King of New York

What Did We Just Play?

Each week the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (TTGC) gets together to play a game.  This week we dusted off a fun game called King of New York ( King of New York) by Iello Games.  Richard Garfield designed the game, you know, the guy who created Magic the Gathering (or as my brother and I call it, Magic the Dust Gathering because if you buy enough Magic cards you are going to have boxes and boxes of them gathering dust–see what I did there? LOL).

Anyway, in King of New York each player is a huge, gigantic, horrible monster stomping their way through the boroughs of New York.  Each turn you roll dice to gain energy, slap the other monsters, smash buildings, destroy army units, and gain celebrity.

The game is really a thinly disguised King of the Hill.  The whole idea is to get to Manhattan and stay there as long as you can before getting thrown off the top.  Anyway, the game is super fun and easy to play.

King of New York

A game of King of New York after a few turns.  Bob had his monster (Drakonis) in Upper Manhattan gaining victory points.  On the turn after the one pictured, we slapped him so hard he was out of the game!

As you can see from the picture, each player has a cardboard standee for their monster.  The buildings and army units are cardboard tokens and the five boroughs are each a different color.  The dice are on the right hand side (the claw icon is the symbol by which you slap/attack the other monsters).  The energy cubes and cards (which players can buy to get special powers) are not pictured.

A game of King of New York takes about 45 minutes and trust me, it is a blast. Whenever the TTGC doesn’t have time for a long game (and we didn’t this week because we wanted to watch the US v Argentina soccer match), games like King of New York are one of our staples.

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Tanto Cuore — A Better Game Than Expected

The Inverse Rule of Gaming

Okay, we all know the “Inverse Rule of Gaming,” right?  You know, the basic idea that the more female flesh used to sell a game, the worse the game must be.  Don’t believe me?  Have you seen the commercials for Age of Fire?  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with Kate Upton…but whenever a game company uses attractive females to sell its product, you just know that the game probably has no other selling point.

Well, the inverse rule also applies to cartoon or illustrated use of females as well.  I am sure we have all seen the game apps that advertise themselves with some drawing of a busty long-haired warrior.  C’mon guys, you know that the app must be crap!  Anyway, since Anime is very popular now not only in Japan but across the Pacific in the United States, Anime drawings are also used to sell games.

And that brings me to Tanto Cuore from Arclight Games (Tanto Cuore).

Tanto Cuore box

A box of Tanto Cuore

As you can see from the box cover, Tanto Cuore is a game about Japanese maids!  When I first saw this game on a shelf, I thought, oh no another poor Japanese game being sold with cute anime drawings.  And drawings of maids no less!  And who wants to play a game about maids?!?  The back of the box describes the game as, “We will work with great heart when you employ us!  Be the ‘greatest master’!”  What the?  It further says, “The players take the roles of ‘masters of the house’, employ a lot of cute maids, and are served by them while slowing filling out their house (card deck).”

I don’t know about you, but I was wondering if maybe this game should’ve been put in the adult section of the store instead! Hahaha!

Okay, I checked out reviews on line and people said nice things about the game.  I really like the Eminent Domain ( Eminent Domain ) deckbuilding game so I thought, why not give Tanto Cuore a try.

The Game

Like most deckbuilding games, Tanto Cuore is pretty simple.  You use a common currency (Love in Tanto Cuore) to recruit maids from a common pool of cards which you then add to your discard pile, which eventually cycles back into your hand.

Here are two of the three Love cards:

Tanto Cuore love

1 Love and 2 Love cards

 

The heart in the upper left corner is the amount of Love needed to recruit the card (yes, you have to use Love to recruit move Love, kind of sounds like a Beatles’ song or something). Each turn a player empties their hand of their Love, counting how much is played and using that amount to recruit more cards.  The player also tries to play as many Maid cards from his/her hand as possible.

