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Boardgames & Cardgames, oh my!


dogbert
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So we beat Pandemic Legacy season 0 yesterday.  Final scoring was 800+ for the "best" ending, and we were at 1200 or so.  Spoiler-free thoughts: it's better than S2 in a lot of ways, and it's another great co-op experience.  There's more variety in the objectives, and I think more chances for branching story and lasting impact.  There's a few things along the way that seem a little arbitrary, but they change up the gameplay in some interesting ways. 

 

Spoilers for those that have played it (or don't care about spoilers):

Spoiler

We ended up finishing in 13 games, so we only had to repeat one month.  The first 2 upgrades we bought were permanent safehouses in Moscow and Sao Paulo, which meant we never had to discard to build a safehouse to form teams.  We also picked some upgrades that I think really helped us in the later months:

-One character had abilities that let them build a team with 4 cards, draw their current city from the discard, and visas for Moscow and Sao Paulo.  This meant being able to travel instantly to 2/3 affiliations' safehouses, and build teams much more quickly

-The other had an ability that said "while in Washington, give another player any card in your hand", as well as a Washington Visa.  This meant that this character could feed the Team builder cards to make sets.  This character also had the "move a team or another pawn up to 3 spaces as an action", which meant getting teams into position was much easier/faster, as well as moving the other character around if necessary. 

 

Once you start getting into multiple aliases, things get a little more complicated, but we managed to finish the infiltration objectives for Pearl with a character that had these:

-Bypass doors with +-1 number

-Visa for Novasibirsk

-Ability that said starting in Novasibirsk gave 2 action tokens

 

Another fun combination we had was that on my soviet alias, I had an ability that said "when you enter a soviet city, take all the agents off the board".  We combined this with the "move another character's pawn" ability so that on my wife's turn, she could move me around the board and clear off agents if they happened to be on soviet cities.  Only came in handy a few times, but it was a neat rule hack. 

 

We also got lucky in that the bet we took early on for the disrupt trial objectives paid off.  I figured that failing any of the cities would be bad, so we prioritized those over everything else.  The one month we failed, we still got 4/4 cities disrupted, so we had 0 infected cities at the end.  It sounds like the game was balanced to let you deal with infected cities, and that it might spread out the agents a little more (keeps agents from spreading as fast), but I'm glad that we managed to control at least one extra variable. 

 

The other thing that's a welcome change was that the funding level never goes to 0, so we always had at least one event card.  The Diversion card ended up saving our ass a few times (sort of), because it let you move 3 incident tokens.  That usually got used at either the end of the game, or mid-escalation to keep something from exploding or getting surveillance.  Move them to Moscow (which had 3 eyes anyway), and they have no effect end game.  Of course, the endgame scoring didn't really make surveillance matter much, but it did help us not lose any aliases along the way. 

 

November was probably the biggest swerve in the game, with a whole new legacy deck depending on a decision.  We ended up siding with Sabik, because the CIA had just screwed us over multiple times with restrictions.  The "only acquire targets from Washington" wasn't that bad because we had a character with a DC visa, the "extra card for identify target city" was OK because we never used that, but it was the "only move teams from a safehouse" one that was a real FU (we had another one in play that I can't recall).  I looked afterwards, and both November paths resulted in removing all restrictions, but we would have lost a bunch of cover had we taken the CIA route.  The objectives are similar in both cases, but with different flavour text. 

 

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First big game day done. About 12 people, all vaccinated, 3 tables. Was great to see a bunch of people for the first time in a year. We had lunch at a fantastic hole in the wall cafe with some of the best chicken fried steaks and pies in the state. 

 

Played 3 games including 2 new. 

Faiyum - Egyptian themed mix of area control/deckbuilding/engine building but where there's one shared board, no real ownership of any of the pieces on it. And the deckbuilding has some interesting twists where you typically get the last 3 cards you played back, not all of them in a shuffle. Definitely quirky + dependent on what cards come up in the market, and likely needs a second play to really judge, but didn't mind it. A bit of an old school euro in feel. 

 

Ethnos - played before, but we all needed a refresher. For some reason, I did really well, picking the right regions to dominate in early, got a bunch of lucky draws, and dominated across the ages. Fun as always. 

 

Cubitos - Push your luck Dice/bag builder that takes a lot of inspiration from Quarriors for its dice/power setup, but wraps it around a racing game on a board. Roll dice, use the money to buy more dice, use the movement to race forward on the board, with a bunch of special powers to roll for to boost your movement/dice selection etc. Fun, even if I bombed horribly at it. I'm White in the pic, with Yellow just won.... Fun, if a little swingey. I'd play again, but no rush to buy.


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