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Pandemic: On the Brink» Forums » Rules

Subject: Special Orders rss

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J
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I was looking over the new event cards and most seemed very powerful. One in particular, however, struck me as being very weak.

Special Orders as far as I tell makes the current player a semi dispatcher. It's just that barring the Containment Specialist and Medics move powers it seems that this card is very weak and essentially a worse version of airlift.

Is there something I'm missing about this card? I mean if it said you could move and take actions with another players pawn I'd understand but the way it's worded you basically get less flexible movement than airlift and it costs actions.
 
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Matt Posey
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While I agree that this card can be very powerful when using the Containment Specialist and/or Medic, it can also be very powerful when the Researcher is in play. If the Researcher has this card, he could move another player to himself, give them a card, and then move them to another nearby player or research station. This could be better than the Airlift card due to the fact that it allows you to give a card AND move them closer to their final desination. While it is true that the player will only be a move or two closer to their destination, that movement can mean the difference between curing a disease and only getting to the research station.
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Железный комиссар
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It is a weaker version of airlift, and you're not missing anything. That said, situationally, it can still save the team. I've seen it win games that otherwise had no chance.
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Dan Poole
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Another question regarding Special Orders:

Does the current player play one other player's piece in addition to OR in lieu of his own piece? I suspect the latter.
 
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Tom Lehmann
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After playing this event, the current active player may take each of his or her remaining actions either with the player's own piece or by moving one other player's piece.
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J
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I didn't say the card couldn't be used. I just said that it was very weak compared to Airlift and as a rule of thumb in games if there is a unique character/item that can do everything that another character/item can do at no extra cost one of these characters/items should not exist. That's the main reason they had to give the operations expert a buff. There were too many new characters who could mimic his ability too well yet do even more.

Except for very specific (and rare) circumstances I still don't see this card being more useful in any situation (baring Medic and Containment Specialist which is a very specific situation) than airlift.

Airlift essentially gives you unlimited moves and an action. SO has limited moves and no free action.

In fact the only case where this might be useful is trading multiple cards in different cities but in that case the cities either have to be adjacent or you have to already be in the city of the card and the other person has to be very close all of which add up to a fairly rare situation.

If the card said "...move and take any action with another player's pawn (except discover an antidote)" that would be a different story since it could be very useful for curing high danger areas, trading more cards or making a remote lab and the fact it takes actions would justify its flexibility. Discovering an antidote though would make it too strong.

As it is its best ability is the fact that if you draw it and airlift at the same time you might be able to use it instead of airlift in certain situations.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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It also stacks well with Mobile Hospital.
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Dave J McWeasely
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I suppose the maximized use of this card looks like this:

Medic is running around.
There are multiple diseases cured.
It's the Generalist's turn: 5 actions.
Borrowed Time gets played for a new total of 7 actions.
Medic gets rag-dolled around the board to 7 cities, treating ~21 cubes of disease, and eradicating several of them.

Of course, why stop there? There could be more than one color of cured disease per city...
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Matt Posey
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Quote:
Airlift essentially gives you unlimited moves and an action.
Airlift gives you ONE movement anywhere, which as I stated before, is not enough if you want a card AND get closer to a research station.

Quote:
Except for very specific (and rare) circumstances I still don't see this card being more useful in any situation (baring Medic and Containment Specialist which is a very specific situation) than airlift.
I really don't see how having a Medic or Containment Specialist is a very specific situation. There are 11 roles, and in games with 3-4 people (where this card would be more helpful), chances are fairly reasonable that at least one will show up. Using some quick statistics, you have a 62% chance that at least one of them will show up in a 4 player game, and a 49% chance of one of them being in a 3 player game. Hardly "very specific".

Additionally, if there is no dispatcher, then having the ability to impersonate a dispatcher once could come in really handy. Using Special Orders AND airlift at the same time could also be a fantastic combination.
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J
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mst3k4L wrote:
Airlift gives you ONE movement anywhere, which as I stated before, is not enough if you want a card AND get closer to a research station.

I cannot think of a single example where if you want to pass a card and get closer to a research lab it would be better to use SO then Airlift. Airlift might give you just one move but it's essentially gives you an infinite number of regular moves at no cost of actions.


