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Subject: 2 player game seems stupidly difficult? rss

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Hey just wondering, I've played a few solitair games using 2 players. Thanks to the whole re-infect rule during an epidemic, the same few cities get pounded. Since you draw one of these average every 6 turns if a few cities next to each other end up being the ones to get infected over and over, it triggers massive outbreaks, and you don't appear to have time to get anyone to a base to research anything.

You definetly don't have time for both of you to go to a city to trade a particular card, making the whole trade rule irrelevent to the 2 player game in most situations.

I dunno, it seems to be alot like playing... well solitaire. Your chance to win or lose seems more pre-determined by the layout of the decks then by any player skill. I'm hoping this resolves with more players... but I'm not sure it will. I enjoy a difficult game, but not when the difficulty is swayed that much that it overcomes any ammount of planning.
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Josh Chen
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On the contrary it is believed that a 2 player game is the easiest. That is why with On the Brink expansion they removed the event cards according to the player count. The less player you have the more event cards you have to randomly remove.

I do agree with you though, I feel the game's outcome is predetermined by the random roles and card shuffle. It is a bit too mathematical to me. Although the player's experience do count in upping the winning percentage. It is reported by many that the more plays the players have, the more chances of them at winning the game. That is why the OtB expansion raises the difficulty even more by adding a fifth virus for those who wants to torture themselves by getting crushed by the game.
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Fernando Robert Yu
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More players = more difficulty, as you have less cards to start with (2 at 4-5 p vs 4 at 2 p).


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Max Lampinen
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I don't think Pandemic 2p is difficult. It's difficult at first on any player count, because it seems deceptively simple so you might not even notice the tactical mistakes you are making.

If you want to trade more take Researcher role. Researcher+Dispatcher in particular gets to trade a lot. Medic and Scientist are great for 2p too.
Actually pretty much anything is, but for first few games..
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Kevin B. Smith
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If you are regularly getting crushed, I have to wonder if you are playing incorrectly, although I'm not sure what rule(s) you might be missing. Check the rules forums, and I assume there is an FAQ. There was also a post a while back from someone who lost a bazillion games before winning. My memory is that in that case, despite all the ideas of rules that they might have wrong, in the end it turned out that better skill and decision-making was the real key to winning.

Your comment "you don't appear to have time to get anyone to a base to research anything" is a bit puzzling, since you can get halfway around the world and build a research station in one turn. Keep in mind that you can cure any disease at any station--you don't have to be in a blue station to cure a blue disease.

The main skills/decisions seem to be:
- Knowing when to spend a card for travel vs. saving it for a cure
- Knowing what cities to treat, and how many cubes to remove/leave
- Taking best advantage of your role's special abilities

I agree that trading in a 2p games is rarely worthwhile, especially if you don't have the role that makes it easier. However, there are still opportunities for teamwork, whether as simple as "You take those and I'll do these", or by having one person build a research station for the other to use.

Definitely try Medic/Scientist. Great 2p combo.
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Dante
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I have found it difficult in two player with all of the Epidemic cards included, but not unbeatable and certainly not unfun. I find that in that case it's best to act quick on the cures, whereas with more players you can spread out the jobs.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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I agree with most of the comments so far.

Additionally, I just wanted to point out that exchanging cards is not something that happens on a regular basis at any player count (unless particular roles are present). The difficulty in exchanging cards is by design, and it adds an additional obstacle. If exchanging cards was easy, then the game would be a cake walk. As it is, we may exchange once in a game, but it's generally because we're in a very tight situation where it is absolutely necessary.

Luck does play a role in the win/loss column, but experience and smart play have big roles as well. My wife and I find our difficulty sweet spot to be 6 Virulent Strain Epidemic Cards (from the expansion). We probably win about 30-40% of the time which is about how we like it...
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Edward Calabig
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Is there a variant to make the 2 player game better? Or should each player just play 2 hands/characters?
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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ecalabig wrote:
Is there a variant to make the 2 player game better? Or should each player just play 2 hands/characters?

I recommend just playing the game according to the rules: Single character, single hand.

I'm a big fan of Pandemic, and 2-player is easily my favorite way to play the game. Pandemic is a fantastic 2-player game imo.
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David Durtschi
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mfaulk80 wrote:
ecalabig wrote:
Is there a variant to make the 2 player game better? Or should each player just play 2 hands/characters?

I recommend just playing the game according to the rules: Single character, single hand.

I'm a big fan of Pandemic, and 2-player is easily my favorite way to play the game. Pandemic is a fantastic 2-player game imo.


We also typically play 2 player and usually win, even with all the epidemic cards, both people just need to stay on opposite sides of the world and only treat the diseases you need to treat, and try to keep your cards for cures. There are some great 2 job combos, like scientist/medic, researcher/scientist, medic/operations, etc.

The game is a little harder for 3 players, but I like the scientist/medic/operations combo, and find its probably the strongest in the game, IMHO.

When you get into a 4 player game, thats where you really get difficult, because that 4th player's job doesn't add as much to the mix, and you will be getting epidemics nearly every round. 4 player is sickeningly hard, and we usually take out a couple epidemics when we play 4 player, otherwise we lose so badly its not even fun.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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durtschid wrote:

We also typically play 2 player and usually win, even with all the epidemic cards, both people just need to stay on opposite sides of the world and only treat the diseases you need to treat, and try to keep your cards for cures.

Sounds like it's time for a Virulent Strain and/or Mutations...
 
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David Durtschi
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mfaulk80 wrote:
durtschid wrote:

We also typically play 2 player and usually win, even with all the epidemic cards, both people just need to stay on opposite sides of the world and only treat the diseases you need to treat, and try to keep your cards for cures.

Sounds like it's time for a Virulent Strain and/or Mutations...


Yes, I bought "On the Brink" and it is probably the best expansion I have ever bought. Obviously playing with V.S or Mut takes our winning % down a bit, and playing with both is fun, but you definitely need to remove some epidemic cards. We tried playing once with all epidemic cards (including the extras that come with the expansion, and we lost supremely huge. That is just too hard.
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Sander Engels
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I have found that our best playstyle is different with 2 players than with 5 players. With 2 players, you have many more turns per player over the course of a game. You also get more player cards that way, so you can be spending more cards on travel and building research stations. Trading is often (not always) less necessary because you draw that many cards.

With 5 players it's much less smart to spend your cards too fast. Trading becomes more necessary, because the chance to get 5 cards of the same color by random drawing is much smaller. On the other hand, it's much easier to spread out over the world and cure people everywhere without needing to travel far. Also, there's a better chance to get a balanced team of roles (for example one role that travels easy, one role that discovers cures easier, one role that trades cards easier, one role that keeps the cubes under control) if you have more players.

I don't feel it's much easier or harder with any number of players, you just have to play differently in order to win.
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