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Subject: Difficulty rss

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Andrew Oakey
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Ok, we've the Vassal module now available I've managed to get quite a bit of playtesting in.

Many of you have commented that game is a little on the easy side, and I agree. So I'm going to make the following changes:

The infection tracker will be 1 square shorter, i.e. you will be one square closer to the first epidemic. Rolling double black always results in an epidemic, so if the roll wouldn't take you to the next epidemic icon you must move the tracker the edition square(s) to do so.

Introductory mode will have unlimited cure research points and the existing 2x3cubes, 2x2 cubes and 2x1 cubes during setup.

Standard mode will have a limit of 7 cure research points at any one time and have 3x3cubes, 3x2cubes and 3x1 cubes during setup. To ensure you can't lose the game during set-up by running out of cubes, in each set of 3 you will only be allowed one roll of each colour. What I've done is roll the colour die and this determines which of the 4 colours won't be infected in this set of 3:

e.g. I'm going to do the 3x3cube infections. I roll the coloured die and roll green, therefore blue,red and yellow will each get a city infected by 3 cubes. I then roll the numbered die once for each of those colours to determine the cities infected. I then repeat the process for the 3 2cube cities and the 3 1cube cities.

The differences combined definitely make the game harder, epidemics and outbreaks happen more often and running out of cubes is more likely. My first attempt at this I lasted all of 6 rounds before I was out of blue cubes. In that time I had 2 outbreaks and an epidemic.

I'll get the updated graphics/rules pdf done asap. On that note I'm thinking of changing the graphics slightly so that all the trackers fit onto the same sheet as the map.

Thanks
Andy
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Andrew Oakey
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So, as mentioned in the previous post, I'm trying to get all the trackers on the same sheet as the map, whilst also shortening the infection tracker slightly.

With that in mind, what do people think of this?

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Chad Martinell
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I like it!
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Dicky P
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Looking really good.

I forget in which post it was but someone mentioned having a chart set out dice number to colour so that you could just use normal D6's. Might something be included. Even something like block colouring the "roles" chart (or the numbers on that chart)?

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MS-06 Zaku II
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Hi Andy,

It would be nice to add some background colors to the role table, to make the whole map being more consistent

Thanks for your wonderful works!
 
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Andrew Oakey
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Good idea, I've updated the image with background colours on the roles table. So if you refresh this page you should be able to see it.

Thanks
Andy
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Nic Chilton
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Boom04 wrote:
Looking really good.

I forget in which post it was but someone mentioned having a chart set out dice number to colour so that you could just use normal D6's. Might something be included. Even something like block colouring the "roles" chart (or the numbers on that chart)?


In my post . I used a sticky note on the map to add numbers/colours to the Role table.

Another addition I did was to cover the Actions list with another sticky note with a table of the turn orders. That is a two column table that looked something like
"4 Actions from" , "Treat, Cure,Move,Pass"
"Research Roll" , "3 dice, may reroll 2 once, keep black, discard 3rd"
"Infection Spread" , "City Rolls, see infection Tracker"
"Role Reroll" ' "Option in intro game"

I found it more useful than just the action list.

The improvements sound good, I do like the idea of double black causing the next epidemic. Shall have a test.
I'm going to post a session of one of my standard plays of the original standard, then I can do one for this and see how it compares.

thanks
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Andrew Oakey
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At the risk of making the board more cluttered, I have added a turn order table. I'm not totally happy with the wording for the research roll, but it will do for now.

I'll upload this image to BGG shortly so it's available here as well as the linked image above from my site.

Cheers
Andy
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Nic Chilton
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awakener76 wrote:
At the risk of making the board more cluttered, I have added a turn order table.
It looks nice. At the fear of giving you more work to do, how about two versions of the board? An A4 version that just has the titles in the role and turn tables and an A3 version (split into 2 portrait A4 sheets to print and join) with a bigger space around the US map for the full text tables to in on the papyrus part.
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Andrew Oakey
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I'll see what I can do about an A3 version (difficulty will be that I don't have an A3 printer, so won't be able to do a test print before uploading).

