September was rough. We ended up losing our first game, but a lot of stuff happened during the loss so it was ok. We were told in the beginning of September that we no longer had the objective of Recon 1 Unknown Region; it was being replaced with Recon East Asia. We also found out we had discovered a new haven but it had not yet been accessed. Our same characters, Goods, Newt, Aofie, and Claire set out once again to save the world.
It was in this game that Package 6 came back to haunt us. If you recall we were able to put infection/city cards into package 6 so they would not be drawn. We hadn’t put too many in fear that something would happen later but we did put a few and it had been nice not having to worry about these cities anymore. Well now when an epidemic occurred we had to draw a random infection card from package 6 and remove any cubes if any.
We knew from the beginning of this game it would be nearly impossible to achieve the goal of reconning Asia. We did search Khartoum and this card allowed us to give a player card to another player. We connected 2 new cities: Dar Es Salaam and New Mumbai. The new haven was also accessed and named Aang. Even though we lost the game we did keep a permanent supply center in Kolkata to make it easier to recon Asia in the next game. With our other points we increased the population in Tripoli and Istanbul. We also used a Foundations upgrade on a Washington city card to make it count as 2 cards of its color to build a supply center.
In the second game in September we had 2 rationed event cards. We used the One Quiet Night and Drastic Measures. Goods used the unrationed event card called Renewel which allowed her to gain a character upgrade worth 2 points or less. She chose Soldier so she can now discard a city card matching the color of the city she is leaving to prevent exposures from Hollow Men. We were able to recon Asia. Reconning Asia connected Jakarta to the grid. It also added 4 more Hollow Men cards to the infection deck. Claire searched Dar Es Salaam twice and was able to draw a free supply line from there. The other search from Dar Es Salaam showed there was a lost haven near there but we had already found it and accessed it. September did give us another unrationed event called Biodome Prototype, which allows us to place up to 3 shelters onto any cities on the grid. We have discovered shelters now to help prevent exposures for characters. To place a shelter you have to discard a card matching the color of the current city. It is nice to have some ways to prevent exposure now. We also used the frequency scanner a lot to try to avoid epidemics. It actually worked a couple of times!This game is getting crazy.
So in May when we reconned the Middle East we got some terrible news that the Hollow Men were there. We got 4 Hollow Men Gather cards and a bunch of little Hollow Men figurines. This was not looking good, so what did it mean? Well now at the beginning of the game the 4 Hollow Men Gather Cards are to be placed in the infection discard pile, meaning they won’t go into play until after the first epidemic. These cards do not count as an infection card draw, what happens is when you draw one the next city card you draw from the infection pile gets a Hollow Man added to it. Hollow Men in a city are terrible because if your character leaves a location with them there they gain an exposure. Hollow Men also decrease the population of a city by 1 at the end of the game. They can also decrease the population of a city in the middle of the game if a city already has 3 Hollow Men and the card is drawn again, instead of adding a 4th the population is decreased by 1.
We started June with the same characters (Aofie-Administrator, Claire-Laborer, Goods-Farmer, & Newt-Radio Operator). Our journal entry for June talked about Utopia again. It said our leaders went there and it’s a place that’s secure enough to resist the plague and Hollow Men. There’s suggestion that there might be a cure there, but we also don’t know where it is. The journal entry made it sound like it might be in the far east. It also tells us if we get there it is believed we would be helped but others also believe we would be killed on sight.
Going into this game we had a problem, how do we get out of cities that have Hollow Men without being exposed? According to the rule book if you try to leave a city with Hollow Men you are “cornered” and you cannot leave by the drive/ferry, sail, charter boat, or shuttle flight action without being exposed. So we decided that other means of leaving the city like being airlifted out of there or being transported by Aofie the Administrator would be ok.
This game was extremely difficult. We were not getting the cards we needed to make supply centers and Hollow Men were popping up everywhere. Plague cubes were also a problem. It was becoming clear that we would probably not win this game but we should try to recon Africa because Newt had the cards to get it. Before reconning Africa we were able to build a road to Frankfurt. We also thought about taking cards out of the game by using the free action of inoculation. We decided that if a city has a permanent supply center we could basically make it into a haven if we took this city card out of the infection discard. We are still hesitant to use this action because we are unsure if it will come back to haunt us later, but we did end up taking out 2 Washington and 2 Lagos.
Newt was able to recon Africa and the board was looking pretty ugly but we did get good news out of doing this. We found the ability to broadcast information to each other by building broadcast towers. We could build a broadcast tower in our city by using 2 supply cubes. Now while at the broadcast tower we could give another player a city card that matched the color of the city the tower was in. This player could be anywhere in the world, so it’s huge for moving cards around. With the use of the broadcast tower we were able to come up with a plan to be able to win the game, but this meant we would have to go a round a half to win. There was hope in sight but we were also 2 plague cubes away from losing.
During the recon we also connected Kinshasa to the grid and we got the Topaz Experimental Vaccine Unrationed Event Card. This card will allow us to discard 1 epidemic card without any effect. Shortly after coming up with our extraordinary plan to win this game that we had no hope earlier of winning we had to place our final plague cube and the game ended in a loss.
