February 25, 2024

Pandemic Legacy Season 2: October

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 lost September on our first attempt and won it on our second
  • We reconned East Asia
  • We gained the ability to build shelters in cities

October (First Attempt)

The legacy deck reveals some new twists and turns. We now have just two mandatory objectives for the month, and no optional ones. We must build the three supply centres as usual, but our other objective is to coax three hollow men into havens at which point we can induce them to defect. To do this, we are given the ability to spread information which will cause the hollow men to move to an adjacent city.

The new “broadcast misinformation” action

Our two objectives

And a bit of bonus lore (click on the image to view it full size)

An interesting detail about this second objective is that if we complete it in our first attempt at October, it is automatically considered done for our second attempt. Therefore we decide that for our first attempt at October we will just focus on the new objective, and not worry about the supply centres. Then, in our second attempt, we can just deal with the supply centres. This feels like a better strategy than dividing ourselves between two objectives and failing both times.

We have very few initial supplies, so we have no choice but to leave some cities empty.

Not many initial supplies to go around

We are lucky to only get a plague cube on New Mumbai. As is standard with the new rules, we get three hollow men to start the game, and they are in Santiago, Sao Paulo and Paris. Already we are thinking about the shortest route to misinformate these little chaps to the nearest haven.

For the first time in many games we mix up our character selections slightly. Since our goal for this game is not to build supply centres, we decide to leave Lucius on the substitute bench, and instead give our new character an outing.

  • Pete – Peron Peron (Immunologist)
  • Gammidgy – Maggot (Farmer)
  • Susan – Professor Susan (Scientist)
  • Karen – Ophelia (Instructor)

Welcome, Professor Susan!

First Turn

It’s Pete’s turn to start, so he moves from Buenos Aires to Lima and then uses the satellite tower there to shuffle a hollow man from Sao Paulo to Turtloise Rock. And with that, we’re already a third of the way to one of our objectives!

One hollow man in Turtloise Rock

However, we get quite unlucky with an epidemic already, in Jacksonville. Gammidgy is up next, so he can use his ability to resupply it from the comfort of his haven, then shuttle over to London, where he can use the satellite tower there to move a hollow man from Paris to Gloomfort. That’s two done. A plague cube pops up in Jakarta, and it’s one of the infection cards that we are able to destroy, so we do so.

Upgraded infection card, and we never need to worry about seeing it again

Susan starts in Johannesburg, so she creates a supply line to Dar es Salaam, as we want to get more cities linked in, and we also really want to check out that new lost haven.

Dar es Salaam added to the grid

The infection stage gives us a plague cube in Kolkata and a hollow man in New Mumbai.

Karen uses her character ability to zoom over to Dar es Salaam by discarding a player card, from where she charts a sea lane to the haven, and heads over to check it out. We name this newfound location “Ripley’s Hole”. As expected, there’s good stuff therein. We get a bonus 15 supply cubes straight away, and in all subsequent games, for starters.

More supplies always welcome, though the sticker is a little mutilated. Trust me, it says “+15”

She also gets an additional 4 actions for this turn, so she uses them to chart sea lanes to New Mumbai and Antananarivo, before finally dashing off to the safety of Cairo.

Ripley’s Hole and adjacent transport connections

Second Turn

We now have cards for Dar es Salaam and Antananarivo in the discard pile, so Pete dashes over to Antananarivo. It uses up all his actions but in the next turn he’ll be able to pick up that card and search it. The infection step of this turn puts a hollow man in Sao Paulo, which is a bit awkward as that now blocks off all our routes into Lima, where the yellow satellite tower is. There are possible strategies to mitigate this – either building a shelter, or a new satellite tower elsewhere, but it’s mildly annoying.

He’s hollow, and he’s in the way

Gammidgy does a systemwide supply production to get lots of supplies back into play, and then goes to Lagos and builds a new satellite tower there. He shuffles the new hollow man from Sao Paulo to Helms Deep, and that’s one of our objectives complete. We’re still a long way off from building any supply centres, so winning this game is beyond a chance. Therefore we decide to do as much good as we can with the time we have left.

