Tiny Epic Galaxies: The Good, The Bad,and the Very, Very Ugly

Tiny Epic Galaxies (TEG) from Gamelyn Games ( Tiny Epic series ) is the latest in their series of Tiny Epic games…games that come in a small box, but supposedly pack an epic gaming experience into it.

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TEG promises to be both a multi-player game as well as a solitaire game.  It is for 1-5 players and the box says that it will take 30-45 minutes.  In this post, I review both ways to play the game.  And so that you are not left in any suspense: the solitaire game is solid but the multiplayer game has a really giant downside to it that can ruin the fun.  Read on for my reasoning and see if you agree with me!

Multiplayer Game Play

Basically, TEG is a more sophisticated game of Yahtzee.  You roll a set of dice (and a set that can increase over time as your galactic empire grows) and take actions based on the symbols that you roll.  There are six actions, one on each side of each and every die (as an aside, wouldn’t it be cool to have some non-uniform distributed dice so that you could bias your rolls toward a particular outcome?  How sweet would this game be if you could tailor your empire toward a particular strategy?  Anyway, I digress).  The six actions are: Move A Ship, Acquire Energy, Acquire Culture, Advance a Diplomatic colonization effort, Advance an Economic colonization effort, or Utilize your Galaxy Mat/Colonized planet actions.

The start of each player’s turn is quite easy:  1) Roll your dice.  But from there it gets more complicated.  2) You can activate a die.  If you do, any or all opponents may “follow” by paying 1 culture and taking a similar action.  3) At any time you can re-roll any/all of your dice by paying 1 energy.  This may occur before or during taking actions through #2.  When you are done, play passes clockwise.

What do you do with these dice?  You are trying to get to 21 victory points to trigger the end of the game.  There are only 3 ways to get victory points: advance your empire from level 1 to 6 (with a varying set of points along the way), colonize planets with your ships by using Advance actions, and achieving your single “secret objective” (always worth 2 to 3 points).

That’s it!  It is just like Yahtzee…roll and re-roll and hope to get more points than everyone else.  Okay…to be fair, it is much more complicated than Yahtzee, but the rolling mechanism is the same.  However, you do get a cool galaxy mat and some wooden figures to move around on it.

tegsol-03

The player mat with ships at home, my empire at Level 3 (hex with a star on it), my energy (lightning bolt) and culture (column) at zero.  I have 3 colonized planets worth a total of 5 victory points.

Which dice do I activate, in which order, when do I re-roll, how many do I re-roll, who will follow, and what will they gain when they follow?…and why these decisions in combination can be very, very ugly!

The crux of why the game is strategic and not just multiplayer solitaire (like that crappy Race for the Galaxy game) is the “follow” mechanism.  Because other players can mimic your actions for a very small price (=1 culture) they can do almost the same thing you do…but during your turn not during their turn.  For example, if you acquire energy they might acquire more…on your turn!  Thus, the game is all about opportunity costs.  You will not want to advance your empire if 1 or more enemies do it too, you won’t want to acquire energy if other players acquire more, etc.  You are going to want to take actions that might help you and be of little to no use to your opponents.

But this same mechanism is why the game is very, very ugly in multiplayer.  For example, in a recent game I found myself on the last turn (another player had triggered the end of the game by achieving at least 21 victory points).  I knew that I could win if I could get the dice to precisely be utilized in a specific order that would 1) get me enough energy (at least two dice of energy) to advance my empire, 2) roll a Utilize your Galaxy Mat action (to actually do the advancing of the empire), 3) because of actions available on my colonized planets and the open planets, I could roll another Galaxy Mat action to help out by using a planet power, 4) perhaps if I roll two ship movements I could land on a specific open planet and use its power to get some of these other actions done, 5) get me two diplomacy to colonize a planet and VERY IMPORTANTLY, 6) because of the follow mechanism these had to be done in a particular order so that my opponent with 21+ victory points wouldn’t get more points.  Also, I thought it a priority to colonize a particular planet to get my secret objective just in case he had met his secret objective (note: at the end of the game he revealed that he had indeed achieved it).

Guess what happened next?  Well, I started with 5 energy and used a bunch of it to re-roll, get more energy, and re-roll, and get more energy and re-roll.  In between each of my actions was many, many minutes of agonizing calculations of probabilities (if I re-roll 3 dice versus holding that one ship and two dice, which would be better?  What if the other guy follows any of these actions?  What if I have to re-roll after this re-roll?  How can I manipulate my ships and energy to maximize this process for the most re-rolls?).   That last turn TOOK FOREVER! Okay, okay, it was more like 20 minutes, but it seemed like an hour!  It was just plain awful.  And what do you think my opponent was doing the whole time?  Telling me to get on with it…but I couldn’t because I knew a solution was possible.  I was frustrated, the game wasn’t fun, he was quite angry and I am surprised that we didn’t just sweep the game off the table and forget about finishing it.

And what was the end result?  After gaining energy so that I could seemingly endlessly re-roll anywhere from 1 to 3 dice, it eventually came down to a last re-roll of a single die, where I had a 50% chance of winning and a 50% chance of losing–and I lost by rolling one of the wrong 3 symbols.  All of that agonizing for a coin flip to decide it!  Yep…truly the very, very ugly!

Verdict on Multiplayer:

To use a common term (and one that has been used in another review of TEG), this game suffers from a dramatic and debilitating case of Analysis Paralysis.  The game easily can take 2+ hours.  Each activation of a die or a re-roll can be an agonizing and exhausting effort in multi-variate calculus!  As the game progresses, the number of dice rolled expands, the number of colonized planets with possible actions expands, the possible number of re-rolls and follows expands…and all of this leads to a massive headache when trying to take actions!

Why does this happen?  First, the cost of following is too cheap.  Only 1 culture is needed, and it is possible if the active player is acquiring culture to actually gain culture on his turn (he uses his dice, you gain more than him!).  This is a basic flaw in the game.  Other games with a lead/follow mechanism make following either quite expensive, or make leading more profitable (for example, check out the mechanism in the excellent game Eminent Domain ( Eminent Domain on BGG  ) by which the “leader” gets an extra benefit that followers do not get).  Second, because there are 4 to 7 dice to be activated, one by one in a sequence, there are 4 to 7 separate lead actions and much more possible follow actions (in a 4 player game, if I roll 5 dice my opponents have a potential 3×5=15 follow opportunities).  Just thinking about the order in which 4 to 7 dice can be sequentially utilized produces many, many combinations (you guys can do the factorial math on your own).

As a multi-player game, the exceptionally long agonizing over activations/follows, especially during the last turn, ruins the fun of the earlier turns in the game.  Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this game to any gaming group in which even a single highly-calculating, serious, strategic player is involved.  The last few turns play much like Chess…one guy sits and sits, calculates and calculates for minutes, and then makes a single move…except that in TEG this is multiplied by the number of dice that one guy just rolled and multiplied by the possible number of re-rolls!

