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Subject: What am I missing here? rss

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JonGetsGames
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Just finished my first play through tonight, it was only 2 players, and it really fell flat for myself and my friend. I'm not intending to bash the game, I honestly want to discuss what I may have missed because I really like the concept.

The first thing I noticed is that drawing patients was essentially brainless. Is it grey? put it on the opponent. Is it a color? put it in your own line. There seems to be zero reason not to give yourself a big long line considering it is only 1 victory point at the end of the game to have it cleared. We considered giving the cubes to each other, but it just never seemed like it was really "hurting" them to do so, or really hindering ourselves more then it was potentially helping the opponent.

Grey cubes came out far more often on my opponents turn, so I spent most of the game dealing with decontamination while he only had to do it a couple times. However this means that he was drawing less colored cubes to put in his own line (since we never gave cubes to each other, see previous paragraph) which meant that he had access to less VPs overall in the game. You could say this "balances" the fact that I was dealing with so many grey cubes, but i'd say it felt more like randomness forcing us both into a situation which had nothing to do with our decisions.

Another issue from the randomness of the cube draw was ease of winning contracts. He drew yellow cubes, I did not. This meant he was able to grab the 2 best special tiles for 2 cubes with zero contention. I never drew a yellow cube, so I had no shot at buying them from him. Again this didn't feel like interesting randomness, it just felt frustrating.

They grey tiles seem to have a large spread in usefulness. I fail to see why the helipad is ever useful enough for more then a 2 cube bid, and at the same time gift shop seems ridiculously good due to being able to use it multiple times a turn to easily counter and snatch opponents contracts with already spent cubes. Sure, it can be interesting evaluating which are better then others but I can't see why the value of these tiles would alter from game to game. Further more in a situation like the previous paragraph states, it means players can get screwed out of the best tiles early if they happen to draw the wrong color.

In summary, it just felt like we were barely making any decisions and the game trundled along with us in tow. It seems entirely (if not most) likely that this game is simply not good with 2 players, but I have seen other people praise the 2 player game on the geek and I just don't get it. I want to get it, I just don't.

I hope this isn't taken as a rant, that's not the intention. I just want to see if i'm missing something here.
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Brad McKenzie
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Hi!

My copy hasn't arrived yet, but I've read the rules enough times I feel confident I can answer.

The reason why you would want to add patients to another person's line is to mess up their admission order. If there is no open red room available, then adding a red cube to their line blocks admission for any other cubes that might follow.

Similarly, adding a grey cube to your own hospital might be useful if you've added the right rooms. As additional graysles must be added next to existing ones, planning your hospital correctly could make grey cubes worthwhile.

With two players, tile contracts probably become easier to win, as you suggest. But, it does work both ways. You will also be able to win them easily, too.

I think, like many games, the two-player game will involve finding ways to block your opponent. With a larger group, as it is impossible to block everyone, you would want to focus your efforts on making your hospital the best possible.

I look forward to my copy arriving so that I can see if I agree with your observations...
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John Drake
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I also had the same feelings with the 2-player game. I felt like I was going through the motions and that the decisions were easy/obvious. Most disappointing was the fact that the contract action lacked tension; Soon after the game started, both of us had a nice collection of cubes... thus blocking special tiles with certain combination was often pointless unless you were willing to raise the quantity drastically (which would be stupid, as those cubes are worth VP at the end).

Honestly, I didn't focus/try placing patients on my opponent's waiting line or placing grey cubes on my own hospital.... that may make the game more interesting... but it will also mean that the random element of the game is more influential.

I plan to try this game with 3-4, but it didn't impress me with 2 players.
 
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James Deignan
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BaBang wrote:
I also had the same feelings with the 2-player game. I felt like I was going through the motions and that the decisions were easy/obvious. Most disappointing was the fact that the contract action lacked tension; Soon after the game started, both of us had a nice collection of cubes... thus blocking special tiles with certain combination was often pointless unless you were willing to raise the quantity drastically (which would be stupid, as those cubes are worth VP at the end).

Honestly, I didn't focus/try placing patients on my opponent's waiting line or placing grey cubes on my own hospital.... that may make the game more interesting... but it will also mean that the random element of the game is more influential.

I plan to try this game with 3-4, but it didn't impress me with 2 players.


Played it with 3 for the first time tonight. It's already on the trade pile. Don't expect 3 to liven it up much. The OP's complaints are all pretty spot on to me.
 
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Twisted Archer
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My experience has been different.