Here is an example of a Maid card:

Tanto Cuore maid

Genevieve Daubigny: one of many maids

Like many games, icons are used to convey information.  Here there are three highlighted icons and one faded icon on the bottom of the card (and remember that the heart in the upper left is the # of Love needed to recruit this card).  The stack of cards is “draw” , the heart is more “Love”, the hand is “serve” and the faded icon refers to “employ.”  In short, on your turn you can only serve (in other words, play) one maid from your hand and employ (in other words, select a new card from the common pool of cards) one new card per turn.  Put as you play maids, they can give you more servings, cards, love, employment, etc.  At the end of your turn you discard any cards that you could not play and draw back to your hand size.

Thus, there are only these four icons to memorize!  Very simple and quite easy to understand.  Literally, when I introduced this game to the other TTGC members, they quite quickly were able to get the hang of the game.  It is just this simple: lay down your Love, play a maid (and try to get more servings so that you can play more maids), try to build up as big a pile of Love as possible, and then employ 1 or more maids.  As your stack of cards gets bigger every turn, eventually you can lay down more Love and draw more expensive maids.

Of course, some maids have special abilities and/or victory points.  Here is an example of a maid that everyone begins the game with:

Tanto Cuore vp maid

Collette Framboise: note the two different spellings of her first name on this card.  Sometimes when games get translated into English mistakes like this happen.

 

As you can see above, Collette is worth 1 victory point (shown 3 times on the card with a symbol in 3 of the 4 corners).  She also has a special ability: Chambermaid.  Basically if you spend the indicated number of servings (2 in this case), you can remove Collette from your hand and place her on the table.  Doing so thins your hand and optimizes it for future draws.  Collette has no other special ability or helpful icon, so every time you draw her and don’t get her Chambermaided (is that a verb?), she is useless and gets recycled back into your hand through the draw pile.

Each game there are two victory point maids (Collette above is one of them) and 10 regular maids.  The box contains 16 different regular maids and players select 10 of them randomly or by any other method before the game starts, so no two games should be exactly alike.  Moreover, different maids combo with other maids so the overall strategies in each game are going to be different based on the 10 maids used.  There are also Private Maids, which are special maids that you do not put in your hand but rather put them into play on the table in front of you.  Here is an example:

Tanto Cuore private maid

Rosa Topaz: A Private Maid that gives you more Love each turn

 

Anyway, the game is won by having the most Victory Points after 2 piles of maids are exhausted.  The game plays very fast.  Typically after one or two go arounds, play is quick, typically with the active player playing his/her hand and one of two others shuffling their discard piles back into their draw decks.

Why you should play this game

It is very, very fun!  It is also very, very easy!  Moreover, this game is not just multiplayer solitaire.  There is player interaction.  There are cards (not mentioned here in my review) that mess with your opponents’ private maids and cost them victory points.  Moreover, as you employ cards from the common pool, you deny them to your opponents. Thus, while Tanto Cuore is not directly combative (this isn’t Advanced Squad Leader after all) there is tension between the players and you might have to modify your strategy if others start snapping up the same maids that you want.

Once you get past the whole cute maid thing, Tanto Cuore is actually a very solid game. I haven’t played Dominion, which kind of was one of the first popular deckbuilding games, but from what I have read and heard, Tanto Cuore is a slightly more sophisticated (is that the right word given all the pictures of maids?) and enjoyable game.  To be completely honest, when the TTCG plays Tanto Cuore, we almost always refer to the cards by their first names and after a while you don’t notice the illustrations at all.  Typically after a game I could tell you exactly what icons were on a card but I can’t recall the picture.  So even if Anime illustrations of maids might be a bit too much for you, trust me, you will like the game so much that you really won’t be bothered at all by them.

Of course, if cute maids are not enough for you, try Barbarossa from Kamikaze Games (Barbarossa).  It is Anime girls fighting as the Germans as they invade the Soviet Union in the Second World War.  No joke!


I hoped you liked this shorter format review.  Feel free to follow or leave comments.

