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Pandemic: On the Brink» Forums » Variants

Subject: Pandemic Competitive Variant rss

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Shlomi Atia
Israel
Deganya B
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Hi,
Before I start, I want to apologize for the english in advance :/
I've played pandemic for some time now, with great enjoyment. The problem is that pandemic, like other co-op games I guess, have the inherited problems regarding the to concept of cooperation. First, it's very hard to keep veterens from controling the game when playing with newbies. Second, some folks have problem with starting a new game once we beat it in the highest level of difficulty. The game is doing a good job at bieng challenging, so it takes some time to reach this point, and the expension make it even further. Eventually though, the challenge, even if fun and chaotic, doesn't introduce new elements like when playing against new players in competetive games. To make things wrose, my friends are very fond of competition in general :\

That's why I decided to create a variant that introduce competition to pandemic. My goal is to introduce seperate goal for each player or team, so that they can compete with each other using offensive actions, diplomacy, trading etc. I'm talking about teams, because pandemic already have a good foundation for cooperation, and I didn't wanted to ignore that, so I support competetive team game as well.
In contrast, I'll try to keep the game mechanics as unchanged as I can, while keeping the game as balanced as I can. The following will include the changes to the core gameplay (including the expension) that I thought about. There are some things I'm unsure about and I'll be happy for input about them and anything else. I actually playtested it a bit and it seems to be quite fun

I'll upload everything to word file or something soon

The basic theme is that instead of curing all epidemics worldwide, your team concetrate on a specific epidemics on specific areas of the world. On the same time, other regions suffer from other epidemics as well. Not only that you need to save your region before the plague overwhelmes it, if other region will be succesful in this endevour before you do, it will raise such a public rage upon your government, that the entire area will be driven into chaos, and it will be doomed (Not to mention that masses of protestors in the streets aren't the best way to deal with extremlly contagious dieases...)


Components
The base components are used. The only thing you need other then that is some method of recording which diseases belongs to which teams, and how many outbreaks they suffered for those diseases. For virulent strain, you also need to connect each continues effect to specific disease. A piece of paper and a pen woluld suffice. You'll also need someting to make random choices with, like a dice.

Object of the game
Your team is in charge on some of the diseses, not all of them. You need to eraticate those diseases, using colaboration and best use if each of the member of your team. However, there are other teams, racing to do the exact same thing with the diseases they take care of. To prevent political outbreak, you must make sure they don't succeed before you do, with any means neccessary, whilst remembering that time is running out for everyone. Some uneasy interest deals may need to be held between the competing teams to prevent mutual destruction

Start of actual rules

Setting Up
Before doing anything, divide 2-5 players to 2-4 teams, with at least one player per team. Then, randomly divide the diseases between the teams using the following rules:

2 teams (1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 2 vs 3) - 2 diseases each
2 teams (1 vs 3, 1 vs 4) - 1 disease for the 1 player team, and 3 for the other
3 teams (1 vs 1 vs 1, 1 vs 2 vs 2) - 1 disease each, 1 netural disease
3 teams (1 vs 1 vs 2, 1 vs 1 vs 3) - 1 disease to the 1 player teams, and 2 diseases to the other
4 teams (1 vs 1 vs 1 vs 1, 1 vs 1 vs 1 vs 2) - 1 disease each

Then do the rest of the setup normally, with the following changes:
If you have the expension, do step 7 as noted there. In any case, Deal players cards to players according to the number of players, not number of teams.

(I'm not sure how to position the pawns at first, randomlly? let the enemies decide?)
In steps 2 and 3, do not put the pawns and research station in atlanta. Do not put any reasearch stations at all. Put the pawn on the city of their choosing.

In step 8, you may use the additional epidemic card from the expension.

(I Tried to start the game as balanced as I can. Do you think this is a good solution?)
Do the initial infection like this:

11. Each team draws infection cards with color coresponding to the diseases of it's responsibility, with this rules:

2 teams - Pick a team at random. Draw infection cards for this team until you have 4 with it's diseases colors. Shuffle any infection cards that weren't used back in the deck. Infect the 2 cities in the first 2 infection cards with 3 cubes, the 1 following with 2 cubes and the last with 1 cube. The other team draw

5 infection cards in a similar fashion, and infect, according to the drawing order 1 with 3 cubes, 2 with 2 cubes, and 2 with 1 cube
3 teams - Similar to 2 teams, each team draw 3 infection cards, and infect 1 with 3 cube, 1 with 2 cube, and 1 with 1 cube
4 teams - Pick a team at random. Draw 3 infection cards, and infect each with 2 cubes. Draw 2 infection cards with each of the rest, and infect 1 with 3

cubes, and 1 with 1 cube.

