Friday, January 23, 2015

Pandemic - Session 2 - Solo - 4 Characters - 4 Epidemics

Pandemic - Session 2 - Solo - 4 Characters - 4 Epidemics

Sadly, once again, We All Died.

Just the learning process, I say to myself, but still I thought it was going to go better. I learned a few things from the first game, but still lost. Next game the plan is to win.

Once again I tried a solo game using four characters randomly chosen from the deck and proceeded in draw order. First draw was the Operations Expert (Ops). His ability to spawn research stations and move from research station to any city is decidedly helpful. His abilities haven't helped me win yet but both losses would have been worse without him. Next came the Quarantine Specialist (Q). I didn't draw her character last game so I was pleased to get her this game. Her character abilities seem powerful especially when multiple cities have gone max disease and are just waiting to chain outbreak. My final two were the Dispatcher and Contingency Planner (Conti). The Dispatcher (Patch)is a great character and I'd choose her for any dream team. The Contingency Planner proved to be incredibly helpful in my first game. The ability to have a second go at event cards was much, much more useful than I'd imagined.

I shuffled the cards thoroughly but even so I had four Blue cards between the characters with the draw of the starting cards and the Airlift card going to Ops. The cities starting with max diseases were spread across the globe but none of the surrounding cities had any diseases so even if there were to be an outbreak there would be no immediate chain reaction. Things were looking good...

Ops burns his airlift card to send Q to Sydney where the city is at max disease. She is up next and can clean the city up before moving out. Things look very good...

...And then Ops draws an Epidemic for his first card. Saint Petersburg goes to max disease and then Santiago gets hit and outbreaks. First card drawn and the outbreak and epidemic markers have started moving already. I now have a bad feeling about this and only the first character has finished his turn.

This session moved much quicker than the first. Ops was a useful character but both and Conti were far less useful in this session than in the first. I realize I failed to exploit just how useful he can be and should have utilized his ability to both spawn research stations and jump around the globe by burning useless city cards. Curing a virus early on in the game seems essential to provide all characters with cards to burn while collecting disease colors for a cure.

In this session most of the event cards did not come into play till the very end of the game and in this way they really lowered the aid that Conti can provide. It was very much night and day between the two sessions. I'd original thought that Conti would be of very little utility and the card draw proved me wrong, but this time the card draw proved my doubts right.

Q was also not of great utility till later in the game when disease had spread. She was mostly a poor man's Medic and in the early turns the Medic would have been much more handy. I will have to see how she plays again but it seems like the Medic is a much more useful all around character.

Finally Patch proved to be a central character for both sessions. Her ability to move other characters on her turn is perhaps the most useful quality of any of the characters so far.

After a few hiccups, namely an untimely second epidemic, the Blue disease was cured but a third epidemic came and went before Black was also cured. There were more than enough cards of Yellow and Red in the characters hands but time, in the form of the dwindling stack of Player Cards, was passing quickly.

As the cards went down to the final three I couldn't even manage to cure one more disease and that really is the name of the game. In retrospect it is hard to accept that there will be outbreaks, but in the same way that the epidemics are inevitable it has been hard to get myself to concentrate on cures and not to try to squelch every potential outbreak that might arise.

We all died and I had a great second time at bat with Pandemic. Looking forward to session three and perhaps a victory.

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