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Pandemic Revised
01-28-2013, 10:53 PM (This post was last modified: 01-28-2013 10:59 PM by alderdust.)
Post: #1
Pandemic Revised
Quote:For the new edition of Pandemic due out in February 2013, I was asked to design two new roles and rewrite the rules, while Z-Man Games and Pandemic designer Matt Leacock concentrated on the new look and presentation.

The new roles were a challenge as Matt had several criteria for them: They had to work for brand new players; they couldn't be On the Brink or In the Lab roles; and they had to be straightforward – that is, no hybrid roles that combined this and that in new ways.

Since the five original Pandemic roles do a fine job of varying the game actions and two On the Brink roles (Archivist and Troubleshooter) interact with the player discard and Infection piles, I examined Pandemic for other things the new roles could affect. I came up with infections and event cards.

• The Quarantine Specialist – a.k.a., The Human Shield – came first. She prevents all cube placements and outbreaks in her own city and all adjacent cities. This role immediately "clicked" with several test groups and never changed.

[Image: pic1542112.jpg]

• The Contingency Planner – a.k.a., The Man with a Plan – took more work. The concept of reusing event cards a second time was solid, but figuring out how to make this work cleanly without timing, hand size, or scaling issues (given the increased number of events in the expansions) took several tries. Having the Contingency Planner use an action to retrieve an event from the discard pile solved the timing issue, while storing just one retrieved event at a time on his role card – and not in hand – solved the hand size and scaling issues. These rules also increase this role's "planning" flavor as the order in which events are retrieved and used again now matters.

[Image: pic1542111.jpg]

Adding two new roles increases the game's variety. Before, you had five role combinations in a four-player game and ten in two- or three-player games. Now, you have 35 role combinations in three- or four-player games and 21 in two-player games. Since the game's feel changes quite a bit when certain roles are absent, I believe the addition of these new roles considerably increases the "life span" of the Pandemic base game.

For simplicity, we also moved the revised version of the Operations Expert (from On the Brink) into the Pandemic base game.

[Image: pic1548816.jpg]

For the Pandemic: On the Brink expansion, I wasn't asked to add any new roles, but we did revise the Epidemiologist. That role had been "simplified" just prior to publication in the original On the Brink and now was a bit weak. It is okay in four- and five-player games as the ability to easily concentrate cards in one hand really helps to discover cures, but is too weak in two- and three-player games.

By making her ability not take an action, we both improved this role and introduced a trade-off in the two-player game between the Epidemiologist and the Researcher. The Researcher can transfer more cards in a single turn, but at the cost of using up lots of precious actions.

This change also makes the Epidemiologist more flexible for uses other than discovering cures. Taking an unneeded card from another player in order to fly to a different part of the board becomes a lot more attractive when it doesn't cost an action.

[Image: pic1547117_md.png]

As for the rules rewrite, it took a lot of work. We had three main goals: make the rules more accessible to a mainstream gaming audience; clean up confusion areas; and fill in rules gaps (such as timing), previously addressed by rulings.

I went through every Pandemic rules thread on BGG (ugh), noting not only the questions, but how often certain issues cropped up. From this, I created a "Frequently Overlooked Rules" section on the back page of the rulebook for the top five issues.

I first made the rules longer, adding in missing and clarifying text. I then recruited test readers, including several from BGG, to help me simplify them. Expressions like "play the role of the Infector" became "draw infection cards". Fine points were moved from the main text into sidebars and notes. The result, even with the added material, is now ~25% shorter and, hopefully, crisper and clearer.

We did make a few rules changes – I will post a list of them in the Pandemic forums after Z-Man puts the new rules online – but most players should play lots of games without them ever affecting play. For example, we made the Medic's powers mandatory, not optional, as 99% of the time, the Medic never wants to treat just one cube nor allow cubes of a cured disease to be placed in his city. (In On the Brink, he will occasionally do the first to allow the Field Operative a sample.) Having this power be optional almost always results in a "false decision" that just slows the game and confuses more mainstream or casual players.

A more important change is that we altered "cube death" to occur when players need more than 24 disease cubes of a color actually on the board. Cubes which never "make it" to the board – due to the Medic's power versus cured diseases or the Quarantine Specialist's power – no longer count towards losing the game (unlike previous rulings). This change is simpler, doesn't lead to weird timing cases, and doesn't undercut the Medic or Quarantine Specialist in such a frustrating way (when you're in the right city, but still lose).

We were very conservative in making rules changes, using "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" to guide us, while still striving to make the rules more accessible.

From my years as a technical writer, I know that no document works for everyone. Hopefully, the new rules will work for most. I'm excited to see the new Pandemic come out and hope that players have fun exploring the new roles. Enjoy!

This was from BGG on the newly revised Pandemic. I was wondering what everyone who has played the game thought. I like the new look but dont feel it was necessary to come out with a new edition just after 5 years of an anniversary.

This will make the game incompatible for those who already owned both the base game and expansion due to new card backs and role cards etc.

