Chaos and Confetti Cooperative Challenges: Pandemic Through the Ages

Every week Chaos and Confetti will alternate between clashing for board game dominance and coming together in table top harmony.  This week it’s time for another round of…  


The Premise:

Every other week, we will choose a cooperative board game to play.  Then, we will craft a challenge around that board game and give ourselves one shot at overcoming it.  No restarts, redos, or retries.  We either rise as conquerors or leave as chumps.

While some of our challenges may be a bit more straightforward, others will come with twists or hints of inspiration.  This is a test of teamwork.   

The Games: Pandemic, Pandemic: Iberia, and Pandemic: Fall of Rome

The traditional game of Pandemic has players working together to cure spreading diseases before it’s too late for humanity.  Players will move their characters over a world-wide map, as they look to contain outbreaks and gather resources as they race against the clock.  An onslaught of outbreaks and epidemics await those who can’t coordinate properly on a quest for a cure.

In the standard game, players try to coordinate gathering and trading off cards of the same color in order to turn them in for a cure.  Each turn, players will get to enact their choices of actions from movement, trading, clearing disease, and discovering cures.  However, they will also need to draw cards, which can get them what they want or can trigger an epidemic which causes outbreaks while speeding up the rate of infection.  They will also need to flip over city cards, to show where the disease is taking deeper root.  

Pandemic is a tight game that takes good teamwork and skilled maximization of turns.

The franchise has seen a lot of growth as it has spawned dozens of spin-offs and sequels.  Each game puts a new twist on the idea of combating and curing illness.  Two of the spin-off games are Pandemic: Iberia and Pandemic: Fall of Rome.  These games set the action in specific areas and eras, forcing players to face the limitations and woes of their times, such as invaders, lack of water, and limited travel.  No matter what version of Pandemic players take on, they must use solid teamwork to overcome quick and deadly forces.

The Challenge: A Plethora of Pandemics

If you’re a regular reader of Chaos and Confetti, you may have noticed that our posts slowed down a bit in the last few weeks.  That is because after three years of avoiding it, Covid finally found its way into our house.  Illness gave us a beating and we had to focus on energy on recovery and survival (thankfully, our cases were on the milder side).

With our overcoming sickness in the real world, we felt it would be great to best illness in board game form as well.  To craft a unique experience, we’ve pulled together our non-Legacy Pandemic games to create a Gauntlet of Germs!  Simply put, we’ll play three different versions of Pandemic in a row to see if we truly have mastered maladies. 

The Set-Up:

The set-up is pretty simple.  We’ll simply play three games in a row, going from modern Pandemic and moving backwards through Iberia and Rome.  Each game will follow its individual rules and will be played on the medium level difficulty, based on the number of epidemic/revolt cards added to the player deck.  This will be played as a best-of-three series against the game.


Game 1 – Pandemic

Chaos and Confetti have played a lot of Pandemic over the years, especially thanks to their journeys through all three seasons of the Legacy games.  While it’s been a while since they’ve sat down to Pandemic, it felt like returning to familiar grounds.  After randomly selecting their roles, Field Operative for Confetti and Troubleshooter for Chaos, the duo quickly set to work.

Confetti quickly set to work cleaning up North and Central America, and she made sure to start grabbing some cubes for her field operative ability as well.  Chaos used his special direct flight action to get to the otherside of the map to start managing any spreading diseases there.  Europe was left a little less guarded, but Chaos and Confetti felt they could easily send someone over when the time felt right.

This game never felt too stressful as the board was managed well while team C&C waited for the right cards to show up.  For the most part, their strategy remained to prevent outbreaks while sticking to a color to cure.  Confetti’s ability helped her discover a cure for yellow almost immediately.  By the middle of the game, Chaos took care of red and then Confetti swooped in with black.  

The viruses started to pick up some steam and eventually some outbreaks started to get through.  Thankfully, the win felt pretty secure.  Confetti and Confetti both had a few blue cards in their hands.  Since they were both already in North America to use the research center for cures, they quickly coordinated the hand off to Confetti.  She closed the remaining gap with her field operative ability, and the world was saved… or at least cures were found.

