Pandemic Legacy May Playthrough

Another month has arrived and so the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) had to muster our steely reserve and tackle another episode of Pandemic Legacy!




Recap: In the first FOUR months, the disease in Asia (i.e. the red cubes) mutated into the non-treatable and incurable COdA virus. In April the virus further mutated into the COdA-403c virus and the afflicted became the Faded, with ground zero for the new mutation in Ho Chi Minh City.  You can get a recap of the April playthrough here.

May Setup

In May, the number of missions that we had to complete increased from two to three.  We would have to cure the three non-COdA viruses (mandatory mission) and complete two of the following three missions: Eradicate at least one disease, Have a military base in each of the six major regions of the world, or Quarantine 7 Faded cities.

We got some help at the start of May: a new character, The Colonel, and a new action: Build Roadblocks

Pan Leg May 02

The initial draw of 9 infected cities was typical: a bit Blue, a bit Yellow, a bit Black and a couple Faded.  We figured that we would try to eradicate Yellow (BSNL-419 in our game) while also clearing Black quickly (we have the advantage of Common Structure against Black (we don’t have to be at a research station to find a cure for it).  Given that there weren’t many Faded on the board, we also were going to try to put up the six military bases.  We started with a permanent base in Lima so we only needed to put up 5 more.

Player Choices: So we decided to start at the CDC in Atlanta and take the following characters (in game turn order):

Bob: Researcher (can share cards with other players easily)

Neal: Medic (can treat all cubes in a city)

Lee: Scientist (can find cures more quickly than normal)

Stew: Dispatcher (can move everyone around efficiently)

These choices worked very well in April, so we figured that they could get the job done with time two, even though we now had only 4 funded events.  We used our Win Bonus for April to remove one of the Faded from Seoul and we started the game.  Our plan was to treat Blue, Black and then Yellow while channeling cards to the Scientist to cure diseases.  The Medic and Dispatcher would put down military bases as needed while they moved about the globe.  The Researcher and Scientist would stay together (facilitated by the Dispatcher) near one of the research stations.


The game got out of control almost from the start!  We cleaned up a good deal of the Blue cubes on our way to Europe to deal with the Black virus.  The Researcher and Scientist were collecting Yellow and Black cards and we were making progress.  Then we drew an early epidemic in Washington D.C. which was a clean city in the middle of cities that previously had blue cubes but were clear at that time: New York, Chicago, and Montreal.  After we shuffled and put the Infection cards back on top of the Infection Deck we then drew two of the Blue cities near Washington.  We knew we had to stop the Blue virus from getting out of control because if we drew Washington again, outbreaks might get out of control.

While the Medic was in South Africa/Africa dealing with the BSNL-419 virus (Yellow) and the other players were in Eastern Europe tackling the Black virus, this Blue contagion forced us to divert back to Northern America.  And that’s when things really got out of hand!  As we cleaned up the Blue virus the Black virus cards came out and Moscow burned!  We had already lost a permanent research station in Moscow back in February and now the Panic Level in Moscow moved from 2 to 3.

Yikes!  The Dispatcher tried to get most of us back into Eastern Europe while the Scientist gathered cards to cure the Black disease.  But then the 2nd Epidemic Card was drawn: Istanbul!  Oh no, right near Moscow!  Outbreaks started and Moscow went up to Panic level 4!

Well, any seasoned player of Pandemic knows that once you start letting outbreaks happen, they can multiply very quickly…and that’s exactly what happened.  While we cured the Black virus, the BSNL-419 came back to bite us.  Johannesburg was too far in the Southern Hemisphere for us to get to it, and it had an outbreak.  Then Washington did too!  We couldn’t find any event cards, got overwhelmed and lost on the 8 outbreak rule.

Here is a photo of how the game ended:

Pan Leg May 01

The Ugly End of Our First Attempt in May

Because of our victories in previous months, there were NO, that’s right NO, panic levels in Northern America or Southern Africa.  It might be hard to make out on the map, but Washington is now at a 2, New York 1, and Johannesburg 2.  Add the 2 new levels in Moscow and that’s 7 of the 8 (I think Istanbul was the other outbreak).

Everything went wrong: we couldn’t get enough cards into the Scientist’s hand quick enough, the Medic was running around putting out fires but never in front of the diseases, the Researcher drew too many Red cards, nobody could draw events, and the Dispatcher did the best he could to move us around but the epidemics were too far spread out.

The irony is that for the second month in a row the Faded had basically no effect on the game.  We did quarantine two Faded cities and that helped keep the Faded in check, but really we didn’t draw any Red cards in a manner to cause us any problems.