You will be available to buy a "compatibility" pack with the new cards but who knows how much that will cost. The new expansion is set to release in 2013...and I believe I will be skipping all Z-man games from now on since they dont seem to cater to the current owners of the game.

Quote:For the fifth anniversary of Matt Leacock's Pandemic, U.S. publisher Z-Man Games has overhauled the look of the game from cover to core, with Clash of Cultures artist Chris Quilliams providing the new look. What's more, this new edition – due out February 2013 in the U.S. – will include two new roles that players can adopt while trying to save Earth's population: the Contingency Planner and the Quarantine Specialist. What do these guys do? I don't know – plan and quarantine, I suppose. Z-Man promises more details in the future, so for now we'll just have to speculate.

In a press release announcing this anniversary edition – a press release that highlights hundreds of thousands of copies sold worldwide and the translation of this game into fourteen languages – Z-Man Games mentions that Pandemic: On the Brink will receive a graphic overhaul as well in 2013 for a new edition. The press release notes that "it will also be possible to purchase a compatibility pack for those of you who would want to play the new edition of On The Brink, but have the previous edition of Pandemic".

In response to my follow-up question, Z-Man's Kalinda Patton says, "In that pack there will be the new role cards, as well as all the cards you find in the original Pandemic with the new design, so people will be able to play with their previous edition of Pandemic with the cards from the new edition."

Finally, a second expansion for the game – Pandemic: In the Lab – will be released in late 2013. The only description from the press release: "In this expansion, you will be transported inside a biotechnology lab in search of a cure. Put your lab coats on and get ready to look for a cure!" (Lab coat not included.)

Update, Jan. 14: In addition to holding a contest on Facebook through February 1, 2013, with a chance for you and a friend to both win a copy of the new edition of Pandemic, Z-Man Games has posted a video of designer Matt Leacock talking about, among other things, the "piles of burning bodies" that might have graced the original cover if he hadn't suggested it was perhaps a bit much.

Here is the new cover art.

[Image: pic1534148_md.jpg]

New Cubes and Cards:
[Image: pic1536537_md.png]

New revised board.
[Image: pic1535431_md.jpg]

This to me looks like a bad syfy movie poster.
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01-29-2013, 04:40 AM
Post: #2
RE: Pandemic Revised
I think it looks good, nice facelift IMHO
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01-29-2013, 08:49 AM (This post was last modified: 01-29-2013 08:53 AM by Sierra.)
Post: #3
RE: Pandemic Revised
[Image: pic1534148_md.jpg] / [Image: pandemic.jpg?h=500]

[Image: pic1535431_md.jpg] / [Image: Pandemic_board.jpg?h=600]

[Image: pic1542112.jpg] / [Image: Medic.jpg?]

[Image: pic1536537_md.png] / [Image: epidemic.jpg]

The new style isn't as bad as someone warned me it would be, but I'm not so keen on the more high tech look. I prefer the older less fancy design, but getting my hands on a copy of it seems nigh on impossible. It seems to be out everywhere I look and I'm not so much for second hand so I'll have to do with this new version or none at all.


"What is it about a zombie that appeals to me? I don't know. Maybe that it's just the most possible - I don't know - of all the supernatural entities."
- Scott Ian
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01-29-2013, 12:28 PM
Post: #4
RE: Pandemic Revised
I just am upset that they switched it up and the game is just now 5 years old making the game and expansion not compatible with new expansions unless I buy a compatibility pack
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01-29-2013, 01:55 PM
Post: #5
RE: Pandemic Revised
I for one will not be buying this revised edition I'll stick to the first edition with on the gets to a point where you need to figure out what you want to put your money into..there isn't enough new stuff here to make me have to re buy it. Plus I haven't pulled this game out in a while because of how many other options I have for games on game night. With that said I like the new character cards better but the actual gameboard from the old game gets my vote. They should have waited for a 10 year anniversary...then maybe I will have won the lottery by then..and could afford to throw my money at premature 2nd editions :P

"My mama always told me someday I'd be good at something. Who'd a guessed that something'd be zombie-killing?" -Tallahassee
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01-29-2013, 05:44 PM
Post: #6
RE: Pandemic Revised
Hmmm. I played Pandemic and enjoyed it, but not enough to get a copy. So I guess I'm happy with the overhaul? This looks good, and it's perfect for someone like me who didn't get the first edition.
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01-29-2013, 06:08 PM
Post: #7
RE: Pandemic Revised
I understand the need to reissue a game if it had major faults or if the expansions had broken some mechanic, but I do agree 5 years is a little too early for a total re-release.

We sometimes forget, companies like Z-man are not just about selling quality games, it about making a profit. If more people like the shiny new look more people will buy.

If they want to keep their loyal following, they should really offer the compatibility pack at a meager price.
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01-29-2013, 09:40 PM
Post: #8
RE: Pandemic Revised
Yeah I guess we will see what it comes out to when its available. The new expansion sounds cool though. I think alot of it has to do with being available in Target now to help it appeal to the eye.
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