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:

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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.

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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.

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Vaccination Centers and Vaccine Doses

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

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Vaccinate those cities!

Also, the Immunologist is now a character choice.

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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 August Playthrough

After our narrow victory in July (see Pandemic Legacy July Playthrough Part 2) the Toledo Tuesdays Gaming Club (info here ) now was moving on to August.

— SPOILER ALERT BEGINS HERE —

IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED THE AUGUST 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 seven 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.  See review here (Pandemic Legacy July Episode – Part One).  In our second July attempt we managed to triumph despite long odds (Pandemic Legacy July Playthrough Part 2).

August Setup

The Mission Briefing threw a curve right at the start of the game.  We had to rip up the “Eradicate 1 disease” mission!  We did however get a new mission: Find the Immunologist.  It is another “search” mission, much like the “Find the Virologist” that we completed in July.

 

Pan Leg Aug 03

We drew a number of red cards during set up, so there were plenty of Faded on the board.  We knew that we would have to deal with them while also going into Faded cities to find the Immunologist.  So, Bob graciously volunteered to select the Colonel, a character that we had not yet used.

Pan Leg Aug 04

The Colonel.  He can removed Faded figures from the city that he is in.  He also ignores roadblocks.  He got the scar on Turn 3.

Stew came up a with a great plan to quickly find the Immunologist.  We also anticipated using the July win bonus to put down our 6th permanent military base.  In other words, we figured that we would accomplish 2 objectives quickly, leaving only the mandatory “cure 3 diseases” objective.  So, we chose to go with the standard Dispatcher, Researcher, Scientist combo.  After determining play order, here are our character picks:

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

Our Funded Event total was only 2, so we selected “Local Initiative” and “Resilient Population.”  We used our July win bonus to put a permanent military base in London and a temporary military base in Seoul.

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

Pan Leg Aug 01

Start of the August game.  Photo taken before we placed the 6th military base in London. The base in Lagos is there, but it is hard to see.

Game Play

When the game started, we automatically accomplished the “Have a military base in each of the 6 regions” objective.  Objective #1 down — giddy up!

Turn 1

We all started in Kolkata.  The dispatcher moved to Bangkok and then moved the Researcher and Scientist to him.  For his final action, he “Searched” with the Ho Chi Minh City card.  This moved the search 4 spaces (+1 red/Faded card, +1 Researcher present, +1 Scientist present, +1 Dispatcher present).

The Colonel moved to Bangkok and Searched with the Beijing Card.  This moved the search 4 more spaces (+1 for red/Faded card, +1 for Researcher, +1 for Scientist, +1 for Dispatcher).  As the search moved 8 spaces, we found the Immunologist!  Objective #2 down before the first turn was over!  Yee Haw!  The Colonel then moved to Ho Chi Minh City and removed a Faded figure.

Pan Leg Aug 02

The benefits from finding the Immunologist.  The Virologist that we found previously has the “Gene Sequence” so two more things left to find.

The Researcher (has 5 actions because starting with Scientist–Family Member upgrade) gave 2 cards to the Researcher, moved to Kolkata, treated a cube and then moved to Bangkok.

The Scientist grabbed one card from the Researcher, moved to Kolkata, flew to Baghdad, then moved to Istanbul and treated a cube.

Turn 2

The Dispatcher moved the Researcher to Istanbul, then traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, took a military shuttle to New York City (via the Veteran upgrade), and treated 1 of the 3 cubes there.  We drew our first Epidemic card in Seoul.  We used an “Airstrike” to immediately destroy 1 of the 3 Faded figures there.  After shuffling the discarded Infection cards, we drew Khartoum which had an Outbreak (#1) and Seoul!  Good thing we hit it with that Airstrike!

The Colonel flew to Seoul and removed all 3 Faded figures.  He then drew Epidemic #2 in Karachi.  As you can figure, the Infection discard pile now had only 3 cards in it.  We drew Karachi (outbreak #2) and Khartoum (outbreak #3).  We now were going to have to hussle before the 3 regular diseases got out of control.

The Researcher moved to Khartoum via Cairo, treated 1 of 3 cubes, then moved to Lagos and treated 1/3 cubes.

The Scientist moved to Lagos and took a Blue card from the Researcher.

Turn 3

The Dispatcher took a military shuttle to Lima, moved to Buenos Aires via Santiago and treated 1/3 cubes.

The Colonel got hit with a scar in Seoul and selected “Regretful.”  He then moved to Shanghai and removed 3/3 Faded figures there.

The Researcher moved to Tehran and treated 1/3 cubes.

The Scientist cured the BSNL-419 disease (no action required and no need to be at a research station via upgrades), treated all the cubes in Lagos, moved to Khartoum and treated those cubes, and then moved to Cairo.

Turn 4

The Dispatcher moved the Researcher to Cairo, then treated the cubes in Buenos Aires, moved to Johannesburg and treated there.  He then used the “Local Initiative” card to quarantine Karachi and New York.

The Colonel removed 1/2 Faded in Hong Kong, moved to Kolkata and treated 1/3 cubes there.

The Researcher handed a Black card to the Scientist, then moved to Bangdad and put the “Medical Equipment: Binoculars” on a Red card and moved to Cairo.  He then drew Epidemic #3 in St. Petersburg.  We used the “Resilient Population” event to remove Delhi from the Infection deck.  We then drew Mexico City (2 cubes now), Santiago (3 cubes) and Los Angeles (outbreak #4).

