November 7, 2021

Pandemic Legacy: August / September (Part One)

WARNING: This blog post contains shameless spoilers for Pandemic Legacy. 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 found a virologist
  • We won our first attempt at July

The title of this post probably gives a little something away about how our games during this session went, but I’ll gloss over that.


We opened the missing briefing for August – we have been given an optional objective to search for an immunologist. The process is similar for the search for the virologist, but the search must now take place in rioting (unrest level 2 or 3) cities in the Faded zone.

The search for the immunologist

We also have a new rule called “Self-Sacrifice”, that allows you to skip the infect step of your turn, at the cost of taking a scar. This felt very unappealing to us, as it’s such a permanent handicap, though I can see that in later games we might be prepared to take this exchange.

The new self-sacrifice rule

The optional objective to eradicate one disease entirely has now been removed, meaning we now have the following optional objectives, of which we must complete two:

  • Find the immunologist
  • Quarantine 7 Faded cities
  • Build military bases in all 6 regions

The initial disease distribution for August was very heavily balanced towards the Faded cities – exactly like in July, 11 of the 18 disease tokens in that area. Of the two starting city cards I was dealt, one was a grenade belt, so it seemed a no-brainer that I would continue playing as Pike, the soldier. The full set of characters we played for this game were:

  • Jonesy the Generalist (Gammidgy)
  • Derek the Operations Expert (Karen)
  • Pike the Soldier (Pete)
  • Colonel K*D (Susan)

Basically the same as last time, but with Derek swapped in for the Quarantine Specialist. We reasoned that this would help us to fulfil the optional objective of getting 6 military bases, but in hindsight, given that we already have 3 starting military bases, we perhaps overestimated the challenge of this particular objective. Especially as the win bonus from July allows us to place one new starting military base (which we put in Bogota) and one regular one (Khartoum), which meant that we now only needed to build one more to achieve the optional objective for this game.

Initial disease spread (Khartoum military base not yet added)

We decided to initially focus our resources on the search for the immunologist. Since the search gets harder with each epidemic, it’s worth polishing off quickly. We accidentally cheated a bit here, and forgot about the requirement to discard a city card for each search.

The first epidemic was drawn very early. We agreed to take this opportunity to play one of the 3 cards we obtained in the fabled “box 8”, allowing us to skip the epidemic entirely, at the cost of increasing the panic level in any one city. We selected Santiago as the victim here, as so far that corner of the board has been very quiet, and it only has two connections so is less likely to be involved in an outbreak cascade.

Poor Santiago

Our search for the immunologist was concluded nice and quickly, partly thanks to accidentally cheating, and also due to skipping that early epidemic, and we had that objective polished off in 5 turns total. With that dealt with, we then turned our attention towards getting lots of yellow city cards into Gammidgy’s hand so that he could find that cure. The number of Faded was dropping, thanks to our abilities in combatting that threat, though the other three diseases were growing slightly. The infection discard pile was now getting very thick indeed, and the majority of cities had at least one disease cube on them. Time would tell whether this turned out to be a wise strategy or not.

Disease everywhere

We found the cure for yellow before the second epidemic came out. This one landed in Washington. Soon thereafter we found the cure for the black disease. On this occasion, we were very thankful that it had the positive mutation that meant that it could be cured anywhere (not just in a research station) and without an action, as otherwise it would have had to wait until the next turn. At this stage we were now thinking of how to get us all into Europe so that we can consolidate our blue city cards into Gammidgy’s hand.

The next epidemic landed in Seoul, which caused a single outbreak, but thankfully no cascade. Pike and his magic grenade belt are able to stay on top the Faded quite nicely now. However, the pace of the game is now increasing, and the player deck is shrinking, and we’re all getting a little anxious.

Another epidemic landed, this time in Ho Chi Minh City. This is very unfortunate, as the city is in Fallen state so we are effectively unable to get into it. With the epidemics coming thick and fast, very few infection cards are being reshuffled back into the deck, so we’re seeing the same ones over and over.

Ho Chi Minh City epidemic

An outbreak in Paris while Jonesy was in the city resulted in her gaining a scar, and can now no longer have more than 2 equipment cards in her hand at a time. Let’s see if we remember to adhere to that one, eh?

