So you are playing Pandemic Season 2, but here’s the thing – it’s hard, real hard. You know from the reviews that this won’t be the game of average legends that you got last time…this is my thoughts to guide you, a sort of journal from the post script!
During the Game:
Connections; Cities are the life blood of the network, ok your resources will get stretched thin but you need cards to do recon, and you need cards to build supply centres. You need cities to get cards. This is a really important follow through, a structure that will need you to gain more cities during the game (I think we didn’t appreciate just how helpful these would be!). One last thing on connections – we valued a hub and spoke approach, there are meaningful benefits to this but you have to defend the hub. Each spoke will be tricky to move between, but moving between hubs will be much more effective!
Reckon; The reckon is how you discover things – I don’t think I am ruining anything by saying that! However, perhaps I can stress – get the connections and get the reckons. If you don’t achieve these requirements they will be opened, but the completionist in you will feel that much more hollow.
Defence vs Offence; You know what they say – sometimes your best defence is a good offence. Sometimes you should manage the game board, but sometimes you should manage the win. A win ends the game. A win stops the next cards turning off the top of the deck. Always manage the game, but go for the win just as much as avoiding the loss – and sometimes rushing for the win IS worth it.
Specialise; A simple season one trick that again spoils nothing. If you are going to be good at something, be really good at it. It doesn’t matter what that is, or more to the point it would be a spoiler to tell you…However, if you are struggling to win the games find the specialist roles you each need to play and keep working hard at that. Look for opportunities to use your role to it’s greatest effect, but deviate when the time comes for the win.
Scars; You will have scars to take during the course of the game. Those times when you are stuck in the wrong place between your turns. However, you don’t need to deliberately take scars in early games. Don’t put yourselves in the position however to take the scars early – if you do, it’s a challenging course for the rest of the game.
Next Game; It’s important to think about the next game in legacy games. Each error piles up. Each loss snowballs and gathers pace. It’s a challenge to manage the late game if the early game is played poorly. You will sometimes know the game is lost, but you will need to think about what you want to achieve for the next game.
Saving Cities; When a city falls from 1 to 0 it costs more to bring it back. That’s a simple rule but it’s important to pay attention to it. You might just keep an eye on that and make sure that you don’t accidentally slip into a situation where a city is lost and it costs you to bring it back from the brink.
Abandoning Cities; Sometimes you will need to. Take risks, calculated risks. If you do lose it then sometimes you will need to accept it and move on. Don’t chase games and don’t chase solutions that cost you more problems.
Supply Flights; Another key trick is to fly from supply centre to supply centre. Build away from the havens and between those and the centres. A network of flight paths between these centres will frame your games – getting the supply centres in good long term sights will help you to manage the game. You may indeed want to focus on this in conjunction with the hub/spoke approach above – building in the hubs.
Stockpile Distribution; Another key choice in this game – how do you spread the supplies. How do you defend the each city. Be careful to spread at the start of game but then refocus your efforts and double down on the targets that really do matter – the ones that have been hit by the plague.
Huge Breaks; Do not take them. It’s the biggest mistake we made. We lost games when we forgot the tricks and methods we set in place. Avoid them in this one even more than the last time.