For Christmas I bought the kids a copy of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. I intend to keep a running blog on our progress through the game. There will be spoilers.
Pandemic is a collaborative game (everyone versus the game itself) where you work to keep deadly diseases at bay & find cures. If you haven’t played Pandemic you can still enjoy this blog series. A single turn is relatively simple, and I’ll explain things as I go along. But I won’t explain every little nuance. One: This would be boring. Two: It would mean spoilers.
Base Rule: Everyone gets 4 actions, draws two Player cards (these are cities or special things you can do), and then draws to infect cities with Infection Deck.
Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 is a sequel to the base game where each game permanently alters
the future games. The base turn mechanics are the same, but
throughout the game you will trigger events. In this version of the game a Legacy Deck has been added. You start on card one, and are told how to proceed through this deck. Each card may be a new rule or game objective.
There is a dossier that works like an advent calendar. Sealed tabs are opened, stickers are added to the rulebook, player sheets, cards, and board. There are also 8 sealed boxes that we’ve shaken. The only thing we know is that if you lose 4 times in a row you open box 8. I think they have extra disease cubes in some of them. IT’S LIKE CHRISTMAS!!!!…with deadly disease.
Finally there is a sticker sheet that houses markers for character upgrades, board changes, etc. Obviously you are free to read these.
Game one begins in January (game calendar). If you win you proceed to February, but lose funding (Remove 2 good cards from the player deck.) If you lose you have one more shot to win that month, and you get to increase your funding (Add 2 good cards to the player deck.)
Okay. Let’s get to eradicating disease!
Player (age) role: ability
Me (39) Dispatcher: Move a pawn like it’s mine. Move any pawn to any city with a pawn.
Kenzie (18) Medic: Cures all disease in a city for 1 action. Disease cannot spread to city where the Medic
Alex (14) Generalist: Gets 1 extra action.
Carson (8) Scientist: Needs 4 cards to cure a disease (normally 5).
Funding level starts at 4. This means you get 4 out of 8 Funded Events (good cards) in the player deck. Players choose. We went with: a free research station in any city, move anyone anywhere, look at the top 6 infection cards & rearrange them, don’t draw infection cards for 1 turn.
Everyone gets 2 player cards. Alex happened to draw the free research station card. The rest of us just got city cards.
Base game setup does not change. Disease cubes are placed by drawing 9 city infection cards in sets of three. Disease cubes are in the standard colors: red, blue, yellow, black. Certain regions of the board get certain colors. We drew these (umm…I think.)
3 disease cubes: Washington, Atlanta, and Ho Chi Minh City.
2 disease cubes: Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris
1 disease cube: Chennai & Delhi and one in Lima.
For fun we said that Chipotle’ has given the US a bad e coli infection. SARS is in the Pacific. Black Death in India and Yellow Fever in South America is pretty safe.
Pandemic Legacy has objectives. The only objective in January is to cure the 4 diseases. This is the basic game. No real spoiler there.
Carson was randomly chosen to go first. Everyone starts in Atlanta. The Center for Disease Control is there in real life. So a research center is there in the game. You must move to a research center to cure a disease.
With two of the three hot spots (3 disease cubes) in the US it was easy to get a hold on disease. However Carson drew the first EPIDEMIC card immediately.
Epidemics are part of the game, but getting one this early is probably bad. This is only our second Pandemic game ever. So who knows?
A city is drawn from the BOTTOM of the Infection Deck and gets 3 disease cubes. Reshuffle the Infection cards you’ve already drawn, and put them on top of the deck. So now we have Moscow full of black death. The Infection Rate Tracker moves forward. And we’ll be drawing the same cities again.
All in all we get the board cleaned up pretty well.
Our First Triggered Event
After just 2 turns we’re spread out in a relatively clean world, but we drew our second EPIDEMIC!
When we started a purple reminder token was placed on the Infection Rate Tracker in the third spot. We now draw cards in the Legacy Deck.
I won’t say how anything works or reveal too much text. But it is well-themed in the form of notes from the CDC in Atlanta that shit is hitting the fan.
[BEGIN SPOILER click & drag your mouse to highlight this text] Ebola (yellow) is now incurable in our game. It’s treatable, but takes two actions to remove one cube. This will remain for all future games.
The CDC has changed our objective to curing three diseases. [END]
The game progressed pretty smooth. We got two more event cards, so we were in a good spot. However we had two OUTBREAKS. Outbreaks occur when a city with 3 disease cubes would get a fourth cube either via being drawn in the Infection Deck or from another outbreak. Instead of a fourth cube being placed all neighboring cities get a disease cube. 8 outbreaks means losing.
In Pandemic Legacy an outbreak also destabilizes a city. So Moscow & Tokyo are now on the brink. No problems now, but one more outbreak in either and they start rioting. This is marked by permanently affixing a sticker to the board to mark their panic level.
Serious game is serious.
We built a research facility in Ho Chi Minh City, and got SARS (red disease) cured.
Diseases stayed pretty well spread out in this game. And we collected city cards pretty easily. Not much trading was needed. This is the biggest difficulty of the game. You have to get two people into the same city to trade that city’s card. So it’s a number of actions to get there. Wait for the next player to get there, and use an action to trade a card. The Researcher can trade cards easier, but we didn’t play her. The dispatcher’s (Me) ability to move people around was used heavily.
The Scientist’s (Carson) ability to cure with only 4 city cards was only used once. The dispatcher (Me) cured a disease, and the Medic (Kenzie) got the last two.
Because we won the government decides that less funding is needed. So next game we only get two funded events (good cards). Got-danged Gubmint!! WELCOME TO TRUMP’S ‘MURICA!
The Legacy Deck left off with card stating ‘Draw before you pick end game upgrades.’ We flipped the card and found a scratch off spot that is scratched if we won, which we had. It gave us the option to [BEGIN SPOILER] remove a disease cube at the start of the next game. [END]
Win or lose you get two upgrades for the next game. We chose to build the People’s Center for Very Much Good Research in Ho Chi Minh City. (We get to keep the research facility there.) Then we gave the medic the ability to treat disease from a neighboring city. This saves an action by not needing to move into a city to treat it.
On to February….
This was really fun, and the best part was my two teenagers LOVED IT! Alex (14) said we should just make the table the Pandemic Table. Kenzie said the game is like Christmas. She wanted to open more boxes. Carson being only 8 enjoys it, but gets a little bored. He gets talked over a lot.