You should have 9 infection cards in the discard pile, like the normal game

Game Turn
The structure of the game turn remain the same, but there are 2 differences. At any point during you turn, you may trade cards from your hand with opposite teams players. Also, you may hold infection cards in your hand, other then player cards. Before drawing player cards, you may also infect cities using the infection cards in your hand.

Infecting cities
(I'm not sure when to allow players to play infections cards...?)
You may discard infection card to infect the city they represents at any time during your turn, before drawing the 2 player cards. This doesn't cost an action.

Trading & Negotiation
At any point during your turn, you may exchange cards with players of other teams. This is not a share knowledge action. You still need to do that action with you team members. However, with other teams players you may freely give and take as many cards as you like, upholding the 7 cards limits. You may trade both infection and player cards. You may not however, trade epidemic cards, as they're resolved immediately. There is no limit for the kind of deals. For example, If you're a medic, an enemy may ask you to clean 4 of his cities for a card. Only the current player may give or receive cards. Temporary alliances with teams are also possible, but it doesn't mean you can win togather, and the alliances can be broken at any time. (If you want to co-op, just play the regular game )

Trading With Private Research Corporates
(Is it neccessary? It's to workaround teams that discard your cards as strategy and won't trade them. Is it too easy? should it be done in a research station for one action?)
When you don't have a choice, you may discard 4 player cards of the same color for 1 player card representing a city in the discard pile (i.e, no speical event)


1 Actions
You can take 4 actions as in the original game

Basic Actions
All basic actions remain the same

Special Actions
All the special actions remain the same between the members of your team. The share knowledge action is known and work otherwise when executed against players in other teams:

Steal/Plant Knowledge
(Maybe it should be limited for once per turn?)
The action may be used against a pawn from the other team. You both need to be in the same city, but you don't have to transfer the city card you're standing in. You can select random card to take from her hand. If you want, you can give the player a card. If this will result in more then 7 cards in your adversery hand, you choose random card to discard from her hand. She must take your card.

Additional Actions
Players now given some of the bioterrorist actions. They may do one of this action once per turn, for one action.

Infect Locally
Place a cube of a matching color to the city you're in

Sabotage
Discard an infection card of a matching color to the city you're in, and you can remove the research station that is placed there


2 Drawing Cards
The player draws 2 player cards as usual

Special Event Cards
(I'm not sure if one quiet night and commecrical transportation ban are usefull in competetive scenario...?)
All the special event cards from the original game and the expension are used exactly the same

Hand limit
The 7 cards limit apply to both player cards and infection cards togather. As mentioned before, you may hold infection cards in your hand. Discarding an infection card due to hand limit, means putting a cube in the city it represents.

Sharing Information About Cards
Naturally, now you have a good reason to conceal your cards from the other teams' players. You may share information with your team members as usual, but notice that eavesdropping is allowed...

Epidemics
You resolve epdemics in slightly different manner when infecting city with 3 cubes. You increase the infection rate and intestify as usual. When infecting a city, draw the bottom infection card, but you may play an infection card from your hand instead. Put the drawn city in your hand instead of the card you discarded.


3 Playing The Infector

Draw infection cards according to the infection rate. If you have room in your hand, you don't have to play them right now. You may keep them and play them in your following turns. However, if you reached your hand limit, you must discard infection cards and infect their cities as usual. You may use infection cards from your hand instead of the ones drawn, but you must take the ones drawn instead. You ignore discarded cards of both eradicated diseases, and diseases of eradicated teams

Outbreaks
Resolved execally the same, however, each outbreak will be registred to a team, not to all of the players. If the outbreak occur to a netural disease (see setting up), register it to all teams relevant. More info in the game end section.

