January 2, 2024

Pandemic Legacy Season 2: July

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 May and June, on our first attempt at each
  • We didn’t really achieve much in terms of reconning new areas
  • There were no significant game-altering rule changes

July (First Attempt)

Upon turning over the top card of the legacy deck, we discover that our opportunity to recon Africa of our own volition has expired, and it will now be done for us. As a punishment, it will not count towards our game objectives, and the unrationed event that we would have received will also not be awarded. In the box are six little brown satellite towers.

Africa is being reconned for us.

We now have two new actions available to us – for a paltry two supply cubes, we can build a satellite tower in our current location. We can use the satellite towers to send a city card to any other player, anywhere in the world – the only restriction is that the colour of the city card must match the colour of the city that the sender is in.

The new satellite tower related actions

A new optional objective has also been added: to build satellite towers in three different coloured cities. This will also provide an additional mystery reward, and once attained, the objective will be removed for subsequent games.

Door 35 sounds tempting, doesn’t it?

A cat briefly showed up and I thought it was going to settle down in the upturned box lid for the rest of the session, but it was just a passing inspection.

Box lid inspection feline

The initial infections were bad. As the number of cities in the grid has been creeping up, and the number of available supplies has been creeping down, we are no longer able to put three supplies on each city. We’re not even able to put two supplies on each city. Which means that if Paris, for example, were to come up twice in the initial nine infections, we might end up with a plague cube on it. Hey, guess what happened.

Off to a bad start in Paris

We also have no rationed events, thanks to winning the last two games in a row.

Our objectives for this game are as follows, of which we need to complete two of the optional ones:

  • Build 3 new supply centres (mandatory)
  • Perform 2 searches (optional)
  • Connect 2 new cities to the grid (optional)
  • Recon a new area (optional)
  • Triangulate signals (the new one, optional)

Looking at the optional objectives for this game, we decided to prioritise the new satellite tower one, and also reconning the middle east. We didn’t want to end up in the same situation as with Africa, where we leave it too late and end up missing out on one of the rewards.

We selected the same characters as usual, though I selected one of the new ones, as I never seem to make much use of the character upgrades on Bez. For this game, we played as the following:

  • Susan – Lucius (Administrator)
  • Karen – Ophelia (Instructor)
  • Pete – Peron Peron (Immunologist)
  • Gammidgy – Maggot (Farmer)

The immunologist, out for their first deployment

The sticker got slightly damaged upon removing it from its packaging – the immunologist’s ability is that when making supplies we draw them from the reserve instead of the stockpile. This seemed like a really nifty way of getting additional supplies into the game.

First Turn

Istanbul and Cairo had also been hit hard in the initial infections, so Susan headed over there to resupply them. The first player card she drew was an epidemic, which hit Jacksonville. This is awful luck, and due to such a small number of cards being reshuffled back onto the deck, it meant that Paris got hit again. Having three plague cubes already, we could see that this game was not going to be a cakewalk.

Plague in Washington already

And a double plague in Paris! DOUBLE PLAGUE!

Karen decided to wiggle on over to San Francisco, as she was holding a card with two scratch-off search panels, so we could tick off one optional objective at least. The results were underwhelming – we got three supply cubes out of the reserve, and found the lost haven yet again.

At least it’s an objective completed

In drawing cards from the player deck, Karen now has a lot of blue cards in her hand – nearly enough, in fact, to build a supply centre. But Paris came up in the infection stage, meaning that there are now three plague cubes there, and it’s on the cusp of bubbling over.

Pete’s new character starts in Buenos Aires, so immediately deploying some supplies there made sense. Paris is obviously burning, but he didn’t have enough actions to get there and do anything of value. Drawing from the player deck, he now has three unique black cards, which is one fewer than needed to recon the middle east, so that’s good progress. Sadly, more infection in Jacksonville, bringing the total of plague cubes there up to two.

Gammidgy played a blinder of a turn, managing to place supplies on both Jacksonville and Paris in the space of one turn. However, the infections continue to flood in, and Sao Paulo is the latest to receive a plague cube.

Plague in Sao Paulo too, now. Oh that pesky plague, it’s coarse and irritating and gets everywhere

Second Turn

Susan used her ability to rescue Pete from the plague-infested Sao Paulo. At this point we then had a heart-dropping realisation: we need four unique black cards to recon the middle east, but there are only three black cities in the grid. Meaning that if I’m waiting on a fourth unique black card, I’m going to be waiting a long time. Fortunately, there’s a backup plan – Susan’s character needs one fewer card to recon, thanks to her special powers, and she already holds one black card, so we just need to transfer a couple of specific cards into her hand, and we’re golden. Since both Susan and I are currently in Cairo, she takes my Cairo card off of me. One down, one to go.