Until next time: Make Mine Marvel

Kemet: A Review

Kemet boxcover

Today I bring you a review of a game that piqued my interest at the end of last year.  I had read some reviews online and it looked fun, so I put Kemet on my Amazon wishlist…and somebody bought it for me as a Christmas gift.  Well, a short time back the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here) sat down and played a game.

Before I go into the particulars of the review, let me cut to the chase and deliver the punchline: Kemet is fun game where aggressive action is rewarded and every single turn counts.  It plays very much like Avalon Hill’s Dune (or Fantasy Flight’s Rex if you prefer an updated version of Dune): bold moves are needed to win, the battles are the most important aspect of the game, and surprises from cards can upset even the best laid plans.  In short, if you like games that can end on any turn, games that encourage decisive aggressive play, and games where one-on-one battles are tense and can swing a player’s game position 180 degrees then Kemet is for you.

The Box and Components

The box cover (seen above) illustrates a battle royale of Egyptian forces, Gods, and mystic creatures.  The text on the back of the box promises “In the Mystic Egypt of Kemet, weapons will give you victory! Raise your armies, unleash your divine powers, summon creatures, take control of temples and join the battle!”  Sounds like fun doesn’t it!

Opening up the box, you are greeted with an array of components.  The first thing to notice is the heavy, folding, double-sided board.

Kemet board

The 3 or 5 player side of the board

One side of the board is for 2 or 4 player games, while the other side is for 3 or 5 player games (the East Bank isn’t accessible in lower numbered games).  Each player will start in one of the cities, with each city divided into 3 districts (see above).  There are also desert spaces and temple spaces (look for the monuments and an orange scroll underneath).  There is also a “Sanctuary of All Gods” (which in the photo is at the center left with a blue scroll).  Obelisks also litter the landscape.

There are also cardboard power tiles, sturdy cardboard player boards, large d4s (which are pyramids), plastic troops, plastic mythical creatures, and an array of cards.

Kemet power tiles

Examples of Power Tiles

Everything is iconographic, as the game is made by Matagot (Matagot Games) in France, as is evident from the Power Tiles above.  Iconography helps make any game portable across language barriers, but it does make playing the game, at least the first few times, more difficult as the icons need to be memorized (or the players must spend time going back and forth to the rules).

Kemet pyramids units

Pyramids and Units

The Pyramids are large d4s.  Each player will get a set of 3 dice: one white, one red, and one blue, each representing one of the primary powers in the game.  White will be defensive, red offensive, and blue control.  The units are in 5 different colors (only 4 shown above) and each player chooses whatever color they wish.  We did try to match the units (which are shaped differently by color) with the player boards, but it seemed like only 3 matched well.

Kemet DI creatures

Divine Intervention (DI) Cards and Mythical Creatures

The game also features an array of cards.  Divine Intervention cards give each player a bonus that can be invoked during certain game phases.  These cards are also iconographic and I dare say a bit flimsy.  Plastic miniatures represent the mythical creatures (a couple of them are above).

Kemet battle cards player board

Battle Cards and a Player Board

There are also battle cards.  Each player will have an identical set of 6 different battle cards.  Also, each player starts with a player board.  These are functional identical, as the pyramid on each is the same, but each board does depict a different Egyptian God (this is pure chrome).  And as I mentioned previously, about 3 of the 5 sets of units seem to match one of the Gods on the player boards.

 

Rules

Did you notice how many components there are to this game?  After seeing this array of material, I began to get worried that there might be too much going on.  The rulebook is 8 pages of about 8×11 paper.  For a game that appears to have been translated into English, the rules are quite clear, well laid out, and contain many illustrations.  A sidebar on each page gives examples which I found very helpful.

The game “is a succession of Night and Day phases until at least one player wins the game.”  Simple enough.

The Night phase is a preparation phase.  Each player gets 2 Prayer Points (the Ankh symbol), one DI card, can use any “Night Powers” effects, and then turn order is determined.  Basically the player with the fewest Victory Points (VP) determines the order for the entire turn (randomly determined on first turn).

Okay, that was simple.  When we played the game, the Night Phase was easy to understand, easy to implement, and went really quick each time.

