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Tag: pandemic legacy: season 1

6 x 6 Gaming: Dropzone Commander and Pandemic Legacy

Early last week I got a reminder that a group of us were going to hit Dropzone Commander this past weekend.  I had some units that were still primed from my big priming spree before winter so I decided to blitz through a few and finish them up.

Up first was the new Skulltaker.  This aerial transport is the model for the special commander that first appeared in Reconquest Phase 1.  In Reconquest Phase 2, they made the model a general unit so that you didn’t need to work with the special commander rules (which are usually experimental in nature).  After some errata, the unit was actually playable and so I was happy to finish this one out.

This makes the fourth “Lifthawk” style model I have done and they are looking quite eclectic.  I also have a Hellhog (blue) in the back to round out my aircraft units.

While the Skulltaker is a big beast of a unit with upgraded guns and weapons, its main purpose is to transport psycho berserkers quickly to a key close quarter battle. These berserkers were the next item on my list.

With these quick paints complete, I was able to complete my list and be ready for the game.  I haven’t been keeping up with the Dropzone tournament scene but apparently 1250 points is becoming pretty popular.  We decided to try out that sized game. I went with a pretty balanced list with a good bit of anti-air, infantry, and anti-tank.

We had four players and split into 2 separate games.  I was on the ruined map layout and was going against my friend’s UCM list which featured a heavy load of air units and anti-tank but light on the infantry.

initial setup

The detail on the layout that our host setup was great.  His burned out cars and dead bodies really add to the atmosphere of the scenario.

We decided to play Secure The Flanks scenario and started up, each approaching from our respective corner.

We both settled in on our close objectives, me with my Freeriders and the UCM with their Legionnaires from a Raven A.

I started down the main street lane when the UCM sent a few air units to sweep by.  After a horrible whiff, they all fell to my Gun Wagons.  My front Kraken (missing in the pic above) was caught not far enough behind the building and was lit up by the UCM main force of anti-tank units.  I rolled especially bad and lost 5 of the 6 (red) Gun Technicals.

white primed dropfleet ship subbing in for another condor

The UCM quickly took up position around the right focal point. He had two Gladius, a unit of Sabers, and a unit of Rapiers all defending this spot.  The scatter terrain was really favoring this position since all his unit have articulating turrets to see over the debris.  For whatever reason, my massive Thunderstorm Hover-building with gunship lasers mounted on the top does not have the height or articulated turrets rule so I could never really get line of site on anything and it became a huge waste of points. This seemed pretty ridiculous so for future games we’ll house rule that LOS will measure from the gun mounts.

poor thunderstorm. guns mounted 2+ inches off the ground but can’t fire over a simple rusted out car

Moving on! I decided to centralize my forces in the middle buildings for the middle objective.  Unfortunately, the UCM had came in with their 2 squads and got in the building first.  I sped in with my Skulltaker and shot up the building and flamed it but found that the flame weapon on the Skulltaker (usually a great anti-personnel weapon) is pretty lackluster.  I dropped off my Berserkers and in the ensuing close quarters battle, they wiped out the Legionnaire squad with a 4:1 dice advantage.  Since the UCM had two squads in the building, they only needed to commit one squad to my Berserkers.  The other unit got a lucky roll and found the objective in one turn and was off the map before I could do anything about it.

We both still had our close objectives but his anti-tank and orbital laser-firing commander soon reduced my objective building to rubble. Playing tit-for-tat, I rushed my Barrel Bomber over to his objective building and launched my goliath bomb to knock the building down to 2 hits remaining.  The debris falling killed all but 2 Legionnaire figures.  My next salvo did no more damage and I couldn’t finish off his objective.  His next turn, the Legionnaires got another lucky roll and found the objective on their second try, then got out and left the map again before I could stop them.

Things were looking grim.  I was down 4 VPs to zero and there were no more objectives on the board.  The only way I could win now was to occupy both focal points at the end of the game and make no unit of his could make it within 6 inches, and then also win on kill points.  I had three rounds to defend and eliminate his units.

First, I sent my Cyclone helicopters in to assassinate his commander.

Then I cleared out some entrenched Legionnaires from a building near one of the focal points. This time the flame weapon worked, though this one unit only had 2 guys left.

And finally, I wiped out every last one of the crazy armor 10 tanks from his entrenched focal point.  It was round six and he had one dropship unit left: a Condor carry a single Bear APC with 2 units of Flak squads.  They set up in the building I previously cleaned out (getting them in focal point range) and I sent the Skulltaker back over.

Again the flame weapon did it’s job and wiped out a full flak unit and then I launched a salvo of rockets and heavy machine guns to knock the building down around him to try to finish off that last unit.  All my salvo shots failed and that was the end of the game.

Final score:

UCM: 5 VP  581 kill points

Resistance: 4 VP 1,021 kill points

Definitely an interesting game.  When the objectives were found and removed before the end of round 3, I figured I was out of the game and we could have called it.  I was surprised that it actually remained as close as it did and I almost wiped out his entire army.  I need to rethink my use of the Thunderstorm Hovercraft as it seems to really struggle to do much in a game and can fall very quickly to concentrated anti-tank fire.  Couple that with the need to keep anti-air units around as protection and it becomes a big point sink.


