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Finally! Pandemic Legacy Season 2!!!–January Game.

We have been waiting over a year for Season 2 of Pandemic Legacy. If you don’t know anything about the board game Pandemic, it’s awesome and you should check it out. You could also go back in the gaming section of this blog to read about the base game and see my attempt at blogging about Pandemic Season 1. We have been playing Pandemic with our friends Cassie and Ian for probably over 4 years now. We went through Season 1 together and loved it. We also feel like we have an awesome team, so here is my attempt at recounting our Pandemic Legacy Season 2 story. And who knows, maybe we will start vlogging like we always joke about?!

***If you just want to hear an awesome (but confusing if you have no concept of the game) story keep reading but if you’re wanting to play the game this will have spoilers!! Starting….Now.

Season 2 occurs 71 years after Season 1. The world has been mostly destroyed by the plague and now we are just trying to keep afloat. Many people live in the sea on floating stations called Havens. The people in the Havens work to give supplies to the mainland. As you can imagine something has went wrong and we have lost contact with cities on main grid so now we have to send some people out to figure out what’s wrong so we can save humanity.

The whole premise of the game is different. It used to be our main goal of the game was to find cures for diseases. Now the disease is incurable and we are trying to keep supplies moving. If a city becomes devoid of supplies it becomes at risk of being taken over by the plague. So before we dove into Season 2 it was recommended that we played a practice game (or as many practice games until we felt comfortable).

So before our first practice game we had to name our 3 Havens on the map. At first it is surprising at how few cities are available on the map compared to the previous Pandemic games where we had access to the whole world. Now we just have a few cities on the East coast of North America, one city in South America, a few in Africa, and a few in Europe. The 3 havens are in the sea and we named them Avalon, Andromeda, and Atlantis.

 

After we named the Havens we had to make our characters. This was different because previously all characters were made in Pandemic games. In Legacy 1 we could name our characters and we could add different abilities later in the game but here we are naming, choosing a photo sticker, and choosing a job. We were told to make 5 characters and there were only 5 jobs to choose from so it wasn’t entirely hard.

For our Practice game Ian played Newt, a 30 year old Radio Operator from Andromeda. The Radio Operator is able to spread supplies to other players anywhere on the board without being in the same city as them. Cassie played Aofie, a 28 year old Administrator from Avalon. The Administrator is basically the Dispatcher from the original Pandemic. She can move another player to any other player on the map. And Cassie the ultimate dispatcher so it’s only natural that is her character. Don played Goods, a 27 year old Farmer from Atlantis. The Farmer can immediately deliver supplies for free after making them. We think he may be the equivalent to the Medic. I played Claire, a 27 year old Laborer from Andromeda. I am basically the Scientist from the base game because I need one less card to build a supply center, but I also need 2 supply cubes.

We read the journal entry for the practice game and put out our objective of building 3 supply centers on the board. The objective feels similar to finding cures like in the original game, but now it’s about keeping cubes on the board because they represent supplies (safety) whereas before we wanted less cubes on the board because they represented disease (death). So it kind of felt like we were working backwards. We also had to get used to cities being in the infection pile multiple times, whereas before cities were only in there once so we could gauge when a city would come up much more easily. Anyway, it was difficult but we ended up being able to build the 3 supply centers and win the game.

Now it was getting late and the question was do we stop, play another practice game, or just dive in? We decided to go for it and play the first episode or January as the game calls it. Now things get more real because our characters could be hurt or even killed by effects in the game. In the practice game, nothing could happen to our characters and certain actions were not allowed to be taken. A character can be hurt in the game if a city loses all of it’s supplies, the plague moves into the city, and the character is unable to get out before their next turn.  Then the character gains an exposure and if you notice on the bottom of the character card there are 7 silver boxes. These boxes will be scratched off one by one with each exposure. The scratch off could reveal nothing and your character is lucky or it could reveal a scar which would mean you would have to add a handicap to your character. In the worst case scenario an exposure could reveal a skull and your character dies. These 7 scratch off boxes are randomized so we have no idea what will happen.