Pan Leg Aug 05

Binoculars–should help in searches needed to finish the requirements on card 30 (see above picture).

The Scientist cured the Blue (Fischer-Titus) disease.  Grabbed the Istanbul card from the Researcher and cured the Black (Sprague) disease.  Objective # 3 met — Game over man!

Pan Leg Aug 06

Panoramic view of the end of the game!

Endgame

Well, none of us expected to win the August episode with an unfunded event total at 2, but our long range planning really helped.  Our “munchkin” strategy of getting 6 permanent military bases paid off, as did placing a bunch of “unfunded events” on player cards.

At the end of the first game in August, the game gives you a new character “The Immunologist” and a bunch of new upgrades.

Pan Leg Aug 07

New upgrades at end of August game.  Check out the “Nuclear Option”!

We took advantage of these new upgrades choosing: 1) to add the “Tactical Centers Now Online” to the Osaka card and 2) to give the “Hacker” upgrade (+1 card in hand) to the Scientist.  We then moved our Funded event total to zero (yikes!).

Onward to September!

 

 

The Big Book of Madness: A Post-Gen Con Review after Two Games

The Big Book of Madness by Iello Games (BBoM) was released last December.  My brother and I got a chance to check it out at Gen Con 2016 (check out some photos Here and Here) and we purchased it.  We really enjoy cooperative games such as Pandemic and Ghost Stories, so we figured BBoM would be a nice addition.

BBoM01

The Big Book of Madness

Initial Impression?  Visually Stunning and Great Theme!

One of the negatives that I got from walking about the Indy Convention Center at Gen Con 2016 was that many game companies are rushing games to market.  Without naming names, I saw a plethora of games with bad art, cheap/sub-standard components (can you say it looked like crayon on a cereal box interior?) and poor execution.  The Big Book of Madness is exactly the opposite of all that!

The art is visually stunning and evocative of the theme: students of a magic academy open a Big Book of Madness and now have to try and contain the monsters jumping forth from its pages.  The character choices (there are 8, 2 in each of the 4 colors/elements of magic) are all distinct in presentation and have different rules mechanics.

BBoM03

4 of the 8 characters.  Sorry about that light source on the Green card, my bad!

Other game components are also of high quality.  The board is sturdy and supports the theme. On the board, he BBoM rests in the middle, the madness emanates from the hole on the right, and the scroll on the left keeps track of the rounds and curses.  On the scroll, the arabic numerals are rounds, the roman numerals are the 3 levels of difficulty, and the brown cards are extra curses to add each round.  Spaces for the curses are at the bottom and the large numbers are for the individual turns within a round. A book token moves along those big numbers counter-clockwise from 1 to 5 and back again.

BBoM02

The Board

One of the best thematic components, and also a great source of evocative art, is the Big Book of Madness itself.  The book has a cover that is opened at the start of the game, revealing the first monster and its curses.  Each round the book is turned until it gets to the end.  Here is an example of what an open book looks like.  Looks like a real book, doesn’t it?  In reality it is a set of double-sided cards that are slowly flipped and moved from the left pile to the right.

BBoM04

Example of an open book.  Pretty cool huh?

Game Play: Fun…and really, really tough!

To summarize the rules, each player manages a deck of element cards and a set of spells toward the goal of removing curses.  If the players remove all the curses on the board they defeat the current monster and get a bonus, otherwise they get a penalty.  If the players defeat the final monster they win, otherwise they lose.  Players get more and more element cards and also Madness cards as the game progresses, combining deck-building and resource management mechanics.  The game has a lot of opportunities for cooperation as players develop a common support pool of element cards and can actively give non-active players actions during any active player’s turn.

I found the level of both tension and difficulty within BBoM to be very similar to Ghost Stories (Ghost Stories at Asmodee).  We played both a 2-player and a 4-player game, and like most cooperative games, the more players involved, the harder the game felt.  We won the 2-p game but lost the 4-p game (pretty badly actually).  While bad luck certainly played a part in the 4-player loss, most of the game we felt like we were behind and struggling to catch up as the number of curses slowly increased each round. And we were playing on the lowest level (I) of difficulty!

As this is what makes BBoM very fun indeed!  Beating a cooperative game the first few times you play it should be tough.  The enjoyment comes from both trying to win and also learning how to win.  At one point in the 4-player game we were down and just about out.  On my turn I needed to draw a 3-point white card to defeat a curse that was going to finish us by draining the Madness deck.  What happened?  I drew the needed card and well…the crowd went wild!  We were hooting and hollering even though we knew that I had only temporarily delayed the inevitable defeat.  I learned a lot in my first two plays of BBoM and I anticipate that winning will be easier but probably not more likely than 50-50.

Verdict: A Very Good Game

What else can I say about BBoM?  The rules are well-written (and the rulebook is gorgeous too) and the game offers 1) enough strategy and complexity to keep avid boardgamers interested while 2) being simple enough for casual gamers to enjoy it.  Here is an example of what a game looks like in progress:

BBoM05

The Big Book of Madness in progress.  Note the little Book marker on space #3.

If you like cooperative games, I highly recommend you run, don’t walk, to your nearest game store and buy The Big Book of Madness!

 

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!