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Pandemic: On the Brink» Forums » General

Subject: Bio Terrorist - fun? balanced? rss

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Vince Lupo
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This part is what I want the most from the expansion.


So, first off, is it fun? Does it take too long now? Is there too much downtime for the research team?


Next, is it balanced? Is the bio-terrorist/pandemic side of things more likely to win? Or are the researchers more likely to win?



What player count works best/is the most fun with the bio-terrorist role in? 2 researchers + bio terrorist? 3 researchers + bioterrorist? or 4 + BT?

 
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Steve Duff
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Never used it. Doubt I will. Just seems to be the opposite of what the game is about.

I think it's pretty common for most folks to feel the same way.

But, maybe that one guy who has played it will see this.
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Franklin Millar
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I think it's a fun change of pace. Like the other components of the expansion, it mixes up the core gameplay, this time by adding an intelligent 5th disease in the form of the Bio-terrorist.

It is *not* a cops & robbers game. If you go into it thinking "it'll be so fun sneaking around the world evading capture / hunting the BT while curing diseases" you will probably be disappointed. The Bioterrorist is Pandemic with a twist, and not Fury of Dracula. You should think of the BT as a human-controlled disease and not as a criminal on the lam.

Personally I pull it out about one or two plays in ten.
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Richard Sampson
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I played it a couple of times, and everyone definitely had the Dracula mindset. We were all pretty disappointed with it, and probably won't play with it again.

I think the capture feature needs to be completely reworked. Even if you go in with the human controlled disease it is really just an irritation for the other players because there is no good way to stop it. It is also not clear why you need to sneak around when getting caught doesn't really do anything.

Maybe Franklin can give more insight into how to approach it, but personally I wouldn't play it again unless we modified the rules somehow.
 
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Vince Lupo
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Haven't played the Dracula game. So far the responses here aren't looking good. I'll check out some more of the reviews I guess.
 
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Vince Lupo
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Neo42 wrote:
Haven't played the Dracula game. So far the responses here aren't looking good. I'll check out some more of the reviews I guess.




I found one more review in the forums here with this:
Quote:
The Bio-Terrorist Challenge changes the dynamics of the game and it turns into one player against the others who remain fully cooperative. The Bio-Terrorist player's moves are hidden and it takes on a Scotland Yard feel. The Bio-Terrorist moves around the board, infecting cities and sabotaging Research Centers, hindering the players as they contend with the normal diseases, as well as the fifth disease introduced by the Bio-Terrorist (the purple cubes... which you could pretend are anthrax, but I like to call them the "12 Monkeys" disease). This was the variant that I was most looking forward to and was most disappointed by. The Bio-Terrorist can by a hindrance, but for the most part, the players will win or lose by the draw of the cards, which is often the case of the game. Good card draws from the players make the role of the Bio-Terrorist very weak, while bad draws cause the players to ignore the Bio-Terrorist and focus on the other diseases ready to outbreak. The win conditions of the challenge are as follows:

The players win if they cure all 5 diseases or cure the 4 standard diseases and there are 0 purple cubes on the board. Bio-terrorist wins if the players lose and there is at least 1 purple cube on the board. The Bio-Terrorist loses (and is out of the game) if the purple disease is eradicated. And everyone loses if the players lose and there are no purple cubes on the board.

The problem is the luck of the draw. In one of our games, we cured and then eradicated the purple disease on the second turn. The Bio-Terrorist infected only one city, but it was one that we happened to have the card for. Granted, Pandemic is not a long game, but it is still a tough break for a game that is so cooperative and player involving in all of its other variations. Also, unless the Bio-Terrorist is drawing a lot of cards, it is usually kind of pointless to be chasing down the Bio-Terrorist to capture him and force him to discard his cards. And even if he is drawing a lot of cards, he is drawing them from the Infection Deck, which means he may be helping you by taking a city that is about to outbreak and holding it in his hand instead of letting it draw. I usually wait until after an Epidemic to try to catch the Bio-Terrorist because of this. And as the Bio-Terrorist, it can be a little disappointing to have your diseases and moves strategically ignored because the standard diseases (that you have no effect on) are really the ones kicking the players collective asses. You just happen to win, not because of what you did, but because you had a cube or two out, but they could not stop the standard diseases from triggering outbreak after outbreak.

Another thing I will mention is that some people believe that Pandemic is more like a puzzle than a game. After over a hundred plays, I can see the basis of the belief, but not fully agree with it. Still, I think that the expansion gives enough variety and differences in the way diseases can spread that if you believe that it is just a puzzle, it is now a puzzle with a lot more depth and variation and much more difficult to predict.... at least for another hundred plays or so.