Where to put patients is interesting, and adds some choice to what could have otherwise have simply been a random draw. Often the patient you draw is not exactly the one you want, and it may hamper your efficiency. So you have to decide if there is an opponent to give it to that it could also hamper. But it's a tough choice because the cubes are so important.

The price drafting of the tiles is pretty tense too, especially because every two cubes are worth a point at the end of the game. A tile is always worth at least two cubes, but it's usually worth more because of the Nurses Stations it could complete (giving you even more points) and the special benefit that it gives you during the game. Setting the right price become particularly tricky and important once everyone has a nice collection of cubes. The fact that the tiles are not all as good as each other makes this aspect interesting as well, because the players get to control the price. I've been tricked into buying a tile for a price that I found wasn't really worth it in the end.

So far we've found it to be really tense, with difficult decisions. Most of our games have been 3-4 players.
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Jay Ackerman
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You only have so many tiles so there's a limit to how many can be quarantined. If you hospital is full (or nearly) of graysles, try taking a couple of bonus action markers which may force your opponent to graysle themselves! If you stockpile a bunch, you can use them to strategically isolate the graysle where they are less of an issue (especially if you have the helipad!)
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JonGetsGames
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bradandmary wrote:

The reason why you would want to add patients to another person's line is to mess up their admission order. If there is no open red room available, then adding a red cube to their line blocks admission for any other cubes that might follow.

Similarly, adding a grey cube to your own hospital might be useful if you've added the right rooms. As additional graysles must be added next to existing ones, planning your hospital correctly could make grey cubes worthwhile.

With two players, tile contracts probably become easier to win, as you suggest. But, it does work both ways. You will also be able to win them


From just reading the rules I think I would have said something similar. However when we were actually playing it never seemed that the slight hit to patient admit efficiency was bad enough to not want the half a point plus buying power. The downside is way too slight (an extra action to reorganize the line perhaps) to warrant not taking the currency/points for yourself.

From playing I honestly can't see why you'd ever Grey yourself instead f an opponent. The only tile that a grey doesn't do anything on is the lobby, why wouldn't you cost your opponent an action to decontaminate vs greeting yourself.

I'd be awesome of there were tough decisions to be made with patient admittance, but the incentives to patient yourself and grey your opponent seem to far outweigh any more interesting alternative
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Jack Byrd
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If you take the containment special tile and dedicate a single room off it to graysles, then nobody can infect you for the rest of the game.

If you use the lobby as a firebreak instead, you can do the same thing by graysle-ing yourself first chance you get, as long as your rooms have enough doors.
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JonGetsGames
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jackbird wrote:
If you take the containment special tile and dedicate a single room off it to graysles, then nobody can infect you for the rest of the game.

If you use the lobby as a firebreak instead, you can do the same thing by graysle-ing yourself first chance you get, as long as your rooms have enough doors.


The containment special wasn't an option in our game unfortunately.

I still don't see why doing a "firebreak" in your own lobby is worth it. should I be building a hospital with the lobby at one and and a long chain out and hope they don't get enough greys to continue to work out from my lobby?
 
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Jay Ackerman
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It's pretty rare I play 2 player anything, but for this game, if I did, I think I'd play 2 hospitals/person. That at least opens up some decisions for the patients/graysles in a 2 player game.
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Jack Byrd
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HappyHexagon wrote:

I still don't see why doing a "firebreak" in your own lobby is worth it. should I be building a hospital with the lobby at one and and a long chain out and hope they don't get enough greys to continue to work out from my lobby?


Additional graysles must be contiguous with existing graysles. If that's impossible, no more graysles for that hospital. So you sacrifice one room off one side of the lobby (which can't be infected) to the gray menace and get on with your life. Then you disinfect and remodel on the last turn to complete one more nurse's station.

EDIT - Never mind, we were playing that wrong.
 
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Manchuwok
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Jonathan, thanks for asking your questions in non-rant fashion! Some other responders have made some astute observations already, but I'll add a few things:

- There was some debate during the development about whether or not to allow placing the next patient at the back of somebody else's wait line. In the end we continued to allow it, because I feel it does add some interesting strategy. There are certainly times when the wrong sequence of patients in your line could be bad enough to justify sending the patient elsewhere. For example, if you need a particular combination of cubes to steal a tile you really want, it may be critical to get those patients in line in the right order. You may not have enough actions to rearrange your line AND admit them, cure them, and steal the contract. You can also strategically block up an opponent's line to prevent them from stealing your contract, or to just generally be a nuisance. In the end, allowing this makes drawing patients less brainless rather than more, so it can only be a good thing.