Solitaire play = Quite Fun and Fast

In the solitaire version, you play against a programmed opponent.  These “Rogue” galaxies can be found on the backs of the player mats and have increasing difficulty from Beginner to Epic (duh!).

teg-sol-04

The Beginner Rogue Galaxy!  Note the pre-programmed actions (the red bubbles).

In short, the programmed opponent never follows and you can force it to re-roll a die by spending 1 culture and 1 energy.  Its ships always colonize and never land on planets to use that planet’s action.  Its ships also colonize faster, as all of the rogue’s ships move when he rolls diplomacy or economy.  It has pre-programmed attacks that occur whenever it rolls a utilize a colony die face.  And quite importantly, when the rogue galaxy maximizes its energy it upgrades its empire automatically; and when it maximizes its culture it takes an extra turn.

The Rogue galaxy automatically wins if it reaches 21 victory points or if its empire gets to the final hex (the skull and crossbones).  You win instantly if you get to 21 victory points before the Rogue galaxy.  Pretty simple, huh?

Solitaire game play

The solitaire game is much quicker because 1) the player can follow the Rogue’s actions but the rogue cannot follow back, and 2) the Rogue is programmed so it never wastes time in calculation.  In short, each turn takes precisely as long as the player wishes to take on it.  If you want to calculate exactly the best way to follow the rogue and/or make it re-roll, go ahead and do it; if you don’t want to do the mental gymnastics, go ahead and do that instead!  Either way, there are not other players to sit around and steam while you take your time figuring out those probabilities in your head.

teg-sol-05

The whole TEG experience! 

The solitaire game preserves all the fun of rolling the dice, deciding which dice to accept, in which order, and when to re-roll, as well as, deciding whether to spend that 1 culture on following.  You do have to work to beat the Rogue and you feel like it will race ahead of you toward victory if you make mistakes.  At the same time, the solitaire game jettisons the downtime waiting for other players and dramatically reduces the calculus needed for the active player (in this instance, the only player) to decide on a clear path on their own turn.

Solitaire Verdict:

I highly recommend TEG as a solitaire game.  It doesn’t cost much, it has an opponent who scales in difficulty, it meets the 30-45 time limit advertised on the box, it has minimal set up, minimal clean up, and is a fun time (well, as much fun as you can possibly have in a solitaire game).

Overall Verdict:

You are going to want to play TEG as a solitaire game…because if you play it multiplayer, you and your friends might get so mad at each other that you will prefer to be by yourself anyway!

 

 

Pandemic Legacy December — The Final Chapter

 

After purposely throwing our fourth loss in a row, the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was ready to finish off the long campaign of Pandemic Legacy in December.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first eleven 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.  In August, we had an unlikely victory and found the Immunologist. In September we found the Paranoid Solider and learned that we had been duped!  A mysterious organization known as Zodiac instigated the COdA virus in order to control the world.  Now we would have to dismantle the oppressive military state that we helped to build up.  We wiped out in both attempts in October, but we did find Patient Zero and a possible vaccine.  In our first game in November we started vaccinating Faded cities and in our second November game we vaccinated ALL the Faded cities while losing our fourth game in a row.

We purposely lost in November in order to make December much easier (Funded Event total of 8, 3 bonus cards from Box 8, all Faded cities Vaccinated, etc.).  Let’s see if it paid off!

December Setup

The Mission Briefing asked us to tear up all our old objectives and replace them with new ones.  We now had to destroy the secret stockpile of COdA and Vaccinate every Faded city.  Good thing we already completed that 2nd objective in November, isn’t it?

pan-leg-dec-01

The two new mandatory objectives

The find and destroy the secret stockpile objective came with a search card.  Unlike others in the past, this search would require us to discard player cards of specific colors in order to advance the search.

pan-leg-dec-02

The search for the stockpile

We drew the 9 infection cards and then selected our 8 Funded events: Local Initiative, One Quiet Night, Remote Treatment, Airlift, Borrowed Time, Forecast, Flexible Aid Package, and Resilient Population.  We also inserted the 3 Experimental Vaccine cards that we gained in November.  We picked our characters (listed below) and started in Atlanta.  By random draw, Stew was going to go first.

Given that we had already completed the Vaccinate all Faded cities objective, we were going to concentrate on staying in or near Atlanta and finding that stockpile!  We would mop up cubes and Quarantine cities as necessary to stop Outbreaks from chaining.

Characters and Turn Order

  • Stew – Dispatcher
  • Bob – Researcher
  • Neal – Scientist

No surprise here folks!  This tried and true three-way combo of characters should be able to trade cards quickly enough to get the search done.

Gameplay

Turn One

Dispatcher — Searched with a Red card (search=1), Treated 1/1 cubes, moved to Washington D.C. and Treated 1/1 cubes.

Researcher — Shared Knowledge to give the Scientist a Yellow card. Flew to Baghdad, moved to Istanbul and Treated 1/1 then moved to Algiers.  Drew Epidemic #1–but it got cancelled with the Experimental Vaccine.  Thank you box #8!  We then used One Quiet Night to skip the Infection Step.

Scientist — Searched (search=2) and Quarantined Atlanta, then moved to D.C. and Quarantined it too.

Turn 2

Dispatcher — Moved to Atlanta, Searched (search=5), then Dispatched himself to Algiers and Treated 1/2.

Researcher — Treated Algiers 1/1, moved to Madrid, Treated 1/2 and then Treated 1/1.

Scientist — Moved to Atlanta, Searched (search=8) and then forfeited his two remaining actions.  He didn’t want to move out of Atlanta so that the Dispatcher and Researcher could return there.

Turn 3

Dispatcher — Dispatched himself and the Researcher to Atlanta.  Shared Knowledge to get a Blue card from the Researcher and then forfeited his final action.

Researcher — Shared Knowledge to give a Black card to the Dispatcher.  Moved to D.C. and then Montreal, Treated 1/1, and Quarantined Montreal.

Scientist — Searched (search=9), moved to Miami, Treated 1/1, then Quarantined Miami.

Turn 4

Dispatcher — Searched (search=10), dispatched the Scientist and Researcher to Atlanta, then Shared Knowledge to give a Blue Card to the Researcher.  Drew the 2nd Epidemic Card (which is now our 1st Epidemic) in Vaccinated Sydney.  The Search target moved from 12 to 13.

Researcher — Shared Knowledge three times: Yellow card to Scientist, Blue card from the Dispatcher and a Red Card from the Dispatcher.  Searched (search=12) and forfeited his 5th action.

Scientist — Flew to Baghdad and Treated 1/1 and then Quarantined it.  Then flew back to Atlanta.  Drew Epidemic #2 (third Epidemic card drawn) in Chicago.  We used Resilient Population to discard the Chicago Infection card.  Then we used Remote Treatment in St. Petersburg (2/2).  Then we moved the Search target from 13 to 14.

Turn 5

Dispatcher — Moved to Chicago, Treated 1/3, then 1/2 and then Moved to Atlanta.

