Tips & Strategies (101)

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Tips & Strategies (101)

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5
USA
I play blue
Copper Supporter
62 of 63 gamers found this helpful
“Medic + Dispatcher = Ultimate cleanup”

When my wife and I play this two player, we found the Medic+Dispatcher to be highly useful. Once you have a disease cured, you can have your Medic simply move to a city to automatically remove any disease cubes from there with a single move. On the Dispatcher’s turn, you can then move the Medic. You can eradicate diseases very quickly this way.

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6
Brazil
I play red
The Gold Heart
57 of 58 gamers found this helpful
“How to play as the Operations Expert”

The Operations Expert (OE) is, in my opinion, one of the most useful roles in the game. When playing as him, you should be aware that you are capable of saving tons of resources for your team.

The most important contribution for me is mobility. Being able to build Research Centers without the need of cards makes the OE incredibly overpowered. On top of that, you may use any card to travel to any city if you are in a Research Center.

What does that mean? In your very first turn you can travel to any city in the world, build a research center, travel to another city again and build a second research center. Now your team will save a lot of actions to get to strategic places. So don’t waste any action removing cubes or researching for a cure when playing with the OE. Just make sure your team is able to get anywhere they want in the early game, this will save a lot of actions and will give you much more control of the game.

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4
I'm a Real Player!
Cooperative Game Explorer
46 of 47 gamers found this helpful
“Focus on a Cure”

Just a quick tip for anyone starting out with this game:
Balancing all of the elements and mechanics of this game is tough as players, and we found in our early games that we got very sidetracked trying to stop outbreaks and keep on top of the virus growth. This led to a lot of losses, especially from the draw pile running out. It sounds obvious, but you can only win by curing all the diseases. Take positive risks and get those cures out – this is your best strategy. Sometimes it is good to let a few outbreaks happen if it means you can get a cure or two on the board. We have found a win at this is always a close shave!

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9
Grand Master Grader
Movie Lover
Book Lover
I play blue
39 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“Placement of Research Stations”

Place research Stations in cities that have many connections (hub cities). Istanbul and Hong Kong have six connecting routes, while Paris, Karachi, Baghdad, and Bangkok have five. Placing research stations in these high traffic cities makes curing diseases more convenient. And, remember to use shuttle flights to quickly move from one research station to another.

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8
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Tactician
Guardian Angel
38 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Quarantine Specialist: Before things get out of hand”

This tip is about the second of two new Roles included in the Pandemic 2nd Edition (as well as the App version of the game): the Quarantine Specialist.

The Quarantine Specialist is a support role, preventing any additional disease cubes from being added to the city she currently occupies, as well as any adjacent cities. In contrast to the Medic, who can quickly tamp down rampant diseases, she is a passive support role, acting best to stop localized Epidemics, re-infections, and/or Outbreak effects.

This Role works best with mobility effects, such as Dispatcher and Operations Expert — being able to quickly deploy to a suspected hot spot will help keep things under control. The Quarantine Specialist prevents even full Epidemic infection, should you be fortunate enough to pull a city that she is in or near. The real value, though, is in preventing re-infection. By keeping careful tabs on the discard pile, you will know what cities are due to pop up again after a new Epidemic, and can try to get them quarantined. Stay near a location that is likely to cascade Outbreaks, and you can neuter the usual pain of re-infection. Outside of that, move her in circles if not sending her across the map, cleaning up disease cubes in a radius around her protected area.

The best Event cards to combine with the Quarantine Specialist’s ability are Forecast, which will let you decide where the problem areas will be, and Airlift, which will move you quickly to a troubled location. Since this Role needs to be mobile, it will be more challenging to use her to transfer needed cards — it may be more beneficial to use her as the collector of one color and to attempt to connect with other players wherever possible. She is one of the better Roles to use cards from hand for air travel, since she may not be able to pass cards to others without other support.

Quarantine Specialist is a challenging but rewarding Role, allowing a player to slow down the game just enough to allow their team to save the world.

