May 10, 2023

Pandemic Legacy Season 2: February

WARNING: This blog post contains shameless spoilers for Pandemic Legacy Season 2. Reading this blog post if you have not yet played the game will impair your enjoyment should you decide to play it in the future.

Previously, on Pandemic Legacy…

  • We won our second attempt at January
  • Since we’d successfully reconned North America in our first attempt, we only had to build three supply centres for the second attempt

February (First Attempt)

Our mission briefing for this month was revealed – in addition to building three new supply centres, we’d also need to complete one of the following two optional objectives:

  • recon another new area
  • connect 2 cities to the grid

Of these, it seemed like the second would be easier, as it only requires 4 supply cubes. To recon a new area would require us to build a supply centre in one of a few specific locations, and also gather a bunch more city cards of the right colour. But there was no need to commit at this stage – we could wait and see how the chips fell.

The initial board setup phase left Lagos again completely devoid of supply cubes. What is it about that place? We selected the following characters (and this time I’ve helpfully put them in order of play):

  • Gammidgy – Maggot (Farmer)
  • Susan – Lucius (Administrator)
  • Karen – Ophelia (Instructor)
  • Pete – Bez (Labourer)

Things got off to a very unlucky start, as Gammidgy drew a epidemic (Istanbul) right on his very first turn. Susan was able to immediately restock this, but by the end of her turn Washington and Atlanta were empty, so it felt a bit like playing whack-a-mole already. As usual, at this stage of the game we were focusing on keeping the locations supplied, and waiting to see how the city cards accumulated in our hands. At the end of our first turn, we had three cities devoid of supplies – Tripoli, Sao Paulo and Jacksonville.

We’d emptied all the havens of their supply cubes, so we decided to make use of the system-wide production capability. We need to be careful not to overuse this, as each card has a limited number of times it can be used in this fashion, but equally it would be a waste to never use it at all.

System-wide production of supplies

On just her second turn Susan was able to build a supply centre in Washington, thanks to her ability to build supply centres with one fewer city card. I’ll give you a little spoiler here – Susan was the MVP of this game, and the speed at which supply centres appeared when she was around did make me wonder if she was cheating.

First supply centre for this game, in Washington

At the end of our second turn we still had three cities empty of supply cubes, but they were a different three – it was now the turn of Lagos, Chicago and Atlanta. Moving on to our third turn, Gammidgy was in Atlanta and had the cash to splash, so was able to build a supply line linking Denver in to the grid. We also took this opportunity to make use of the “Lockdown” game end upgrade from the previous game, destroying the one and only infection card for Atlanta forever.

The Atlanta infection card, now “destroyed” and removed from the game forever

The second epidemic again fell on Gammidgy’s watch, this time in Chicago, a city that was unfortunately still devoid of supplies from previous altercations.

A plague on Chicago

Susan’s turn then followed, on which she was able to build a supply centre in Lagos. This only cost 3 yellow cards, as her character’s ability reduced the requirement by one, coupled with the fact that one of her cards was the one with the “Foundations” upgrade from the previous game. Sadly, the infect step also resulted in another plague cube dropping out, this time in New York.

Plague also now in New York

The next epidemic came out on Karen’s turn, and it had barely been any time since the previous one. This would mean a small handful of cards reshuffled back onto the top of the infection deck. The epidemic-hit city on this occasion was Chicago, which already had a plague cube and no supply cubes. Interestingly, the behaviour of epidemics in this game is that they strip all the supply cubes from a location, but they don’t ever add a plague cube, so this worked out pretty good for us.

At the end of our third turn, we could see victory was very close. We only needed one more supply line and one more supply centre. You may be wondering at this point what I’ve been doing this entire game, and the truth is that I’ve just been pottering around in Europe and Africa, ferrying supplies from the havens to the cities that need them most, and quietly taking care of business. No excitement, and no opportunities to use my character abilities or really any of the cards I picked up at any point.

Moving on to our fourth turn, Gammidgy was able to build a supply line to Los Angeles.

LA added to the grid

We also made use of a rationed event card to give a bit of extra protection to Chicago and New York, both of which had picked up an additional plague cube in the last few turns.

Dropping a few extra supplies off in North America

The final play was Susan’s. I had strategically ended my turn in Cairo. This allowed her to use her character’s first special ability to teleport to me. She then used two actions to take the two Cairo cards out of my hand, and her final action was to build a supply centre there, using the four black cards that she now had in her hand (bearing in mind her other special ability, which is the reduced cost for building supply centres). With that done, the game immediately ended. And again, I just feel the need to highlight here that out of Susan’s four turns, she built supply centres on three of them. It’s a sensational contribution.

The game-winning supply centre

We then moved on to the game end calculations, remarking at this point that the setup and teardown for this game generally takes nearly as long as the main playing portion.

Chicago and New York were the only two cities with plague cubes in them, so they lost a population each. The three cities with supply centres gained one each.

Population loss in Chicago and New York

Having completed the month, we also gained some new game-end upgrade options, in the form of being able to upgrade supply centres to be persistent, and a handful of new rationed event options.

Permanent supply centre options

Some new rationed events

Since Chicago was now down to population zero, it was time to see what this turning point card was all about.

We have a city with 0 population, so there’s stuff to open

We learned that a forsaken city becomes effectively neutral in the game – it can’t be infected further, but you also can’t deliver supplies or build supply centres there. You can only pass through. Restoring the population is possible, at the cost of some game-end upgrade points.

Some info about forsaken cities

We also discovered that a forsaken city becomes “infested” which seems to be a more permanent status effect. Starting your turn there will mean rolling for exposure, similar to if you start your turn in a city with a plague cube. With this in mind, it seems like preventing more cities from dropping all the way to “forsaken” should be high on our list of priorities.

Oh it’s infested too? Nice.

With the 5 production units that we had available to spend, we chose to put 3 of them towards a permanent supply centre in Cairo. This would be useful for reconning Asia.

Permanent supply centre in Cairo

We spent a further 1 point on the “Well stocked” upgrade for Los Angeles. One of the reasons that Chicago fell so easily is that it was initially added to the game with a population of 1, so there was no room for error. We want to avoid the same happening with Los Angeles, so this upgrade means that as long as we put 2 supply cubes there at the start of each game, it is effectively immune from infection.

“Well stocked” on Los Angeles

And with our last point we put “Foundations” on New York. It was very useful having that upgrade on Lagos, so let’s lean into that strategy.

Foundations in New York

All in all, one of our most convincing victories yet. I’m a little sad that Chicago has fallen to forsaken status – we may never get the opportunity to search that city and find out what wonderful treasure it held.


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