Researcher — Shared Knowledge to get a Red card from the Dispatcher.  Searched for the win! (search=14=search target).  We found the Stockpile, completed the 2nd Objective and scratched off “The Stockpile” card.

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Finding the Stockpile of COdA

What?!?  We didn’t have to use the C4 that we were hoarding in our hands to blow up the stockpile?  That was a complete let down.  We were looking forward to actually “blowing” it up.

Anyway, we completed both objectives and had now won the game.  We flipped over the winning card and read this…

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The end of Pandemic Legacy: one of the biggest let downs in gaming history!

That’s it?!?  “Congratulations. At long last…it’s over.”  What a crock!  Huge let down. That was really awful.

But wait, there were still a couple cards in the Legacy deck.  Maybe something cool still awaited us.

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Ranking your success

Nope.  It was a card that allowed us to rank our success.  We won…and now the game was going to tell us that we didn’t win well enough?!?  What a double-crock.  It just felt really wrong and misguided.  I expect success/fail ranking in two-player games that can be played multiple times (think Avalon Hill, GMT, Decision Games, etc).  But in a multiplayer cooperative game it fell flat.  After all, in cooperative games the goal is to win.  Failure is normal, so winning really counts for something.  This ranking  nonsense kind of cheapened it.

The back side of the card had the score sheet.

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Score sheet side of the card

We tallied it all up and we earned a 637=recovery and progress.  Who cares?  We didn’t.

Evaluation

After 12 months of playing Pandemic Legacy, the gang at the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club agreed on the following:

  1. It started out pretty fun.
  2. The Faded popping up was cool.
  3. The game waned badly in the last few months.
  4. The ending was awful.
  5. It ate up about 18 weeks of meeting for games–which pushed out other games that we could have played.
  6. We are NOT going to play another season of this game.
  7. And that I, your faithful narrator, needed to get on www.boardgamegeek.com and lower my rating of the game.

All right, there it is.  I hope everyone reading along enjoyed the ride!

 

Pandemic Legacy November Playthrough Part Two

 

After a rough loss in both games in October (see Pandemic Legacy October Playthrough and Pandemic Legacy October Playthrough Part Two) and the first game in November (Pandemic Legacy November Playthrough)the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was ready to try a second time in November.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first ten 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.  In August, we had an unlikely victory and found the Immunologist. In September we found the Paranoid Solider and learned that we had been duped!  A mysterious organization known as Zodiac instigated the COdA virus in order to control the world.  Now we would have to dismantle the oppressive military state that we helped to build up.  We wiped out in both attempts in October, but we did find Patient Zero and a possible vaccine.  In our first game in November we started vaccinating Faded cities.

November Setup

We had no permanent military base stickers left, so we did not have to add any new military bases to the board.  We drew the 9 infection cards and then selected our 6 Funded events: Local Initiative, One Quiet Night, Remote Treatment, Airlift, Borrowed Time, and Resilient Population.  We picked our characters (listed below) and started in Kolkata.  By random draw, Stew was going to go first.

As we mentioned in the 1st November game, we were suspicious that the previous mission objective was to only vaccinate 6 Faded cities.  It looked like a set-up to us (much like the earlier military base set up).  So, we decided that it was best to concentrate on vaccinating every Faded city this time.  Why?  Two reasons: 1) the more vaccinated cities the fewer Faded cities and thus the greater number of infection cards that would do nothing when drawn and 2) because we are guessing that in December the game will want us to vaccinate all the Faded cities.  We also were going to Sabotage the remaining military bases.

Characters and Turn Order

  • Stew – Soldier
  • Bob – Immunologist
  • Neal – Dispatcher

Gameplay

Turn One

Soldier — Moved to Delhi, Karachi, and then Riyadh.  Then treated 1/3 cubes.

Immunologist — Picked up 1 dose, moved to Hong Kong and then Taiwan.  Then remotely vaccinated Osaka.  Drew Epidemic #1 (Kinshasa).  The team used Tactical Centers Online to put up 3 roadblocks in Asia.  Then we used the Experimental Program to reduce Kinshasa from 3 to 2 cubes.  This turned out to be a good move because the Immunologist drew Kinshasa during the Infection step.

Dispatcher — Flew to Atlanta, then moved to San Francisco via Chicago.  Used Shady Background to Sabotage the military base in San Francisco.  During infection step drew Seoul, which is roadblocked completely, so it didn’t have an Outbreak, but its Panic Level went up from 2 to 3.

Turn 2

Soldier — Moved to Baghdad, then flew to Atlanta.  Moved to Washington D.C. and then New York.  Used Borrowed Time to get 2 more actions.  Sabotaged the military base with C4 and then picked up the card again.  Objective #1 (Sabotage 2 military bases) is complete!

Immunologist — Moved to Bangkok via Hong Kong.  Picked up 4 doses and then moved back to Hong Kong.  The team used Resilient Population to removed Santiago from the Infection discards.  Used Local Initiative to Quarantine Kinshasa and Riyadh.

Dispatcher — Dispatched self to Hong Kong, moved to Kolkata, picked up 4 doses and moved to Hong Kong.

Turn 3

Soldier — Moved to London and used C4 to Sabotage the military base there.  Moved to Essen and put up a Vaccination Center and Quarantined Essen.  Objective #2 met (if the Vaccination centers stay on the board until the end of the game).

Immunologist — Moved to Shanghai and remotely Vaccinated Seoul (3/3).  Then moved to Tokyo and Vaccinated 1/1. The team played One Quiet Night to skip the Infection step.

Dispatcher — Parachuted into Seoul and Vaccinated it.  Moved to Tokyo (by discarding Jakarta card) and Vaccinated it.  Then moved to Shanghai.  Drew Epidemic #2 (Osaka–but it is Vaccinated so no effect).  Drew Khartoum for Outbreak #1.

Turn 4

Soldier — Picked up 3 doses, grabbed the Parachute and Parachuted into Manila.  Vaccinated it with the Aerosol and then grabbed the Parachute back.

Immunologist — Moved to Shanghai, then Hong Kong, then Bangkok and grabbed 5 doses.  Drew 2 Yellow cards and cured BSNL-419.  Quarantines in Essen and Shanghai got removed via Infection card draw.

Dispatcher — Moved to Kolkata via Hong Kong.  Then shuttled to Essen and Quarantined it.

Turn 5

Soldier — Used Remote Treatment on Chicago (1/3) and Khartoum (1/3) and Parachuted into Beijing.  Vaccinated it and grabbed back the Parachute.  Parachuted into D.C. and Quarantined it before moving to Montreal.  Drew Epidemic #3 (Chennai–but vaccinated).

Immunologist — Parachuted to Khartoum and treated (2/2) before moving to Kinshasa and treating 3/3. Then moved to Johannesburg. Drew Riyadh for Outbreak #2 and drew Essen (quarantined).

Dispatcher — Quarantined Essen (again!) and took a Direct Flight to Santiago.  Treated 3/3 and Dispatched the Soldier to Johannesburg.  Drew San Francisco for Outbreak #3 which led to a chain reaction Outbreak in Chicago (#4).

