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Subject: 4VP REVIEW - Pandemic (2013 Edition) rss

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Mike Harrison-Wood
United Kingdom
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This is NOT a review of Pandemic, more a brief look at the changes made for the 2013 edition of the game


When looking for co-operative games, Pandemic is consistently among the top rated on any list.

Whilst the frustration, challenge and balance of the game make it superb mechanically, the design was perhaps far from perfect. The latest reprint of this game tackles these shortcomings including a subtle redesign of the components and artwork, as well as a tiny expansion that includes two new roles that the players can act, throwing new tactics into the mix.

Firstly, let’s look at the redesign. The most obvious is the change in basic colour choice. Gone are the old computer simulation looks, stark in their green on black instead swapped for a more contemporary GUI feel simply by changing to a soft light blue. And black.


And that’s very nice to look at and all that, but one thing I am incredibly pleased they’ve redesigned is the functionality of the components. Everything just makes a lot more sense. The bases are bigger, meaning they are no longer fiddly and easily overlooked. The infection cubes are now see through (ooooo, pretty) meaning that somehow they actually appear more dangerous. Glowing away to themselves like the contagious horrors they are, with a luminous radioactive hum. The player pieces are a lot smaller now, bringing them more in line with the rest of the pieces. They now take a much more purposeful effort to knock down, which saves a lot of hassle when playing with clumsier, more haphazard players.


Oh and the other tokens are now made of solid wood, which makes it much more of an ominous motion moving them down the deadly tracks. Flimsy cardboard should not herald your demise, only solid wood or metal will suffice!



Secondly, let’s look at the mechanical additions in the new roles of Quarantine Specialist and Contingency Planner.

Quarantine Specialist
The Quarantine Specialist is very useful at short term disaster evasion. It acts so that when strategically placed they can stop extra infection being spread.


This seems quite weak at first, but when considered with other bonuses, such as the Forecast card which lets you rearrange the next six infection card, you should start to see more potential. It’s then possible to have your Quarantine Specialist be in exactly the right place at the right time, essentially stopping any infections that have jumped out of the frying pan from falling into the already disease-ridden fire. This role does not feel powerful, it is preventative at best and whilst it never actively improves any given situation it is nice to know that things would be a lot worse without it. This role is for all the natural Paladins of a group, happy to sit and help as they can by being a shield to the rest.

Contingency Planner
Contingency Planners are a lot more fun. They allow you to reuse any of the special event cards already in the discard pile allowing for vast amounts of activity on their turns. It takes an action to reuse the cards, but all the cards are free to use, essentially allowing incredibly powerful motions for the cost of only one action.


With a Contingency Planner on board, people will be zipping across the board healing the world, making the game much more dynamic and fluid. If Quarantine Specialist is the Paladin of the group, Contingency Planner is definitely the Wizard, with fire balls and magic missiles shooting off in every direction. A good addition.

Aside from the new roles, there has also been a small amount of clarification on the other role cards, and a couple of extra powers to aid balancing issues. These are a good idea, and I commend any game that admits that some of its wording and balancing might not be as good as they could be.

Buy the redesign of Pandemic if:
You don’t already own a copy of Pandemic, WHICH YOU SHOULD, seriously go get it now! If you already own Pandemic and the looks and feel of a board game is really your bag, then it might be worth giving it a go, simply for the more convenient components and prettier looks. The extra roles do bring a nice variety to the game, but since the only physical addition is two cards, these roles are very easy to include in the old print version of the game without having to buy this new one.

- Mike Wood

For more reviews by Mike Wood and others, http://4vp.tumblr.com/Board
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John Woods
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I find the Contingency Planner to be exceptionally weak, especially since they only get to re-use a special event card once and then its removed from the game. Once the small number of special event cards are used, the Planner suddenly becomes useless and adds little to nothing to the team.

The Quarantine Specialist, I've found, is nearly essential to any team for keeping outbreaks under control and prolonging the game to give you a chance at winning.
 
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Randy N
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Thanks for the info.
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Alan B
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My family has played it about 8 times now and we can consistently beat it every time. So it's lost interest for us now. We did think of putting the pandemic cards just into the top half of the deck to spice things up a bit. I look forward to the expansion re-make.
 
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James Cheng
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MashOMatic wrote:
My family has played it about 8 times now and we can consistently beat it every time. So it's lost interest for us now. We did think of putting the pandemic cards just into the top half of the deck to spice things up a bit. I look forward to the expansion re-make.


What difficult level are you playing? How many players?
 
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Mirko Cano
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Have you tried the "On the brick" edition?

It really improves the game and sometimes it becomes a nightmare to beat!
 
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Mango Man
United Kingdom
Cowes
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That's going to happen, I don't think.
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didjmo wrote:
Contingency Planners are a lot more fun. They allow you to reuse any of the special event cards already in the discard pile allowing for vast amounts of activity on their turns. It takes an action to reuse the cards, but all the cards are free to use, essentially allowing incredibly powerful motions for the cost of only one action.


The Action is used when an Event Card is placed on the Contincy Planner's Role Card. No Action is used when the Event Card is played (didjmo may have meant this interpretation, but someone could easily read it differently).
 
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David Lee
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The Contingency Planner is AMAZING. First game I played using them we prevented two infects from epidemics as well as half the infection deck draws we had. Definitely the MVP of that game.
 
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