The Day phase is the Action Phase.  This is the meat of the game.  Each player will in turn order, place a single Action Token (each player has 5 of these round plastic tokens) on a single action space on his/her pyramid (on the Player Board, see above) and immediately apply the effect.  Once all players have placed their 5 action tokens, the Day Phase is over.

Seems simple right?  Well it really is…as long as you understand the iconography on the Player Board.  Looking at the board in the photo above, you can see 4 tiers: a top tier with a single “Golden Will” space, and 3 tiers of Action Spaces below it.  Each turn, every player will place 5 actions tokens on the Action Spaces and must place at least 1 Action Token in each of the three bottom tiers.  Note: the “Golden Will” space can only be used in a player has purchased the Level 4 Blue Power tile “Divine Will”.

In short, the bottom tier displays the three “Buy a power tile” actions (for each of the three colors) and a “Pray” action, which nets the player 2 Ankhs.  Prayer points (aka Ankhs) are the currency of the game and are used to play Divine Intervention cards, teleport units, buy Power Tiles, etc.  The middle tier allows a player (from left to right on the player board) to “Raise a pyramid”, “Move” units, or “Pray”.  The top tier has the “Move” and “Recruit” actions.  The TTCG found the icons to be easy to remember after the first couple turns.

Let me take a second to explain some of these actions briefly:

  • Pray.  Gets you more Ankhs=currency.  You must pay Ankhs to get power tiles, teleport, recruit and raise a pyramid.  At the top of the player boards is the Prayer track that goes from 0 to 11.
  • Raise a Pyramid.  Each player starts the game with 3 points to spread among their 3 pyramids (one in each city district, of if at level zero the pyramid stays off the game board until raised to level 1).  The d4 pyramids are numbered 1 to 4 (duh!) and represent the level of power available in that particular color.  Players may only buy Power Tiles up to the current level of their respective pyramid (i.e. to get a Level 3 blue power tile you need at least a level 3 blue pyramid in your city).
  • Buy a Power Tile. A player may buy 1 Power Tile of the color corresponding to the action space.  So each turn, a player may only buy a maximum of 3 Power Tiles, and only 1 from each color. The tiles range from Level 1 to Level 4.  The player can only buy 1 tile, and it can only be of a level equal to or less than the corresponding pyramid.  The player must also pay a # of Ankhs equal to Power Tile level.  Each power tile is unique and once gained gives a permanent bonus to the controlling player.  Tiles often make units fight better or move faster, give the player a Mythical Creature to control, get additional action tokens, etc.  In general, buying Action Tiles that work well together is a key aspect of the game.
  • Recruit. Spend x # of Ankhs to recruit x # of units from the reserve.  These units are immediately placed on the board in one of the districts in the player’s original starting city–regardless of whether the player still controls that district!  Thus, a player may recruit into a district that was invaded and now controlled by another player, triggering a battle (see below).  Importantly no space can have more than 5 units from each player in it.
  • Move.  This is really a combination of 3 actions: move a group of units (called a Troop) along the ground (usually a single space), move a troop across the Nile via harbor spaces (consumes 1 space of movement), or teleport a troop from a Pyramid to any space with an Obelisk by paying 2 Ankhs (does NOT consume any movement).  Thus a typical unit can move 1 space and then teleport or vice versa.  DI cards, Power Tiles, and Mythical Creatures can add movement capacity to units.

Object of the Game

The object of the game is to have the most VP on the last game turn.  The last game turn is signaled when any player has at least 8 VP at the end of the Day phase.  How does one get VP you ask?  Well, I am glad you asked because I have an answer!  When all players have finished their actions during a Day phase, the permanent and temporary VP are awarded.  Yes, you read that right, there are two types of VP.  If you have ever played a game like Settlers of Catan (come on now, who hasn’t played Settlers?) you know that some VP (like “longest road”) are temporary and can pass back and forth between players.  Kemet has a similar VP system.