Turn 6

Soldier — Treated Johannesburg (1/1) then moved to Khartoum and Treated 1/1.  Moved to Cairo.

Immunologist — Moved to Kinshasa and treated 1/1.  Moved to Lagos and Treated 1/1.

Dispatcher — Moved to Lima and then Mexico City.  Treated 1/1.  Then Cured Sprague (Black).

We now had cured 2 of the 3 diseases.  We began to debate whether to cure Fischer-Titus (Blue) or to lose on purpose in order to open Box #8 and increase our Funded Event total for December.

Turn 7 (how did we survive this long?!?)

Soldier — Treated a yellow cube in Cairo (1/1) and Eradicated BSNL-419.  Moved to Riyadh and Treated 3/3.  Grabbed a Parachute.

Immunologist — Took a Direct Flight to Cairo and Treated 1/1 Black cubes.  Moved to Baghdad and Treated 1/1.  Drew Epidemic #4 (Karachi).  Then during Infection step drew D.C. for Outbreak #5.

Dispatcher — Moved to Chicago, Treated 1/3 and then moved to San Francisco and Treated 1/3.

Turn 8 (Surely the end is near, no one survives this long without losing)

Soldier — Parachuted into D.C., Treated 1/3, moved to Atlanta and Treated 1/3 before ending in Chicago.  Drew Karachi for Outbreak #6–and Karachi became a Fallen City!

Immunologist — Airlift to Karachi and Treated 3/3.  Then moved to Mumbai and Treated 2/2 before ending in Delhi.

Dispatcher — Moved to Chicago and Shared Knowledge with the Soldier to get a Blue card.  Then moved to Montreal and Dispatched the Soldier there too.  Drew 2 Blue cards.

*** And here is where we had to make a choice!  The Dispatcher now had enough Blue cards to cure Fischer-Titus (don’t need to be in a Research Station and did not need to use an Action) at any time.  We chose instead to keep playing in order to lose.  It became clear that with over 1/4 of all cities Vaccinated and 1/4 of the cities Eradicated that this is how we wanted the board to look in December if possible.  We decided to lose in order to make December easier.

Turn 9 (How did we made it this far!)

Soldier — Quarantined Montreal and took a Direct Flight to St. Petersberg before moving to Essen and Quarantining it.  Drew Epidemic #5 (Miami- Eradicated).  No player cards were left at this point.

Immunologist — Forfeited turn.  Games ends because no more player cards can be drawn.

Here is the board at the end of the game:

pan-leg-nov-2nd-01

Panoramic View of the End of the Game.  Note the 5 Blue cards in the hands of the Dispatcher (far left).

We lost 4 games in a row and now could open Box #8.  Inside we found the following cards:

pan-leg-nov-2nd-02

The contents of Box #8

The Experimental Vaccine cards should make it really easy to win in December.

 

Endgame Upgrades

We put a permanent Vaccination Center in Essen and added the Supressed Upgrade to BSNL-419 (Treating removes all cubes).  We increased our Funded Event total to 8 and left with very positive thoughts about defeating the game in December.

Pandemic Legacy November Playthrough

After a rough loss in both games in October (see Pandemic Legacy October Playthrough and Pandemic Legacy October Playthrough Part Two) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was moving on to November.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first ten 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.  In August, we had an unlikely victory and found the Immunologist. In September we found the Paranoid Solider and learned that we had been duped!  A mysterious organization known as Zodiac instigated the COdA virus in order to control the world.  Now we would have to dismantle the oppressive military state that we helped to build up.  We wiped out in both attempts in October, but we did find Patient Zero and a possible vaccine.

November Setup

We had no permanent military base stickers left, so we did not have to add any new military bases to the board.  We drew the 9 infection cards and then selected our 4 Funded events: Local Initiative, One Quiet Night, Remote Treatment, and Resilient Population.  We picked our characters (listed below) and started in Kolkata.  By random draw, Stew was going to go first.

Characters and Turn Order

  • Stew – Dispatcher
  • Bob – Immunologist
  • Neal – Scientist
  • Lee – Researcher

Gameplay

Turn One

Dispatcher — Shared Knowledge to take Osaka from the Researcher, moved to Bangkok and then Jakarta (by discarding Osaka because Jakarta has a 4 on it), and then Sabotaged the military base that gave us fits in October.  During his draw phase, the Dispatcher drew the Bioreactor and puts 3 doses at the Vacc Center in Kolkata.

Immunologist — Picked up 4 doses in Kolkata, moved to Chennai, Vaccinated the city, then moved to Kolkata.

Scientist — (5 actions this turn) Shared Knowledge with the Researcher to give away Tokyo (which is also the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells), moved to Bangkok, picked up 2 doses, then moved to Ho Chi Minh City and then Vaccinated it.  City Zero of the Faded epidemic was now a safe place!  During the infection step, he drew Bangkok which had been Vaccinated in a previous game.

Researcher — Picked up 2 doses, moved to Hong Kong, Vaccinated 1 Faded and then Vaccinated Hong Kong.  Six Faded cities were now vaccinated so Objective #1 was met and we tore up the card.  ** Note: we were very suspicious that the game wanted us to vaccinate only 6 Faded cities.  We suspect that we should keep vaccinating cities because this smells like a set-up, much like the military base fiasco.**

Turn 2

Dispatcher — Moved to Chennai then took flight to Khartoum, moved to Lagos and then used Shady Background to Sabotage the military base there by discarding the Bogota card.  That was now 2 military bases Sabotaged so Objective #2 was met!  He then drew Epidemic #1 in Milan.  We used Resilient Population to remove the Milan infection card from the game.

Immunologist — Picked up 2 doses, moved to Hong Kong, Shared Knowledge with the Researcher and took a yellow card, then cured BSNL-419 (Yellow, no action) and Vaccinated Taipei remotely.

Scientist — Moved to Manila, then San Francisco, then Chicago and treated 1/2 cubes.  Drew a Bioreactor card and used it to put 3 doses in Kolkata.  Drew Epidemic #2 in San Francisco.  During the infection step drew San Francisco (what bad luck for Outbreak #1)!

Researcher — Moved to Kolkata, flew to Atlanta, moved to Chicago and then treated 1/2 cubes.  During the infection step both Madrid and Sao Paolo got their 3rd cube.

Turn 3

Dispatcher — Dispatched himself to Chicago, Shared Knowledge to give Chicago card to the Scientist, moved to San Francisco and treated 1/3 cubes.  Played One Quiet Night.

Immunologist — Moved to Manila, Vaccinated 3/3 Faded, then remotely Vaccinated Sydney, and treated the single blue cube in Manila.

Scientist — (5 actions) Shared Knowledge with the Researcher and Cured Fischer-Titus (Blue).  Two viruses down!  Then moved to Montreal, New York, Madrid and treated 3/3 cubes.  Drew Milan during infection step for Outbreak #2.

Researcher — Treated Chicago 2/2 cubes, moved to Montreal and then New York, and treated 2/2 cubes.

