Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

Apple & Cinnamon play Pandemic!

Let me tell you about an awesome board game called Pandemic.

Pandemic is a cooperative game, in which you have to move your pieces around the board in such a way to stop various epidemics from spreading. The object of the game is to cure all the pandemics before either

  • there’s too many outbreaks
  • there’s no more cities to be infected
  • you run out of virus pieces to infect cities with
  • you run out of cards to cure cities with.

In fact, the loss conditions are much more easily attained than the victory condition. Here, take a look at the board.


So there’s a maximum of 4 players, and each player turn goes like this:

  1. The player gets to spend 4 action points. (So, move a space, cure one disease, build a research center, etc…)
  2. Draw 2 cure cards. (If you have 5 cards of the same colour, you can use them to cure a virus. Also, there’s special cards in the cure deck that let you do exotic things…)
  3. Draw a certain number of infection cards. For each card flipped over, put a virus piece in that city. (If a city has more than 3 virus pieces, it experiences an outbreak, which means each neighboring territory gets a similarly colored virus piece.)

If this sounds confusing, here’s a quick video (featuring Wil Wheaton!!) playing Pandemic. If you can get past the overall geekiness, and the beta way all the men act towards the pretty girl, you’ll find an obscenely fun board game.

I first played this with my buddy, Apple. (He’s Apple, I’m Cinnamon, together we fight breakfast related crimes.) We played 3 or 4 times that first night – and didn’t manage to win once. I played again with Apple last night – we played the ‘easy’ variation for the first game, and won that rather handily. Then we moved up to the ‘hard’ or regular mode and played that a couple times. The first game, we got spanked – viruses overran humanity and doomed us all.

The second game, we played very strategically, debating every move, paying attention to all the colour cards. With 3 moves to go, I thought I saw a way to win the game. So Apple and I made this 3 move strategy which would end with me curing the last remaining disease with my last move. So we go on with the plan, and it’s my move – the balance of the game is so delicate at this point, if I draw a card (that is, don’t win the game after using up all my action points), then all the cards are gone and we lose the game. I have 4 action points, and we’re executing our strategy and it looks like we’re about to win the game. But then horror dawns upon us, as we realize we have under counted our moves by 1. Which means we lose the game.

BAM!! I can’t tell you how crestfallen we both were. Apple was looking through the rules to make sure we didn’t overlook anything that would give us an extra action point. I think I just sort of sat unblinking for awhile. As far as Pandemic goes, we had played an unbelievable game, then lost by 1 move.

By analogy, that’s like training for 4 years for the Olympics, and losing out on gold by 1 second. Board game or not, it’s still heartbreaking.

And that’s why Pandemic is awesome!


March 24, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

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