Turn End
Nothing changed here

X Game End
Your team win if:
1. Your team eradicated all the diseases under your responsibilty
or
2. All other teams lost (Not sure about this. Don't know if it should eradicate either way)

Your team lost if:
1. You need to add disease cube of one of your team diseases, and there aren't any left
2. Enough outbreaks of diseases of your color occur (2 teams - 4 outbreaks, 3-4 teams - 2 outbreaks)
3. When playing 1 vs 2 vs 2, the 2 teams with 2 players are responsible for the netural disease. If the cubes for this disease run out, or it outbroke 4 times, they lose and the team with 1 player wins. They don't need to cure it to win however

Everybody lose if:
1. The player cards ran out before someone won
3. When playing 1 vs 1 vs 1, everybody are responsible for the netural disease. If the cubes for it ran out, or it outbroke 4 times, everybody loses. They don't need to cure it to win though

Roles
All the roles from the original game and it's expnesion may be used. They have the same use regarding to players in your team. When regarding to players of other teams however, there are some clarifications and changes:

Dispatcher - May move other teams players as well (Maybe too powerful? limit to once per turn? Allow moving pawn to pawn?)
Medic - Don't have to remove cubes of cured disease of other teams (Is it good?)
Researcher - May give card to other teams player for one action, without bieng in the same city. If it results in more then 7 cards to the target enemy team, the researcher choose random card to discard from the other team players, so the hand will be composed of 7 cards. The enemy player will receive the new card. In short, he can do the Plant Information action without needing to be in the same city as the opposition. (Maybe should be limited to once per turn?)
Containment Specialist - Doesn't have to remove cubes of enemy diseases (Like medic, is it good?)
Epidemiolgist - Same as researcher, only in regards to taking cards, once per turn, for an action, don't have to be in the same city as enemy team player.

Virulent Strain
(I Thought about infecting the strongest or weakest disease at any time, but i decided to let the players have a chance to decide. What do you think?)
This challenge comply with this variant. You may use virulent strain as usual. The virulent strain isn't affecting one disease. You should determine which disease each virulent strin epidemic card affects. You do this by applying the effect to the disease with the color of the city which was infected with 3 cubes as part of the epidemic phase.

Mutation challenge
This challenge comply with this variant. You need to resolve mutation! and mutation event cards, as with epidemic cards, but you may use some infection cards from your hand instead of the ones drawn. You still need to take the ones drawn instead due. The winning and losing conditions are added to the ones

mentioned above. It means that you must cure or treat all purple cubes in order to win, unlike netural disease. You may also lose in case of shortage of purple cubes.

Bioterrorist challenge
Tehoratically, you may add this challenge as well. It's like an additional team that makes thing worse...


End of actual rules

There are some subtleties and strategies resulting from this rules that I haven't even noticed until I actually played it. Let's take you hand for example.

You have lots of contradictory strategies to use:
- Collect enemy infection cards and wait for epidemic cards, or for a chance for outbreak
- Collect your player cards in hope for a cure
- Collect special events for the right time
- Collect you enemy player cards for trading with them, trading with the discard pile, preventing enemy from taking it from the discard pile, charter

flights, direct flight to the heart of the enemy, sabotaging their research station etc.
- Collect your infection cards until after eradication, after pandemic, to prevent outbreak, etc.

In roles, dispatcher, researcher and epidemiolgist have special offensive rule. Actually the operations expert have one t-o. He may build research stations in his territory all the time, thus preventing them from existing elsewhere! all 6 will reside in his territory, and whenever some build one, he'll transfer it to himself

In the board you also have slightly more options to compenstate less diseases to worry about:
- Do you build research station in your territoty, while sacrafying an important card, or using the enemy?
- You should contain netural diseases
- You can "steal" research stations from enemies if all are built
- Do you try to steal cards or negotiate? Without an escape plan, your enemy will just steal it back
- Do you try to initiate outbreaks with infect locally, and sabotage research station to prevent curing, while neglegting your home?
- Do you make alliances with other teams, while performing tasks for them in exchange for cards?

One rule which might seems a little stupied at first, is planting a card. There are some usuful strategies there:

- You may give the enemy some of his infection cards, so he'll have to infect himself. Usefull if you predict an epidemic, and you know he doesn't have infection cards
- You may give your enemy one of your player cards, for example of cured diseases, so you won't need to reach your limit or make unnecessary action to discard it
- You may give hime your player cards that don't have potential of cure right now, only to steal them later
- You can make him discard important cards
- You may give him a card of a third team which is useless to you and him, if they don't want to trade it
- You may give your infection card to the other team player that comes before you, if you thought you had to play it anyway in your turn. This may give you time to eradicate or prevent outbreak

You should also notich that the wrose card dealing possible is actually not that bad. If you're given only your infection cards, but not even one of your player cards, you may keep only the infection cards to delay the infection until good player cards come up.
Also, note that a case where someone is found a cure right from the start is really uncommon. For starters, he need to build research station, usually with

another card of his color. Second, even if a cure is found, other teams bound to gang bang him until they find a cure themselves, or some crysis happen at ahome. In any case, througly shuffle!

I'll be happy to hear any ideas or corrections
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