Turn 4

Dispatcher — Direct flight to London, moved to Essen and then St. Petersburg and treated 3/3 cubes.

Immunologist — Moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vaccinated Jakarta remotely, moved to Bangkok and grabbed 11 doses.  Drew Epidemic #3 in Karachi.  During infection step drew Sao Paolo for Outbreak #3.

Scientist — Moved to Paris, treated 1/1 cubes, moved to Milan and treated 3/3 cubes.  Used Remote Treatment to take both Moscow and Karachi down from 3 cubes each to 2.  During infect step both Mexico City and San Francisco went up to 3 cubes.

Researcher — Moved to Madrid, Paris, and then Milan.  Shared Knowledge with the Scientist.  Drew Epidemic #4 in Essen.  During infect step drew San Francisco for Outbreak #4.  There were cubes all over the place at this point!

Turn 5

Dispatcher — Moved to Essen, treated 3/3 cubes, moved to Milan, treated 2/2 cubes.  During infect step drew Sao Paolo (Outbreak #5) and then Mexico City (Outbreak #6) which led to chain Outbreak #7 in Bogota and then chain Outbreak #8 in Buenos Aires and the game was over!  We came up just short as we almost ready to cure Sprague (Black) in the next couple moves.

The board at the end looked like this:

pan-leg-nov-1

Panoramic view of the end–outbreaks of BSNL-419 (Yellow) everywhere!

End Game Upgrades

After 3 losses in a row, we were demoralized but determined to make the board look better in future games.  We chose to give the Researcher the Hero upgrade (can Self-Sacrifice at any time with an action) and to add 3 equipment stickers (Parachute, and 2 Grenade Belts).  We moved our Funded Event total to 6.  We also wondered whether it might be useful in the next game in November to lose on purpose in order to see what was in Box #8 (the “open this box if you lose 4 games in a row” box).  After all a win would lower the Funded Event total to 4 and give us a Win Bonus, but a loss would move the event total to 8 and open Box #8.  Which way to go?  I guess we will just have to wait and see how the next game goes and choose at that time.

Pandemic Legacy October Playthrough Part Two

After a rough loss in the first game in October (see Pandemic Legacy October Playthrough) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was giving it a second try at winning in October.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first nine 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.  In August, we had an unlikely victory and found the Immunologist. In September we found the Paranoid Solider and learned that we had been duped!  A mysterious organization known as Zodiac instigated the COdA virus in order to control the world.  Now we would have to dismantle the oppressive military state that we helped to build up.  We wiped out badly in our first attempt in October, but we did find Patient Zero and a possible vaccine.

October Part Two Setup

By random draw all 3 of the x3 infected cities were Faded cities (Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta-which also got a military base b/c it was drawn first-, and Hong Kong)!  9 Faded on the board after drawing 3 cards, yikes!  We selected our 2 Funded Events (One Quiet Night and Local Initiative) and added them to the Player deck.  We selected characters and decided to start in Kolkata.   We used our September Win Bonus to add a Grenade Belt to the Johannesburg card held by the Dispatcher.

We didn’t know it yet, but that randomly placed military base in Jakarta was going to ruin our game.  Because you get penalized extra actions to vaccinate when a military base is present in the same region, we were not going to be able to vaccinate any Faded in Southeast Asia for the entire game.  We really needed to sabotage that base immediately, but we never had the card to do it.

Character Selection and Turn Order

For the first time in a while, Stew is not going to go first!  Bob was drawn as the first player, so the turn order looks like this:

  • Bob – Operations Expert
  • Neal – Quarantine Specialist
  • Lee – Immunologist
  • Stew – Dispatcher

Our plan was to try and Sabotage military bases and build Vaccination Centers.  We would try to cure the 3 non-COdA viruses if we could, but winning the game wasn’t the first priority; trying to get the board ready for November was our overriding concern.

Gameplay

Turn One

Ops Expert — Because the Ops Expert is a family member with the Dispatcher, he will get 5 actions this turn.  First, he put a Vaccination Center in Kolkata, then moved to Bangkok.  Put a Vaccination Center in Bangkok then flew to Chennai by discarding the New York card.  He then put a Vaccination Center in Chennai.  Objective #1 (3 Vacc Centers) completed on the very first move!!!  Then he drew Epidemic #1 (boo!) in Manila.  The Immunologist played One Quiet Night in order to skip the Infect Cities step as the deck was only 10 cards deep and 4 cities had 3 cubes/Faded in them.

Quar. Specialist — Quarantined Jakarta then moved to Hong Kong and quarantined it too.  Then moved to Bangkok.  The Ops Expert used Airstrike on Ho Chi Minh City just in case we were about to draw it.  We didn’t.  We drew Jakarta (which removed the quarantine marker) and Mumbai (2 cubes).

Immunologist — Picked up 2 doses in Jakarta, moved to Bangkok and vaccinated Bangkok (our 1st Vaccinated city).  He then remotely vaccinated Hong Kong (1/3 Faded).  He used Tactical Centers Now Online to place roadblocks around Faded areas to limit their spread.  He then drew San Francisco (2 cubes) and Manila leading to Outbreak #1.

Dispatcher — Picked up 1 dose in Jakarta, moved to Shanghai and Vaccinated it (Vacc city #2).  He drew 2 yellow cards and immediately cured BSNL-419 (no action required, nor being in a research center, and 1 card less).  In the infection step Tehran (3 cubes) and Miami (3 cubes) both got worse.

Turn Two

Ops Expert — Moved to Kolkata, flew to Atlanta, moved to Miami and cured 1/3 cubes.  During infection step drew Khartoum (3/3) and Ho Chi Minh City (Outbreak #2) which led to chain outbreaks in Jakarta (Outbreak #3), then Manila (Outbreak #4), then Hong Kong (Outbreak #5) and turned Chennai and Kolkata into Faded Cities.  Things were getting bad very quick due to the rough draw at the start of the game.

Quar. Spec. — Quarantined Hong Kong, picked up 2 doses, moved to Jakarta and vaccinated the 1 Faded there.  During the infection step he drew Hong Kong and removed the quarantine marker and then Istanbul (2/3).

Immunologist — Picked up 3 doses, moved to Jakarta and Vaccinated (now a Vaccinated city) and then vaccinated two Faded in Hong Kong (1/3 now).  Drew Lima (1/3) and Delhi (1/3).

Dispatcher — Flew to Miami, moved to Lima, and treated it (1/1).  Drew Mexico City (1/3) and Paris (1/3).

By this point we were running around putting out fires more than getting anywhere towards sabotaging military bases or curing diseases.  We didn’t have any cards in our hands that were where the military bases were located and no one had any C2 either.  We realized that we were not going to get it done and just hoped for some good luck to give us a few more moves.  That random military base in Jakarta was crushing us because we couldn’t vaccinate those Faded cities in the same region.

