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Subject: Reshuffling Player Deck? rss

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N Burghardt
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I don't own this game, but have played it twice and enjoy it. The first play, we got decimated. The second play, we felt like the game ended quickly/abruptly after burning through the players' deck. I'm sure it is newness on our part for failing within that amount of time, but we thought it would have been fun to continue as it seemed like things were starting to really heat up. We had contained hot spots well, but a lot of disease was spreading out of control throughout most of the world.

Has anyone tried giving the players a big penalty (like an epidemic or two or maybe keeping only half the location/event cards but all the epidemics cards in the reshuffle) and then allowing a reshuffle of the discard pile to keep the action going but making it intensify?
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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If you would have more fun by re-shuffling and continuing, you should certainly do so.

However, running out of cards in the player deck basically means that you burned too many of them, either traveling, building research stations, or being forced to discard. You got those benefits, but there is a price to pay (running out of cards).

Without the constraint of losing that way, the game would lack the really difficult decisions of when to use a card and when not to. So I would encourage you to adjust your strategy, rather than tweak the rules of the game.

But, like I said, it's your game, so you should absolutely play it in whatever way will be the most fun for you.
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N Burghardt
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I realize we are changing the time element of the game, but if the challenge escalates, we would find it even more exciting.

I'm sure the designer made the game with the end of the deck in mind as a timer and I agree the whole game mechanics package feels tight and well designed. That's why I was asking if anyone has tried a variant to reshuffle the deck, but make it get even harder. That way fast, efficient work is still rewarded. It's just that we'd rather lose to the drama of the diseases out of control rather than the clock.
 
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N Burghardt
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I wonder if un-curing a disease would be too punishing. devil

I kind of loathe myself for even suggesting it. laugh
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Kevin B. Smith
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nburghardt wrote:
It's just that we'd rather lose to the drama of the diseases out of control rather than the clock.

When I play, I'm very paranoid about wasting cards. So if I lose, it's usually due to outbreaks or using up all the cubes of a color. Or, putting it differently, I view the imminent end of the deck as every bit as scary as the other ways of losing.

It seems to me that your idea wouldn't eliminate the clock, but would merely soften it a bit. If you continued to play cards with abandon, you might still run out of time...just later, during the 2nd or even 3rd time through the deck.

For what it's worth, Forbidden Island allows you to go through the deck more than once, and with 2p you pretty much have to go through it 2-3 times.
 
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Matt Davis
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I'd suggest the following for going through the deck a second time:

- Remove Special Actions from the game once they're used
- Shuffle all 6 epidemics back into the deck. And I mean shuffle them in. None of this namby-pamby seeding them so they only happen every few turns () - the world is a powder keg that could go at any minute!
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N Burghardt
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I like that idea Matt, plus with the possibility of extra cards in hand, the deck would get even more dangerous.

For the record, I'm not saying that the rules are written are bad, I just know we'd would have preferred to press on with further mounting pressure. Our containment strategy flopped due to our newbie-ness, but we were having a blast as we continued the fight to save the world.
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Marcel Sagel
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The thing with Pandemic is that the diseases can get out of control in the blink of an eye. A few bad draws in a row and you're toast.
So "making the game harder" increases the chance that an escalation happens and you'll lose anyway.
I think it would be very hard to balance the game if you remove the time pressure. I would recommend to try again a few more times with the rules as written, perhaps go to a higher difficulty level if you want more danger from the spreading diseases.
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N Burghardt
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We did have it on a higher challenge level, I think 5 epidemic cards were in the deck. I think that's why we worked too hard on containment. Again, not saying anything is wrong with the game as-is.
 
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jack elfrink
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An idea you may toy around with is that once the deck runs dry, flip it over just as it is (no shuffling). But then the object of the game becomes to eradicate four diseases instead of merely just curing.