Karen innoculates San Francisco and builds our first satellite tower in Lima. Winning this game is feeling impossible, but at the very least we should try to make at least one satellite tower and upgrade it to be a permanent satellite tower at the game end, and then it makes the next game fractionally easier. She continues to draw blue cards from the deck, and now has more than enough to make a supply centre.

Pete travels up to Frankfurt and connects Moscow into the grid, getting us halfway towards another optional objective. He ends his turn in Istanbul, within reach of the fast travel points.

A new city in the grid. I got a new ruler for Christmas. Can you tell?

Gammidgy once again makes use of his character’s abilities to travel to Helm’s Deep, make some supplies, deploy them to the adjacent Sao Paulo, then fly back to Cairo, make more supplies, and hand them off to Susan. Another epidemic comes out, this time in Washington, and with the supplies removed it promptly gains a second plague cube. We can all sense that this game is not going to last for much longer.

One more incident will be enough to finish us off

Third Turn

Susan travels to Istanbul to rendezvous with Pete, and takes his Istanbul card from him. She then returns to Cairo to perform the recon action. The box we need to open is very heavy, and Gammidgy gets very excited, but that excitement is short-lived when we discover that this box contains a very bad thing. The Hollow Men are here, and they’re like plague cubes, but worse. Four new cards are added to the infection deck, and when you flip one over, it means that the next infection city card will receive one hollow man token instead of the usual infection action. Every time you pass through a city with a hollow man in it, your character gets exposed and may pick up a scar or even die.

This is what a hollow man looks like. Not friendly.

At the end of the game, cities with hollow men in them will lose population, following the same rules as cities with plague cubes. However, there is also some good news in there – it looks like something might happen in August that allows us to combat them. We also get an unrationed event card which we immediately play to give Peron a new upgrade.

Peron’s new ability allows them to take any card from a player in the same location

With the map extended to include the middle east, we know that at some point we will need to recon further east, but we don’t yet know how.

The newly opened-up areas

We do not yet know how to recon out of Kolkata

Karen travels to Paris, where she builds a supply centre and satellite tower. We know that we’re not going to be winning this game, but building a supply centre does at least mean that Paris won’t lose any population as a consequence of all the plague there. As anticipated, another plague cube lands in New York, and the game is over.

The game is over, the plague got us

But not before we built these fine erections in Paris

End of Game

We have five production units to spend, and we allocate them as follows:

  • Permanent satellite tower in Lima (3 points). Though they are cheap to build, this does at least give us a head start on our objective for the next game
  • Population increases for Kinshasa and Moscow (1 point each) bringing them up to 2.

The permanent satellite tower in Lima

July (Second Attempt)

We retry July immediately, with the same characters. Further recon is, for now, not possible, so it looks like the optional objectives we’ll be focusing on this game are triangulate signals (as we already have one satellite tower in place) and linking two new cities into the grid. Searching is getting increasingly challenging, as we’ve already searched most of the cities available to us.

The initial infections in this game are a bit more evenly distributed, and so we don’t get any plague cubes before we’ve had the chance to take our first turn. However, we do have lots of cities across North America and around the Mediterranean that are devoid of supplies already. Susan gets a really good initial deal of cards – two yellow city cards, one of which has an upgrade making it worth 3 when it comes to building supply centres. Couple that with her character ability that reduces the cost of building supply centres by one, and she’s already got enough to build a yellow supply centre.

First Turn

It’s Pete’s turn to start. Buenos Aires is a very poorly connected location, so there’s not much he can do with a meagre 4 actions. He has a searchable Kinshasa card in his hand, so decides to head there and see what he can find. There’s a companion there, a technician who will reduce the supply cube cost of building satellite towers.

The technician that we met in Kinshasa

Kinshasa is an infested city, so ending his turn there would usually be a bad idea, but we’re assuming Susan will be able to lift him out using her special ability. Our bad luck from the previous game continues, and he immediately draws an epidemic in Buenos Aires, wiping out the three supply cubes that we’d left there. Our first hollow man pops up in Los Angeles, and we have a green plague cube in Baghdad. So it’s going to be like that again, eh?

Say hello to the first ever hollow man. Note the lack of supplies on the east coast as well

And a plague cube in Baghdad. Note the absence of supplies in Tripoli and Istanbul. Oh dear.

Gammidgy moves to Jacksonville and is able to deploy supplies there, and also to Washington next door. A plague cube pops up in Tripoli and another hollow man in San Francisco. Brilliant.