Even though we lost the first game in June some good things came out of it like reconning Africa, but also a few bad things happened. Goods gained an exposure while leaving a city with Hollow Men in it, luckily it was just an exposure and no scar. We also had population problems. We had to postpone Newt’s character upgrade of the Helmsman again to use all of our 5 game end upgrades on controlling populations. We used the upgrades to keep Chicago, NY, Moscow, Baghdad and Buenos Aires at a population of 2.
While reading the legacy deck at the end of the game we did obtain 2 new characters: Rock a 30 year old Sanitation Officer from Albatross and Sparrow a 47 year old Captain from Albatross. The captain can discard a city card from any port location to move to any other port location on the grid if a sea route can be traced. This is a free action. The sanitation officer can discard 2 player cards to take a city or produce supplies card from the discard pile as a free action. This was the first time we had received new characters so that was cool; we were told they were volunteers from the Havens.
Going into our second game in June we had no more areas on the map to recon so all we had to focus on was building the 3 supply stations, connecting 2 news cities to the grid with roads, and performing 2 search actions. We decided to use the same characters as previously. Since we lost the last game we gained 2 rationed events. We used the One Quiet Night and Drastic Measures. From the beginning Goods had Drastic Measures so this was good because it allowed us to remove 2 plague cubes from the grid.
Luckily this game went pretty smoothly. There were tense moments when 3 of us (Claire, Aofie, & Newt) ended up in New York and we struggled with should we remove the New York infection cards or let it ride. Of course we got an epidemic at this point and this meant we could all be exposed if Hollow Men showed up or if we lost all the cubes. Luckily neither happened. Fortunately, Claire obtained the Paris companion card which made it super easy for her to build 2 supply centers due to her being the Laborer and Architect. Goods was able to build the 3rd supply center. Newt built a road to Atlanta and Claire searched Buenos Aires. In Buenos Aires we found the OPAL lab. OPAL lab is one of the four labs that are looking for a cure. Here another person joined us, a new character from Buenos Aires who was an immunologist. Paulo the immunologist can take the supply cubes from the reserve instead of the stockpile.
In finding the OPAL lab we learned that we would get a special ability when finding labs. OPAL allows us to take an additional supply cube if we make supplies in a haven or supply center. We were also able to put Lake Baikal on the map. This is Northeast of Delhi but there is no way to connect to it yet. We are told this is where the primary lab was located and if there was a cure it would come from here. Of course no one has heard from Lake Baikal for decades. Finding the lab was really cool and we were excited. It was even more exciting when Aofie was able to end the game on her turn by searching Baghdad and building a road to Riyadh. When searching Baghdad she gained 2 extra actions so she built another road to Moscow to make an easier way to access everything. The game ended here and Goods used her Drastic Measures card to remove the only plague cube from the map that would effect the population. For our game end upgrades, Newt finally received his Helmsman ability and we increased the population in Frankfurt and Kinshasa.
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!
March is here and we have been on a winning streak so we have no rationed events going into this game. We do, however, have 2 unrationed events we haven’t used yet. We have the Decontamination Kit which allows us to remove all plague cubes from 1 location and the Relocation event that destroys up to 3 cities in the infection discard pile.
During the set up of our first game in March we were told it was critical to recon South America before the Hollow Men sabotage anything important. We also learned there are 4 main labs but they were not designed to last beyond 50 years. There was also a hint that we need to find havens outside the Atlantic because they could have supplies or equipment we could use. We got information from the archives about finding a cure. There was something called PEARL that was on the verge of finding a cure but it went silent. We learned that OPAL, JADE, AND TOPAZ are in place to support PEARL but they cannot find a cure on their own so we need to keep routes between viable. This was from Year 57.
We now have 3 objectives to complete in March. We still have to build 3 new supply centers, but now we have to do an additional 2 more objectives. These other objectives are Recon 1 unknown region, connect 2 new cities to the grid, complete 2 searches, or access a lost haven. The same characters were used as in the February game.
Everything about this game in March was difficult. We were not getting a good combination of cards and cities kept being infected. We considered using the Relocation card a couple of times to take out cities out of the infection discard pile, but we ultimately decided to try to handle it on our own. Even if we did this I think it would have been nearly impossible for us to win. Newt ended up having to use the Decontamination Kit card to save himself from being exposed. So now this card is out of the game forever, but fortunately no one was exposed during this game. We were able to build a supply center in Paris and search it as well. Paris gave us a Companion Engineer, which allowed us to build a supply center with 1 fewer card if you had this card in your hand. This is an ongoing effect that can be used in future games. Our other search occurred in Chicago. This search allowed us to put 2 supply cubes from the stockpile on Chicago, which at that point helped out a lot. We were not able to build any more supply centers or recon South America before we had too many incidents from the plague cubes and the game was lost. Our first loss.
