On Saturday, Gwen and I were able to actually get in a game of Pandemic while Samantha played alone like a big girl up in the game room. We’ve been playing with the On the Brink challenges a lot lately, so for this time, we did something a little more “basic”. Instead of using mutations or virulent strains, we decided to include the 7th Epidemic card and try out the “Legendary” difficulty level.
We choose our roles (rather than relying on random draw), with Gwen taking the Medic and me taking the Dispatcher (which I still generally consider to be the best 2-player combo in the game). I meant for us to also choose our special event cards, but I forgot and had already chosen them randomly and built the player deck before I thought about it again. Two of the cards were therefore pretty useless, but those are the breaks, I suppose.
Anyway, we struggled early on to get over to central Asia, where the black disease was proving to be the most threatening. We sacrificed a few cards to get a nice network of research stations built, and survived the first couple of epidemics relatively unscathed. With a healthy dose of topdecking luck and some dispatcher shenanigans, we managed to find the cure for the black disease pretty soon, and being able to walk the Medic through the mass of infected cities was the only thing that allowed us to survive the midgame.
In one round, for instance, we had a new epidemic that sprung up in one black city that immediately had a three-city chain reaction of outbreaks that threatened to end the game both from outbreaks and running out of black cubes. But over two turns (of Gwen walking through black and then me moving her some more), we were left with only 3 black cubes on the whole board. We desperately wanted to eradicate black, but by that time we were drawing 3 and then 4 infection cards a turn, and it wasn’t possible.
But in the meantime, we also put together and used the cures for both blue and yellow, leaving us only the red pox to deal with. As the player deck dwindled, we drew into the cards we needed and found that we’d be able to win in only two more turns! But the draw that turn revealed the 7th and final epidemic, and the city drawn from the bottom of the infection deck was Manilla. We had been forced to ignore red for a while, and it was poised to explode. In drawing the four infection cards, three of them were in totally controlled areas of black, yellow, and blue, but the fourth card was again Manilla. So not only did we pick up our 8th Outbreak, but red also melted down into a five-city chain reaction of virulent armageddon.
It was really cool, and we wished that we could have gotten in a second chace at the Legendary Pandemic game. But Samantha’s patience was wearing thin, and Gwen was too tired later on to get back to it.
I did, however, get in a couple more solo games on Saturday night. The first one was a play of Ghost Stories with the White Moon expansion, which I hadn’t used in solo play yet. I ended up winning on the “normal” difficulty, but it took me a little over an hour. I’m not as crazy about White Moon as Chris is, because it seems to make the game way more fiddly and longer than it needs to be. It does seem to be easier, but I’m not sure that in solo play whether that’s a good thing or not. Back when I was playing more frequently, I was able to beat Nightmare and even Hell level pretty consistently, and the challenge of the game was one of its main draws.
Anyway, I then ended the evening with another game of Roll Through the Ages. I got some really nice rolls and scored 72 points from 8 developments (including the Empire) and a lot of Monuments. I’m finding, however, that I tend to go for the same things most of the time in the game: getting to 7 cities, using either the Agriculture/Granaries and/or Quarrying/Engineering combos, and eventually getting the Empire development. Maybe I need to try the Late Bronze Age for more variation, since things are beginning to feel a little too formulaic to me right now. We’ll see how that works…