But in the meantime I've knocked up a UK game board. I've uploaded it to BGG, so it should appear in the images section shortly!
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Dicky P
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awakener76 wrote:
I'll see what I can do about an A3 version (difficulty will be that I don't have an A3 printer, so won't be able to do a test print before uploading).

But in the meantime I've knocked up a UK game board. I've uploaded it to BGG, so it should appear in the images section shortly!


Andy

That would be really good as it is beginning to get rather cramped on just A4. To clarify (or least my understanding) was that its not specifically an A3 version BUT a version with two A4 sheets which could be joined. I like, you (and perhaps many others), don't have access to an A3 printer (nor a A3 laminator ;-) )

UK version looks good too! Nice to have what appears to be a different network. (Can this be on 2xA4's as well??)

Excellent work!

 
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Andrew Oakey
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I'm going to try to update/fix the rules over the course of the weekend to include the recent changes plus some clarifications.

If I have time I'll have a look at producing an A3 version of the maps. Going to take a bit of work to get all the graphics redone correctly though. I have an idea in my head how it will look, and you're both right, it will be less cluttered.

I'll probably have the logo and cure research trackers across the top, then the map, then the outbreak and infection trackers along with the return of the petri dishes. The UK map will be a slightly different layout thanks to the geography, but again should be clearer and include enough space for the petri dishes.
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Andrew Oakey
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And you are correct, the UK map has a very different network. Scotland is relatively isolated (more so than the west coast on the US map), whilst the midlands and north of England are very well connected. East Anglia isn't the best connected, neither is wales, and you have two isolated cities, exeter and canterbury, compared to just the one on the US map (miami).

Will be interesting to see if this makes any difference to the gameplay. I imagine it will make the game easier if you keep rolling central cities, whilst making the game more difficult if you roll scottish or isolated cities.
 
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Nic Chilton
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Boom04 wrote:
To clarify (or least my understanding) was that its not specifically an A3 version BUT a version with two A4 sheets which could be joined. I like, you (and perhaps many others), don't have access to an A3 printer (nor a A3 laminator ;-) )

UK version looks good too! Nice to have what appears to be a different network. (Can this be on 2xA4's as well??)

Yes, I meant split it into two, to print and assemble. Here is mock up, forgive my paltry attempt at graphics, it just seemed you needed to split the map and the have a tab-slot system to allow the 2 pages to be printed and assembled into a larger piece


The UK map needs some work, it all goes through Leeds. Maybe you could use the National Rail network map as inspiration of what towns, as that has both east & west coast going north?


Or check out http://www.projectmapping.co.uk/Reviews/national_rail_atoc_m...

I'd swap Grimsby for Hull to have a Newcastle-Hull link and Have Carlisle instead of Dundee.

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Dicky P
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nicch wrote:

Yes, I meant split it into two, to print and assemble. Here is mock up, forgive my paltry attempt at graphics, it just seemed you needed to split the map and the have a tab-slot system to allow the 2 pages to be printed and assembled into a larger piece


Thats rather snazzy. I was just thinking of laminating two A4 pages and "sticking" together with some blu-tack.

As for other versions, London underground might be a good base also. Now thinking about it weren't there a number of user created ones done when Pandemic (cough!) first came out. Off to look at those pages...
 
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Andrew Oakey
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Looking at that map the only change I'd be tempted to make would be to break the link between leeds and glasgow and replace it with a link between liverpool and glasgow.

I like the fact the scotland is isolated, it makes planning your move more important.
 
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Dicky P
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awakener76 wrote:

I like the fact the scotland is isolated, it makes planning your move more important.


I agree.
 
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Andrew Oakey
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In an ideal world there would be a flood of user created maps and scenarios. I don't want to have to create them all by myself

What do I mean by scenarios? Well pre-set starting positions, possibly with fewer or more diseases and maybe custom outbreak and infection trackers, maybe even custom roles or special events.