Quote:
I really don't see how having a Medic or Containment Specialist is a very specific situation. There are 11 roles, and in games with 3-4 people (where this card would be more helpful), chances are fairly reasonable that at least one will show up. Using some quick statistics, you have a 62% chance that at least one of them will show up in a 4 player game, and a 49% chance of one of them being in a 3 player game. Hardly "very specific".

Additionally, if there is no dispatcher, then having the ability to impersonate a dispatcher once could come in really handy. Using Special Orders AND airlift at the same time could also be a fantastic combination.


After checking i cannot deny your numbers and I'll acknowledge that in games with medic and/or Containment Specialist its strong.

But what bout in 2 player? In 2 player 69% of the time you won't use it on the containment specialist or medic. I just don't see a point in a card that most of the time there's another card that is better than it in almost every way. Having a card that relies on a specific character being in isn't really a good game design. Having a different card that can stand on its own would have been much better than a cheap knockoff.
 
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Tom Lehmann
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allstar64 wrote:
mst3k4L wrote:
Airlift gives you ONE movement anywhere, which as I stated before, is not enough if you want a card AND get closer to a research station.

I cannot think of a single example where if you want to pass a card and get closer to a research lab it would be better to use SO then Airlift. Airlift might give you just one move but it's essentially gives you an infinite number of regular moves at no cost of actions.


I move a player twice, before and after a card transfer, possibly using one of my cards for a direct or charter flight.

For example, suppose it's near the end of a 3 player game, all we need to do to win is cure black, and I won't be taking another turn. I'm in Cairo and hold both the Cairo card and the Khartoum card. A player with 3 cards for the black cure is in Algiers. The player just before has the 5th black card, Delhi, and moved to Delhi (and won't be moving again). We have a research station in Hong Kong. Can we win?

I play Special Orders, move the Algiers player to me (action 1), transfer Cairo (action 2), move him to Khartoum (action 3), and fly him to Delhi (action 4, using my Khartoum card, as per the note on page 4). Now, on the final turn, this player takes the Delhi card (action 1), moves to Hong Kong (actions 2 & 3), and cures black for the win!

Does this work with Airlift? Nope; two actions short.

You can tell a bunch of similar stories. For example, suppose the Research Station is in Kolkata instead. Now, we won't have to use the Khartoum trick. Using Special Orders, I move the Algiers player to me, give him the Cairo card, and move him to Karachi. Now, he moves to Delhi, takes the Delhi card, moves to Kolkata, and cures black.

Can this be done with Airlift? Nope; one action short.

In both cases, the key point is that I'm moving someone both before and after a card transfer. This breaks up the "infinite number of regular moves that Airlift gives you at no cost of actions."

Sure, sometimes you'd rather have Airlift than Special Orders, but there are also times when you'd rather have Special Orders than Airlift.

In 2-player games, if your remaining three events include either New Assignment (where you may want to switch to the Medic for other reasons) or Mobile Hospital, you may also find Special Orders more useful than Airlift.
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Paaqua Grant
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I have a question about the "very specific" situation of using SO while the troubleshooter. The card says "as if it were your own", does this mean that using the direct flight ability to move another character's pawn would still not require a discard? This is how we played it, but wanted other people's thoughts on this.
 
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Tom Lehmann
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Correct, but you (as the Troubleshooter using Special Orders) still have to reveal the direct flight card being used from your hand, not the hand of the player being moved.

This exact case is why the note on page 4 says "discard (or reveal)".
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Chris Olsen
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Tom Lehmann wrote:
In 2-player games, if your remaining three events include either New Assignment (where you may want to switch to the Medic for other reasons) or Mobile Hospital, you may also find Special Orders more useful than Airlift.


Played my first mutation round tonight, two players. I was the Quarantine Specialist and played New Assignment mid game to become the Medic. Later played Special Orders on the other players turn to move my pawn to clear out yellow, which I then eradicated my next turn. Greatly aided in our win. We lastly cured purple with only two turns remaining before the player deck emptied.
 
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Tobias F.
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I need a clarification of how Special Order works. When player A has the card and it's player B's turn and player A plays this card because the players want to move player C - who has to spend his actions? Player B?
 
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Byron S
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Pjupe wrote:
I need a clarification of how Special Order works. When player A has the card and it's player B's turn and player A plays this card because the players want to move player C - who has to spend his actions? Player B?
The current player, which is player B in your example.
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