If you shuffle the epidemic cards might wind up clustered together. Flipping the deck as is will have the outbreak cards roughly spaces out. If the infection rate goes off the top of the track just continue the pattern. 55667788
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Travis Hall
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nburghardt wrote:
That way fast, efficient work is still rewarded. It's just that we'd rather lose to the drama of the diseases out of control rather than the clock.

There's a problem here, in your assumption that your play was "efficient work". Perhaps it was fast, but in the context of the standard rules, it definitely was not efficient. You burnt important resources without regard to whether those resources were needed to achieve other aims, and that proved to be inefficient in the end because you ran out of resources.

To make an analogy, imagine firefighters show up to fight a forest fire. (So, no handy fire hydrants to keep the water flowing.) They have the water stored in their truck tanks to keep the fire contained. They pull, up, turn their pumps on full, and empty the tanks within five minutes. At the six minute mark, they radio back to base: "We've got some of the flames out, but the fire's spreading again at the rear. What do we do now? We should have beaten the fire, right? After all, look how efficiently we used our water - it's all gone in five minutes!"

The time element in Pandemic isn't just to keep the game short. It is to ensure that your resources are valuable.

My first suggestion would be to start treating the cards as a valuable resource, and try to balance your need to gather sets of five to enact cures against their usefulness for keeping diseases contained. Do this, and I bet you'll find yourselves facing the drama of diseases out of control a whole lot more.

If you want to eliminate the deck-as-timer aspect, I'd suggest continuing to play after the deck runs out, but don't reshuffle the deck. You just don't get to draw cards any more. That'll make the game a bit easier, but I'm sure that's nothing that can't be countered by adding an extra epidemic to the deck, if it concerns you.

(Of course, if you've burnt your cards too quickly, you may well not have the cards required to get all your cures at that point. Sucks to make such a bad mistake, eh? If you do still have the required cards, it may be quite challenging to gather sets of five together while containing the diseases.)

BTW, five epidemics is not particularly hard. Four epidemics is the "easy" setting. Five is pretty standard. Six or seven epidemics is difficult.
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I have manged to not yet lose by exhausting the player deck, but I have come scary close a few times.

I like the tension it creates when there are just a few cards remaining.
 
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N Burghardt
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Wraith wrote:
nburghardt wrote:
That way fast, efficient work is still rewarded. It's just that we'd rather lose to the drama of the diseases out of control rather than the clock.

There's a problem here, in your assumption that your play was "efficient work".


You misunderstood my comment. I was not saying we were efficient in our style of play. I was saying if a reshuffle occurred but with a major penalty, efficient play was still rewarded, i.e. those who win on the first pass of the deck avoid the penalty thus are rewarded for doing so.
 
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Greg Jones
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Make sure you are playing the game correctly. Look for the common mistakes thread.

A likely mistake is that you're under the impression that winning the game requires removing all the cubes from the board. You just have to discover all 4 cures by spending 5 cards (or special ability), and you win instantly.
 
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Malcolm Howell
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Wraith wrote:
If you want to eliminate the deck-as-timer aspect, I'd suggest continuing to play after the deck runs out, but don't reshuffle the deck. You just don't get to draw cards any more. That'll make the game a bit easier, but I'm sure that's nothing that can't be countered by adding an extra epidemic to the deck, if it concerns you.

The trouble with playing on after the cards run out is that you don't draw any more epidemics, thus you never place the infection discard pile back on top of the deck and before long all the hot spots are discarded and you're placing single cubes in previously untouched cities, which completely kills the tension.

However you choose to extend the game, resetting the infection deck every five or so turns (depending on difficulty level) is crucial to keeping things interesting.
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N Burghardt
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Yep, we understand the rules. It is a game of trying to find the cures, but keeping the diseases contained enough that they don't go out of control. Pretty nifty game with a lot of great mechanics.

If we reshuffle, we include the epidemic cards.

Not looking to make the game easier, we just weren't in love with the card "timer". I realize others don't feel the same and I'm not saying they shouldn't enjoy it as-is, it's well designed.
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