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5
Petroglyph
Freshman
I Love Playin' Games
60 of 62 gamers found this helpful
“Variable Role Variant”

When a player’s pawn is in a city at which an Outbreak occurs — even if it’s via a chain reaction — then that Role is lost, either to the spreading epidemic, or to the panic that takes over the city. The player discards their Role card and draws a new one at random from the available pile, but keeps any Player Cards, including Special Event Cards. Remove the lost Role’s pawn from the board, and place the new pawn at the closest Research Station to the site of the outbreak, or at Atlanta if there are no Research Stations. Finally, re-shuffle the lost Role card back into the draw deck, so that the Role may be drawn again upon a subsequent outbreak … the handy Pilot may have been lost during an earlier outbreak, but later in the game a second individual steps up to fill the gap.

While this variant sounds like it may make the game easier for the team, in that they can change Roles in the hopes of finding another more immediately advantageous, it actually makes the game a little more difficult as it disrupts the team’s ability to plan ahead. My gaming group have toyed with the idea of sending an under-performing role to a hot-spot in the hopes of triggering a new Role, but we’ve never been in a position to have an action ‘spare’ to do so.

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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
58 of 60 gamers found this helpful
“Use Event Cards wisely”

Don’t be will-nilly about your event cards. Most of them need to be saved for the right opportunity. Remember that anyone can play them that has them and it doesn’t have to be your turn to play it.

1. Government Grant – probably the only card I would play right away as soon as I get it. Plop a station near a hot zone to get cures faster and help expedite air travel.

2. Airlift – save to help get someone with cure to a research station ASAP. If you can’t wait that long, use it to get someone to a place that is about to cause a chain reaction of outbreaks.

3. Quiet night – save this for when things get really bad to give yourself a breather. Preferably when an epidemic card has occurred and you know that it’s not going to be good during the next infection phase.

4. Resilient Population – save this for at least when a couple of epidemics have occurred. That way you know which cities are giving you the most trouble for potential or past outbreaks. Remove that evil city from the game with this card! You still need to remove some cubes from said city to prevent chain reaction of outbreaks.

5. Forecast – definitely save this if you’re dealt this at the beginning. This card only works once enough infections have been drawn, and works even better after one or two epidemics. Being able to plan the infections really helps things out as opposed to not knowing what’s coming next. You can position your people better and slow down potential outbreaks.

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3
Gamer - Level 3
Copper Supporter
55 of 57 gamers found this helpful
“Beginner Tips - Rush the Initial Cure!”

When beginning a new game of Pandemic, a valuable game-saving strategy is to do whatever it takes to cure your first disease as soon as possible.

With at least three players, you should have enough cards between the three of you to be close to curing one. Leverage your player abilities to do whatever you can to cure a disease in the first two rounds.

This lessens the blow of infection cards, the chance of outbreaks, and even can reduce the severity of epidemics.

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8
Stone of the Sun
Detective
Novice Reviewer
Tinkerer
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Variant: Ground Zero”

In my ongoing search for new and exciting variants that add to a games theme and narrative I present to you this new, exciting, and simple variant set up. Note: This variant does not require the Bio-terrorist rules included in the expansion.

When setting up the game, instead of drawing 9 cards from the Infection deck and placing Disease Cubes (3 lots of three, 3 lots of two, and 3 lots of 1), draw only one card.

Place 3 cubes in this city. Next place 2 cubes in all cities directly connected to it (as if there had been an Outbreak in that city, but with 2 cubes instead of 1). Lastly place 1 cube in each city directly connected to a city with 2 cubes in it that does not already contain a cube (so if a city is connected to two cities with 2 cubes in it, it gains only 1 cube). Overall this should create a “ripple effect”.

All the cubes placed during the set-up should be of the type generated by the city card drawn, regardless of the city that they are being placed in.

Other than this adjustment to the original set-up, the game plays normally.