Two scenarios I did consider were a medieval european map with black death, spanish influenza, etc. as the dieseases, dispatcher would need to be replaced completely, and the special events could be more thematic maybe.(e.g. great fire, remove all cubes from a city, that city can no longer be infected, nor travelled through)

With each map/scenario only being a single sheet, there is a real opportunity to build collection of them and have a whole host of different gaming experiences
 
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Timothy Rose
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Having fun with the updates. I'd like to throw out a couple suggestions, just to see what you and others may think. Feel free to use or discard as necessary....

1) Roles. I really would rather have a fifth role rather than the "re-roll on 6" option. Since the obvious choice is the Ops. Manager from the original game, here's a thought: I'd suggest calling the "current" Dispatcher role the Ops. Manager, especially with the whole "return to Atlanta" idea. For a revised Dispatcher, let's try "For one action, roll the numbered die. Immediately fly to any city with that number." It gives the quick movement idea of the Dispatcher from the original game, but also isn't an exact process. You MIGHT roll that hotspot, or just get close, but it allows you to travel more quickly to some of the isolated areas, at a cost.

2) Doubles of cured colors on research rolls. In the late game, I seem to have a devil of a time rolling that last color that I need. Meanwhile, I seem to be rolling everything else, in droves. How about turning in a "double" of a cured color on the research roll for a research point in the color of your choice?. Again, there's something of a "risk/reward" factor here, with the idea of going for the doubles on the second roll, rather than just running with nothing and not risking the black roll on the second toss.

3) Would it be too much of a "fast start" if, at the beginning of the game, the player was able to simply choose his role for the first turn? Scientist is worthless on the first turn,and Dispatcher almost as much (unless the final infection of the seeding phase was near one of the triples). I really hate making people feel they're screwed with their first turn, especially with one roll of a die.

All in all, I like the game. The double black/immediate epidemic rule is terrific, and makes the game more unpredictable. I look forward to trying out the UK map, and I'd appreciate any thoughts on what I've suggested. Again, feel free to use or discard.

Thanks for all the hard work!!

--T.R.
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Andrew Oakey
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All very good suggestions!

1) Will definitely implement this, just to confirm Ops Manager = fly to last infected or start city, Dispatcher = roll number dice, fly to any city with that number.

2) I think will implement this, though I both like and hate the way rolls in the late game can be wasted. I think your way does make the player feel more in control and therefore mitigates bad luck a little.

3)I can see your point about having a useless roll early on, but it may lead to too fast a start. If I had the choice I'd always be the medic and therefore clear cubes off the board asap. Maybe you should have no role for the first round. I can see that working thematically, i.e. new infections are suddenly rampant, it takes time for the government to mount an organised response, so in the meantime just sends out whoever they can to try and contain the spread whilst they put together a team of specialists.

Looks like I'll be doing some more updates to the rules lol.

Thanks
Andy
 
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Dicky P
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awakener76 wrote:
In an ideal world there would be a flood of user created maps and scenarios. I don't want to have to create them all by myself

What do I mean by scenarios? Well pre-set starting positions, possibly with fewer or more diseases and maybe custom outbreak and infection trackers, maybe even custom roles or special events.


Not sure I have the creative abilities for this but will give it some thought.

An immediate idea for a special (recurring) event might be a second pawn which represents a disease carrier. This pawn moves randomly, dropping new cubes each turn. One new role might then enable the player to intercept that carrier pawn and remove (either on one turn or over a number of turns (the latter tying the player down to that role/location)).

I'm not sure whether this is anything akin to the bioterrorist in OTB (I've yet to read the rules to that in full). Inspriation was more thinking of "typhoid Mary".
 
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Nic Chilton
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Personally, I like the option of choosing your role - it can be a nice boost, and believe adding a fifth role would complicate things.
This is an express version, so really it needs to be simpler than the standard game. I don't think its Pandemic Solo, I'm sure you could variant the original for that, nor Pandemic Dice, where the cards are replaced by dice rolls.


On (2) I find that I'll roll and get those already cured, its then a decision to reroll or keep them (effectively acting like a single white, but without the special if you get a second), and so progress on the final cure is slowed (actually just seemingly slow as the probabilities haven't changed). Maybe a suggestion could be you cannot keep research into already cured diseases, effectively force a reroll of them. It does mean research into the remaining ones is speeded up, but then also the chance of advancing the infection tracker, so would speed up the end game but mean less time treating on the map.