So I think I finally get what naysayers are talking about. From what I can tell you might feel like the humans are trying to beat a giant and that you're just the giant's sidekick who is causing small ignorable issues.


I skimmed over the rules just now and I see what people mean. Perhaps an interesting, if strong/weak modification could be that you are allowed to put a card back on the infection stack as an action. This would let you influence the direction of the regular viruses.

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Vince Lupo
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UnknownParkerBrother wrote:
Never used it. Doubt I will. Just seems to be the opposite of what the game is about.

I think it's pretty common for most folks to feel the same way.

But, maybe that one guy who has played it will see this. :D



I guess we don't often feel like playing cooperative games in our group but this would let us have a middle ground.
 
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Richard Sampson
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Maybe you should try Fury of Dracula (second edition) or Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. Both are quite good and may be more of what you are looking for.

In Dracula everyone is playing against Dracula and trying to figure out where he is. Sometimes the game can drag a little, but most of the time it is a lot of fun.

In Battlestar, there may or may not be a traitor so "everyone" is working together to survive while trying to figure out if there is a traitor and who it is.
 
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We played it a few times with 3p and liked it. The BT has a chance to win the game solo. On the other hand, he is playing with the game as his partner. So, the team has to beat the BT and the game to win. I think the rules say don't do it with more than 4p.

I think the capture does hurt the BT. He needs to loose all his resources "cards" to get back into the game.

All I can say is, give it a try and see if you like it. We usually play Virulent Strain and Mutation at the same time with 5 VS epidemics in the deck. It is quite challenging to beat at this level... I think we have only won at that level 1 or 2 times out of 10 or so plays. Most of them came right down to the wire and everyone wanted to try again.

That said, if you are looking for something co-op but a bit different feel try Defenders of the Realm.

BOb
 
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Vince Lupo
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ras2124 wrote:
Maybe you should try Fury of Dracula (second edition) or Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. Both are quite good and may be more of what you are looking for.

In Dracula everyone is playing against Dracula and trying to figure out where he is. Sometimes the game can drag a little, but most of the time it is a lot of fun.

In Battlestar, there may or may not be a traitor so "everyone" is working together to survive while trying to figure out if there is a traitor and who it is.



Pandemic is nice because it's a shorter coop game. My friend owns BSG and I've played it a bunch, and love it. But perhaps I'm looking for a mostly coop game that doesn't take as long as BSG but is still interesting. I think I'm just looking for something to fill a certain niche. Coop in an hour. And/or mostly coop in an hour.

I've played something called Saboteur or Resistance (probably the latter) but I'm not sure how thrilled I am with it. Perhaps I want a BSG lite. :P


Love the glider avatar you have...
 
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Franklin Millar
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Neo42 wrote:

I've played something called Saboteur or Resistance (probably the latter) but I'm not sure how thrilled I am with it. Perhaps I want a BSG lite. :P
I was going to recommend The Resistance to you as a BSG-lite, but I guess there's no point to that!

I will say that while I like all three parts of On the Brink, I'm hesitant to recommend it to anyone drawn to it primarily by the Bioterrorist.

You might consider looking at Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, which is a short co-op LCG. "LCG", if you aren't aware, basically means that it has a lot of expansions. It's a bit different from the Pandemic-likes (Defenders of the Realm, Forbidden Island) and Mafia-likes (Shadows over Camelot, BSG, The Resistance). Not that those games aren't great.

Also Space Alert, which has a much more frantic pace than Pandemic. One of my top-five, and my favorite co-op.

I'm trying to think of team board games that would give you a sense of cooperation but still retain a team v team antagonism, that isn't a hidden-traitor game like Mafia, BSG etc. I'm drawing a blank. Stronghold? (But that's not an hour long)
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Richard Sampson
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Thanks for the comment about the glider. I am never sure if it drives people crazy or what so it is always nice to get positive feedback.

To add to the game list, maybe something like Scotland Yard or Letters from Whitechapel? I haven't played either so I can't comment, but they are an all versus one, and in the case of Scotland Yard, I don't think it is very deep or long.

The other option is Catacombs which is a few versus a sort of DM. In reality though it is a very light flicking game and it a lot of fun. Maybe something to consider as well.
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Vince Lupo
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Thanks all for the suggestions!


My favorite thing about Space Alert is the frantic cooperation and the fact that you can't have one person figure everything out because there's not enough time. And it takes proper communication. AND it's basically all happening "real time". The game starts and then you have 10 minutes to figure everything out.


BSG is great because you never know who might be screwing things up for you intentionally. You vs the boardgame vs maybe that guy over there or maybe nobody yet.