The impact of this set-up does allow the players to concentrate their efforts into one area, which is beneficial to them but, with far less cards in the Infection Discard Pile and the concentration of cubes in one area, any early Epidemic draw is likely to be devastating. So all in all, I suspect that this variant will lead to a game that offers a greater level of challenge, that will vary only based on the initial city card drawn.

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3
I Am What I Am
29 of 30 gamers found this helpful
“Research Centers”

I have found that having a large amount of research centers on the board makes the game much more manageable. The quick travel between them and always having one close to you prevents turns in which you waste time traveling from place to place.

After a disease color is cured it is a good idea to keep the card of that color to use if you need to make a quick flight into an area or build a research center.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
42 of 44 gamers found this helpful
“Beware potential outbreak clusters”

Intuitively, outbreaks are “bad”. Any player, with basic rules knowledge, knows to prioritize eliminating cubes from locations with three cubes to prevent an impending outbreak.

With experience, we learn that some outbreaks won’t lose us the game and can be tolerated (ie. locations bordering other colors and/or ones that will spread to minimum locations).

The opposite occurs when there are two potential outbreak (3 cube) locations adjacent to each other. This becomes a top level threat. Should either of these “burst” during the infection phase, you will have a chain reaction that could rapidly take you from minimal outbreaks to losing. Deploy your relief efforts to this area as soon as possible.

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10
Miniature Painter
Expert Advisor
Inventor
Advanced Reviewer
41 of 43 gamers found this helpful
“Win the war, not just the battle...”

Many players get caught up “wasting” their actions by automaticlly curing any cubes in their current loaction, rather than leaving acceptable amounts behind and moving towards another area that may be more immediately important( ie. a single cube location created by a recent outbreak, which could be a new outbreak because of an unlucky bottom card draw from epidemic). Locations with single cubes on them (assuming that the location is already “active” in the infection deck) are not really much of a threat, since they will only gain one more cube when their card comes up. It’s the thematic equivalent of losing a battle to win the war. Some losses need to be suffered for the greater good.

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3
Noble
54 of 57 gamers found this helpful
“Keep Your Eyes On the Prize”

It’s very easy to get all riled up and distracted by the inexorable spread of the diseases from city to city, but it’s important to remember that to win the game, you only need to find the cures, not exterminate the diseases. I’ve been surprised by how many times my friends and I have let disease clean up take us off track.

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8
Stone of the Sun
Detective
Novice Reviewer
Tinkerer
69 of 73 gamers found this helpful
“Don't waste cards on direct flights. ”

Do not over use your cards on direct flights, direct flights should be used sparingly. My first game my group spent way too many cards on direct flights and never had enough to cure a disease. Our first game was a failure due to us not understanding how valuable it was to hoard your hand for a cure and we blamed our losing on wasting too many valuable cards on direct flights to treat diseases when we should have been focused on curing.

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8
Professional Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
53 of 56 gamers found this helpful
“Don't get too caught up in "sunsetting" or eliminating a cured disease”

Even though it would be nice to completely wipe out a cured disease, it can distract you from keeping the main active viruses in check. Only sunset a disease if it’s almost gone, and the opportunity for it arises where it doesn’t cost much in actions to complete. Otherwise, keep focusing on the hotspots.

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6
Brazil
I play red
The Gold Heart
37 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“How to play as the Contingency Planner”

I’ve seen many players waiting for the right moment to use their Event Cards while playing with the Contingency Planner, so I came here to tell you to try a different approach next time.

First of all, there is no such thing as “the right moment” in Pandemic, specially when playing with 3 or 4 players. The board scenario can change so much between your current turn and the next one, that any chance you get to change things before happening is a valid option.

As the Contingency Planner, the only contribution you can make to the team is by using Event Cards, retrieving them and using them all again. If you wait too much, you may not have time enough to explore your full potential.

To become an advanced Contingency Planner player, you may need first to understand this concept. Use all event cards you can! This may change the outcome of the game more than you can imagine.