When we finished our game in March we still had things to open. One of these things included more epidemic cards because now that we are adding more cards to the player deck the game thinks we should make it harder. So depending on how many cards are in the player deck determines how many epidemic cards you should put in the deck. We also got some more character upgrades and the ability to spend 2 supply cubes to make a sea lane from one port city to another.
As our game end upgrades we added the Architect ability to the Laborer so now she needed one less card to build a supply center. This would mean she would only need 3! We also upped the population in one city which is escaping me right now.
It was getting late but we didn’t want to end on a loss, so we decided to play again. We got 2 rationed events because of our loss and we chose one quiet night and drastic measures. We still had our unrationed event of Relocation.
Our second game in March was also crazy. From the beginning things were out of control. Washington, Lagos, and Sao Paulo were huge problems from the beginning so we decided to use Relocation on Sao Paulo since we needed the ability to be in that city to recon South America. We permanently removed 3 Sao Paulo cards from the game. I believe these are all of the Sao Paulo cards. One of our produce supplies card was also destroyed because we used the system-wide production ability on it.
Even with all of the craziness we were able to win March by re-conning South America, connecting 2 new cities to the grid, and building 3 supply centers. We had a supply center in New York, Washington, and Jacksonville. We connected Santiago and St. Petersburg to the grid. This game was near the brink of losing. We had 4 cards left in the player deck and London was blowing up. Luckily Aofie was able to help London and help give Claire her last yellow card to make the supply center in Jacksonville. I’m pretty sure 2 of us were in cities with plague cubes but since the game ended and we didn’t have to start in those cities and we escaped without any exposures. THIS GAME IS STRESSFUL!
Now we finished March. We have 14 cities on the grid and we got a new unrationed event called Strategic Reserves. This allows us to move up to 8 supply cubes from the reserve to the stockpile for use in the game. This could be good for starting a game without many supplies. We upgraded by giving the Administrator the Runner ability. The Runner can discard a city card while in a haven or supply center to move to any location on the grid. We also made a permanent supply center in Washington. I forgot to take a picture of the board because it was so late.
Before playing we chose our game end upgrades from the January game. We decided to upgrade the Farmer character named Goods. We gave her the courier ability, which allows her to deliver supplies to an adjacent location. With our last remaining unit I believe we increased the population in a city, but right now I am having trouble remembering.
So now we were ready to see what February would bring us. I played my usual character, Claire the Laborer. Cassie played Aofie the Administrator. Ian played Newt the Radio Operator and Don played the newly transformed Goods the Farmer. To start our game out we had to draw some cards from the Legacy Deck. We were told to destroy our objective of re-conning North America (which we accomplished in January). Then we read another journal entry about the Hollow Men expanding their raids into South America. The entry hinted at the the Hollow Men possibly trying to look for one of the labs working on a cure. So now we have a hint that we should try to recon South America. There’s also a hint of having to dilute supplies or abandon supply routes due to the Hollow Men. In February we started with 33 supply cubes in the beginning of the game as opposed to the 36 in January. From here on out supplies look like they are less and less in each month. We also got another Turning Point to add to the Game End area. This one tells us to scratch off the box if we have lost 4 games in a row….hopefully that never happens! We still have our Turning Point #1 that we tells us to open things if we have any cities with 0 population.
Starting February we had 3 objectives, that of which we had to complete 2. One of them that had to be completed was creating 3 new supply centers. Then we could either connect 2 new cites on the grid or recon 1 unknown region. Going into the game we planned on re-conning South America because it seemed the easiest with being able to have any 4 yellow city cards while the other recons had to have different cities. We also thought connecting 2 new cities to the grid seemed doable so we would see how the cards fell.
The game didn’t go as planned but things still worked out. We built a supply center in Istanbul so we could increase its population at the end of the game. In the middle of the game we saw that re-conning Europe would happen because Newt had all of the cards needed. So we abandoned the idea of re-conning South America. We were able to recon Europe fairly early on, because Goods had the ability to make a supply center in London.
Once we discovered Europe we found out there were still some functioning aircraft on old military bases. This gave us the ability to fly between havens and supply centers! We also discovered a new city–Paris, and we got another unrationed event. This unrationed event allowed us to destroy up to 3 copies of one city card in the infection discard pile. So now we had 2 unrationed events in our deck which was good because if we won this game we would have 0 rationed events for our first game in March.
After re-conning Europe we saw that Claire would be able to make a supply center in a yellow city to finish the game. Claire chose to make the supply center in Sao Paulo because one of new game end upgrades we received allows us to keep permanent supply centers. If we have one here we would be able to more easily recon South America in a future game.
We were able to leave February pretty much unscathed. With our supply centers we could increase the populations in Sao Paulo, Istanbul, and London. We also had the help of 2 rationed events in this game-One Quiet Night and Drastic Measures. Drastic Measures helped us remove plague cubes so we wouldn’t have to worry about the population at the end of the game. As our game end upgrades we added a permanent supply center in Sao Paulo and we increased the population in Paris and Chicago because they were low and we figured we would be discovering Chicago soon. Can’t wait for next month!