So we started the January game feeling pretty nervous. We now had the objective of building 3 supply centers as before but then also performing the Recon action in North America. This meant we would have to build a supply center in Washington and then later bring 3 more blue cards there to Recon. We read the journal entry and found out that supplies were dwindling and cities were projected to fall within a year so we needed to do something. We also found out about something called the Hollow Men that raid surviving cities. Don decided he wanted to switch up characters so he played Shino, a 50 year old Instructor from Atlantis. The Instructor is basically the Researcher from the original game. He can give any player in his location any city card. When we started the game we immediately had cities losing supply cubes fast and plague cubes popping up. We also had a clear path to making a supply center in Africa and Washington quickly, so we did that. Throughout the game we realized the Dispatcher was essential to getting players out of cities before their turn so they would not gain an exposure. We also realized it was beneficial during the set up of the game to not put any supply cubes in the havens at the beginning because they could not be affected by infection cards. This allowed more supplies on cities that could be infected. Throughout this first game it was a constant struggle. We were torn between letting cities get out of control with plague cubes and going right to the objective. This was especially hard because Ian had 4 yellow cards to make the 3rd supply station (with 1 more card) and he also had 3 blue cards to do the Recon action in Washington. We had a plan; we could see victory. Victory did not happen though because we ran out of plague cubes and had too many incidents. We were defeated, but nothing had happened to our characters and we had no idea what plague cubes meant for the continuation of the game so we decided that instead of calling it a loss we would call it a second practice game.

Now it was really late, around 12:30 am. We were all tired but I could tell we didn’t want to give up entirely. So we decided to try again. Maybe it would be terrible and something bad happens immediately so we just quit and go to bed. Or maybe we win. We decided to stick with the same characters. This time around we really were able to control supplies better; I think this was due to using the Produce Supplies cards more freely.  I think in the first 2 games we were hesitant to use these because we didn’t know how many we had so we were holding onto them. We used them all the time in this game, but we never used the System-Wide Production ability. Things were working in our favor and we were making good decisions. We were able to get through the game and win. It was hard though because towards the end we were on the brink of having players being exposed to the plague and we were also almost out of cards which would also end up in a loss. We had 3 cards left in the player deck when we were able to finish the last objective of the North American Recon. When we finished the objective which also ended the game we were able to open package 1. Package 1 had new city cards and event cards. It also revealed a sticker of the map to add to the board.

There was now a connection to Chicago and we had “discovered” Chicago. We now have infection and city cards for Chicago to add to the deck. You can notice on the map though there are other cities on the new portion of the map but they don’t have roads or connections to them. We now have a new action where we can Establish A Supply Line by spending 2 supply cubes to actually draw a line from the city we are in to another city. Once a line is drawn to the new city we add those cards to the infection and player deck. Package 1 also revealed another player action of Searching. This means if we come across a city card with a box to scratch off on it and we are in that city we may reveal what the city card says without discarding it. We also revealed more Scar stickers to add to our reserve in case our characters are injured. The last thing Package 1 gave us was an interesting card called an Unrationed Event Card that allows a player to remove all plague cubes from 1 location for free and at any time. Once this card is used though it has to be destroyed.

Now the game was over but it was time to do our Game End Actions. Now was the time we figured out the consequence of plague cubes in a city and the benefit of supply centers. For every location that had at least 1 plague cube we had to adjust the population to decrease by 1. But if a city had a supply center we would increase the population by 1. Adjusting the population is done by using the stickers provided. We had 2 cities with plague cubes: Istanbul and Washington. Washington had 2 plague cubes. I think we did pretty well because this meant we only had 3 incidents the entire game and too many incidents also lead to a loss. Istanbul’s population went from 3 to 2. Since Washington also had a supply center its population stayed the same because plague cubes and supply centers cancel each other out. We were able to increase Jacksonville’s population to 4 and we were able to do the same with Cairo because these locations had supply centers. Population is important because when you produce supplies this is the maximum amount you can produce there. I’m sure something terrible happens if you let the population dwindle to zero also though.

Next we checked the Legacy Deck for further instructions. Then we resolved cards in the Game End Area. Our Game End Area had one card called a Turning Point that said if any city has a population of Zero we were to reveal A & 12 and then destroy the card. We had no cities with a population of Zero so this card will stay in our Game End Area until it is destroyed….

Our final Game End action was to Spend Production Units. This meant we chose upgrades and this was done by calculating the number of cities on the grid and comparing that to the table shown in the Game End Area. We discovered a new city (Chicago) so we now have 10 cities on the grid. With 10 cities we got 3 production units, but we also got a +1 for winning the game, so 4 units. With these 4 units we can upgrade a character’s abilities, put advantages on city or infection card, or increase the population of a city. It was super late so after a short discussion we decided to make our final upgrade decisions before our next game. One upgrade we are leaning towards is the Courier character ability which we would add to the Farmer character. This ability allows the character to put supply cubes in an adjacent city.

