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I've noticed that one of the least controllable factors in the game is the draw of player cards. If you draw the colors too evenly, it can be difficult to get 5 of a color in your hand without discarding a lot of others. Additionally, there are not a lot of special event cards to help with this problem. There are considerably more special events for dealing with the threat of the disease cubes, like Forecast, One Quiet Night, and Rapid Vaccine Deployment.
My idea for a card to help with the headaches of bad player deck arrangement is a lot like Forecast.
Unpublished Research - Draw the next 5 cards from the player deck, and replace them in the order of your choice.
I chose 5 because I think it's interesting. You always draw 2 cards from the player deck. That means 5 cards lets you see two and half turns. Forecast sometimes lets you see three turns, sometimes two, and sometimes one and a half. Some of the most interesting (in a bad way) Forecasts are the one and a half turn ones.
Unpublished Research would allow you to rearrange the city cards so that the right player draws the right color.
Another use would be to see an epidemic card coming. You could also delay it slightly, or even advance it (clever in some cases). You could delay it up to two turns, but a clear Unpublished Research wouldn't guarantee you could go three turns without an epidemic because of the extra unknown card.
It would also of course be possible to find another special event card. I imagine you could have some pretty interesting tactical decisions about how you can use a card that you can't play yet but will be able to in a turn or two.
This might be a bit on the (really) powerful side. While I like the idea, I'd consider toning it down.
Consider this : redistributing the colors nets you (most of the time) the effect of two or three card trades, which would take a lot of organization (and actions) to do in-game. This is already stronger than most of the special cards out there (topped only in some occasions by a "New Assignment" for a late-game medic, IMHO).
On top of this, the card enables you to delay an epidemic (if you need just one more turn to eradicate a disease or treat all the 3-cube cities...) or get it one turn early (if no immediate threat, to avoid consecutive epidemics), both being really useful.
On the plus side, it doesn't disturb the flow of the game (keeping the rhythm of two cards each turn), and seems enjoyable as is. The game will just be easier with this card around. I'd put it in a Legendary difficulty game, to (maybe?) have a chance =)
I had to toy with the idea of player deck manipulation when designing the supervisor player role, and came to realize even a small leeway in the player deck draw has a huge influence on the game. In fact, even *seeing* the five or six upcoming cards without manipulating their order would already make a nice event (especially with the mutation and/or virulent strain challenges thrown in).
My two cents
board game jr
I've noticed that one of the least controllable factors in the game is the draw of player cards. If you draw the colors too evenly, it can be difficult to get 5 of a color in your hand without discarding a lot of others.
Yes, the forced discards are killer. A game where at least one color's cure fall into a single hand early on is a game that is much easier no matter what the difficulty level. Not only is it nice to have one cure down, but you also have some breathing room and know what color card you can discard without worry.
Conan is correct. I have played his supervisor role. Deck manipulation is powerful. I made up my own role with a similar power where a player could draw 2 cards as normal but had the choice to put one back on the deck if they wanted to, essentially allowing them to trade that card with the next player up. This also had the added benefit of of being able to slow the game down by drawing less player cards.
I think your card would be fun to play with, however there is a problem. You are designing a card to solve the problem of a random Player Deck setup that isn't giving you the cards you need. This card itself goes into that random Player Deck and thus is subject to the same random distribution problem you are already having. Its obviously much better earlier on in the game because it solves the forced discards problem. In fact, you probably want to play this card as soon as you get it unlike other special events which have an optimal time to play.
With that said, I read a lot of views on here that say this or that is too powerful (usually a custom role) BUT I say why be worried about that. The expansion to this game and variants offer ways to make the game more difficult. Do you think this Special Event you have created makes the game more enjoyable for you? There was a thread on here not too long ago asking if people found Pandemic more enjoyable when they lose and plenty of people seemed to be saying yes. Now its hard to determine what is too easy for some people. Maybe winning 20% is too easy for some people yet 60% is for another person.
I have to admit I don't like to lose, but in Pandemic the way I'm losing is bothering me. I don't like to slowly lose the game by discard. I feel more often than not that my loss has been determined beforehand and I am simply wasting my time playing against a Player Deck that is shuffled in such a way that I can't win. That combined with a random Infection Deck that has placed a lot of cubes on the board in adjacent cities early on instead of more spread out.
I've been working on some custom variants to try to make Pandemic less luck driven and give skill and tactics a chance to overtake a bad Player Deck shuffle. One of these is the ability, and I got this idea from a custom role called the Observer with a slight modification.
Here's the variant:
1) Create a new deck pile called Active Research. This pile will be empty to start the game, though for another variant you may wish to add 2 or 3 cards to it.
1) All players\roles can spend one action to discard one of the cards in their hand to the Active Research pile. They must be in the city of the card they discard.
2) All players\roles can spend one action to take one card out of the Active Research pile. They must be in the city of the card they take from the pile.
This adds a new tactic that is useful for dealing with the discard problem to the game by giving you the option of getting rid of a card before you are forced to discard it. Some will see this as a cheat on Share Knowledge for non-researcher type players. It is. You actually increase the action cost of the Share Knowledge by one here BUT you spare yourself the hassle of having to take two pawns away from treatment at the same time. Tactically, you can plan on getting to that city where the card is at some time in the game when it makes more sense (i.e. when there are disease cubes around there to treat).
I haven't played this a lot. The few times I did play it was less convenient to get to some of these cities than I wanted to, but it did help me win. I don't think its too powerful and if it is you can add epidemics and challenges. Its giving you more tactical choice and strategy to work with and IMO that increases the fun factor.
I like the card idea. I can't say if it would be too powerful or not without trying it, but it did spark an idea in my mind of a slight alteration: instead of rearranging the cards you look at, what if you can exchange one city card from hand with one city card from those you saw? This way you have a bit of help if you got a card distribution that gives you too many different colors at once. Instead of having to discard a card of a color you don't need, you can put it back in the deck for a color you do need.
I think this card is too powerful. Not only do you get the cards you want on your turn, you can set things up for later players as well. How about this:
ONE: Draw 5 cards from the player deck.
TWO: You may two up to two good cards (city or special events) on the top of the deck.
THREE: Any bad cards (epidemics or mutation events) are put under those two good cards in your choice of order.
FOUR: Any other good cards are put on the bottom of the player deck.
This would give you a very nice draw (likely), and likely delay bad events for one turn. But it does not set up the next player's turns as well. Thus the card is about 60% as powerful as your version. I still think this would be a powerful event, but it would be a bit more reasonable.
Warm regards, Rick.