Three players (Troubleshooter-turned-Operations Expert, Containment Specialist, Researcher), five Epidemics plus the Mutation challenge.
To cure the mutant strain, you need to turn in five city cards, of which one must be a city that currently has a purple cube.
The first purple cube occurred in Milan, and the Containment Specialist had the Milan card. We thought we might be able to cure the purple disease and get a quick eradication. Another purple cube turned up in Taipei, and then we had to do the Troubleshooter's turn before the Containment Specialist's. The Containment Specialist could reach Taipei after his cure, but not Milan. So the Troubleshooter went off to Milan to treat the cube there. That was our first mistake, because that meant we could no longer use Milan for a purple cure.
Then we made another mistake. More purple cubes came up in Kolkata, and the researcher had Kolkata. In a fit of frustration at having nixed the previous cure, the Researcher (me) put down five cards for a purple cure. This was a mistake, because it sacrificed much of our flexibility for passing cards around. It would have been better to pass Kolkata to someone else to let them get the purple cure.
Cards ended up being distributed fairly evenly, so we had to do a lot of card-passing. Midway through the fourth Epidemic, we concluded that only a few spots could have an Outbreak before the end of the game, and we essentially abandoned the effort to prevent Outbreaks to focus exclusively on passing cards around. (We got luckier than we needed to be on that front; we finished the game with only one Outbreak.) We only returned to treating cubes when we had all the cards in hand for our last two cures, and we had no purple cubes in reserve.
We finished the game on the very last turn, after the player deck had been exhausted.
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