Susan airlifts Pete out of the infested Kinshasa and back to the Winchester. She builds a supply centre in Los Angeles, and as she leaves the city is exposed to the hollow men and gains a scar. The hollow men continue to spring up, this time in Istanbul.

Supply centres and hollow men on the west coast

Lucius Keswick’s first scar – establishing supply lines costs one additional supply cube

Karen heads to Jacksonville to meet up with Gammidgy. She passes him the Lagos card with the Foundations upgrade, meaning that he now has enough yellow cards to build a supply centre. She then heads to New York to deposit some supplies there.

Second Turn

Pete resupplies Tripoli to protect against further plague. Not wanting to end his turn there, he instead chooses the adjacent Cairo, which seems safe, and has a nice warm supply centre. We watch in despair as plague cubes crop up in Lagos and Buenos Aires.

Despair

Gammidgy moves to the plaguey Buenos Aires and builds a supply centre there. We chose this location with the intention of upgrading it to a permanent supply centre at the end of the game, as that corner of the world is currently very poorly connected to our fast travel network. Pete plays his rationed event card as this point, granting Gammidgy 3 additional actions, allowing him to put some supplies in Buenos Aires and then get out before the plague gets him.

Gammidgy in Buenos Aires, mere seconds before he legged it

While Pete and Gammidgy bunker down in Cairo together, a plague cube pops up outside the door. This is bad news – Susan can only airlift one of them out, with the result that the other will be getting exposed at the start of their next go. Our chances of winning this game have faded from poor to practically non-existent.

An undesirable situation to be in

Susan moves to New York, and then whisks Pete in to join her. Pete is currently rocking a nice little collection of three blue cards, and once she hands him New York, he now has four. If he can just get the Paris card off of Karen, he’ll have enough to build a third supply centre. Another epidemic appears, this time in Paris. Gammidgy plays a one-time unrationed event card allowing him to innoculate Paris, as we really can’t afford any more nonsense over there right now. A hollow man pops up in Buenos Aires and another plague cube in Cairo.

The one-time unrationed event card. Let’s hope our future selves don’t look back and regret playing this now.

Karen passes through New York, handing her Paris card to Pete and putting our mandatory objective within reach. She then heads to London and charts a new sea lane to St Petersburg. There’s the tiniest glimmer of hope shining through now – Pete’s got the cards to build our third supply centre, and we’ll complete our optional objectives if we can build two satellite towers and link one more city into the grid.

Third Turn

Pete’s already in New York so builds a supply centre right there, and a satellite tower too, before using the new supply centre to fast travel over to Turtloise Rock with his final action, for reasons unfathomable. Another plague cube pops up in Cairo, but it doesn’t matter, as we have a plan.

A new supply centre in New York (I should really have taken the photo after I put down the satellite tower too)

Gammidgy starts by producing supplies, and then uses them to build a satellite tower, completing one of our optional objectives and allowing us to open door 35. It just contains some story text, and the hint of good news in August.

A pile of chaos in Cairo. We need a bigger board

Our reward for triangulation. Whoop-de-doo?

Gammidgy then hops over to Baghdad next door, and with his final action creates a supply line to New Mumbai, ticking off a second optional objective and winning the game.

End of Game

We have six production units to spend, and we allocate them as follows:

  • Permanent supply centre in Buenos Aires (3 points). Being able to fast travel to and from that corner of the world will save us a lot of actions in the long run
  • Permanent satellite tower in Cairo (3 points). We suspect that these satellite towers are going to have a big role to play in August, so the more the merrier. We chose to upgrade this one, rather than the New York one, as we pass through Cairo quite often and so we get lots of opportunities to use it for redistributing city cards.
  • We decided not to spend any production units on population restoration this time, as the opportunities above were just too tempting. That does mean that there are now quite a lot of cities with a population of 1, and it’s very likely that some of those will be falling to “forsaken” status at the end of the next game.

And so our session comes to an end. The player card deck is getting very thick, and whereas once upon a time we worried about losing the game due to the player card draw pile getting empty, that feels like an impossibility nowadays.

We’ve realised that we overlooked something – in all the excitement of winning the game, we didn’t notice that Gammidgy started his final turn in a city with a plague cube, so should have checked for exposure. We’ll do this at the start of our next session, and hopefully it won’t result in a scar, or worse.

We’re really hoping for some good news in August, as those hollow men are brutal, and once they pop up in a city you basically want to avoid it entirely. We might need to spend some supplies in the next game building additional supply lines to create bypass options.

Pete

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *