Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wiping out Pandemic

It has been a long time since Kathy and I have beaten Pandemic (designer Matt Leacock, artists Josh Cappel and Régis Moulun, publisher Z-Man Games).  We usually don't play it in a two-player setting, but today I got a hankering to pull it out again, and I'm glad we did.  Since we had such early success with the game in "easy" mode, we've been playing in "normal" mode for quite some time but somehow never managed to beat it at that level of difficulty.  We've run out of cubes of a color, we've reached the end of the Outbreak track, we've run out of player cards ... basically we've lost every way there is to lose.

This evening, Kathy played the scientist, and I had the medic.  This combination turned out to be pretty strong, and we were helped by a long stretch between the first and second epidemics, which allowed us to get on top of the at-risk areas.  Some good special cards came out early as well.  The cities subject to infection were largely concentrated in Asia, which also helped reduce the amount of traveling we had to do.  I was able to set up a research station in Karachi, near the center of the early Black Plague infestation.  Before long, we were able to cure the black disease, and as the Medic, I was able to eradicate it not long afterward (the first time we've accomplished that in any game).

Kathy's scientist returns to Atlanta to develop the cure for
the yellow malaria and win the game
Our progress started snowballing after that point, and although we had about six outbreaks that caused some concern, we were able to get all four cures done to win the game.  I'd read in a number of places that the game is easier to win with only two people, and I can see why that's true.  Each player has more turns before each epidemic comes out, which means it's somewhat easier to strategize and plan ahead.  I don't think it's a foregone conclusion, though, that two players will win.  We could have used the help of some of the other roles, and there's something to be said for geographic distribution to stay on top of all the outbreaks.  Nevertheless, I think we gained a lot of confidence in our ability to play Pandemic and not leave the world to suffer the ravages of disease.

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