Jonesy’s new scar

Another epidemic landed in Johannesburg, which caused an outbreak. Things are definitely unpeeling, but we’re so close to a blue cure. The question is: can we hold out?

Another epidemic card came out, which had the potential to really scupper our fun. We decided to once again play one of the “get out of jail free” cards, so that the epidemic was skipped entirely, its only trace being that another city would have to have its panic level increased. We chose Buenos Aires as the victim, this time.

Sorry, Buenos Aires

We managed to find the blue cure by the very skin of our teeth, with the player deck all but empty at the end. Bearing in mind that we needed to burn two of those epidemic-nullifying cards (leaving us with only one left for the rest of the campaign), and we were cheating in the search for the virologist, and it’s a hollow victory.

Our win bonus for August grants us some bonuses to search in September – for each game, we have the choice to either advance one search by two places, or all searches by one each. We also have some new available unfunded event cards, including the “nuclear option” which would allow us to clear out a single city entirely, at the cost of raising its panic level immediately to “Fallen”. We decided not to add this specific one to the game yet, instead choosing the following two game end upgrades:

  • I’m growing very attached to Pike. We haven’t lost a game since we started using him, and his magic respawning grenade belt trick is excellent for managing the Faded. So we gave him the very nifty new “Paramilitary Escort” upgrade, so that every time he leaves a city, 1 Faded will be automatically removed.
  • We also applied an unfunded event upgrade that could be used to place 3 roadblocks on demand.

Pike, now with Paramilitary Escort

3 free roadblocks? Seems useful

September (First Attempt)

With the dawning of September, we can now play as the virologist, the person we found back in July. She has some potentially useful powers when it comes to tackling the Faded, which could be handy. We named her Ash, and gave her a relationship with Pike, which would grant them the power to look at the top two cards of the player deck (which is where the epidemic cards lurk) if they start in the same city.

Our new resident virologist

We had a new optional objective for this month – to find the paranoid soldier. Similar principle to before, though this time the searches must take places in military bases in Faded cities, and the search track is slightly longer.

How to find a paranoid soldier

The initial disease distribution for September was generally towards the western side of the board this time, which makes a nice change to all those times when it’s been heavily biased to the Faded zone.

Not too many Faded to start this time

We chose the following characters for September:

  • Jonesy the Generalist (Gammidgy)
  • Ash the Virologist (Karen)
  • Pike the Soldier (Pete)
  • Ewan the Quarantine Specialist (Susan)

We wanted to bring the Quarantine Specialist back in as we felt that we didn’t get much out of Colonel K*D last time. And, of course, I’m playing Pike again, because Pike rules. In terms of optional objectives, as before we will be focusing on the search for the paranoid soldier, and getting up to 6 military bases.

Here’s a picture of a cat in the game box lid

With the initial distribution of city cards, we found ourselves with a lot of blue city cards clustered in North America, which made us feel optimistic that we could get them into one person’s hand and find a cure nice and quickly. Another early epidemic came out – we decided not to burn our final “get out of jail free” card, but we did play an unfunded event to skip the infect step, as with so few cards being shuffled back into the deck, there was an uncomfortably high chance of an outbreak.

In the next few minutes, we suffered an outbreak in Algiers, but discovered the blue cure shortly afterwards. A lot of cities were showing 3 cubes, which meant that the risk of outbreak was high, but they weren’t contiguous, so the risk of a cascading outbreak was relatively low.

We saw the opportunity to eliminate blue entirely, and took it. It would delay Pike’s journey to the Faded zone, and his contribution to the search for the paranoid soldier, but we felt that not having to worry about blue cubes whatsoever would be worth it. Meanwhile, other players got busy on cleaning up the black cubes, which were getting quite numerous.

The next epidemic came out in Riyadh, which didn’t worry us too much. There were still a few cities showing 3 cubes, but nothing we felt we couldn’t handle.

