In Defense of American-Style Games: 3 Good Reasons to Play Ameritrash as Seen by a Grognard

With the popularity of Settlers of Catan in the 1990s, Eurogames have exploded onto the American gaming landscape. The emphasis of Eurogames on indirect competition, hidden scoring, broad themes, resource-driven game mechanics, and balancing mechanisms to keep all players “in the game” has proven to be popular, particularly with younger players.At the same time, American-style Games, often denigrated as “Ameritrash Games”, have been criticized, panned, and abandoned by many of these newer players. The critique is that Ameritrash games are either based too much on luck (think Talisman), too much on direct competition (e.g. Advanced Squad Leader), too complex (e.g. almost anything by Avalon Hill or SPI), too theme specific as to not be appealing to the average gamer (e.g. Air Assault on Crete), and too long to play (e.g. The Campaign for North Africa).

Well, as a Grognard (look it up kids if you don’t know what it means), I am here to defend Ameritrash Games with 3 good reasons you should be playing them:

1 – Direct Competition Can Be More Fun Than Multiplayer Solitaire

One of my critiques of Eurogames is that often the game is thinly disguised multiplayer solitaire (in other words, each player plays alone and the end-game scoring determines who played solitaire better). Players really cannot directly confront, impede, attack, etc, each other. Thus, each player’s “strategy” is not truly an interactive strategy, but really solitaire. Good examples are Race for the Galaxy by Rio Grande Games or Cities by Z-Man Games. Often a Eurogame adds one element of direct confrontation, such as card drafting (think 7 Wonders), that isn’t really “direct” confrontation as the emphasis is on denying an opponent a resource rather than taking it from them.

Direct competition in an Ameritrash title is more than just denial, it’s seizure! Take the classic game Dune by Avalon Hill (or the new variant Rex by Fantasy Flight Games). Your units (tokens) will move quicker if they have access to Arrakeen or Carthag. Taking those strongholds gives you an advantage and removes it from an opponent. The battles that I have seen in my 4 decades of gaming in those Dune strongholds are legendary! In a similar vein, Small World by Days of Wonder encourages aggressive acquisition of territory–at another player’s expense (much like Risk). Nothing more fun than making your opponents’ units disappear from the board.

And if you haven’t played Enemy in Sight by Avalon Hill, you are missing out on how much fun direct competition can be. There is nothing more enjoyable than screaming “Breaking the Line” to the tune of Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” as you wreck an opponent’s line of ships. I have seen grudges held for years (actually it’s two decades now in one instance) over a well-played Breaking the Line card! Taking the battle to your opponent can be very fun–and memorable!

— you don’t eat the worm, it eats you!

And here is the kicker–luck is NOT involved in battle in any of these games! The common criticism that Ameritrash games are full of luck can be untrue.

2 – Randomness Can Be More Fun than Repetition

What makes Talisman work? The random discovery of what monsters, treasure, etc, lie in every space! Why do battles in Star Wars Rebellion feel exciting–because you have to chuck dice and live with the results. Let’s face it, many things in life are random, and randomness in games is a good thing not a bad thing. Now, we don’t want so much randomness that we are playing Monopoly, but adding a random element can help make a game less predictable, repetitive, and boring. Even the classic Settlers of Catan has two random mechanisms (dice rolls for resources and random bonus card draw).

The main problem with Eurogames is that they are so repetitive due to a lack of randomness. And repetition can be boring. Really good games with repetitive play (for example, Lost Cities by KOSMOS) are fantastic (much in the vein of Rummy, Solitaire, Pit, etc) but a good number of Eurogames are not fun when repetitive. In particular, I find Carcassonne to be really boring due to it being the same game over and over.

— nothing says generic, repetitive play like these components from Carcassonne

3 – Strong Themes in Ameritrash Games Make for Evocative Gameplay

Okay, one thing I despise about many Eurogames is that the “theme” seems to be an afterthought. The game is so abstract that literally any number of broad themes could fit. The classic Puerto Rico by Ravensburger or the more recent Terra Mystica by Feuerland could realistically be titled and themed anything. The games are all about the gameplay “engine”, Puerto Rico has nothing at all about it that is truly Puerto Rico–other than the tacked on place names, currency, etc.

Strong creative or historical themes build evocative gameplay. When I play Dune, I can envision that Sandworm eating my units (even if they are just little round cardboard tokens), I can see the Baron Harkonnen backstabbing me with a traitor, etc. Eclipse by Lautapelit is a rather complicated game, allowing for players to customize their spaceships. Guess what? This detail adds to the space 4X theme and gameplay. Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight is so thematic that when I play it I can actually feel the Elder Gods returning to Earth.

— Arkham Horror by Fantasy Flight, a million Cards, chits, tokens, bits, etc, but well worth the hours it takes to set it up and take it down


So in short, there is a lot to love about American-style gaming, so don’t believe the “Ameritrash” label and get out there and play a dice chucking, card drawing, heavy themed game today!

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.

pan-leg-dec-03

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…

pan-leg-dec-04

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.

pan-leg-dec-05

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.

pan-leg-dec-06

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.

Post Thanksgiving Game-o-rama!

Just after the Thanksgiving holidays we got in more gaming that usual.  On various dates we managed to delve into some 7 Wonders: Duel, Pandemic Legacy, 7 Wonders with the Babel expansion, and T.I.M.E. Stories.

Here are the photos of the fun!

post-turkey-01

Stewart contemplating what to do in 7 Wonders: Duel.  I had him at a severe disadvantage and eventually I nipped a victory by a few points.

post-turkey-02

Getting ready for some 7 Wonders with the Babel expansion (and of course Cities and Leaders expansions too!)

post-turkey-05

Stewart and Bob during Age II.  Stew had played that darn leader (the name escapes me at the moment) who returns -1 military tokens to the other players.  So annoying!  Note the Babel tower in the middle of the table.  Stew won the game thanks to mucho scientific structures.

post-turkey-03

Stew, Bob and I getting ready to start our 2nd November playthrough of Pandemic Legacy.  I will get a post out about that game soon.

post-turkey-04

Lee, Stew and Katie getting ready for a game of T.I.M.E. Stories.  Katie really likes the game but when we got to the maze cards, Stew and I spent like 10 minutes figuring it out and she got bored!  Btw, note in the background left the shield that I made for Stew when he was big into SCA at West Point.

Oh…and I will give out a not genuine “no prize” to whoever who leaves a comment correctly naming the most games (either from the boxes/books or the minis, boards, etc, used in particular games) that they see in the photos.  Note, there are also RPGs in the photos.  Don’t forget to look on the bookshelves and under the folding table too!

Good luck!

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.