcome to the geek by the way.
 
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VP495550 Min Yu Liew
United States
Portland
Oregon
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Aleyd wrote:
Hubby says I can get it if I really really want to. Financially the timing was lousy. But, clutching the box I realized how disappointed I’d be if it sold out before we got a copy.


I can relate very well to this. My boyfriend always says if it makes you happy how ca I stop you from buying it?

Great review. Makes me feel I might need this game in my collection too.
 
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Rob Troth
United Kingdom
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Nice review, and I agree pretty much with all your points.

My wife and I really enjoy this game. I find it genuinely exciting and I'm actually a bit disappointed if the game doesn't beat us!

Definitely looking forward to the expansion. I had vowed that I wasn't going to buy another game until the UK Games Expo next year but I'm sure game expansions don't count as games! whistle
 
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Eduardo Soeiro
Portugal
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i had also played with my wife and we love the game. Very nice for a after dinner couple game.
 
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Snowball
Belgium
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Don't you find it is much easier when played by only 2?
 
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Isaac Milton
United States
Reading
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My wife and I just played our first 2 games. We loved it! We one the first game, but got thrashed our second.
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I really like it 2-player. I don't get to play it with my family very often, but I do sometimes play it over MSN with a friend in another province! He has a photo of the game board which he uses to track what's going on. One of us manages the infection and player decks (usually me). I keep his hand face down and don't pay much attention to the cards I'm drawing for him - once I tell him what he's got, I go back to concentrating on my own moves. (I sometimes happen to remember if he's holding a special event, or a large amount of yellow, for example, but generally I can successfully forget what he's holding!)

We're looking forward to the expansion, and have already tried playing with some of the new roles. Very cool.
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Aleyd Lubeck
Australia
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Erin, that is true dedication!!
 
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