Each temple has a temporary VP, so whichever player controls it at the end of the Day phase gains that temp VP.  Any player controlling at least two temples gets 1 permanent VP.  A player at the Sanctuary of All Gods who sacrifices two units (puts them back into the reserves) gets 1 permanent VP.  So now you see, controlling key sites is one of the ways to get VP. A few permanent VP are also available by purchasing Power tiles.  A level 4 pyramid also awards 1 temp VP to whomever controls that district in which the pyramid is located.

Battles

Oh, but here is where the game gets really interesting.  If an attacker in a battle wins the battle and has at least one unit left in the space, he/she gains 1 permanent VP!  Defenders can never win VP, even if they win the battle.  What do you think this mechanism produces?  Bloody aggressive campaigns!!!

When units of one player pass through or reach a space with any other player’s units, movement ends and a battle occurs.  The player moving is always the “attacker” and the other player the “defender.”  Each player selects two Battle Cards, the first will be discarded and the second will be played.  Each card has 3 ratings: Strength (the sickle), Damage (blood), and Protection (shield) (see photo above).  Each player can add 1 or more DI cards (if playable during a battle).  All cards are discarded at the end of the battle.  If a player has discarded all 6 of his/her battle cards, they can place all 6 back into his/her hand.

Each side has a “battle value” equal to:

  1. The Strength of their battle cards
  2. plus any attack or defense bonuses from Power Tiles
  3. plus any bonuses from Creatures
  4. plus any bonuses from DI cards
  5. plus the number of units.

The player with the higher value wins the battle.  The defender wins a tie.  Each side now determines how many units are lost.  Each player loses a number of units equal to the opponent’s damage value minus their own protection value.  It is possible to win a battle and have no units remaining and it is possible to win a battle and not eliminate any enemy units.  The defeated player must either “retreat” his units, in which the winning player puts the losing player’s units into any adjacent space (that is, an adjacent space free of other units) or “recall” his units.  Recalled units are placed back into the reserves and the player gets 1 Ankh for each recalled unit (units must all be recalled, you must either recall none or recall all).  The winner may also “recall” his/her units or leave his/her units in the space.  If the attacker was the winner, they also get 1 permanent VP.

Gameplay

Basically, the idea of the game is to teleport your units to temples and try to hold them.  Of course, since attacking is more rewarding than defense, players with units at temples are subject to getting attacked over and over.  It is also key to note that while you can teleport from a Pyramid to an obelisk, you cannot teleport from an obelisk to anywhere else (unless you get a Power Tile that says you can, hint hint).  Units that teleport to Temples, and in particular the island that is the Sanctuary, cannot often go anywhere else.

Attacking another player’s city is much harder because 1) it typically requires multiple movements across open desert spaces (which takes time and can be really obvious) and 2) city walls limit movement–crossing a city wall requires starting your movement adjacent to the wall, so you cannot move to the wall and cross it on the same movement action (unless of course you have the proper Power Tile that allows you to ignore walls or a Creature that flies over them, hint hint).

As such, the game is about getting to and holding a few key spaces: temples and the Sanctuary of All Gods.  Successfully attacking is also a good way to get VP and can be combined with getting to Temples.

The game plays very much like Avalon Hill’s Dune (Dune) or the newer and updated version, Fantasy Flight’s Rex (Rex).  Each turn a player most likely will either teleport to any open Temple and then hope to hold it or teleport to an occupied temple and hope to seize it.  If you have played Dune/Rex you know that every turn is a struggle to control a few key spaces.  Control them for successive turns and the game is probably yours to win.  Kemet plays exactly, and I mean exactly, the same way.  The key difference is that each player does not begin with a prescribed set of special abilities (as in Dune/Rex) but rather can determine their own special abilities through the strategic purchase of Power Tiles.  Do you want to relentlessly attack other players?  Buy Red Tiles.  Do you think that you can hold out in defensive positions at Temples?  Buy White Tiles.  Maybe you just want to be sneaky and buy VP tiles.  Also, since the DI stack is quite large and players only see a few cards each game, the DI cards can add surprising swings to battles and other portions of the game.  Maybe you invest time getting the Power Tile that gives you more DI cards each turn?  Is the investment worth it?  Who knows!