Turn Three

Ops Expert — Moved to Atlanta by discarding the Khartoum card then treated it (3/3) and flew to Lagos.  He drew Epidemic #2 in Karachi.  During the infect step he drew Mumbai (3/3) and then Ho Chi Minh City.  We could never get HCM City vaccinated because of that military base in Jakarta…and now we were going to pay for it!  HCM City had an outbreak (#6), which led to and outbreak in Jakarta (#7) and then Manila (#8) and the game was over!

Here is a panoramic photo of the end:

pan-leg-oct2-01

The short of the story: sometimes Pandemic Legacy is all about luck of the draw!  Drawing 9 Faded onto the board right next to each other on the first 3 draws led to a mess.  Having the military base be placed in Jakarta compounded the problem.  Then, NOT drawing the Jakarta card nor any of our C4 led to us never being able to sabotage that base.

Endgame Upgrade

We exchanged our temporary Vaccination Centers in Kolkata and Bangkok for permanent centers.  We then moved the Funded Event total to 4.
Onward to November and hoping for some better luck.

 

Pandemic Legacy October Playthrough

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

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED THE OCTOBER 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 nine 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.  In August, we had an unlikely victory and found the Immunologist. In September we found the Paranoid Solider and learned that we had been duped!  A mysterious organization known as Zodiac instigated the COdA virus in order to control the world.  Now we would have to dismantle the oppressive military state that we helped to build up.

October Setup

We read the mission briefing and discovered that we were to find Patient Zero!

pan-leg-oct-01

The Search to find Patient Zero

Per the new rules, we randomly added a new military base in San Francisco.  We completed the routine set up and then picked our characters.  Because we had zero (yes zero!) Funded Events, we felt it an imperative to find Patient Zero.  We expected to lose the game this month so Neal took the Soldier and Bob took the Ops Expert so that we could quickly complete the Patient Zero mission.  Lee took the Medic so that he could treat cities and buy the rest of us more time.  Stew would be his usual Dispatcher and move pawns around.  After selecting characters, we decided to start in Kolkata and then we used our September Win Bonus to put some Binoculars on the Jakarta Card.  We randomly drew pawns and Stew would be the first player (again!  He has all the luck!).

Characters and Order

  • Stew — Dispatcher
  • Bob — Operations Expert
  • Neal — Soldier
  • Lee — Medic

Gameplay

Turn 1

Dispatcher — Moved to Ho Chi Minh City (City Zero) and then dispatched the Ops Expert and Soldier there.  He then drew the 1st Epidemic card and Riyadh exploded with the Sprague (Black) virus.  We moved the search track from 9 to 10.  We drew an infection card and it was…wait on it…wait on it…Riyadh!  Outbreak #1!  The other was Beijing (Faded went from 2 to 3).

Ops Expert — Bob put down a military base in Ho Chi Minh City and then searched for Patient Zero.  We moved the Search from 0 to 2 (+1 Tokyo card–which by the way has an equipment sticker on it, +1 military base).  He discarded the Tehran card and flew to Baghdad (Ops Expert ability) and treated 1/3 cubes.  He drew the Ho Chi Minh City player card so 1 Faded joined the Soldier and Dispatcher in City Zero.  For infection cards he drew Taipei (1 to 2) and San Francisco.  Boom!  Outbreak #2!  The non-COdA viruses were getting out of hand pretty fast.

Soldier — He didn’t get a scar because, well, he is the soldier!  Anyway, he picked up the Tokyo card from the discard pile and then searched for Patient Zero.  We moved the search from 2 to 4 (+1 Tokyo card, +1 military base).  He then picked up the Tokyo card again from the discard pile and searched again (search 4 to 6)!  Cheesy?  Yes!  But effective use of the Soldier’s ability to pick up equipment.  For infection cards, he drew New York (Boom! Outbreak #3) and Bogota (1 to 2).

Medic — Moved to Ho Chi Minh City and searched with the Jakarta card with Binoculars!  Moved search from 6 to 10 (+1 Jakarta card, +1 military base, +2 Binoculars).  And Objective #1 is complete and we found Patient Zero!  Because we now had the DNA, Gene Sequence, and the Records, this led to a opening Box #7 and a whole bunch of stuff.  I will save all that for the end of this report.  Anyway, the Medic moved to Hong Kong to finish his turn.  Faded/cubes were added to Baghdad and Bogota by draws from the Infection deck.

pan-leg-oct-02

Finding Patient Zero

Turn 2

Dispatcher — He got a scar from being in Ho Chi Minh City with the Faded.  Stew took the Indecisive scar.  He dispatched himself to Baghdad, moved to Tehran and treated 2/3 cubes.

Ops Expert — Moved to Riyadh and discarded the Riyadh card to Sabotage the military base there.  He then treated 2/3 cubes in Riyadh.

Soldier — Picked up the Tokyo card from the discard pile and moved to Tokyo.

Medic — Moved to Ho Chi Minh City and used C4 (no action needed) to Sabotage the military base there.  Objective #2 (Sabotage 2 military bases) complete.  Now only the mandatory mission remained.  He then moved to Kolkata and flew to Baghdad.

Turn 3

At this point we were struggling because we only had a single Black card between all 4 of our hands and realized that we probably wouldn’t complete the mandatory mission.

Dispatcher — Dispatched himself to Tokyo, grabbed the Tokyo card from the Soldier.  You might remember it has an equipment sticker and that sticker is the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.  The Dispatcher cured Fischer-Titus (Blue virus) without an action and then flew to Baghdad and treated 1/3 cubes.  He drew Epidemic #2 in St. Petersburg.  He then drew Mumbai (Outbreak #4).  We were rapidly running out of Black cubes to put on the board.

Ops Expert — Moved to Baghdad by discarding the Ho Chi Minh City card.  He treated cubes and then with his last action equipped the Parachute sticker on the Algiers card.

Soldier — Took a direct flight to Chicago, treated 1/1 cubes there, moved to San Francisco and treated 3/3 cubes.  Then he drew Epidemic #3 in Delhi.  The first infection card drawn was Mumbai (Outbreak #5) which led to chain outbreaks in Delhi (#6), Karachi (#7) and Tehran (#8) and the game was lost!

Here is the board at the end of the game:

pan-leg-oct-03

A Panoramic photo of the board at the end of the game.

The Vaccine

Because we collected everything necessary to open Box #7, the game changed as we now had access to a vaccine to stop COdA.

pan-leg-oct-04

The Vaccine is found!

By finding a vaccine, we now had two new objectives: Vaccinate 6 Faded cities and have 3 Vaccination Centers on the board.  We were instructed to put all kinds of new stickers in the rulebook to simulate the new vaccine rules.  We also got some cool orange buildings and doses.

pan-leg-oct-05

Vaccination Centers and Vaccine Doses

And when you vaccinate a Faded City, you put a Vaccination sticker over it!

pan-leg-oct-06

Vaccinate those cities!