We were super excited to win. Did we cheat by starting January and technically losing the first round? I don’t think so. We hadn’t done anything in the game like expose a character or use the system production ability that would cause permanent consequences. I’m excited to see what the February game will bring us. Luckily we will start with same amount of supply cubes (36), but from there on out supply cubes at the beginning of the game lessen. Since we won January the game will become slightly harder because we will only get 2 event cards instead of the 4 we started with.

This game is awesome!!

Last Day–Cats & Rome

Today we woke up around 7 and got ready to leave the villa. We said our goodbyes and Greg drove us, Jim and, Doreen to the train station in Castelfiorentino. We were all taking the train from Castelfiorentino to Florence. From Florence, Don and I were going back to Rome for the day so we could fly back home the next day. The train from Florence to Rome was pretty cool, it was a high speed train, 247 km/h.

We arrived in Rome at noon and we were on a mission to find the luggage deposit so we could walk around Rome all day without our bags. I had found instructions online on how to get to the luggage deposit in Roma Termini but none of them were very descriptive. Basically the easiest way to do it is by exiting Roma Termini onto Via Giovanni Giolitti and walk South along the train station and just after the Airport Shuttle you can re-enter the train station and you will find where you can deposit your luggage. It was super easy and and I think it was around 10 Euros for us to leave our bags there for about 5 hours.

We wanted to leave our bags because we had to be back at the train station later to take the train to our hotel by the airport. Once we were not weighted down by our luggage we were free to roam Rome for the afternoon.

We wanted to have carbonara again because we couldn’t stop thinking about since the dinner in Montecatini Alto. I found a place called La Carbonara and we decided to have lunch there. It was pretty crowded and seemed like a tourist trap.  The carbonara was nothing compared to what we had earlier in the week at Casa Gala. It was ok though.

After lunch we walked to the cat ruins at Largo di Torre Argentina. When we were in Rome earlier in the week I had noticed there were no cats roaming around and I thought this was weird because every where we have traveled has had cats. I usually make it a point to photograph cats in places to travel to, so I was a bit disappointed by the lack of cats in Rome.  A friend commented to me on facebook that we should visit this place and I hadn’t even heard of it so I wanted to check it out on our last day. Largo di Torre Argentina is an archaeological site where there is also a cat sanctuary. Stray cats are cared for here at the shelter and they are allowed to roam the ruins. This place is also were Julius Caesar was killed. It was a weird place. When we first arrived we were looking down at the site and we saw a few cats sleeping among the ruins. It was so hot. We were trying to find a way to get down into the ruins and we found stairs that went down to the shelter. We went into the shelter to check out the cats. The shelter was divided into two areas: one area had cats that were recovering either from sickness or injury and the other side had cats that were just roaming freely. The cats were well cared for and it seemed like you could adopt cats. I am still unsure about that. All of the products they were selling were used to benefit the shelter. I bought a magnet here. We spent some time with the cats and it was pretty cool. I was a bit disappointed because while you could look down into the archaeological site and point out cats you could not go into the site. The site itself seemed a bit forgotten, there were signs around that you could read about the place but other than that there was very little information on site. It seems like they could do more to this place but maybe they are working on it. It was very cool to see cats in the ruins.

After the ruins we didn’t really know what else we wanted to see but we were not ready to go to our hotel. We decided to check out this park we saw on the map earlier, so we risked taking the city bus again. We successfully rode the bus to Villa Borghese Park on the North side of Rome. It was a nice park, we walked around for a bit, and then we noticed there was some kind of horse show going on. We stopped for a bit to watch some horses run around and do some tricks. It was pretty cool, we have never really seen anything like it. Then we walked around some more and came across a small pond where people were in rowboats. Later I found out this area was called Temple of Asclepius. It was a really pretty area. Then we decided to walk back. We stopped at a cafe in hopes of using a bathroom but their bathroom was closed. We each had an overpriced cappuccino and enjoyed being outside at the park. We tried to take the bus back to Roma Termini to get our train but the bus was never coming so we ended up walking. It was about a 30 minute walk.

On our walk back to train station, I may have left my hat in Rome….I just didn’t want it anymore.