A few weeks back, we also finished up our game of Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.  The second half saw us lose a few more game and definitely got a little tougher but we were able to pull through and finish the entire campaign out with the best ending result.

I was happy to see that my character, Bobdoh Johnson, survived the whole campaign and was pretty key to our success.  With two scars, he had a few close calls but my wife bailed me out to keep him around.

I can’t really go into detail (even in the redacted style I did last time) as it starts to spoil too much so I’ll just talk about some final thoughts in general terms.

While I thought the campaign worked very well and I liked where the story went, I didn’t really ever have an incentive to switch characters.  They kept adding new characters throughout the campaign (even in the second to last month) but I felt such history and duty to stay with my character that I felt that was only an option when/if my character died.

In the last few games, I got a particularly nasty scar (the orange stickers on the lower right of the character card).  Initially, we didn’t think it was a problem but then things changed on us and the inability to trade cards ended up being pretty crippling.  Even with that major handicap, I still was loathe to just ditch him and start with someone new.

The other thing that became tiring was the hidden bonus cards that you got to scratch off when you completed certain tasks or won a previous month.  This was novel the first couple of times but soon became a real chore to do and the mess it created was less and less novel.

Other than the lack of a compelling reason to change characters and the lottery scratch off cards, the game was a lot of fun and we’re looking forward to trying out Season 2.

from BGG (taken from the publisher)

6×6 Gaming Challenge: Mid-year recap

Now that we’re in July, I thought I’d take a quick moment to recap where I’m at with my 6×6 Gaming Challenge. I always keep the running total up-to-date at the top, under my “About” header.

The good news is every game on my list has been played at least once. Even better news is I’m sitting at 20 games/sessions played out of 36 for the challenge so I’m beating the curve by a good 5%.  Let’s look at the details:

The Walking Dead: All Out War:
Dropzone Commander:
Santorini:
Batman Miniature Game:
Pandemic: Legacy:
Championship Formula Racing:

As you can see, Dropzone Commander and Batman are a bit behind the curve.  Batman may be the toughest to get all the way through before the end of the year since it is completely self-driven.  Dropzone Commander still has regular monthly get-togethers so I’m not too worried about finding a game.

CFR, Pandemic, and The Walking Dead have been going quite well with a lot of interest still peaking for those games.  The next few months are going to be a little tough as I prepare for Gen Con and a vacation later this summer but I still have a lot of plans for all the games on the list so at least the drive is still there.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 Half-way Point

As part of my 6×6 Gaming Challenge, I decided to add Pandemic Legacy to try to get a commitment out of my game group to go through this game from start to finish.  We tried Risk Legacy long ago but it eventually fell apart and we never got to fully explore the game.  I’m not sure how common this is with gaming groups but the fear of opening a legacy game, permanently destroying, adding, and altering the game state but never finishing it is so heavy that I’d rather have the game sit in shrink and never played than be played half-assed.

Something about the permanency of the decisions makes these games hard to enjoy (beyond those that would never want to deface their game in the first place).  It’s odd how much pressure there is for a legacy game as it wants to be played in its entirety, regularly so that each new sessions rules aren’t forgotten, and with the same group of people.  With my game group, this is difficult since we all have games (usually new) that we want to see on the table and since we don’t get together often enough to make sure everything has its chance, committing to 12 to 24 games of Pandemic Legacy was becoming increasingly difficult.

I decided to switch gears with this legacy setup and instead of going to my game group, I went to my wife.  She is definitely a gamer but life and work have turned her into an adult (one of us had to do it) and so gaming was less and less available.  She did, however, always like Pandemic so I thought I’d give it a shot.

After some convincing, she was on board.  Funnily enough, it wasn’t the commitment to playing through the entire season that took convincing, it was the legacy system itself.  I relived the whole geek culture reaction to the first legacy concept happen right before my eyes as she processed what this game was going to make us do.  It’s funny that I’m so obsessed with games and the industry that I forgot just how foreign the legacy concept can be.  She went through shock and disbelief (“We have to do what??”), anger and cynicism (“That is just dumb. You know they’re doing this just so you can buy the game over and over again.”), bargaining (“what if we just take pictures of the board state before we tear it down…”), and finally to acceptance (“fine. whatever.”).

Note: I’ll try to keep the rest of this as spoiler-free as possible but it will be almost impossible to not spoil even the tiny details. In any case, I have “[redacted]” major elements of the game in the images for your protection.

We started the game off picking our characters and working them up.  This is one of my favorite aspects of the game as it gives the characters a quasi-RPG feel.  I began the game with my favorite character of the Pandemic series, the Medic.

Bobdoh Johnson, or “Bobby D” as his friends call him, has been a terrific member of the Pandemic team.  In the last 6 months of service, he’s been instrumental in fighting back the ravages of disease and staving off terrifying outbreaks.  Through his heavy travels, he’s made many contacts and has helped even the weakest medical centers work through crises. Though he’s saved countless lives, his dreams are still troubled by a particularly brutal outbreak of Mad Fever in Seoul.  That abnormally hot March would forever scar Johnson. To this day, he can’t help but stop and help cities on the verge of outbreak as his mind flashes back to the horrors of Seoul. Hopefully this won’t be his undoing.