At the end of the first game in May, the players can open door 8…and so we did.  This allows for permanent roadblocks to be placed as part of the Endgame upgrades.

Endgame Upgrades

For our two upgrades we chose the following:  the Researcher and Scientist would be “Family Members” so each would get an extra action when each started in the same space as the other, and the Dispatcher would now be a Veteran and be able to take the Military Shuttle Flight action between military bases.

We moved our Funded Event total up to 6 and now we are ready to try again later this month to win in May.

Coming Soon: Preview of End of May

The Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club has been playing games lately and I have been backlogged on getting reports out on the blog.  Here is what to expect in the next 10 days or so:

  1. May playthrough of Pandemic Legacy!  How did we do, you ask?  Well, let’s just say that Legacy has a mechanic to makes games tougher and tougher the more previous success that you had–and we had won two in a row before May.
  2. Two (yes Two!) games of Tanto Cuore.  You don’t know what Tanto Cuore is?  Well, you are going to find out.  Here’s a hint: it’s about Japanese maids.  That’s all I’m giving you.
  3. The start of a new episodic thread: Deconstruction Junction.  Neal (the main blogger and rules lawyer of the TTGC) gives you his take on a rule, component, theme, etc of a particular game and breaks down its function, offering an insight that maybe you hadn’t thought of.  My first target: the Chaosium d100 system–and why you should be porting it into other role playing games!
  4. Initial thoughts on Kemet.  We played it, we liked it, and you are going to hear about it.

Okay, there it is, the big preview!  The Pandemic Legacy should be up tomorrow, so look for it.  Until then…Make Mine Marvel!

Stew’s Rant Corner: Tannhauser

Welcome to the first edition of Stew’s Rant Corner. Today I will be covering a game that came out in 2007, put out expansions following that release, and has sat on my shelf ever since the first time the Toledo Tuesday Gaming Club played it: Tannhauser.

Tannhauser 01

The Box Cover

Tannhauser was first released by a French company, Take You On, translated into English by Fantasy Flight Games and then eventually the rights were bought by Fantasy Flight Games. It was released in the United States in 2007 as a squad-based action board game. The new, innovative, element of game play that Tannhauser promoted was its “Pathfinder” system of engagement. This consisted of the board having circles instead of spaces that the players moved their miniatures around on. Each circle was either white, for a perfect line of sight, or had an alternate color providing information on various degrees of line of sight.

Tannhauser 02

Note the color-coded circles used for movement and line-of-sight determination

As is typical of a great deal of Fantasy Flight Games, each player has a small board depicting their character and numerous markers to depict weapons, attributes, etc.

Tannhauser 03

Fantasy Flight at its finest!  Gazillion’s of tokens and player boards!

As you can see from the pictures, the game is quite involved, and keeps each player keeping track of multiple attributes and weapons. Tannhauser does offer different game modes, with basic, “wipe out your enemy” mode and a career mode where the players follow a story line and try to complete objectives (though the best way to complete your objectives is to wipe out your opponents).

Unfortunately, though Tannhauser’s artwork is wonderful, the production quality is top notch (which is a trademark of Fantasy Flight Games), and the board is beautiful, the gameplay is slow, painstakingly tedious, and for a game with so much record keeping, it all boils down to “whoever shoots first, wins”. During the gameplay I found that I was moving a single character, but keeping track of multiple traits and weapons. When combat ensued, the person who shot first often won, which is normal in real life, but in Tannhauser it takes five minutes to figure out all the traits and weapons stats necessary to roll the dice and discover whether you shot anyone or not.

For a squad-based action board game, both myself and the other players found that we never got to feel any real-time squad-based action, instead all we did was look up rules for different weapons, tried to reconcile that with all of our traits, page through the rules to see what rules and numbers applied when we were attacking, spent a long time arguing about the line-of-sight, and then eventually roll to see if we hit anyone or not. What could have been a fun game of run around and shoot your opponent (which is what a game of Tannhauser boils down to, regardless of whether there are objectives or not), instead was a painstaking crawl through the mud of numerous rules and attributes.

If you want to play a third-person shooter, many console games offer a quicker resolution to pulling the trigger than Tannhauser. One of the joys of playing board games, as opposed to console games, is the interaction with your friends as you play, once again, unfortunately when playing Tannhauser you will interact with the rules book and character cards far more often than you will with your friends.

For now, Tannhauser will continue to collect dust on my shelf, and hopefully, one day, I will be able to find someone willing to pay me some small pittance to take it off my hands.

Stew’s Rant Corner is a continuing series of blogs in which Stew highlights the worst aspects of a game.  For information on Stew, take a look at the TTGC About page (About).