A bit of chaos on the west coast, but it’s all under control

Some messiness here in Asia, but nothing we can’t handle

Yeah there’s a few Faded here and there, but that white pawn is Pike and he’s about to kick their asses

So far I had not had the opportunity to make use of Pike’s Paramilitary Escort, and was rubbing my hands with glee at delight of my next turn, when I’d be able to scoop through Faded cities leaving a trail of glory in my wake.

A little Riyadh outbreak has left the black disease in a troubling state. Susan’s next turn enabled her to find the paranoid soldier in Jakarta. The good news is that he holds the key to the virus development records, which means that, in combination with the gene sequence for COdA that we found in July, we now have 2 of the 3 components required to find a vaccine. The bad news is that the disease was created in a lab, and the military are no longer our friends. Our optional objective to build 6 military bases is now gone, to be replaced with a mission to sabotage 2 military bases. But, what’s worse, a traitor has been revealed in our midst, and it’s Pike. That Paramilitary Escort upgrade I gave him? The one I never actually got to use? Yeah, in hindsight, that was a bad choice. Pike is now out of the game forever, and I would have to play the rest of this game as a weak and weedy civilian.

This revelation had a bit of a “WTF” effect on us. Any confidence we had in winning this month evaporated in an instant. We tried to stay optimistic, but it was an uphill battle. Outbreaks occurred in Toyko, in Kinshasa, in Tehran. We found a cure for the black disease, but soon thereafter an outbreak occurred in Beijing. One more outbreak would end us. I was able to destroy one military base, but a final outbreak in Hong Kong spelled disaster.

For our game end upgrades, we applied a positive mutation to the eradicated blue disease so that we no longer needed to be in a research station to cure it (similar to what we already have on the yellow and black ones), and gave a character upgrade to Jonesy that would assist in sabotaging military bases.

Jonesy can now sabotage a military base with any colour-matching card, not necessarily the specific city

Ash also picked up a scar at one point during the closing stages, from being in a city when an outbreak occurred.

Ash may now no longer move more than 2 spaces per turn

The last twenty minutes of this game utterly crushed us. To be fair, it was going pretty badly anyway, but with the new revelations, we’re going to need to rethink our strategy fairly significantly for the next game. I fear that it might be a while before we win a game again.

November 3, 2021

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Thirty-Eight)

(View previous instalments here)

Jump Ship – Goosewing

This beer has a deep honey colour, with a small amount of head that disappeared very quickly. It has a smooth and inviting hoppy aroma, and I was feeling refreshed before even taking a sip. The flavour does fall a bit short, sadly – it’s a little on the sharp, metallic side. Karen’s assessment was firstly “Tangy. Sour.” and then she said “Bitter” exactly four times.

Butcombe – Goram IPA Zero

This is a clear and dark golden beer with little to no head. The smell is a nice balance of malt and hops, with neither of them overpowering. I passed it to Karen for a sip, and she made The Face and said “Yeah. Beer.” She’s getting less and less prone to excessive loquaciousness in these reviews, isn’t she? I loved this beer – a really dependable sort of IPA that goes down very easily and will please most drinkers.

Stiegl 0.0

As you can see, this is a pale beer. Karen helpfully pointed out that it looked like a really healthy piss, to which my reaction is (a) if that’s what her piss looks like, then she should see a specialist, and (b) maybe her role in these reviews has ceased to be helpful.

This is a lovely-looking beer anyway, with a nice creamy head that stops short of being silly. It’s got a bit of a wheatbeery smell, and the flavour is a little sour, with elements of wheatbeeritude crossed with a pilsner. Karen remarked that she can indeed taste the sourness, but didn’t find it as unpleasant as she often does. All in all, a pretty decent beer!

Basic Booch

This is NOT beer, it’s a mix of kombucha and tea and I could have saved us all a bunch of time by just pouring it directly down the sink. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the appeal of kombucha. Why would I buy a can of kombucha for a couple of quid when I can buy a large bottle of vinegar for far, far less?

October 18, 2021

The MCU Project: Black Widow (2021)

It was some two years ago that we thought we had completed The MCU Project, never to have to return to its often-incomprehensible kablam kapow blah de blah storytelling. We should have known better; even a global pandemic couldn’t save the world from More Marvel.

