Pandemic Legacy September Playthrough

After our unexpected victory in August (see Pandemic Legacy August Playthrough) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was moving on to September.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first eight 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.  In a heroic effort in the second episode of May, we triumphed and kept the diseases under control.  A rather lucky draw of cards in June allowed us to triumph in our first attempt.  But now the government was barely funding events and in our first attempt in July we lost so quickly that one of the three players didn’t get a second turn! We did however find the Virologist.  In our second July attempt we managed to triumph despite long odds (Pandemic Legacy July Playthrough Part 2).  In August, we had an unlikely victory and found the Immunologist (see Pandemic Legacy August Playthrough).

September Setup

The mission briefing was fairly straightforward.  We had to find a paranoid soldier who was frightening people.

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The Search for the Paranoid Soldier

We started September with zero, yep zero, funded events!  We expected to lose badly, so we decided that we would concentrate on finding the paranoid soldier.  We set up the board, selected characters, used our August win bonus to advance the Paranoid Soldier search from space 0 to 2, and then randomly determined that Stew would be the first player.

Character Selection and Order

  • Stew — Dispatcher
  • Bob — Colonel
  • Neal — Researcher
  • Lee — Scientist

We decided to start in Kolkata.  Stew had the only red (COdA) card and he figured he would rush over to Ho Chi Minh City and start the search.

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Panoramic view of the start of the game. Stew the dispatcher is sitting on the right side of the photo and you can see he has a red card–and it’s Ho Chi Minh City!

Gameplay

We immediately accomplished Objective #1 — have a military base in six regions.

Turn 1

Dispatcher — moved to Hi Chi Minh City.  Moved the Colonel there.  Searched for the paranoid soldier: +3 Ho Chi Minh City card, +1 Dispatcher (veteran), and +1 Colonel.  Search moved from 2 to 7.  Then he drew the 1st Epidemic and Atlanta got 3 cubes.  The search target moved from 9 to 10.  The Dispatcher drew a red card but we were still worrying about whether we would find the Paranoid Soldier.

Colonel — Moved to Taipei, got rid of 1 Faded, moved to Hong Kong.  When drawing infection cards Algiers had an Outbreak (outbreak #1).

Researcher — Gave 2 cards to Scientist, then flew to Atlanta.  Treated 1/3 cubes and then dropped a quarantine.  Drew the Bogota infection card leading to Outbreak #2!

Scientist — Flew to Atlanta, moved to San Frandisco (yep, misspelling is intentional) and treated 1/3 cubes.  By the end of this turn, there were 3 cubes/Faded in many cities.  It was already looking grim.

Turn 2

Dispatcher — Moved Colonel to Ho Chi Minh City. Searched for Paranoid Soldier: +1 Beijing card, +1 Dispatcher, +1 Colonel.  Search moved from 7 to 10 and we found him! (Objective #2).

We scratched off the Paranoid Soldier card and it revealed that something really wrong was going on.  The implication was that the COdA virus was not an accident and that a secret organization operating from within the CDC was involved.

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Paranoid Soldier is found — and the truth becomes known!

This led us to open Box #6 — and then the floor dropped out from under us.  The Colonel was a traitor!

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We have been duped!

The Colonel was a mysterious person known as Sagittarius, part of the secretive group Zodiac.  Bob had to discard The Colonel and take a Civilian card.  In short, Zodiac instigated COdA in order to stage a world-wide martial law that would allow it to assume control.  We unwittingly helped them by placing all those permanent military bases around the globe.

Now we needed to tear down the oppressive military state that we had built up.

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We were now determined to right the wrongs that we had unknowingly perpetrated.

Also, we had to discard the 6 Military Base objective, so now we had completed only 1 objective so far.  We really felt deflated.

The Dispatcher’s turn continued at this point.  He moved the Scientist to Atlanta to be with the Researcher and dropped a quarantine on Ho Chi Minh City.