Summary

Kemet is a fun game to play!  Each player must take actions sequentially and react to what the other players are doing.  You only have so many recruit and move action spaces, so is it better to move first or to react?  Is it better to recruit and attack now or wait until after a battle and then recruit and attack?  How long can I let a certain player sit at a Temple before I intervene?  What if I can get another player to intervene and get both players’ units wiped out?  And what happens when my opponent puts that Mummy into play?  Is it time to buy a Power Tile or time to upgrade my Pyramid?  Which Pyramid?

The game may seem overwhelming because there is so much uncertainty.  I really think that only after 4 or 5 plays can anyone really get a handle on the best course of action.  Having said that, the game rewards aggression so I found that when in doubt, seize a Temple!  And when I lost a battle I then bought a Power Tile to stop that particular mess from happening again.  Even though there is a resource management issue (with the Ankhs) and the need to fight battles (sorry cooperative gamers, but this game is for those who want to lead hordes of Egyptian troops to victory over their rivals) the game is very straight forward.  Even the strategy-challenged can just select any one of the Action Spaces on their player board and do something.

And for those who are not strategy-challenged the game is complex enough to allow for multiple attempts at victory.  Much like Dune, the victory conditions are obvious.  And much like Dune the way to get to victory seems pretty clear cut–get and hold important spaces.  Yet, much like Dune, other players are not going to let you do that easily. If I take that Temple I am pretty sure someone else is going to come knocking!  And if I waste my best remaining Battle Card against the first player to attack will I have any remaining good Battle Cards to hold off the next attack?  Will it be better to Recall my surviving units and gain the Ankhs even though I now have vacated the Temple?  And if I leave, which player has a remaining move action: my brother the West Point tactical genius or one of my friends who is less aggressive?  So many choices and so many ways to play Kemet!  The end of the game can come quick through a brilliant attack, some surprise DI Card, a mistake by someone that left a Temple sitting open, a mistake by someone not to attack someone else, a shrewd raising of a pyramid to Level 4, a sneaky buying of a VP Power Tile, or any combination of these!  It is this possibility of a quick end through many different avenues that really adds excitement to the game.

And that is the crux of what makes Kemet a good game: the interaction between the players as they seek VPs will determine who wins and loses.  One thing that I typically dislike about European abstract games is that quite often they are a thinly disguised game of multiple player solitaire.  Each player is really just playing against themselves trying to get to victory a turn sooner than the other players.  Even games like Race for the Galaxy (Race for the Galaxy) get caught in this trap, although RftG is not technically an abstract European game.  Kemet has resource management but it truly is a competitive, multiplayer interactive game.  It might not be for everyone, but the TTGC had a good time playing it and I think most others will too.  I advise everyone to give it a try.

 

Pandemic Legacy May Playthrough Round Dos

After the debacle in the first part of May (see Pandemic Legacy May Playthrough) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) tried for a second time to defeat the May episode of Pandemic Legacy.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED THE MAY EPISODE OF PANDEMIC LEGACY YET, DO NOT READ THIS BLOG UNTIL YOU DO. PLENTY OF INFORMATION ABOUT THAT THE MAY EPISODE IS REVEALED HERE.

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

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.  We suffered a crushing defeat in our first attempt at the May episode as Moscow melted down, while the Blue and Yellow viruses spread like wildfire across the Americas and Africa.  Outbreaks came at lightning speed and we lost due to the too many outbreaks rule.

May Part Dos Setup

The initial draw of 9 infected cities was fairly neutral: 2 Faded cities, 4 Black, 2 Blue and 1 BSNL-419 (Yellow).  We started with a permanent base in Lima so we only needed to put up 5 more.  We looked at the board and seeing very few Blue and BSNL-419 cubes, we thought that we could quickly eradicate at least one disease (BSNL-419 is the easiest for us to conquer given our advantages–see the board) so we were going to try for that optional mission.  Also, given our military base in Lima and the relative lack of cubes in Africa and North Africa, we thought it would probably be easier to put a military base in all six regions (another optional mission) than quarantine 7 Faded cities (the optional mission that we were not going to try for, unless something made us change our minds mid-game).