We’re expecting an epidemic soon, so Susan heads to Lagos to use the monitor action. Disappointingly the card does not come out, which just increases the odds that she’s about to draw one. While at the satellite tower she relocates the hollow man out of Jacksonville and into a haven, just on the off chance that there’s any benefit in getting more than 3 into the havens. The epidemic does indeed come up in Frankfurt, which was previously fully innoculated, but thanks to the new rules around epidemics, our innoculated cities are the ones most likely to suffer epidemics. We have plague cubes in New Mumbai and Kolkata, and the incident tracker is now nearly at the bottom.

Karen goes to Ho Chi Minh City to link in a few more cities. She’s able to build a route to Kolkata, which will save us an action when trying to get there from Tehran, and then goes to Hong Kong to build a route to Shanghai.

New routes in East Asia

Third Turn

Picking up the plan from the previous turn, Pete searches Antananarivo and also has enough actions to go to Dar es Salaam and search there. The results are a little underwhelming – we can remove the plague cubes from one location (which is nice but sadly does not cause the incident tracker to retreat) and build a supply line out of Dar es Salaam (which is frankly of pretty much no use at this point – we build it to Khartoum, not because it’s particularly valuable, but just because it’s the most tidy option)

Results of searching Antananarivo and Dar es Salaam. Since we’d already found the lost haven at Ripley’s Hole, the searches at sea were effectively free actions

Useless road

A plague cube pops up in Riyadh, and the game is unsurprisingly over.

End Of Game

We get given a few new character abilities and city card upgrade options which look like they might be appealing options.

City card upgrades that allow us to use that card in place of a red card for the purposes of building a supply centre or performing recon

Some tasty new character upgrades, especially Saboteur: “As an action, discard a City card to remove a Hollow Man figure from a city matching the colour of the card”

As a result of completing the defection objective, we also get a very intriguing piece of lore which suggests that the hollow men view us as the baddies!

The Hollow Men had been told to fear us, that we were monsters, that we deserved death…

We have 6 production units to spend. First off, we buy both of those “Local Operative” city card improvements.

Jacksonville and Baghdad cards that now double up as red

We also give Maggot that tasty new Saboteur skill, filling up his dance card.

Maggot has the power to remove hollow men

With our remaining two production units we restore Jakarta and Hong Kong from population 1 to population 2, to remove the risk of them becoming forsaken in the next game.

October (Second Attempt)

The initial infections left us with one plague cube, in Cairo. Now that we have completed the objective to get the hollow men to defect, all we need to worry about in this game in building three supply centres, and therefore we went back to the usual dream team:

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

First Turn

Gammidgy often uses his first turn to resupply Jacksonville, as it is adjacent to his starting location, and this game was no different. He was able to use one of his other abilities to also put some cubes on Sao Paulo, which seemed like a good outcome. For the second time today, we got unlucky with an epidemic on the first turn, and another Frankfurt card is back in play. We also have a hollow man in Buenos Aires, which is the exact city where both Gammidgy and Pete currently are. I think I probably don’t need to tell you that this is a pretty awful start to the game, and does not augur well for our chances.

Susan, however, is having a much better time. Her two initial cards are a red card and a wild card, and what’s more, she can recon without needing there to be a supply centre in the city, so she’s able to go straight to Jakarta and perform a recon. As we had suspected, this gives us another lost haven.

The lost haven to the east of Australia

Interestingly we can recon further from the lost haven. We know from previous information that there is another lost laboratory out here somewhere – hopefully we get the chance to check that out.

Karen has a yellow card, so she heads to Buenos Aires and builds a shelter there to protect Gammidgy and Pete when the time comes for them to leave. With her remaining action she zooms over to the new lost haven, and we name it Finch Reef.

Finch Reef in all its glory

The infection step here gives two more plague cubes in Cairo. Cairo’s looking like a hotspot this game, so Susan plays a rationed event card to immediately remove two of them. It’s still not looking great, as those Cairo cards are going to keep coming out, so Pete heads over there, places a shelter (to protect himself from the plague cube there) and then innoculates it to dump those infection cards back into box 6. Cairo is now completely safe, at least until the cards find their way back out of box 6, which will happen eventually. Another plague cube lands in New York. This is not looking promising. We’re already halfway down the incident tracker, and no-one’s got a particularly reassuring-looking hand yet.

Second Turn

Gammidgy is in Buenos Aires. It’s a nice enough place, so he remains there for now, making and placing supplies, innoculating it, building a satellite tower, and transmitting a Lagos card to Susan.

Buenos Aires is lovely this time of year. Pay no mind to the hollow man.