Pandemic unfortunately tends to become simply, everybody vs the game and nothing "special". Which means that sometimes one player or two ends up merely taking orders from somebody else. Or one person ends up figuring everything out. The only saving grace is that often enough there isn't a clear "best move" so maybe that leading/commanding player isn't always right.

Perhaps there should be a coop game where everybody has a limitation. If you mess up the limitation then there's a penalty, like having to discard or even lose outright. The limitations would probably involve things like "blue player cannot reveal details about his hand". "red player cannot ask certain questions." But these sort of things are hard to keep track of and not really well suited for Pandemic.

LOTR coop card game is already on my radar for theme and the combination of coop with deck building.
 
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Vince Lupo
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Maybe someone should make a Bio-Terrorist variant that makes you more of an ultimate mastermind trying to bring down the world.

So that would make you Dr. No or Dr. Evil or something. Some evil dude that the pandemic team is trying to at least cure the viruses from.

Perhaps you have a secret lair, or not. People aren't thrilled with the capturing mechanics in the current bio-terrorist part of this expansion. If you were able to capture and stop Dr. Evil then potentially he could still "win" if the pandemic took over.


Dr. Evil would have a more active role in all the viruses. He would be able to do a lot more with the city infection deck and decide when and where to cause outbreaks.

Of course, the problem might be that Dr. Evil might have to think about things too much, he might be too powerful, and might not have many interesting decisions. But probably he would (yes it's not that hard to pick cities far away from where the team is but there are other strategies as well).

And he'd be tapped into the pandemic team's plans because of a mole in their org. Which is how he can hear their plans to stop the viruses.


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Conan Meriadoc
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Neo42 wrote:
Pandemic unfortunately tends to become simply, everybody vs the game and nothing "special". Which means that sometimes one player or two ends up merely taking orders from somebody else. Or one person ends up figuring everything out. The only saving grace is that often enough there isn't a clear "best move" so maybe that leading/commanding player isn't always right.


Are you, by any chance, playing the game with open hands? While this can also be a problem with the normal rules, I find that most groups where this kind of behaviour appears decided at some point to play with their cards face-up "because we're free to discuss them, so what's the point of hiding the cards?". In my experience, it changes the game a lot.

I understand the concern, and I love Space Alert for the "too much to manage, too little time" aspect, but Pandemic never really fell into the one-player-plays-all territory with my gaming groups. Just curious...
 
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Vince Lupo
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Dystopian wrote:
Neo42 wrote:
Pandemic unfortunately tends to become simply, everybody vs the game and nothing "special". Which means that sometimes one player or two ends up merely taking orders from somebody else. Or one person ends up figuring everything out. The only saving grace is that often enough there isn't a clear "best move" so maybe that leading/commanding player isn't always right.


Are you, by any chance, playing the game with open hands? While this can also be a problem with the normal rules, I find that most groups where this kind of behaviour appears decided at some point to play with their cards face-up "because we're free to discuss them, so what's the point of hiding the cards?". In my experience, it changes the game a lot.

I understand the concern, and I love Space Alert for the "too much to manage, too little time" aspect, but Pandemic never really fell into the one-player-plays-all territory with my gaming groups. Just curious...



Only our first game was open hand. I think forbidden island keeps it open though.
 
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Dystopian wrote:

Are you, by any chance, playing the game with open hands? While this can also be a problem with the normal rules, I find that most groups where this kind of behaviour appears decided at some point to play with their cards face-up "because we're free to discuss them, so what's the point of hiding the cards?". In my experience, it changes the game a lot.


It depends on how much you discuss them. We spent MUCH time asking how many of a color, what cards etc. So, playing open speed our games up quite a bit. As the directions say, this isn't a "memory" game.

BOb
 
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Vince Lupo
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pilotbob wrote:
Dystopian wrote:

Are you, by any chance, playing the game with open hands? While this can also be a problem with the normal rules, I find that most groups where this kind of behaviour appears decided at some point to play with their cards face-up "because we're free to discuss them, so what's the point of hiding the cards?". In my experience, it changes the game a lot.


It depends on how much you discuss them. We spent MUCH time asking how many of a color, what cards etc. So, playing open speed our games up quite a bit. As the directions say, this isn't a "memory" game.

BOb



It might speed it up but it probably lessens communication. Though arguably, discussing the contents of your hand might seem like unnecessary communication.
 
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Vince Lupo
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Perhaps I want to play Zombie Plague:

http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/7514/zombie-plague

humans vs zombies. Players control humans or zombies. supports 2 to 6 players. I don't know if humans can be turned into zombies.


Free print and play game. I might have to make this one. Perhaps, if allowed, I'll throw it up and the gamecrafter and print myself a copy. I wouldn't sell it to others though. And I have to check out the permissions allowed in the credits.
 
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