A Century of Pandemic

One of my goals for this year was to get up to 100 plays of Pandemic.  Just over a week ago, Gwen and I played three games against the mutation challenge backed up by 6 epidemics, and by the end of the evening, I had accomplished my mission.  So I thought I’d spend a little time talking about the games leading up to this milestone.

This was the end of our first game that evening.  The rest of the board was pretty under control, but back-to-back epidemics caused multiple chain reactions in Africa and it all went to pot.

So after losing a couple of games with randomly-assigned roles, we were ready for my 100th play of Pandemic.  This setup (mutation + 6 epidemics) is really hard, and I wanted us to have a fighting chance against it, so we decided to go with the proved Medic/Dispatcher combo.  We played through the game, which was very close all along, but we made good progress both in controlling the board and in curing diseases.  We even managed to eradicate yellow with the Rapid Vaccine Deployment card, and our outbreaks were pretty minimal.  The deck was running out, however, and we knew that several blue cards had been discarded for one reason or another during the game.

On Gwen’s (the Medic) last turn, she moved to Atlanta and cured the purple (mutation) disease.  For her draw, she picked up the Washington card.  I was holding four other blue cards, and we would win if I could cure blue.  Unfortunately, there was only one card left in the draw pile, so we would lose on my draw step. 

Here you can see Gwen’s cards and my hand, along with the state of the draw pile and our positions on the board

I was, however, only in New York myself, giving me glimmer of hope that we’d be able to pull it off!  As I looked over the situation, however, my hope slowly faded.  To win, I’d need to 1) pull Gwen over to Washington, 2) move to Washington myself, 3) take the Washington card, 4) move back to Atlanta, and 5) cure blue FTW!  Unfortunately, I only had 4 actions.  I wracked my brain, thinking of all the cards and situations that would allow us to win, but eventually resigned myself to the idea that we had just lost my 100th game of Pandemic.

Really, it’s pretty fitting.  We played the game right to the end, only to lose by one freaking action!  And just to rub our faces in it a little more, guess what the last card in the deck was…

Yep.  It was Atlanta.  Had Gwen drawn A-Town instead of Washington, we would have won with an action to spare!  But instead, the world was lost to pestilent doom.  Heck, if we’d drawn Airlift, Borrowed Time, or even New Assignment (to change Gwen into the Researcher), we would have won.  But that’s just what Pandemic does to you.  Just when you say, “Oh, we’ve got this,” it slaps yer mama and spits in your face.  And that’s why I love it… and always want to start up another game to show that pile of wood pulp who’s boss!

And then this weekend, we tried another couple of games against the Mutation + 6 Epidemics.  We got really close again with the Archivist and Generalist (holding the final cure when we suffered a world-ending chain reaction) and totally bombed with the Containment Specialists/Troubleshooter.  

So altogether, that means that I’ve played 102 games of Pandemic so far!

(Note that I only record a play of an expansion the first time that I play it, and never duplicate plays, so my total is 102)

So, in honor of the fact that I’ve hit the century mark with Pandemic, and still want to play most any time, I am officially (because, you know, there were so many forms to fill out and properly file) elevating it to the position of being my all-time favorite game!  I don’t exactly know why I haven’t seen the light and pushed it past The Princes of Florence before now, in fact. 

I guess I need to get those “Ranked #1 by GamerChris” stickers ready for Z-Man to start slapping on all the Pandemic boxes now (’cause, again, it’s such a big deal for them, I’m sure)…


  1. I hear nothing but good reviews of Pandemic. My birthday is coming up next month and I’m letting the wife know what tops the list 🙂

  2. Michelle Benson

    Im not a Fan of Co-op games… the way they work against you is messed up.

  3. Chris Norwood

    It’s got to be all messed up for it to be fun.  With two or more human minds working together against the game, it would get really boring really quickly if the game was easy.  So instead, these great coops have many ways of beating the crap out of you, with the hope of driving you to want to try it again and again.

    Oh, and by the way Michelle, congratulations!

  4. Alton

    I too am not a big fan of co-op games; however, I will play them once in awhile.

    When it comes to Pandemic though, and having thought about it a bit, I guess the biggest reason I don’t care for the game is the theme. Saving the world from Epidemics just isn’t my cup of tea.

    Same game mechanics with a different theme and maybe I would enjoy it as much as Shadows over Camelot.

    Congrats! On your 100th Milestone Chris.

  5. Chris Norwood

    Have you tried out Forbidden Island yet?  Same basic idea, of course, but a different theme. 

  6. Alton

    I own it, have played it three times so far.

    I enjoy it, but wish it was 6 players.

  7. I’m almost surprised it took this long for you to get your hundred in this year! Congratulations.

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