1) Do most people in the Pandemic community feel this way? Just a minor survey here.
You might want to put up a poll because responses written in a thread may not represent what the majority are thinking. I found this out recently in my own thread with a poll
. Of course part of the problem was I screwed up the poll which attracted a biased response so be careful. The people most likely to speak up here, and who have been vocal in the past, are people who do not like this role. I personally do not like it. I don't even play with it.
How do I put up a poll in a message thread? It isn't obvious to me.
2) Anybody know why the Epidimoloist can only take 1 card? Was it found during game design that having it take more than 1 card from a non-matching city was broken somehow?
I believe it was Tom Lehmann (co-designer) who came on one of these forums and basically stated that the Epidemiologist, without the hand limit, was too powerful so it had to weakened. There are two main examples given. First is that the Epidemiologist starts first in Atlanta and is able to get a cure immediately in Atlanta on the very first turn because he has two of one color and can grab three more from the other players. The second is that the Researcher's ability is limited by the number of cards she can hold in her hand. The Epidemiologist, on the other, hand can basically build his hand from any number of players and this pool is much larger than what the researcher offers.
I read that thread and understand Tom's argument. The main problem with the Epidimologist is that it needs to spend its time next to someone. I play a lot of two player games, so this is a big problem for the Epidimologist to do, because either you aren't cleaning the 3-spots very well or the Epidimologist is having limited interaction. This can be a problem for the researcher, but the researcher can store 2-3 cards for the other player and then arrange for a meet at the appropriate time. Whereas with the Epidimologist, those same 2-3 cards means you have to follow for 2-3 turns to grab. Big disadvantage.
In a 4 player game, it isn't as much of a problem for the Epidimologist, because that character has more people to chase and it doesn't endanger the board as much. I think the role is more valuable in a 4 player game, but I still think its inferior.
I do disagree with the Atlanta argument. Its based on a very hokey premise. For the Epidimologist to get the cure on the first turn. 1) It has to be the first player. 2) It has to have two of one color card (Unless someone has the card to give it +2). and 3) The other three players need to have 3 of one color card. I'm not a statistician, but you are talking about a fringe situation, as far as I am concerned. And fringe situations shouldn't prevent you from enacting a rule.
3) I play a lot of 2-player games and the Epidomologist-Researcher combo makes the Epidimologist useless. I've thought of a special fix for this, which allows the Epidimologist to take 1 card from the researcer for zero actions. Just curious if anybody else has come up with any fixes for this?
This doesn't sound like an interesting combination to me :(. You could do that, but it is only a benefit with the Researcher around. The argument has been made that the Dispatcher makes the Epidemiologist a more useful role. This makes sense as this allows the Epidemiologist to wonder off on his own without always having to follow other players around. There is a timing issue with all this. If the Dispatcher's turn comes after the Epidemiologist its not as useful if the Dispatcher came before. This is because the Epidemiologist, unlike the Researcher, can only use his ability on his turn. I think this is an even bigger drawback than the one card per round. So the Dispatcher can be useful, but only if the Dispatcher gets to move the Epidemiologist right before the Epidemiologist's turn. Otherwise you are moving the Epidemiologist, but the other player's are going off on their own direction before the Epidemiologist can even get a card from them
Well I play online, and when we are randomly assigned those roles, we groan. We could reset, but my partner and I usually grunt it out. We even grunt it out if its just the Epidimologist and whoever. The people I play with just don't like the role, and neither do I. Maybe my dislike is more based on the fact that it just sucks in a 2-player game and that is mostly what I play. The fix that I mentioned above would only apply if you get the worthless combo of researcher-epidimologist. Just so the epidimologist is useful to have in that game over another role. If there was more than 2 players, you could still limit the Epidimologist to 1 card/turn. But if he takes from the Researcher its a freebie.
You bring up a good point about Dispatcher/Epidimologist. The combo can make the Epidimologist stronger, but it depends on timing.
4) Has anybody tried any tweaks to the Epidimolist? If so, what tweaks and how did it work out?
I have a file
in the files section that lists all the custom roles that people have created on these forums. Some of them include Epidemiologist variants that are more powerful. One change is to allow them to grab as many cards as they want. Tom Lehmann says change the one card limit to two cards. Its still an unsatisfactory role to me because I feel that he's basically going around and chasing other players in the game. The Researcher can actually go off on his own for awhile and then move in close when ready for an exchange that will deliver a cure. Plus the Epidemiologist always seems to be running into the seven card hand limit problem since he's taking cards. So he will discover a cure, but then have only two left over for his next one. At that point he sort of feels done. He could go looking for that second cure, but that is more following around. He's usually a great candidate for the New Assignment at that point.
I think the variant with the unlimited pickup per round is too powerful. I would like to allow other player's to give him cards, but I do think its too powerful. One thing that I was thinking could make the role interesting is allowing him to move two space for each drive\ferry action rather than just one. That way the following around problem to steal cards off other players seems less of nuisance. I've played some other custom roles with that ability and its fun to be able to move across the board so quickly. A change in hand limits size like Archivist could be useful to help lessen the problem of going over the hand limit all the time.