Also, the Immunologist is now a character choice.

pan-leg-oct-07

The Immunologist

Endgame Upgrades

We moved our Funded Event total up from 0 to 2 (yay!).  We used both upgrades to put 3 equipment stickers each (so 6 stickers!) on red cards.  We added all 3 of the new Bioreactor (discard to produce 3 vaccine doses) and all 3 of the Aerosol Unit (use one dose to remove all Faded in a city) stickers.  At this point the entire Top Secret dossier was exhausted.  I guess the only twists and turns left must be in the Legacy Deck.

Because we lost we will have to tackle October again.  But…somehow we felt that we won anyway because now we would be armed with Vaccination centers!

 

 

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.

pan-leg-sept-01

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.

pan-leg-sept-02

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.

pan-leg-sept-03

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!

pan-leg-sept-04

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.

pan-leg-sept-05

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!

pan-leg-sept-06

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.

pan-leg-sept-07

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.

Pandemic Legacy July Playthrough Part 2

 

After our stunning victory in June (see Pandemic Legacy June Playthrough) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was moving on to July.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first six 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.  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, so July looked to be a tough month.  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.  See review here (Pandemic Legacy July Episode – Part One).

July Part 2 Setup

We had a strange draw of cards, with an unusual number of Red (Faded) cards being drawn.  We had 3 Faded in Beijing and Bangkok and 2 Faded in Manila and Seoul and not a single Blue (Fischer-Titus) cube on the board!  We had a Funded Event total of 4 so we selected the One Quiet Night, Local Initiative, Resilient Population, and Remote Treatment cards.

Our friend Kristie joined us this week, so we had 5 players.  With only rules for a 4-player game, we decided that Bob and Stew would work together.  Seeing the clear threat of the Faded in Asia, we knew that someone would have to be the Quarantine Specialist.  After determining play order, here are our character picks:

  • Bob/Stew — Researcher
  • Neal — Medic
  • Lee — Scientist
  • Kristie — Quarantine Specialist

We used our June win bonus to add some roadblocks to the board.

Here is what the board looked like after set-up was finished:

Pan Leg July Part 2 01

July Part 2 Start — Note all the Faded!

Gameplay

The basic idea was for the Quarantine Specialist to stay in Asia and deal with the Faded while the Researcher/Scientist combo powered out cures and the Medic mopped up cubes.

Turn 1

The Researcher was first and quarantined Bangkok.  The Medic removed cubes in Baghdad and Washington.  The Scientist picked up a blue card from the Researcher and flew to N. America where he blockaded western routes from San Francisco.  The Quarantine Specialist quarantined Seoul, Kolkata and Hong Kong.

Turn 2

The Researcher moved to Kolkata and flew to N. America to get to San Francisco to be with the Scientist.  They drew the 1st Epidemic and it was in London.  The Medic moved toward some cubes and drew the 2nd Epidemic in Istanbul, which led to an outbreak in Seoul (#1) which spread to Shanghai (#2).  The Scientist cured both Blue (Fischer-Titus) and after getting a card, Yellow (BSNL-419) and played One Quiet Night to not draw some dangerous infection cards on his turn.  The Quar. Spec. quarantined Ho Chi Minh City.

Turn 3

The Researcher treated Santiago in an effort to eradicate BSNL-419.  The Medic ferried trans-Atlantic and treated London.  The Scientist treated Kinshasa and BSNL-419 was eradicated (Objective #1 completed).  The Quar. Spec. put down quarantines in Osaka and Shanghai as the Faded continued to multiply from infection cards and the players drawing Red (Faded) cities from the Player Deck (This is the Accelerated Incubation rule).

Turn 4

The Researcher moved to Khartoum to be with the Scientist.  The Medic dropped a military base in Paris (a card the Medic had since the start of the game), thus establishing a military base in all 6 regions (Objective #2) as we started the game with 5 permanent military bases.  The Scientist went to Riyadh and drew the 3rd Epidemic card.  The Quar. Spec. dropped an Airstrike on Manila to reduce the Faded in that city from 3 to 2 as it had no quarantine marker on it and could be draw in a re-shuffled Infection Deck.  As it happened, Madrid had an outbreak (#3) but it did not cause any chain outbreak due to the Medic’s previous action in London.  The Quar. Spec. used her turn to quarantine Shanghai and Bangkok.

Turn 5

The Researcher quarantined Karachi.  The Medic moved to Riyadh and got the matching card from the Scientist and cured Black (Sprague), thus completing the mandatory objective of curing the 3 non-Faded diseases (Objective #3)–Winning the game!

Here is the map at the end of the game:

Pan Leg July Part 2 02

July Part 2 End — note all the Blue and Faded on the board!  But we won anyway!

For our end game upgrades we chose:

  1. Add 3 permanent roadblocks–2 around Beijing and the other from Tokyo to San Francisco.
  2. Adding the “Easier Agents” upgrade to BSNL-419.  Now the cure could be discovered with one fewer card.

We did not put down our 6th permanent military base in Paris because the July Win Bonus will allow us to do that at the start of August (yay!).  We adjusted our Funded Event total back down to 2.  August is going to be tough!

Pandemic Legacy July Episode – Part One

After our stunning victory in June (see Pandemic Legacy June Playthrough) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was moving on to July.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first six 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.  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, so July looked to be a tough month.

July Setup

At the start of July we got a new mission: search for the Virologist.  It seemed that a virologist was missing and that we had been assigned to find her.  We needed to “Search” (spend an action and a matching color card) at research stations and to do it quickly.  Each time an Epidemic card was drawn, the search for the Virologist would get a little bit longer.  Other than that, the missions were the same: complete 3 missions, with curing 3 diseases being mandatory.  Then complete 2 of the following: eradicate 1 disease, put up a military base in each of the 6 regions, and find the virologist.

We went through the normal set up steps and here is what the board looked like just before we began:

Pan Leg July 01

The start.  We are all in Kolkata. 

Lee was out this week, so it was just the 3 of us.  We looked at the board and we made some key decisions.  First, we had only 2 funded events, which meant that epidemics would be drawn pretty quickly on top of each other. We realized that our odds of winning were slim so we wanted to get something done that would have a permanent effect–even if we lost.  Two, curing diseases and eradicating one of them would be our secondary priority.  We have plenty of favorable mutations upgrades which might help us achieve these objectives.  Three, we really wanted to find the Virologist, so it would be the top priority.  We figured that whatever bonus came with finding her would be helpful in a later game.  Four, we would only try to place military bases if that option looked good given our initial card draw.  We placed our June win bonus blockades in a way to stop the Faded from moving to Shanghai (see below why we chose this) or spreading to North America.

So, here are our character choices in turn order:

  • Stew – Operations Expert
  • Bob – Researcher
  • Neal — Scientist

We decided to start in Kolkata.  The idea was that the Operations Expert would go to Shanghai, drop a research station, and then use his Shanghai card and other red card to get a quick jump on finding the virologist.  The other two would work on curing diseases.

Gameplay

Well my droogies, guess how this game turned out?  About as bad as it gets!  It was so short that I will break it down in player turns.

Stew’s 1st turn: he moved to Shanghai, placed a research station and quarantined the city.  His first card drawn was an Epidemic!  And in Lima, right next to the 3 cubes in Santiago!  And when drawing the 2 cards from the Infection deck, Karachi had an outbreak.