Re Dicky's suggestion of reusing pandemic creations. there's the UK one


I was looking at the TTR maps to see (either that or I drag out my Undergraduate graph theory books and design one)
 
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Timothy Rose
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nicch wrote:
Personally, I like the option of choosing your role - it can be a nice boost, and believe adding a fifth role would complicate things.
This is an express version, so really it needs to be simpler than the standard game. I don't think its Pandemic Solo, I'm sure you could variant the original for that, nor Pandemic Dice, where the cards are replaced by dice rolls.


I like the "choose a role" option as well. I just wanted to get rid of the "reroll".

As far as complicating the game, I don't believe another role would overly complicate the choices, especially something as straightforward as "roll a number, fly to one of those cities". Plus, the fifth role more closely replicates the original game, and would help in movement around the board, especially in those more remote areas, and also would facilitate those "victory from the jaws of defeat" moments we've all had with Pandemic.

Now, of course, you could always make a roll at the beginning of the game to decide which role will NOT be available (similar to the fact that you could never have all five roles in the original game, as it was only four players). Of course, with the new expansion, the creators have basically said you can play all five if you want, as the five player variant is not much more than "go ahead"....

The "doubles on cured colors" suggestion I made would, however, likely complicate things much more than necessary. Although I like the idea, perhaps this is one of those things that should be implemented in a different, specific scenario to differentiate it from the basic game we're steadily refining here.

What's being done so far in the creation/refinement of this game (or at least the initial scenario) is, almost by definition, all three of your descriptions (Pandemic Express, Pandemic Solo, and Pandemic Dice), much like the recent trend in this style of game (Agricola Express, Roll Through the Ages, etc), Now, Andy, if this is what you're aiming for, then you'll likely have to decide when to pull the reins back and stop all of us from tinkering with it, and making it more complicated than necessary. Therefore, if what you're trying to accomplish here is more like the recent "D6 Shooters" style game, with a base dice/action system and multiple scenarios that tweak these in various forms, then please feel free to NOT incorporate everything into the base game, and implement what you wish into further ideas down the line.

Nic, can you be a bit more specific as to what you think the name Express should mean in relation to the implementation of the game? I'd be interested....

Thanks for the conversation.

--T.R.
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Andrew Oakey
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Just played a few test games with as many of the new rules as possible. Still too easy, so I'm going to have to change the infection tracker to only have two squares between epidemic instead of 3. This will also result in games being shorter hopefully, making the game live up to its express name

I do like the idea about being forced to re-roll dice for diseases you've already cured, but that does throw the probabilities off a bit. However, that could mimic real life, the longer the last disease goes uncured the greater the change of an epidemic, so it's quite a nice move. It'll also crank up the tension a bit towards the end of the game with more and more blacks being rolled. I like it


So the new rule is that you keep re-rolling until you've locked 2 dice and you can't lock dice for already cured diseases. However you must look at least 1 dice per roll if there is a dice that can be locked.

 
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Andrew Oakey
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Ok, couple more tweaks and I think we're nearly there.

First is a minor one, if you've rolled the research dice and locked one colour, then you roll double black when re-rolling the other two I'm thinking you should get to keep the single colour, but there should still be an epidemic (i.e. move the tracker along to the next epidemic icon).

The other change is possibly a little more contentious, but does simplify the game. I'm going to move the ability to eradicate a disease. i.e. even when a disease has been cured and wiped off the board infections and epidemics can still occur. This is because it is too easy on the small board to eradicate a disease or two early on, thus greatly reducing the threat of epidemics and infections.

These two last changes, combined with the earlier changes we have discussed, I think make the game about the right difficulty and crank the tension up to where it should be. I'm at last seeing the number of epidemics and outbreaks I want to see.

As promised I'll update the rules and boards to show all these changes over the course of the weekend and hopefully that'll mean a better game emerges that is more challenging, tense and fun.

Thanks to everybody for their input!

Cheers
Andy
 
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