June 30th, 2010


Pandemic: Anomalously Easy

We're used to barely winning Pandemic, but today's game was freakishly easy.

Three players: Generalist, Operations Specialist, Field Operative (buffed to allow sampling multiple times per turn). Five epidemics, using the Virulent Strain epidemics.

The distribution of initially-infected cities was extremely uneven; of the initial nine cities, we had about five blue cities, three yellows, one black, and no reds. And this distribution lasted - we didn't get any red cities until very late in the game.

We worked hard on tackling our blue cities, and the Field Operative allowed us to find a cure for the blue disease very quickly - and when we cured it, use of Rapid Vaccine Deployment made it look plausible to eradicate it. Eradication eluded us for a few turns, but we did manage to eradicate blue. This was a huge boon to us - it probably dropped the number of cubes we put on the board by 40%.

Then our Field Operative went to sample yellow, and with some lucky draws and research-sharing, he was able to find a cure for yellow - and with Remote Treatment, we were able to eradicate yellow as well. This meant that we had eradicated our Virulent Strain. (And luckily, the Epidemic that revives the eradicated Virulent Strain had already come up.)

At this point, we knew that winning was in the bag - particularly after we had three turns in a row in which we put no cubes on the board. We decided to try to go for complete eradication.

Unfortunately, we then had our fourth epidemic, infecting Tokyo, and drew Tokyo immediately afterward for our first outbreak. We still had a plan for achieving total eradication--but for our fifth epidemic, we drew Hong Kong and drew it immediately afterward, and it chained into Shanghai, making it impossible for us to clean up all the red cubes before we ran out of cards.

This game made us think that it is too powerful to let the Field Operative sample without limits. For our next try with that role, we might limit it to once per turn per city.