Pandemic: The Cure?

Pandemic: The Cure?

Share on Facebook0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Share on Reddit0

Writer_smallerPandemic: The Cure?

This is, more or less, a comic about how there very nearly wasn’t a comic this week. Moreover, it is a comic about why this is a comic featuring just one character in a simple setting talking to a bed, as opposed to another ‘actual’ character. In other words, it was as much as could be done once Aileen had recovered.

It is also a true story. Thankfully, Aileen is entirely better now, thanks in no small part to board games. So from here on out it’s regular, weekly updates. Also, in case anyone is concerned, the stick I wield in panel 5 is not normally used to test the level of sickness/wellness in Aileen. It is actually my editor’s stick, and is generally used to make sure comics are made on time. The manner in which the stick is used for both purposes is, however, surprisingly similar.

Started 2017 by kicking a big game off our bucket list – we finally played 7 Wonders. Not the all-new, all-fancy Duel, mind you, just regular old-fashioned 7 Wonders, which is one of those games that we had somehow managed to avoid playing up until this point.

I enjoyed it. It’s a really nice engine-building system, with a great theme and artwork to back it up. There’s interesting decisions to be made with almost every hand, and it has a surprisingly fast play time for how much ‘game’ you get out of it. The game goes through three ‘ages’, wherein you pass your hand of cards around the table, picking one card to keep at a time, laying each chosen card in front of you to further your civilisation. Sort of like Sushi Go, but with pyramids.

Cards will earn money, resources, or just take you straight to victory points. As the ages pass, the cards get more expensive, but if you’ve been doing your job right, your earlier efforts will have laid a sufficient foundation of resources to pay for these cards. As you expand, you can choose to specialise in science, commerce, civilisation, or war. It’s a mix of planning, and adapting to your hand as you are dealt it, and it’s a mix that it gets right.

After two plays, it’s a game that I do want to go back to, but I also feel its lifespan will be somewhat limited for me. On paper, it’s a game with huge replayability – there appear to be a lot of viable strategies, and what will work in any given game will depend on the cards you are dealt, and of course the cards your neighbours will choose to either take or pass along to you.

Where it falls down for me is player interaction. 7 Wonders does have it, but it feels almost like an afterthought – just a box that was ticked, rather than an element that was integral to the design. You can purchase resources that you don’t produce yourself from your direct neighbours (i.e. the players to your left and right), but it’s a set transaction they have no choice in.

At the end of each age, military strength is compared to your neighbours, and victory points are either rewarded or deducted. Interaction is present, but it just doesn’t feel very deep, even for a relatively quick card game. It is definitely a game I like, and one I want to play and explore more, it’s just not a game I’m super-excited about. Maybe it’s just a game that suffers from its own hype, and had it not been built up so much I would have enjoyed it more? Impossible to tell, but maybe it will grow on me over time.

12 Comments on Pandemic: The Cure?
  • Emily

    The healing properties of boardgames night are amazing.
    I quite enjoy 7 wonders but yeah, it’s not a game to play if you want heaps of player interaction. All you do is look at their board/cards occasionally, and you never see anyone beyond the people next to you.
    If you want a card drafting type game with a touch more interaction (and by a touch, I mean occasional sabotage) have you played Seasons yet? Those dice are so lovely and heavy in your hand…

    • I haven’t played Seasons, but it is funny you should mention it. I watched a review video of it years ago and didn’t think it was for me. It felt too … abstract? But I kept thinking about it, and for some reason really want to play it. The artwork is gorgeous, the gameplay seems good, and oh, those lovely, chunky, custom dice. Oh my, do those look appealing.
      So I think you’re right, I should try Seasons.

    • wr00t

      Seasons is good, but i only play it with 2. It’s too chaotic for me with more players. Hard to be strategic or even tactic. And it’s definitely has interaction 🙂

  • Rabid Rogue

    Just got Duel and I’ve been playing it with my homies almost every day. It is too good.

    • Well that’s a strong recommendation for sure. Definitely one to try, and we are always looking for two player games.

  • wr00t

    7 Wonders is still in my top 10, but mostly because of Leaders expansion. More expansions can improve its place. But the standard version gets stale very fast (maybe because we played hell out of it). You just start to feel that you do same thing in every game (a bit different, but still same). It’s still a good game and i always feel i would like to play it. And it is so quick with a large group.

    • Y’know, I think I remember reading before that 7 Wonders was best with the expansion. Now that you’ve reminded me, I must look into that properly.
      We played it again tonight, and definitely a strong point in its favour is how quickly it places with even a large group.

  • Ben Thorp

    I finally got Captain Sonar to the table last week with 6 players. Quickest 2 hours (3 games) of my life. Worth every penny 🙂

    • Wow, so it really actually lived up to the hype? That’s amazing, because it has SO much hype. Dammit, we are really going to have to get our hands on this soon.

      • Ben Thorp

        Definitely worth getting if you can find a copy. It was unavailable for such a long time (I presume the initial print run sold out really quickly) that I was watching for it coming back into stock on multiple web shops and bought it from the first that got it back.

        It was a game that I knew I wanted pretty much the first time I heard about it, and the review from SU&SD/Dice Tower just confirmed it. There’s such a great interplay between the different roles. The Captain is trying to weave a course towards the other boat without them working out where they are, but is constantly hampered by the engineer who wants to go in specific directions to be able to clear the boat. The first mate is trying to charge up systems, but has to coordinate with the engineer so that he doesn’t damage them and make them unusable. And the radio operator is constantly scratching their head because they’ve been listening so carefully but what they’ve drawn doesn’t make sense!

        We played with 2 teams of 3, and swapped around the roles between games so that we’d all tried everything. My team won the first game (we had a great RO, which helped me, as the captain). The 2nd game we lost. The 3rd game (I was the RO) was a bit more cat ‘n’ mouse, but the opposing captain got cocky, ran silent, dropped a mine and then immediately exploded it, doing themselves one damage, and letting me know exactly where they were, allowing us a direct hit (with me whispering “They’re here, they’re here” whilst tapping on my map). Such a rush.

        • Aw heck, that sounds so amazing. Like, a really incredible experience, which is the kind of thing that a lot of games aspire to, but very, very few live up to.

  • Rose the Hedgehog

    Oh my goodness. This comic resembles me a little too closely this week. I was out of work all week, yet we’re going to friends to game today. I hope I have as much energy as Aileen in the last panel come work tomorrow.