Johnson’s best friend, the brilliant researcher, Dr. Iris, has been the key to the curing of these new diseases.  While Johnson has been clearing out disease, Dr. Iris has been curing all the diseases in record time.  This dynamic duo has led to a four month winning streak as the team can typically cure a disease in the first few turns and eradicate them quickly thereafter.

As new threats are uncovered, Piper, the Specialist, joined the team in May.  Dr. Iris took a sabbatical to study these new threats more closely but Piper has kept the streak alive as the team cleared through May and June.


Game Summary

January (loss then win)

January was actually our toughest month as we ended up losing our first game. It was a combination of getting back into the rhythm and forgetting what to focus on that led to our downfall.  Late January went much better and we were able to get in a rhythm.

February (win)

February was  a breeze as we started with enough to cure a disease on the second turn and eradicate it a turn later.  Quite possibly the easiest game of Pandemic I’d seen.

March (win)

March set up well but I got cocky and Johnson got caught in an outbreak in Seoul.  It hasn’t seemed to slow him down much but it did make me play him a little more conservatively.

April (win)

This one was a bit odd in that we had things pretty well contained and then things started going bad very quickly.  Luckily, we were able to end the month quickly before too much damage was done.  From a design note, I was kind of curious if you could get into a situation in a legacy game where the game is no longer winnable due to damage done in the previous months.

May (win)

Due to some of the new events and damage done, we switched tactics and brought in Piper’s Specialist expertise. It took us a little bit of time to get used to the role and how it would interact with Johnson but the combo seemed to be even stronger given the upgraded board-state. Outbreaks have been the biggest issue in our previous game but we seemed to have that under control.  We almost totally botched it by forgetting to pay attention to the player deck and the number of cubes out on the board. We ended up with only 5 player cards left in the deck by the time we sorted it all out and won the game.  That cut it a little too close.

June (win)

Prepared for both the excess cubes we needed to manage and the inefficient time management we had in the previous month, June turned out to be a bit easier than the other months in this quarter.  I kind of keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and we start getting our ass handed to us but so far so good.

Card Sleeving for Unique Card Sizes

This week, I’m catching up on some items that have been on hold for a little bit. I’ll start with a simple little pimping- sleeving cards. Now card sleeves are probably the easiest way to pimp out a game and some might argue that it’s so ubiquitous that it isn’t actually pimping out your game.  I disagree, so much so that I will block quote my philosophy:

Pimping a game is any addition or customization that enhances the aesthetic or mechanical enjoyment of the game or game play.

Card sleeves as a protection of your investment will enhance the enjoyment over time, or rather, they will prolong the enjoyment as your components stay undamaged.  I don’t tend to sleeve my games but will do it for some exceptions, namely any game that requires different cards to be added and subtracted from frequently shuffled decks.  Dominion is probably the biggest example but 7 Wonders also has this, especially since the card quality was so poor and cards showed wear after the first couple of games.

Card sleeves are also something easily acquired and so might not be worth even mentioning in this blog but the card game I was looking to sleeve is pretty unique.

Korsar is the first edition of Knizia’s pirate card game that is now produced under Gamewright as “Loot.”

I first played Loot years ago and while we really enjoyed the game, the art was a bit too kid-ish and so it faded from our table.  To be fair, Gamewright announced a new version with updated art. However, I had heard about the original edition called Korsar but could never find a copy.  Eventually, a copy showed up and I quickly snatched it up.

As you can see, the art is a bit different and more “adult.” The other thing is the card size is very unique.  I have never encountered this card size before and since this was kind of a “grail game” to me, I didn’t want to ruin these cards with excessive play.  Card sleeving was really the only option (well not the only option as I could have laminated them) but with such a unique size, I couldn’t find anything that would work.

Finally, I stumbled on a specialized site dedicated to unique card sizes: Swan Panasia.  This site has a ton of unique sizes for card types I’d never heard of before and one of them worked for Korsar.  The delivery is fulfilled by Mayday Games so I’m not sure what the relationship is between the two companies but it made delivery to the US easy.

I picked up a set and they worked very well.  I’m glad I can pull out this game again and get it to the table.  The box size is a little weird so I’ll likely set it aside and make a custom tuckbox so that the game can travel easily.

There is one slight issue that I’m not sure about and that is the sleeve height.  I prefer them to be a little shorter so that there isn’t so much space at the top.  The excess sleeve amount at the top makes it harder to shuffle and can be annoying. I may cut them all down but will need to think about a way to cut them consistently.

In other news, Cosmic Kaboom from Minion Games came in this week as well.  I’m excited to crack this open and also get it to the table.

Finally, last week I talked about the 6×6 Game Challenge I’m doing this year and I had left the last entry open to discuss with my friends.  We came to a decision via acclimation and so number six in my 6×6 Game Challenge is:

Pandemic Legacy: Season 1

We’ve been wanting to do a Legacy game for a while now.  We tried Risk Legacy but then some friends moved away and the game died. Hopefully we’re more successful with this version.

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