- Great observation on the self-balancing distribution of patient draws. You are absolutely right that if your opponents are able to quarantine you far more often, that also means they are struggling to get enough patients. From the sounds of it, the one game you played may have been an outlier in terms of the random distribution of cube pulls. There are enough patients in the game that the variance of cube pulls should even out to a certain degree.

- The tiles are not perfectly equal in value (read through my Designer's Perspective for more info on them), but that just keeps the game interesting. The players need to be able to evaluate their relative values, which does change depending on the tiles in play. The Helipad, for example, can be very valuable indeed if most or all of the special tiles in play have only one doorway. Your opponents will be limited in their growth while you are laughingly adding tile upon tile to your behemoth hospital. Each tile can change in relative value depending on a number of factors.

- Sometimes it can be strategic to infect one of your own tiles. If your hospital is completely free of graysles, for example, you can quarantine any tile - choosing one in an area that is as far away from your truly critical tiles as possible. Some players even build their hospitals in long stretch out shapes so that the quarantined area has to follow a certain path. Also, as somebody noted, if you quarantine a tile behind the Containment Room that is not adjacent to any other tile, the quarantine is contained (until that tile is first unquarantined).

- I do also encourage you to try the game with 3 or 4 players.

Anyways, I hope you are able to have a better experience with it during your next plays! Great questions and concerns.
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Manchuwok
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jackbird wrote:
Additional graysles must be contiguous with existing graysles. If that's impossible, no more graysles for that hospital. So you sacrifice one room off one side of the lobby (which can't be infected) to the gray menace and get on with your life. Then you disinfect and remodel on the last turn to complete one more nurse's station.


One quick note: the current rules do allow for lobby tiles to be quarantined. That's not to say that you can't do what you've suggested and slow the infection from reaching the more important areas of your hospital. Of course, you're also welcome to try what you suggest as a variant, though be aware that it would affect the value of the Containment Room.
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Daniel Loughmiller
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I got this to the table yesterday with 3 players. I tried on an occasion or two to put patient cubes infront of other players, but it honestly never seemed to hurt much. People felt the need to build their hospitals as evenly as they could, so they'd be able to treat colors eventually, so keeping certain colors out of your line didn't affect too much. In addition it just felt like giving away potential points. We also found that we were often much more likely to just ask for out patients at the start of the turn. I realize to a degree it was our first game and so the strategies of using patients 'offensively' and perhaps even graysles 'defensively' may have just not clicked yet, but it still didn't quite fit with what the instructions suggested we might be doing.

Still had fun though.
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Roger Howell
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In our 2 player game I always felt like I had important decisions to make. I was usually torn by getting those graysles out or getting more patients in and more patients out or setting up a contract to obtain more special rooms or buying another treatment room to cure patients faster. I always felt like I wanted to do more than I could and it got more intense as the game went along. I had so much I wanted to do on my last turn, the four actions simply were not nearly enough!

I agree with the OP that the contracts were easy to obtain, but only during the first half of the game. Later in the game we sometimes had similar quantities of cubes and I had a hard time deciding how much to spend to discourage my opponent from buying.

I do agree that the placement of patients and graysles are no brainers - we never placed our patients in the opponent's waiting line and we always placed graysles in the opponent's hospital. In spite of this we never felt that there were no important decisions to make.
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Dave K
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HappyHexagon wrote:
We considered giving the cubes to each other, but it just never seemed like it was really "hurting" them to do so, or really hindering ourselves more then it was potentially helping the opponent.


I've only managed to play one game myself so far, hopeing to get another game in tonight, but in the one four player game I played putting a drawn cube onto another players line was a common tactic in our game.

A couple of examples that happened.

One player had only one blue treatment room which already had a blue cube in it, and was also quarantined, and his waiting line had just one blue cube in it.His first draw was a blue cube.Then his second draw was a blue cube.This would have wasted alot of actions just clearing his line unless he put his drawn cubes on another player.

Another similiar stiuation.If an opponent has only one room of a certain colour putting a coloured cube of that colour will potentially stitch them up.This is a great tactic if they have no waiting line or only 1 cube in their line.It happened in our game where one player had no waiting line and all the other three players when they drew a red cube put it in his line.At the start of his turn he had a waiting line of 4 red cubes with 1 red treatment room quarantined.

Hard to rearrange your line if it's all the same colour.

Having said that, our gaming group loves to play games with plenty of "screwage" so we're always looking at every oppertunatey to backstab another playerwhistle





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