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8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
50 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Scientist - Researcher Duo”

People often miss that the Researcher can give away location cards on her turn **or on another player’s turn** when characters are in the same place (see rulebook at the bottom of page 5 if you don’t believe me). This makes it easy for the Researcher to load the Scientist up with needed cards to cure diseases quickly.

Use the Researcher to collect cards from other players (the normal way) and then dump them on the Scientist. Don’t waste Researcher cards on traveling unless absolutely necessary.

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5
Tasty Minstrel Games Fan
Eminent Domain Fan
50 of 53 gamers found this helpful
“Spread Out....But Stick Together”

Pandemic is really all about balance. Get to critical areas that could trigger outbreaks, but keep an eye out for places that seem safe. Get some coverage of players on the continents so if an outbreak does occur, someone can get there within a reasonable amount of time. You don’t want to be too spread out, as that makes sharing Player cards a lot tougher, and not having that fifth (or fourth, if you’re the scientist) city card that can let you cure a disease at a certain moment could mean the difference between victory and defeat. But at the same time, you want to be prepared for anything that might happen. This is a bit easier with the Dispatcher role as well.

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8
Legend of the Five Rings Fan
Advanced Reviewer
Tactician
Guardian Angel
24 of 25 gamers found this helpful
“Contingency Planner: Making the most with what you're dealt”

The 2nd Edition of Pandemic includes two additional Roles, which are also represented in the App version of the game. Contingency Planner is one of those, a Role that is simultaneously very powerful and very narrow.

The Contingency Planner is able to take an action to retrieve an Event card from the Player Discard Pile. They can only hold one retrieved Event card at a time, but it does not count towards their maximum hand size. When the retrieved Event is used, it is removed from the game. This allows each Event to be used twice — up to a total of 10 uses in the base game.

Multiple uses of Events can shine when your team has notable deficiencies. Government Grant and Airlift re-use can make up for not having either the Dispatcher or the Operations Expert. It can also avoid catastrophe, by using One Quiet Night earlier in the game to stop an outbreak before one of the diseases is cured, only to still have the card available for the late game push. Resilient Population can remove cities where you won’t have presence for a while, if you suspect an Epidemic is close to being drawn, and using it twice can really soften the blow if you hit two Epidemics in a very short span. Forecast is always good immediately after the epidemic hits to hold off the worst disasters for a turn or two, and having the option of doing it again may make the difference between success or failure.

The downside to Contingency Planner is that without Events, he’s a warm body — someone to move around, share cards, and remove disease cubes. If you aren’t drawing Events, or if you’re holding onto a stored one for a while, he doesn’t do very much. Make sure that you know which Events to retrieve earlier rather than later — there’s no downside to letting one sit in the discard for a while, since it won’t leave before you can retrieve it.

Contingency Planner lets you use Events from the group’s hands earlier, which can be useful when attempting to collect the number needed to create a cure. Any Event in a player’s hand counts against their limit of seven, but a retrieved Event doesn’t.

Finally, the value of the Role increases sharply once the expansion(s) are mixed in, as the number of Events in the deck increases.

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3
Gamer - Level 3
34 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Know When to be the Expert and When to Sit Back”

One of the biggest problems with Pandemic (and Co-Op games in general) is to know when to allow new players to get a feel for the game without taking over yourself.

While it sounds simple, the best way to play Pandemic with new starters is to have a good understanding of the core rules yourself, and allow your virus-defeating companions to vocalise their actions before they take them. Feedback the pro’s and con’s of their plan, get them to identify with their own role as well as the roles of others; essentially, outline their options to them without telling them what to do.

If you play the Commander General and take over the game then no-one is having fun – but steering people in the right direction and,sometimes allowing your team to make mistakes will eventually push them in the right direction to understanding how to win. This method worked wonderfully with two new players that I introduced the game to (we also won!) and it was great to see people thrashing out ideas before settling on a plan (only to see it foiled by the next epidemic or outbreak). It seems like an obvious tip, but controlling players will definitely see the long-term benefit by taking a back seat.

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