We got our luggage from the luggage deposit and we were both so happy that it worked out for us. Then we took the train from Roma Termini to the airport. Once we got to the airport we couldn’t figure out how to get to our hotel. We were staying at a Hilton but there were two Hiltons near the airport. We ended up walking to the Hilton that was connected to the airport because it was right there and we hoped that there would be a shuttle we could take to ours, but there was not. The walk was so long and I was getting tired and grouchy. We had to walk back to into the airport where we ended up calling our hotel and they told us where to find our shuttle. We were staying at the Hilton Garden Inn Rome Airport hotel, which was still very near the airport but you could not walk. It is also cheaper than the Hilton Rome Airport, so if you are ever trying to get to it the shuttle is at terminal 3 door 3 in the airport. The shuttle was weird because it went all around the airport and airport workers would use it.

Once we got to the hotel we were surprised to see the check in line was out the door. The check in went pretty fast though. There were a ton of police checking in and all around which I thought was weird but apparently it was the G7 Summit here.

The room here was nice, along with the lobby. I would definitely suggest staying here for the convenience and the price. We decided to get some dinner at the hotel restaurant, it wasn’t very good. Don had carbonara and I had pizza. During dinner we were watching a couple from afar who were in an obvious fight. They were American and we had fun commentating on what the fight could be about. It lasted a long time.

I can’t believe tomorrow we are leaving Italy. This trip has been awesome. I really don’t want to leave.

 

Lucca and Pisa

Today was our last full day at the villa. We got on the bus around 9 again to check out Lucca. On the way there our driver, Fernando, told us a bit about Lucca and what we should see. Lucca was a very cute city. There is a wall built around the old part of Lucca. The wall was cool because you could go on it and walk the perimeter. You could also bike the wall and we were planning to do that but we got caught up walking around and seeing different things.

We saw this awesome kid driving his car.

We ate outside at a cute little place called Bistrot e Winebar Des Arts. We had an appetizer of meat and cheese and of course it was great. I had a pesto pasta that was also amazing and Don had some kind of quinoa dish.

After lunch we walked around more and came across a very pretty church.

We also found the amphitheater which is all shops and restaurants now. We quickly got some gelato here and made our way back to the bus.

Our next stop was Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. It was pretty cool. It was fun to watch everyone trying to get the perfect picture of themselves trying to hold the tower up. It was crowded and hot but we all got our photos and headed back to the villa.

Once we got back to the villa we immediately wanted to make the most of the pool on our last day. We all were relaxing and having drinks at the pool. The water finally felt like it had really warmed up and most people were in it. All of the sudden Greg and I were in a diving/jumping contest. We had fun providing entertainment for everyone. Hanging out in Lucca today and seeing the leaning tower in Pisa was very cool, but the dive contest was probably the highlight of my day. It was so fun!

While we were swimming the chefs had arrived with their wood fire oven to make our final meal of pizza. The pizza dinner consisted of about eight different types of pizza that we all got to try. They were amazing! The ones that stood out the most to me was the margherita, veggie and burrata cheese pizza. The burrata cheese pizza was amazing!! I wish I could have some again right now. We also had an anchovie pizza, which wasn’t bad. The tuna pizza was probably the most interesting one and I don’t think I would eat that one again. After dinner we had some more drinks then we had to start packing so we could leave in the morning. This trip has been awesome!

Crazy Bus Ride To A Winery and Pool Fun

Today we left on the bus around 9 again to head to a winery for a tour and tasting. We had a new bus driver today named Riccardo and we got a little lost on the way to the winery, although I don’t think it was entirely his fault. The route was really confusing and the GPS didn’t seem to be working correctly. We had to stop a couple of times and ask random people for directions and no one really seemed to know anything. Finally Don saved the day by using his awesome navigation skills and some google translate to tell the driver in Italian what we were doing wrong.

The drive was crazy though. We were on a tiny road on a mountain pretty much the entire time in a giant bus. There was barely any room for the bus and often you could not see far ahead of you to see if another car was coming. At times we would be inches away from the wall of the mountain and one time we even had a car coming at us head on. I have to admit I don’t even remember how we got out of that, I think the car backed up. I was not feeling so great with a bit of car sickness and it was really scary so I didn’t look outside a lot.

 

We finally made it to the winery after about 2 hours and they were shocked to see all of us because apparently we did not finalize our reservation. The winery was called Montefioralle. We had some time since they were not expecting us so we took a few pictures. Everything around the winery was beautiful,but what did you expect it’s Italy.