Susan then zips over to Finch Reef and charts a sea lane to Osaka, linking one more city into the grid. Only now do I realise that this sea lane crosses two red region lines, which is a rule violation, and hence we should not have made it. We’ll have to think about a suitable punishment.

Susan and Karen in Finch Reef, with the new (illegal) sea lane to Osaka present. It’s taken me way too long to think of drawing faces on the pawns, but I’m glad I got there in the end. Next up: tiny little wigs.

Karen, having been teleported to Finch Reef by Susan’s special ability, can now hand over her Lima card, meaning that Susan at last has enough yellow cards to build a supply centre on her next turn. With remaining actions, the most useful thing we can think of for her to do is warp to Tehran and search it, as she has the relevant card in her hand. The reward: we can remove two hollow men from the board. We choose New Mexico and New Mumbai to receive this boon.

Searching in Tehran – it’s okay, I guess

With an epidemic imminent, Pete plays the monitor action and deftly averts it. As a result, he also gets an additional black card in his hand. With his three remaining actions, he sends his three black cards to Karen, giving her a total of five, which is enough for her to make a supply centre on her turn. We’ve reached that point in the game where we can finally formulate a plan to victory, as there are enough cards on the table to build three supply centres, and we know what we need to do to get them into the right person’s hand. The bad news is that the plan will take a little while to execute, so we need to survive one and a half more turns around the board.

Another relevant aside at this point – each time we perform the monitor action, we scratch off a panel on the frequency scanner card, and once all the panels are gone, we can’t monitor any more. There is only one of these panels left. I also have a slight nagging feeling that we might sometimes have forgotten to scratch them off, which means we maybe should already have run out

Third Turn

Gammidgy’s role in the grand plan is just to keep us alive, so he heads to Ripley’s Hole and resupplies New Mumbai and Antananarivo. A plague cube pops up in New York, which ain’t great.

Susan goes to Lima and builds our first new supply centre.

New supply centre in Lima

She also uses her ability to move Karen to Gammidgy’s location in Antananarivo, which is a spot that’s just crying out for a supply centre. An epidemic comes up in London, and immediately a plague cube follows. There’s also a hollow man in Kolkata now but that isn’t going to affect our game.

Karen builds a supply centre in Antananarivo, as discussed, and then hops to London where she can use the satellite tower to send two blue cards to Susan. Susan now has the required number of blue cards to build a supply centre, so all we need to do is survive until then. A new plague cube in New York means that we are nearly out of time – the next incident will crush us.

We examine the various cities on the board, trying to figure out which city is at most risk. There are a small handful that don’t have any supplies, and we need to try to remember which ones came out before the previous epidemic, and which have come out since, to try to deduce which are likely to come up in the next few moves. We settle on Ho Chi Minh City, so Pete heads there and places supplies. This is also a good time to play the rationed event that allows us to place shelters on a couple of cities for free. With this, we prevent their populations from dropping at the end of this game.

Fourth Turn

Again, we have to decide which city to resupply. This turn is all that stands between us and victory. With Gammidgy’s abilities, he can resupply both New Mumbai and New York. Unfortunately, we have chosen poorly, and we should have gone for Frankfurt. Game over.

End of Game

We have 6 production units to spend again. We spend way too long agonising over the decision, which drives Karen up the wall.

We spend 2 of those units applying the “Rebirth” infection card upgrade to Tehran and Buenos Aires. As long as those cities stay at above 6 population, these two infection cards are mostly neutralised.

Rebirth upgrade on Tehran and Buenos Aires

We consider using our remaining four production units to restore a couple of forsaken cities to population 1, but decide instead to use them to boost four cities from population 1 to 2, to hopefully prevent them from going forsaken at all. The cities we choose are Kolkata, New Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City, and Shanghai.

In November we will only have one objective. My suspicion is that our long-running objective to build supply centres is going to be removed, and our objective for November will be to compile the plan for accessing Utopia. In the final month, our objective will be to execute on that plan. We still have some unexplored areas of the board – Seoul and Tokyo are not linked in, and there’s also a lost laboratory off of Finch Reef which I’d really like to explore before the game is over. But as to whether we’ll have the time – I don’t know.

We also need to think about what we’re going to do with that illegal route from Finch Reef to Osaka. It feels like the right thing to do might be to pretend we never built it, and remove the Osaka cards from the deck until we have connected to Osaka via legitimate means.


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