And so on Saturday night we gathered with some excellent takeaway Indian streetfood, to watch Black Widow, one of only two Marvel movies to centre a female character. The approach we had originally decided on was to watch the movies in chronological order of the story, however this is now impossible, as back-stories and prequels are going to be churned out as long as people keep paying to watch them. About 10 minutes in, it was established that Black Widow is set somewhere in the middle of the chronology, and tells the origin story of Natasha Romanov through the media of various incomprehensible action sequences and some sort of timelapse/montage to the eerie strains of an acoustic cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit.

For me the star of the show was a decent appearance from the city of Budapest, as itself [noteable because Budapest so often stands in for other cities in movies, including Beijing in The Martian, and Buenos Aires in Evita]. I happily stopped trying to follow the “plot” and tried to figure out at what point the car/tank chase would take them past Doctor Pockless’ old flat. In fact they took a right around Parliament Square and never quite reached that end of the No 2 tramline.

Eventually the movie coheres into some sort of plot, wherein it turns out that Drakov (some sort of baddie whose megalomania is facilitated by the exploitation of women, just like a real life baddie), is not dead, having died offscreen in an event that was never actually on screen to the best of my recollection. Various family reunions occur amid the general fightiness and a lot of explosions. Drakov dies offscreen again, so that this movie thread can continue indefinitely (or possibly escapes, I wasn’t really paying attention).

Star of the show, other than Budapest, is Florence Pugh, who enjoys some excellent Jodie Comer-like russian accented sarcastic mutterings about the sexist poses struck by her character’s sister Natasha. She also has the best plaits, in a movie featuring generally very good hair, which is what really sets it apart from the rest of the MCU body.

So again, we have watched a Marvel movie so that you don’t have to. You can thank us when you pop in to cocktail hour on Friday – yes, it’s still going, live on zoom, every week.

October 13, 2021

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Thirty-Seven)

(View previous instalments here)

Insel-Brauerei – Snorkelers

This is a sea salt IPA which smells nice and fresh, and fairly delicately hopped. It has an intersesting appearance – very cloudy, with many large white floating particles. They didn’t sink to the bottom like sediment, but seemed to be a deliberate feature. The beer has some head, but this dropped away quite quickly. The flavour is very bitter, and caused Karen to make The Face, which is something that we see less and less of these days. She complained for a protracted period of time afterwards – ah, it’s just like the old days. The saltiness is definitely present, but it’s a coarse sort of saltiness. I felt like I was drinking a fishing village. Borderline on the scoring for this one, but I’m feeling generous.

Guinness 0.0

I’ve been waiting for a long time for this one. This absolutely looks and smells the part. The colour and consistency are an exact match for the alcoholic version. As far as flavour is concerned, it’s very close but not quite identical. Compared to the alcoholic version, I detected a very slight sour quality. On the whole though, I declare this a huge success.

Nittenauer Lola

This is a coffee porter, and is a type of beer that always gets my hopes up, because when done well, it can result in a really complex and hearty flavour. The previous beer I tried from this brewery contained a lot of sediment, so I was prepared for that this time, and poured it slowly and carefully, and left the last little dribble in the bottle as it did look like there might be some sediment coming through with this one too. It pours with very little head, but it has a promising consistency – not watery at all. The smell is dark and rich, and the flavour is equally superb – dense and invigorating, with perhaps a faint whisper of something sour. It’s nearly, but not quite, on a par with the Svart/Hvit, which as you know, is an absolutely gem and one of my favourite alcohol-free beers ever.

October 4, 2021

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Thirty-Six)

(View previous instalments here)

Flensburger Radler

I can’t read much of this can, as it’s all in German, but I can recognise a picture of a lemon when I see one. There was a big hit of lemon smell when cracking open this can, and a very voluminant head which settled down fairly quickly. I passed it to Karen for her thoughts, and she thought that the lemoniness was subtle, but I disagree. It’s very lemony, but with enough beeriness that it manages to stay just short of the bounding line where I feel like I’m just drinking lemonade.

Pohjala Prenzlauer

This is a raspberry Berliner Weisse, and is unsurprisingly very pink. The head dropped away very quickly. It’s a very tangy and raspberry-forward drink, without much beery quality at all really. Not bad, for what it is, I suppose.