Lee was not available, so we were going to give it a go with only 3 players.  We passed out the cards (after choosing and putting in our funded events) and we had a very favorable draw.  Neal drew two yellow cards and Stew and Bob each drew at least one event.

Pan Leg May2 start

The Start in May Part Dos!  Note the paucity of cubes in the Americas and Africa.  Also, the two yellow cards Neal (on the left) drew and the unfunded event that Bob drew (on the bottom).

Player Choices: So we decided to start at our research station in Kolkata and take the following characters (in game turn order):

Neal: Scientist (needs only 4 cards to cure a disease)

Stew: Medic (can treat all cubes in a city, also has the upgrade to treat nearby cities)

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

The Researcher and the Scientist are “Family members” and if they start their turn with each other, the active player gets an additional action.

We used our Win Bonus from April to remove one of the Faded from Sydney (it can be hard to see the Faded in photos–bad Z-Man Games, bad!–but there are three Faded there) and we started the game.

Playthrough

The Scientist and the Researcher stayed near each other, passing cards to the Scientist and removing a few cubes along the way toward the Americas (mainly by flying to the CDC in Atlanta).  The Medic headed into the Faded territory and dropped a military base in Ho Chi Minh City.

Within a few turns, the Scientist cured BSNL-419 and began working on curing Black as the Researcher seemed to get a bunch of Black cards.  Fortunately, the first Epidemic card took a long time to arrive and in Lagos, not really near other problem spots on the globe.  The Researcher used Resilient Population Card to remove Lagos from the Infection Deck so it couldn’t be drawn ever again this game (so Lagos couldn’t directly outbreak).  The Medic drew the Remote Outpost event and used it to drop a military base in Bangkok.  Note, that the Panic Level (Bangkok was at a 2, “Rioting”) does not effect the placement of military bases, only research stations, so our play was perfectly legit.

The Scientist then cured Black and subsequently Blue.  We needed to finish the game by completing the two optional missions (eradicate a disease and place 6 military bases).  We already had three military bases (permanent in Lima, and temporary in Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok) so the Researcher and Scientist moved to the appropriate cities and used cards in their hand to put military bases in London and Atlanta.  The Medic started to make his way toward North America where he was going to clean up the Blue cubes.

It was that last military base that was a problem.  Nobody had a single card in hand for the African region!  We actually were worried that we would fail (two epidemic cards had been drawn and the third was near) just because of bad luck drawing cards!  We contemplated briefly the thought of trying to quarantine 7 Faded cities.  But without the Colonel, Quarantine Specialist, etc, in play, we probably were going to find that a tough haul.

Anyway, our worries were unfounded as the Scientist (brown pawn) drew the Lagos card, moved to Nigeria and put down a military base.  On the very next turn the Medic treated the last Blue cubes in London and Atlanta and the game was over in sweet victory!

Here is a photo of how the game ended:

Pan Leg May2 finish edited

The Sweet Taste of Victory!  Military bases in all 6 regions, 3 diseases cured, and Blue eradicated!  In my haste to take the picture, and our enthusiasm for winning, we forgot to remove the Blue cube in London after the Pink player (Stew–Medic) treated it from New York and moved to Atlanta to treat the last Blue cube.

Endgame Upgrades

For our two upgrades we chose the following:  a permanent military base at ground zero for the Faded, Ho Chi Minh City, and the Common Structure upgrade to the Blue virus.  We also finally got around to naming the Black virus (which we had previously eradicated) as Sprague and the newly eradicated Blue virus as Fischer-Titus (a joke from Neal’s RN wife).

We moved our Funded Event total down to 4 (boo!) and now we are ready for June.