Civilian — Moved to Algiers and treated 3/3 cubes.

Researcher — Gave 2 cards to the Scientist then moved to Bogota and treated 1/3 cubes.

Scientist — Cured BSNL-419 (yellow) then moved to Bogota and took 2 cards from the Researcher.

Turn 3

Dispatcher — Equipped C4 and blew up the Ho Chi Minh City military base.  Moved to Lima via Bogota and equipped C4 again–and blew up the Lima military base!  Objective #2 complete!  He then drew Epidemic #2 (Shanghai).  Subsequently Buenos Aires had an Outbreak (outbreak #3).

Civilian — Moved to Bogota and treated 3/3 cubes.  Used the Airstrike unfunded event to remove 1/3 Faded in Taipei.  Drew the Shanghai infection card for Outbreak #4.

Researcher — Moved to Kinshasha and treated 3/3 cubes and then moved to Lagos.  Drew the Atlanta infection card but the Quarantine from way back on Turn 1 prevented an Outbreak.

Scientist — Moved to Lagos, took Riyadh card from the Researcher, cured Fischer-Titus (blue) and then cured Sprague (black)–note: the Scientist has two upgrades that have moved his hand size to 9.  Thus we completed the mandatory objective, got 3 objectives done, and quite against our expectations won the game!

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Panoramic photo of the end of the game

Endgame Upgrades

At the end of the first game in September, you get a bunch of new upgrades, some are character upgrades and a bunch are new equipment.

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Equipment upgrades at end of 1st game in September

We decided to give the Shady Background to the Dispatcher and the Forecaster upgrade to the Researcher.  Our Funded Event total remains at zero.  Not sure how we keep winning, but we hope our luck keeps holding.

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Smash Up: Cease and Desist and It’s Your Fault

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Two Smash Up Expansions that I picked up at Gen Con 2016

The Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club has been playing Smash Up ( Smash Up at AEG ) for quite some time.  If you are not familiar with the game, basically each player selects 2 20 card decks, each with a different theme and “smashes” them together to make a 40 card deck.  Possible combinations are Zombie Faeries, Ninja Steampunks, Time Traveller Giant Ants, etc.  I think you get the idea.  The game is basically about using Actions and playing Minions to win bases.  Get to 15 Victory Points first and you win. It’s fun stuff, not too serious, and pretty much anybody can play it.  The gameplay is pretty deep, mainly because like most card-driven games, finding combinations and playing your cards right are the paths to victory.

Anyway, at Gen Con 2016 I picked up two new expansions: Cease and Desist and It’s Your Fault!  The former contains decks that are parodies of sci-fi/fantasy movies & TV.  For instance, the Star Roamers are clearly Star Trek.

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Star Roamers

And the ChangerBots are Transformers.

 

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ChangerBots.  They turn into bicycles and RVs!  Hilarious stuff!

And of course there has to be a Star Wars deck!

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Astroknights = Star Wars

The latter expansion is a set of decks with themes chosen by fans.  It includes Dragons, Sharks, Tornados, Greek Gods, etc.

Stew was away, so Neal, Lee and Bob got in a game of Smash Up using only the latest expansions.  Neal was Dragons & Sharks, Lee chose Astroknights and Ignobles (think Game of Thrones) and Bob was Mythic Greeks plus Tornados.

 

The game was quite fun with Lee causing mayhem by giving his Minions to Bob and I and then whipping them back (the Ignobles are sneaky!).  The Tornados kept Bob’s Minions moving around while Neal’s Dragons and Sharks were all about brute force!  In the end, Neal won mainly because of the card “Shark Week” which allows the Shark player to draw an extra card every turn.  Here is an example of the play:

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Example of play

Our opinion was that the two expansions were some of the most fun and well-balanced decks yet from AEG.  If you haven’t played Smash Up, starting with Cease and Desist and It’s Your Fault! would be a great way to get introduced to the game.