Nirvana Bavarian Helles Lager

You can see the thick head in the photo here. This one smells very pungent and malty. It has a good flavour too – a bit sweet, but not so far as to be sickly. I offered it to Karen for a sip but she declined, as she was carrying a stinking cold at the time and didn’t want to share it with me. I ended up getting it anyway, of course.

Nittenauer – The Wit

I took a few days off of drinking beer to nurse my cold. I often find that when I have a cold, my sense of smell is dulled, which also impacts on my ability to enjoy food and drink. So, it seemed like a waste of time to attempt to review beers when I couldn’t really appreciate them. As my cold receded, I picked back up with this. This is an odd little beer with some orange and coriander in it. The head faded very quickly indeed, and by the time I was ready to take a photo there was basically none left. As I poured the beer, dollops of sediment tumbled out – there had been nothing on the label to warn me about this, so I was stuck with it.

This is a very sour beer. Karen says it tastes a bit like perfumey beer. It reminded me a bit of the Atomic Blonde – it’s sour, but in a sort of undignified way, like stomach acid. As I got further down the glass, it was harder and harder to avoid the whirling sediment, so I ended up tipping the tail end away, but to be honest this was no huge loss.

Coming up in the next instalment of this series will be a beer that I’ve been particularly looking forward to – Guinness 0.0!

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  • OK, I'm late to this party, but just wanted to point out that Radler traditionally is a 1:... - Brigade
September 12, 2021

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Thirty-Five)

(View previous instalments here)

Ceria Grainwave

This is a medium orange colour, and quite cloudy. There was some head when poured, but this dissipated quickly. The smell is very tangy with a hint of orange. I found the flavour to be a little disappointing, as it was quite watery. There was a hint of that oranginess in the flavour, and a bit of beerishness, but really not enough of either. Karen had a sip, and didn’t really know what to make of it.

Rok Soba Lucky

This has a deep brown colour, almost ruby. The head on this is fantastic, and hung around for a decent while. It smells fruity and a bit pungent, like a beer festival. The flavour is equally robust, with a hint of banana. Karen said “this just tastes like beer” but didn’t pull The Face. I could very happily go for this again.

Ceria Indiewave

This has a deep orange colour and is very cloudy. The head is nice, and persisted for a good few minutes. The smell is very strongly of rose, like granny’s bathwater. The flavour is also very floral but also with quite a lot of bitterness. It’s still pretty refreshing though, and hits the spot nicely on a searing hot day.

Rok Soba Voyager

This IPA is a dark amber colour, and is clear with a satisfactory head. The smell is intriguing but well balanced, with a mix of sharp hoppiness and smooth malt. The flavour is surprising and unconventional, like a mixture of citrus fruit with something deep and cereal. Very intriguing stuff.

Pico Nova

This is a West Coast IPA, very clear with a deep colour. The smell is a bit bitter with a striking roasted quality. Karen had a try, and pulled The Face (first time I’ve seen her do that in a long time). She says it’s way too bitter, and yes it is fairly bitter, but my personal experience of drinking this was that it was comforting and quite nicely fruity.

September 5, 2021

Alcohol-Free Beers (Part Thirty-Four)

(View previous instalments here)

Nirvana – Elderflower Lager

This is an insanely lively beer, as you can probably tell by the photo. When I removed the cap, it erupted like a silly geyser, and I managed to fill this pint glass up with 1cm of liquid and the rest of it froth. I took this photo once it had settled down to a slightly more sensible level. The head didn’t take too long to dissipate and vanish entirely.

The beer is pale and slightly cloudy. It smells sour, with a fustiness like a cupboard that hasn’t been opened for a while. Karen says “light and crisp, like a sauvignon blanc. Maybe I’m a beer drinker.” Seems to me that that’s the kind of thing that a wine drinker would say, no?

But yeah, it’s sour and winey. There isn’t an awful lot of elderflower in it, but to be honest there doesn’t seem to be much of anything else either.

