Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pandemic [GAMES]

After having owned the game for a few years, The Wife and I finally got around to a serious attempt to master the board game Pandemic.  There's a few features of the game that really stand out to me.  First, it's cooperative--this means that instead of the loser resenting the other person for winning, each person gets to resent the other person for contributing to losing (joke!).  Second, it's fast to play--especially if you suck at it, which we did for a while.  But even when you get pretty good, a game doesn't take more than 45 minutes or so and can be set up in around 5.  For old married couples with kids, this is a big advantage as we rarely have the time or energy to invest a few hours in some of the other cool games we have.  Third, I really like the theme of the game: travelling the world and curing diseases to save lives.  For one reason or another, too much of the fiction I read, shows I watch, and games I play have to do with killing monsters.

The game itself definitely requires a degree of coordination and strategy, as it's easy for diseases to spread and a chain-reaction of outbreaks to start before cures for each of the four diseases in the game can be found (the victory condition).  There's an element of randomness, but just enough to make it fun and unpredictable and not so much that winning or losing doesn't feel deserved.  To aid in replayability, the game comes with three difficulty levels and a selection of 5 roles (characters with different special abilities), which the players are to choose randomly each time.  All in all, a really solid game and a good purchase.  I understand that a revised edition was released last year, and that there are a couple of expansions, so I'll have to see what I can track down sometime . . .

January 27, 2014 (Difficulty: Easy)
Me:  Dispatcher
The Wife:  Medic
Result:  WIN! (discovered all cures with only 4 outbreaks)

February 1, 2014 (Difficulty: Normal)
Me: Scientist
The Wife: Operations Expert
Result:  LOSS! (got only 1 cure before 8 outbreaks)

February 12, 2014 (Difficulty: Normal)
Me: Operations Expert
The Wife: Dispatcher
Result:  WIN! (got all cures with only 3 outbreaks)

February 22, 2014 (Difficulty: Heroic)
Me: Dispatcher
The Wife: Scientist
Result: LOSS! (got no cures, did terrible)

March 1, 2014 (Difficulty: Heroic)
Me: Operations Expert
The Wife: Researcher
Result: LOSS! (did great at first with 2 cures, then cascade of outbreaks and ran out of black cubes)

March 9, 2014 (Difficulty: Heroic)
Me: Scientist
The Wife: Medic
Result: LOSS! (got 2 cures, but not quite well enough)

March 10, 2014  (Difficulty: Heroic)
Me: Operations Expert
The Wife: Medic
Result: LOSS! (realized we could not win with # of cards of particular colour in discard pile; much better, with 3 cures and only 4 outbreaks)

March 10, 2014 (Difficulty: Heroic)
Me: Operations Expert
The Wife: Scientist
Result: LOSS! (So close! one more turn . . .)

March 14, 2014 (Difficulty: Heroic)
Me: Researcher
The Wife: Scientist
Result: WIN! (finally, Scientist & Researcher was enough firepower; won with 5 outbreaks)

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