Just like March, April was freaken hard. Our very first shot at April started with a series of unfortunate events caused by SOMEBODY (that somebody being me) shuffling the cards terribly. Don was busy so I thought I would give a shot at getting the game ready and shuffling the cards. I have never done it before (adding the epidemic cards) and I will never do it again!
We had to read some Legacy cards before beginning our game. Our first card instructed us to scratch off a card if we had not re-conned South America yet. We had already discovered South America though so this card was not needed. We got a journal entry that told us that although the lead laboratory was lost there were 3 laboratories supposedly still operating in the Southern Hemisphere. Now we need to find them to see if they have made any progress. We also got a report from year 42 that said the Pacific Haven was not reporting.
We played the same characters as before (farmer, laborer,administrator, and radio operator). This game did not last long for us because it was clear I did not shuffle well at all. We had 3 epidemics in a row. Plague cubes were being put all over the board and Goods received her first exposure. Luckily, her first exposure was nothing. We also used up one of our Produce Supply Cards. Things were going terribly and none of us felt we were in the right state of mind. We decided that since we had barely made it through round 2 of this game and it was such a shit show we would abandon ship. This left the question of what do we do about the permanent stuff we did like the exposure and the wasted produce supplies card?
Hilariously, as we were all debating what to do–should we quit? should we keep going? should we keep the permanent damage done?–Ian was working on a solution. He had been walking around and had made little squares of electrical tape to put over the stuff we had scratched off on cards. This creativity pretty much convinced us all we should restart and have Don shuffle.
So we now officially started April. April gets harder because you only have 27 supply cubes to start. Things were not easy. We had to accomplish 3 out of 5 objectives. There was still the mandatory objective of building 3 new supply centers. Then we could either access a lost haven, connect 2 new cities to the grid, complete 2 searches or recon 1 unknown region. We really wanted to try to recon Africa because we still didn’t have enough cities to recon India. Things didn’t go as planned though. We just couldn’t get a good combination of cards and we couldn’t contain plague cubes and we ending up losing our first game in April. This is where we came up with the phrase “we gotta lose some to win some”. Maybe that is what we have to do? Things we did accomplish in this game though were: completing 2 searches and connecting Lima to the grid.
Our search in Santiago was not so great as it told us this town was haunted. We learned this city was plagued by infected rats. We learned our characters would gain an exposure if they began a turn in an infested city. Santiago became our first infested city, but we are unclear how this infestation spreads. We have stickers to make more cities infested.
Our search in St. Petersburg was much better. It allows a player to do the search action for free if they have this card in their hand.
During our population adjustment at the end of our first game in April we discovered we had our first forsaken city, Santiago. Forsaken cities are cities with a population of zero. This made us use our Turning Point #1. Now we learned how cities became infested because forsaken cities become immediately infested. Whenever you pull a forsaken city during the infection phase you put that card in the game end area and draw another card. Forsaken cities also do not count as cities on the grid for the game in production points.
We were bummed we had our first forsaken city but it really could not have occurred in a better city. Santiago is pretty secluded and it was already infested. We decided to just leave it forsaken and up the population in Istanbul, Cairo, and Tripoli. We used our last 2 production points to up the population in Chicago and NY because they were going to go down due to plague cubes.
Another loss. This game is challenging! We wanted to beat April though so we tried again. This time with success. We used the same characters as previously and we also had a lot of good things happen (besides one exposure). Aofie received her first exposure but luckily it was nothing.
We were able to build 3 supply centers in London, St. Petersburg, and Cairo. At the end of our game we used a game end upgrade to keep a permanent supply center in Cairo. This will make it easier for us to recon that area.
We completed 2 searches, one in Lima and one in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg told us about smugglers in the area that wanted to help so we were able to draw a sea lane from St. Petersburg to another city. We drew a sea lane from St. Petersburg to New York. Our search in Lima was very interesting, it told us we learned the location of a new haven but we had not yet accessed it.
Since Goods was already in Lima we were able to discover the lost haven. We named it Albatross (keeping with the A-named havens and after the bird in the Galapagos). When we accessed the haven we were able to open package 6. Package 6 gave us some pretty awesome stuff. It told us about some experimental medicines that were being used to inoculate populations. The inoculated cities would remain inoculated for months to buy us some time. It also informed us a cache of supplies were found and we were able to add 15 supply cubes to the stockpile. Even more cool, as of now, from now on we will be able to add 15 more supply cubes at the start of the game.
We got 3 portable antiviral lab cards which allow us when making supplies to discard this card and add 3 more supply cubes to our character card. So that is pretty cool. We also received a new free action to inoculate. When we inoculate we can take a player card or an infection card from the discard pile matching our current city and put it in package 6. These cards stay in package 6 from game to game. We cannot take them out until instructed to do so, but we can look at them. We may not add any stickers to them. What’s crazy is we can add up to 30 player cards and 30 infection cards! All of these upgrades seem almost too good to be true. Don really wants to be cautious about putting cards into package 6 because he thinks it will come back to haunt us later. He is probably right, but it’s hard not to do it now and reap the benefits. So far we have a Tripoli and a Cairo infection card in package 6.
During this game we also connected Moscow to the grid. This was necessary to be able to recon this area since we needed more black cities on the grid. We used our other 2 game end upgrade points to up the population in Moscow and Lima. Lagos, NY, and Jacksonville took a population hit but they are still ok.
We were super pumped to win. Having funding for rationed events helped but were not necessary because we didn’t even draw Hidden Stockpile. We did use Drastic Measures which allowed us to remove 2 plague cubes from the grid. This helped with the population adjustment at the end. This game is really challenging and really makes you think. We can’t wait for the May game!