Hoegaarden 0.0

This is thick and creamy, pale and cloudy, with that recognisable medicinal Hoegaarden smell and flavour, a bit orangey and weird. It’s slightly less dense and intense than the regular Hoegaarden, but you know maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

On the whole, it’s a decent choice and I’d have it again, but there are other superior options in this space.

Insel-Brauerei Skippers

This beer has a dark, orangey colour, and is cloudy with a creamy pour. As you can see, it has slightly novel packaging in that the bottle is wrapped in paper. The smell is fabulous – really malty and warming. The flavour is also a grand experience, though perhaps a little more bitter than I’d like. It’s certainly not lacking for impact.

Brussels Beer Project – Pico Bello

This is a hazy IPA with a pale colour and a reasonable head. It smells suitably fruity and sour, as you would expect from this sort of drink. However, the flavour is far, far sourer than the smell would set you up to expect. Karen is a big fan, and said “if beer was pleasant, that would be a pleasant beer.” It’s great, but for me, it’s not one of my favourites.

Encoder – Doppler

This beer has quite a deep amber colour and is clear with a head that is decent on pouring, but quickly fading. The smell is floral, but also with a dense darkness. The flavour is absolutely fantastic. I’ve remarked before in these reviews that there are loads of great alcohol-free wheat beers and light IPAs, and some decent lagers too, but the offerings for dark, autumnal beers are generally quite disappointing. This one, however, is a real winner in that category, and I can definitely see myself putting a handful of these in with my next order.

August 26, 2021

Pandemic Legacy: July

WARNING: This blog post contains shameless spoilers for Pandemic Legacy. 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 our second attempt at May, giving us a losing streak of 4 games
  • We have a new character, Pike, whose character class is Soldier and has some useful skills which lend well to combatting the Faded
  • We won our first attempt at June, by a hair’s breadth

On to July! The first thing we did was to open box 8, which we should have done as soon as we lost our second attempt at May. This gave us 3 cards, similar to unfunded events, which would be shuffled into the player deck, and could be played against an epidemic to neutralise it (almost) entirely. There is, however, a cost to playing one of these. For one thing, you have to increase the panic level of a city. For another thing, each of these cards can only be used once, and must be destroyed immediately thereafter. I can envisage a situation where one of these could potentially save us from a late-game outbreak cascade.

Our win bonus for June granted us the choice of either adding some equipment stickers to city cards, or placing some roadblocks. We figured we’d probably go for the latter option, but since we didn’t have to decide until after setup is completed, we set this card to one side for now.

June win bonus

We then unveiled our mission for July. A virologist has gone missing, and we need to search for them in research stations in faded cities. The instructions on the cards here seemed to be incorrect, as we didn’t have all the tokens we were supposed to have. After some online research, we discovered that we were also supposed to open box 5, and indeed the necessary tokens were in there.

The search for the virologist

One thing to note about this is that with each epidemic, the goal token for the search moved on by one. Therefore, it would make strategic sense to try to do this as early as possible. We now had the following objectives, of which we needed to do three in total:

  • Find cures for all 3 diseases (mandatory)
  • Eradicate 1 disease
  • Find the virologist
  • Finish the game with 7 quarantined faded cities
  • Build a military base in each of the 6 regions

We felt that it made sense to prioritise the search for the virologist as we reasoned that this might give us other benefits in future games.

The setup for this game was so bad that we laughed. There was a huge, huge bias towards the Faded cities, with 11 of the 18 initial disease tokens landing in this region.

Lots of starting tokens in the Faded cities

This made choosing our win bonus a no-brainer. We deployed some roadblocks to try to contain the worst of the mess. We isolated Beijing entirely, and also placed a roadblock between Tokyo and San Francisco. While San Francisco is already Faded, we definitely did not like the prospect of Tokyo spilling over and turning North America into a crisis zone.

Initial roadblocks

We played the same characters as last time, but swapped the players:

  • Jonesy the Generalist (Susan)
  • Ewan the Quarantine Specialist (Karen)
  • Pike the Soldier (Pete)
  • Colonel K*D (Gammidgy)

We began the game, and naturally our initial priority was to contain the situation in the Faded region. The first epidemic card came up and was for Mumbai. We were happy with this – it was well away from any other hotspots, and quite close to a research station, so wouldn’t be too tricky to handle. An infection occured in Shanghai, where Colonel K*D had ended their previous turn, so unless we could do something about that, they would pick up a scar at the start of their next turn.