Bob’s 1st turn: he handed off some cards to the Scientist and then went to Shanghai to help the Ops Expert.  Then he drew Milan from the infection deck and now we had our 2nd outbreak.

Neal’s 1st turn: he flew to Atlanta and then dropped a military base in New York.  This was our 4th base as we started with 3 permanent bases in Lima, Riyadh, and Ho Chi Minh City.  Then he drew the Santiago infection card, so that was outbreak #3 and Lima had a chain reaction outbreak for #4.

Stew’s 2nd turn: Ops Expert builds a military base in Shanghai, our 5th.  By this time, we knew that we were in big trouble given the number of outbreaks on the 1st round.  We decided that we would try to find the virologist and find places where we might want some permanent military bases.  The Ops Expert then searched for and found the Virologist.  Which to our surprise did NOTHING to help us.  Or at least nothing right now, we assume that her finding of the gene sequence for CodA will be helpful in a later month.  Anyway, during the infection step he drew St. Petersburg which had an outbreak #4, leading to a chain reaction outbreak in Essen #5, and then in Milan #6.

Bob’s 2nd turn: By this point we were doomed.  We struggled to find any actions for the Researcher that had any positive  impact.  But we did figure out that if he put a military base in Lagos, maybe we would want to make it permanent during the endgame upgrades.  So he traveled to Lagos and dropped a military station there, completing our 2nd optional mission.  But the end was near.  Why?  Because he drew Lima from the infection deck which had an outbreak #7 and Santiago had a chain reaction outbreak #8 — Game Over!

Neal’s 2nd turn: never got it!  So sad! Yeah, that’s right, your faithful narrator Neal only got 1 turn!  How very sad me droogies!

Here is a pic of the debacle:

Pan Leg July 02

End of the game.  Note the successful “Search for the Virologist” card at top.  Also see the Lima-Santiago outbreak factory and poor Europe overrun with disease!

Upgrade Choices

We upgraded the temporary military bases in Lagos and New York to permanent military bases.  We figured that doing so should make completing the military base mission super easy in our next go through in July.  If the optional mission remained in later months, it would probably also be easy to complete.  We even thought of the cheesy move of placing another permanent military base down at the end of the next July playthrough–thus automatically completing the military base mission at the start of August!  Cheese indeed!

We moved the funded event total up to 4 and now we are ready to try again in a couple of weeks.

By the way, the Faded have literally done nothing since they arrived in this game.  They have almost never been on the board and have never been the source of an outbreak across 4 months now.  Very strange.

Pandemic Legacy June Playthrough

After our victory in our second attempt in May (see Pandemic Legacy May Playthrough Round Dos) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was moving on to June.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

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

— SPOILER ALERT ENDS HERE —

Recap: In the first five 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.  In a heroic effort in the second episode of May, we triumphed and kept the diseases under control.

June Setup

The initial setup was a bit favorable.  The only Faded card drawn was Beijing.  We used the Win Bonus from May to put up two blockades around Beijing to stop the Faded from spreading.  We also blockaded the line from Tokyo to San Francisco just in case the Faded wanted to spread to North America. Milan and Karachi were of concern, but they were geographically close.  Santiago looked to be a problem but at least there was no disease at all in North America.

Pan Leg June start

June Start–Note that the only Faded drawn are in Beijing, and we blockaded it.

So, we picked characters and Neal was randomly determined to play first.  We decided to stick with the characters that had used in May.  We thought the board looked favorable to a Medic sweeping cubes while the Researcher/Scientist team cured diseases and the Dispatcher got us back together as needed.

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

Our plan of attack was to try to eradicate at least one disease and put down the 6 military bases.  We had 4 funded events and mainly chose cards to manipulate or delay the infection deck and stop outbreaks from getting worse.  We had a nice spread of locations in our initial card draw, plus with two permanent military bases on the board already (Lima and Ho Chi Minh City) we felt that it would not be difficult to get 4 more military bases up.  So we were going to ignore the quarantine mission if possible.

Gameplay

We got off to a fast start.  On the 2nd turn the Scientist cured Blue (Fischer-Titus in our game) after getting cards from the Scientist and Medic. We have been taking Positive Mutations as end game upgrades and they are really starting to pay off in speeding up the discovery of cures.

But then things got a bit more hairy.  Also the 2nd turn we drew the 2nd epidemic right on the heels of the first epidemic and Los Angeles had an outbreak!  North America went from no problem at all to our worst hotspot!  Fortunately, at the end of the 2nd turn the Researcher treated the last Fischer-Titus cube and Blue was eradicated.  One mission down by the 8th player-turn (two full turns around the table).

On the 3rd turn, the Medic found a cure for Black (Sprague in our game).  And also immediately thereafter, the 3rd epidemic card was drawn and Sao Paolo burst with the BSNL-419 disease!  Los Angeles, Tehran, and Sao Paolo were all in big trouble as their cards were shuffled back onto the top of the deck!

And then the Faded started to become a problem too!  Shenghai had been drawn earlier as both a player card (see the Accelerated Incubation rule) and an infection card twice.  It now threatened to produce a Faded outbreak!  Fortunately, on the 4th turn the Airstrike event was drawn and we used it to smack Shenghai (sorry residents of the city, I hope there was no collateral damage!).

Also on the 4th turn, the Scientist cured BSNL-419, which was only possible because of our positive mutation upgrade that allowed for finding a cure 1) without being in a research station and 2) without having to use an action.  Otherwise, the Scientist would’ve been one action short.  So now the mandatory mission was complete.

Later in the 4th turn, the Dispatcher put our 5th military base down in Riyadh.  Now we needed only one more to win the game.  But then we got into real big trouble!  We had so many BSNL-419 left on the map, that we didn’t have any more Yellow cubes in the supply.  And Santiago was going to be the next infection card drawn (we knew this by remembering which infection cards had been recycled by the Epidemic draws).

Fortunately for us, the Dispatcher had the Local Initiative event card.  He put a quarantine marker on Santiago, which saved our bacon!  We cleaned up a few Yellow cubes and then the Medic was going to treat Santiago at the start of the 5th turn.  The Medic did just that and then flew to Istanbul, ferried to Cairo and dropped a military base in Cairo and we won the game!  Sometimes you have to be very lucky…and we got very lucky to draw so many event cards with only 4 in the deck (plus a couple Endgame Upgrade events placed on Red cards).

And did I mention yet that Moscow became a Fallen city!  Man, we have had such a tough time keeping that place under control.

Pan Leg June end

The end of the game in June–look at all those Yellow cubes!  And check out the Red Fallen 5 on Moscow. 

Endgame Upgrades

We decided to make Blue (Fischer-Titus) “Efficient to Sequence” so that we could deal with it quicker in every subsequent game.  We then put a permanent military base in Riyadh.  We adjusted our Funded Event total down to 2 (Yikes!) and congratulated ourselves on a game well played…and also on our exceptional luck.