Once things settled down we got a brief tour and then we were seated for some snacks and tastings. We were able to taste five wines and they were all great. We also had meats, breads, and bruschetta. I normally do not like bruschetta because I don’t really like raw tomatoes but as usual everything in Italy taste better and I even ate the tomatoes! We really enjoyed our time here and a lot of people purchased a lot of wine to be shipped back home.

On the bus ride home many people slept, I was one of them. Once we got back we went to Castelfiorentino to buy train tickets for Saturday. We also went to a grocery store. Once we got back we all had fun at the pool and cannonballs were done.

After the pool we went to dinner where we were greeted with little dolls.

Dinner tonight was very good. It started out with an appetizer of asparagus and mozzarella on bread. Then there was a truffle pasta, which I didn’t even know if I liked truffles, but this was soooo good. It was probably one of my favorite pastas of the trip. I wish I could have some right now! The rest of the meal was veal with potatoes and salad. We also had a little birthday celebration for Greg during dessert. After dinner we went to bed pretty early.

 

Florence & An Amazing Dinner

Today we got on the bus again around 9 to head to Florence.

The bus ride was more fun and interesting today because it started out with Greg finding out there was a microphone in the front of the bus.

“How did I not know this was here? Welcome to your hell.”

On the way to Florence Don and I were trying to help Greg finalize the menu for our dinner tonight in Montecatini Alto. We were helping him translate emails from the restaurant owner because google translate was not doing the best job. When the menu was finalized google translated two of the dishes to “Sweet Ass” and “Poodle Wallet”.  So needless to say there were a lot of jokes pertaining to this.

Once we got to Florence the bus stopped at Piazzale Michelangelo so we could take some photos. The Piazzale Michelangelo has panoramic views of Florence; it also has a replica of Michelangelo’s David. The views were pretty amazing.

After everyone got their photos we got back on the bus and the bus dropped us off near the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It was very beautiful.

We took a lot of pictures of the church and then decided it was time to find some lunch before meeting for our walking tour. On our search for food we found the house of the poet Dante Alighieri. Don thought this was very cool because he likes his works. We also found there was a museum for Dante. Before checking out the museum we found a really cute little restaurant that was ran by two sisters, called Antica Bottega Wine Tasting. It was probably one of my favorite meals we had at a restaurant in Italy and it was so simple. Don had the lasagna and I had a prosciutto and mozzarella panini. It was so good!!!  I want to go back! We also each had glasses of the Dante wine, because apparently we were hanging out in his hood. The panini was so good. We had a good time here chatting with the sisters a bit, they told us they had been to Chicago and really liked it. After lunch we made our way to Museo Casa di Dante.

The Dante Museum was pretty cool, really informative. It was 4 Euros each and it only took about 40 minutes for us to go through it. We probably could have spent a little more time here but we had to meet our tour guide at 2 pm.

Our walking tour guide was named Laura and she was very good. One highlight of the tour was seeing the Mercato del Porcellino, which is basically a market. Don was excited to see it because it is in the game Assassin’s Creed.

We also saw all of the statues at the Piazza della Signoria. I enjoyed watching an old man feed pigeons here. The pigeons knew him! He must have come there every day to feed them because they were climbing all over him.

By the end of the tour we were all really tired but we got a boost of energy with some gelato. Then we all got back on the bus and made our way to Montecatini Alto for dinner.

Montecatini Alto is a really cool town because it is up on a mountain and you take a rail car up to the town.

The views at the top were really amazing.

We had some time before dinner to walk around a bit and explore the town. It seemed pretty small but beautiful. We took a lot of pictures of the city below us.

I also found a cat here…

We had dinner reservations at Casa Gala. It was a super cute place and it was probably one of the best meals we have ever had.

Since we had a big group the restaurant just picked out a menu for us. We were able to try all of their appetizers I think, and they were all delicious. We had an awesome meat and cheese board and something with eggplant that was good too. There were delicious sardine bruschetta and fried pasta for appetizers also.  I wish I could find a copy of their menu. We thought the best dish here was the carbonara. It was the first place we had ever had carbonara and it was awesome!! It’s a pasta dish with egg, cheese, and crispy bacon pieces. The dishes kept coming out and everything was amazing. There was a gnocchi but it had bleu cheese in it and also a pork tenderloin that was good. Our dessert was cheesecake. I wish I had taken more pictures but I was enjoying this meal too much. It was a perfect night.

After dinner we walked down a bit to the bus because the rail car was no longer running. It was a very pretty walk with all of the city lights below us.