The soldier quickly made their way to the military base in Shanghai, in order to put a grenade belt sticker on one of their city cards. This is an invaluable tool in fighting the Faded, though it’s not going to be so easy next time round, as now there are no free grenade belt equipment stickers left, we’re going to have to wait for one of the the grenade belt equipment cards to come up in the deck. With this grenade belt, they were able to ensure that Colonel K*D would be safe at the start of their next turn.

Ewan made good use of their character upgrade to check the top cards in the infection deck at the start of their turn. We gave them this upgrade back in March, but because of the 15 month interim period between games, we had forgotten entirely about it. It turned out to be very useful – they were able to predict when both Tokyo and Kinshasha were due up next, and both were on the cusp of outbreak already. With this knowledge, they placed quarantine tokens on both cities and averted a double crisis.

The search for the virologist proceeded extremely well, with both the Soldier and the Colonel contributing. We had a research station in Tokyo, so this was the location where it happened, and the presence of a quarantine token there also contributed an additional bonus to searching. Within a matter of minutes we were within one spot of our target. An epidemic occurred in Miami (again, this was a fairly lucky draw, as this wasn’t close to any existing danger areas) which pushed the search target back out one square, but as long as the quarantine in Tokyo held, it was still achievable on the soldier’s next turn.

Found the virologist!

And indeed, we found them. We now have the gene sequence of COdA! We are utterly baffled as to the implications of this, but surely it will all become apparent at some point in the near future.

Meanwhile, we’d been gradually funnelling city cards into the hands of those who could make use of them. The Soldier can’t cure diseases at all, and the Colonel requires 2 extra cards, so it fell down to Jonesy the Generalist and Ewan the Quarantine Specialist. The yellow disease was the first to be cured, and at this point we had a general feeling that the board was mostly under control.

It’s not as bad as it looks

Yes, it’s true that LA looks a bit shaky. But that pink pawn is a soldier, and they’re about to swoop in with the grenade belt and clear out that city in one turn

At this point the time taken for us to take each turn increased significantly. We could sense that we were at a sort of tipping point, where victory was within our grasp, but we had to play smart and weigh up the options. By working together, we eradicated yellow entirely, giving us a second optional objective completed.

The next epidemic card came out two minutes later, and it was for the yellow disease, the one we’d just eradicated! Gammidgy was heard to utter “I think we’re gonna win”, as the blue cure dropped into place.

In the closing stages of the game, an epidemic in Delhi occurred, followed by the Delhi card coming up immediately thereafter. This was pretty bad as neighbouring Karachi already had 3 cubes in it, causing a double outbreak in these two cities. Their panic levels have increased accordingly.

Double outbreak

Had we been able to cure the black a turn or two earlier, this could have been avoided, but to be honest it’s tolerable. The state of the board, on a whole, looks okay. We’ve done a decent job of constraining the spread of the Faded, and there are only 3 Faded cities beyond the original ones. We feel like this is a pretty good showing. And while there are a few Faded cities that are now in a state of rioting, most of the cities don’t seem to have degenerated too much.

For our game-end actions, we did the following:

  • Applied a positive mutation to the (eradicated) yellow disease, so we no longer need to spend an action to cure it.
  • Gave a character upgrade to the Generalist. They now have “Veteran” which allows them to use the military shuttles. We’ve decided to start flinging more character upgrades at the Generalist, as they have space for 4 (whereas most characters only have space for 2)

The Generalist is now a veteran

Which rules have we been getting wrong this time?

This seems to happen every time, so I’ve decided to make a dedicated section at the bottom of each blog post. Back at the start of May, a new rule was introduced. I wrote about it at the time:

There is a small increase in the infection rate of the Faded – now, whenever a player draws a city card that corresponds to a Faded city, one Faded figure gets added to the relevant city.

It’s a long time since we’ve remembered about that rule, if indeed we ever have. Oops. Next game’s gonna be a bit tougher, I guess.