We were off to a good start. In fact, we nearly finished it scot-free. We discovered that one disease, Y'lo, in Afrika and South-America turned out to be incurable. But we had it under control. It was no problem. We had the ends in sight and only had to develop a cure for K-Bil. After that Janary would be smooth sailing. One cure. We had the tools necessary, we only needed... well, time. Time to get the tools to Svea, the Researcher, so she could actually develop the cure. We purged Fth and GrM2
and were ready to take out what was remaining of K-Bil in Asia.
And then it hit us; back to back outbreak in Afrika. We never saw it coming. The first one was pretty bad, hitting both Karthoem and Lagos while they were already on the edge of a total outbreak. That took us quite by surprise. They're so unstable now. Their fallout hit Johannesburg, Kinshasa, and Cairo. That set all of them on the edge as well.
Guus, our Logistics Manager, was quite at a loss on how to cover this catastrophe as all our assets were busy in Asia and Europa. But it was okay. There was no way Karthoem nor Lagos would be hit again, right? Lightning never strikes twice and all that? Only another outbreak would allow that and that was so unlikely to happen that we weren't worried about it.
But it did. Right after Guus finished his business we got reports from chaos from all over Afrika. Lagos, Karthoem, Kinshasa, all in chaos. Chain reactions. We lost Afrika. We lost. January was not
over yet. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky that Timon got a last minute course change leaving him stranded in Europe before the chaos in Afrika ensued. If he had gone through to Kinshasa as originally intended... Well, let's not think about that. We've got to move on!
In case you don't know, Pandemic Legacy (season 1) is a cooperative board game for 2 to 4 players where you're tasked to rid the world of four different diseases randomly distributed across the world. What sets this game apart is that it's a play-through-once adventure with permanent changes between replays and a story line that unfolds as you go on. The rules adapt as you progress through the story, you put permanent stickers on the game board, and even destroy certain cards like obsoleted quests and even player cards when they are "dead".
This permanent alteration and destruction may seem a little like a waste for a game at this price point. And actually, in a way it is. You can't play this story line twice or with multiple groups simultaneously without buying multiple copies (there's actually a red
version, identical other than the color of the box, for this exact purpose... ok). But at the same time it's not like you will finish it in one evening. You have to play the game somewhere between 12 to 24 times before you reach the end and each play through takes about 1 or 2 hours, depending on how serious you play (I guess). And if your board game collection is anywhere close to ours, and your available time to play board games is similar; you're not likely to play the big games that often at all.
And we must admit, the permanent changes to the game does give the game play an extra sense of your actions having permanent consequences. So it works because I'm pretty sure that's the whole point. It also gives it an extra edge for role playing.
There's also a regular version of the Pandemic board game
, which is obviously a bit more bland but doesn't have the permanent changes.
I don't know how many of these posts I'll make, if any more beyond this one at all. I've tried very hard not to spoil anything serious in this post by writing generically about the impending doom or ambiguously about possible threats. Follow up posts probably will have some spoilers as they are going to be hard to prevent.
It may be more fun to read these if you've actually gone through the game yourself and in that case I would suggest not to read beyond your current position (the remainder covers February and March, fairly spoiler free). I find it highly likely nobody but our group is even interested in reading this post at all, but whatever :)
So we've tried January and failed. We got blindsided by how often an outbreak may happen. You basically get two attempts at beating a month. Sure you could try multiple times (or cheat) but assuming you do apply the stickers and all that, the game will only get harder without unlocking a lot of stuff to make life easier. For example, we failed January because Africa exploded by back to back outbreaks there so three cities are now in permanent chaos. This means we can't fly to them to directly and can't set up buildings. One the one hand you start from scratch but on the other hand the storyline progression is permanent, making the game considerably harder when you fail, even with the extra "Funded Events".
For some reason the infections subsided. We did purge most of them after all so perhaps that had their effect on Y'lo as well? Or maybe the chain reaction outbreaks had a suffocating effect, like removing oxygen from a fire. Y'lo had temporarily retreated while Asia and Europa got hit by a new strand of Fth and GrM2
. We're pretty sure we found a cure for that but it probably mutated or something. At least that should make the cure slightly easier to discover.
It didn't last long before Y'lo relived. We wanted to set up an extra treatment center in the area but at the same time had to make sure not to let the infections get out of control.
Initially we wanted Jeanette, the Scientist, to discover the cures as she would simply be faster at it. But we soon realized that the workload was too big. She's only one person, we all have to put in some work. So Timon, the Medic, would contain infections in Africa while we would sprint to prevent problems in Asia while collecting the antidote ingredients.
Easier said than done. Y'lo turned out to be a bigger problem than we thought and Svea had a little meltdown of her own. Near the end of January she questioned whether we would make it to February at all. The team pulled her out of this temporary depression and while time was definitely against us, we learned from our mistakes and were able to cure all the diseases just in time.
We did have a little meltdown in Bogota, but it didn't chain react and we're just gonna call Bogota unstable for now. The sudden turn-around win was a huge moral boost and the team was eager to proceed to February.
To be honest, February was relatively uneventful for us. We didn't have that much trouble with Y'lo this time and we were able to quickly contain the other diseases, which mutated again, of course. We're definitely getting better at that. We even managed to set up an extra research station in South-America. That'll definitely help our effort.
A collegue of Svea, Hope, turned out to be quite helpful in sharing information, even though her specialty was not. Funny story, Hope actually thought Svea's name was spelled "Sveia". But that doesn't make sense, of course. It may have led to some communication problems initially but it all worked out in the end.
February ended with Guus guiding Timon through the rough spots of Asia, making it real easy to mop up whatever was left of Fth mach 3. I should admit we should probably not have delayed the cures much longer as there was certainly a doom waiting for us.
We were on a roll! The past two months we improved our curing capabilities which at least relieves us of certain movement restrictions. We got reports of increased Fth levels in Asia, some GrM2
in Europa, and dangerous levels of Y'lo in South-America. Shucks.
We sent Timon to Asia together with Hope. Guus stayed in Europa with Svea. While North-America was okay, there was some trouble in South-America and Africa. Thanks to Y'lo, of course. But we were confident that we were able to contain it remotely so it was alright. Asia was a bigger concern. Oh it certainly was...
While collecting the ingredients for cures was pretty smooth sailing, removing existing infections took more time than we liked. Asia got infected all over the place and ultimately the inevitable happened; two outbreaks in quick succession without any tools available to fight them. The first outbreak led to an unstable Bogotá and a pretty infected South-America overall. Luckily we were able to contain the problems facing Santiago and Buenos Aires, which would only have needed a little nudge to spread the disease wide and beyond.
Unfortunately the same couldn't be said about Asia. Seoul, Tokyo, Madras all got hit hard twice and we were powerless to prevent it. In hindsight we were lucky that the outbreaks there did not cause any chain reactions or it would have been Africa all over again. It was still a pretty dicy situation and we were happy to find the cure before anything else happened. We even eradicated all of the new GrM2
strand! For now, anyways.
To be continued...?
So in the end we brought some permanent buildings into the world. That'll probably help. We've got better at finding a cure. We've got some cities in distress but nothing major, yet. And we got three months on our belt.
It's difficult to asses how much of a problem these cities are going to become as the year unfolds. Obviously there's a lot of information yet to discover for us and who knows how cities in distress will be affected by it.
Onwards to April. Next time.