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WTS: Rash

2010-03-05

I assume I've made it fairly obvious over these past few months that I enjoy board games.  While I'm certainly competative in nature and love nothing more than steam-rolling fools in a game of Chess, I also enjoy games where you are not pitting against one another but rather against the game itself.  I picked up Arkham Horror a while back and it's an amazing amazing game full of atmosphere, adventure, and, well, Old Gods bent on devouring the world.  That in and of itself is the best sixty bucks I've ever spent.  Amy enjoys the more classic games like Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit and I love those as well, but for whatever reason I tend to lean towards games with rulebooks threatening the length of a small novel and the more complicated and obscure the rules, the better.  At times.  My only real issue with Arkham is the set-up time which can be quite intimidating if you're in the mood for a game and it's honestly kept me away from setting everything up on more than one occasion.

The other week i came across a thread talking about a game called Pandemic and after doing some research, it seemed perfect for me.  Now the rules are fairly simple - a paltry 8 pages, /scoff - but there's a surprising amount of depth hidden in said simplicity.  In short, you play one of five roles (technically a 2+ player game but very easily played solo as well) during a worldwide disease outbreak.  There are four separate strains represented by four different colors and your job is to find a cure for each.  Easy enough.  However, as the game goes on, things can get out of hand rather quickly through Epidemic cards which has you pull a card from the bottom of the Infection pile (these having the name of a city along with a specific color to have you place one of the "disease" blocks on) and immediately putting 3 of these blocks on that location.  Any one location can only ever have 3 of the same color on it.  Anything beyond that, and an Outbreak occurs.  For example, say New York has 3 blue blocks on it and one of the Infection cards drawn at the end of a player's turn is New York.  As only 3 blocks can only exist there, the disease spreads to every adjacent city forcing you to place one block on every surrounding area.  Now, what sucks is if any of those surrounding cities also has 3 of the same diseases on it, another Outbreak occurs and the virus spreads to every adjacent square that city is touching which can set up some serious chain reactions and things can get very nasty and out of hand very quickly.

I've played five games so far and one 3 of the 5 times which isn't too bad from what I understand.  Apparently the win rate is fairly even with the losing rate and whie I think I'm starting to develop a bit of a strategy, I'm not sure how long that will keep me.  For whatever reason, Japan and the surrounding islands seem painfully prone to infection and I'm not sure if that's just how each of my games happened to play out or what, but they need to stop with whatever Godzilla experiements they're fired up and leave that big green thing be.  In the game I just wrapped up, I had a fairly clear board and things were moving along quite nicely and in four turns, hand to God, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Ho Chi Min City were gone.  It's like they were mad for all of the crap happening with Toyota and they just gave the world a giant collective middle finger and flushed all of their nuclear waste into the North Pacific.  Seriously Japan, have some dignity.

Also, for some reason, I would have expected San Francisco to be a far bigger problem with this disease business but it's been surprisingly calm over there.  I can only assume the red disease represents Gay and they're afraid of letting that too far beyond the city limits.  Because, if Homer Simpson has ever taught me anything, it's that nobody wants to catch Gay.  Yup.