The first game proved a success, but it was also the game Chaos and Confetti felt most experienced with playing.  We’ll have to see how the next few games go.

Game 1 Results: Chaos and Confetti discover four cures and win!

Game 2 – Pandemic: Iberia

Iberia plays very similarly to the base Pandemic game, but due to the setting taking place in an early age, there are a few differences.  Players must rely on building railroads, sailing the seas, and taking care of towns and regions instead of cities.  There are also no cures to any of the diseases.  Players need to research the four strains, but once they have, it doesn’t make clean up any easier.

Chaos drew the Politician and Confetti took on the role of the Nurse.  

Since each disease needs to be researched in a matching colored hospital, Chaos and Confetti quickly started throwing down hospitals and cleaning up the surrounding areas.  Chaos also pushed for the building of a centralized railroad, to help create a quicker system of travel and response.  The railroad building eats up a lot of turns but it tends to pay off in the long run.

Confetti had to balance the need to address problems in currently infected areas and trying to place herself near regions that could be problematic.  Her nurse ability to prevent cube placement in a selected region near her really helped keep a few spaces safe.

Once again, the duo’s plan focused on preventing outbreaks while they waited for the right cards to emerge.  Confetti researched yellow first and then Chaos was able to get to blue.  

The railroad systems helped the team protect a lot of the board, but once a few of the outlier cities started to see trouble, the state of the game got a bit rockier.  Chaos and Confetti felt they had to let a few outbreaks happen in order to maintain their march towards victory.  That strategy could be risky, but spreading themselves thin and slowing down their progress towards objectives could prove just as dangerous.  

Chaos headed down South to use his ability to pick up some black cards from the discard pile.  After a turn or two of maintenance and waiting, Chaos had enough cards to put in the research.  

Confetti had a start on collecting red, and now just needed to wrap the game up.  As she worked to clean up trouble spots, Chaos sailed up North and then used his other ability to shoot the needed red card to Confetti.  This move meant Chaos had to bypass a city in desperate need of cleaning up, but he knew they couldn’t waste time.  Confetti  made the final sprint to the last hospital, and the game was won.  

Chaos and Confetti’s abilities worked well together, and their quick builds of hospitals and railroads paid off big time.

Game 2 Results: Chaos and Confetti 

Game 3 – Pandemic: Fall of Rome

Pandemic: Fall of Rome uses a lot of the structure of base Pandemic but also changes quite a bit.  Instead of diseases, players are fighting five barbarian tribes.  The goal is either to strike alliances with each tribe or to eliminate them from the map using the fight mechanic.  The warring tribes hope to sac Roma, so the players must maintain defense and summon recruits to keep Rome intact.

As the furthest departure from the base game, Chaos and Confetti quickly found themselves struggling with Fall of Rome.  At first they had trouble maintaining troops as they fought the barbarians.  Then, they quickly realized that their practice fights against smaller enemy forces left the larger ones ripe for quick sacs on further away cities.  Civilization quickly started to decline.

Confetti’s ability which allowed her to lose one less recruit each battle really helped her start clearing the board, but she could only move so quickly.  Meanwhile, Chaos did his best to clear and defend as well, but troops just kept dying off.  

Two alliances were struck, but the rest of the cards refused to come together correctly.  The team never saw enough blue cards and Confetti remained one short of getting the fourth green card.  The black cards meanwhile kept splitting themselves between the two players, who were so busy trying to stay alive that they couldn’t coordinate a hand off.

The decline meter quickly dropped, and the game looked hopeless early on.  However, team C&C ended up staying alive much longer than they expected.  They didn’t win, but when defeat seemed assured on several fronts, they put up a noble fight.  Roma fell and with it so did Chaos and Confetti’s win streak.  

Game 3 Results: Chaos and Confetti crumble and lose

FINAL RESULTS: Chaos and Confetti beat the challenge with a 2-1 record!!

Chaos’ Final Thoughts:

It’s always nice to go back to some old favorite.  Pandemic is a lot of fun and I enjoy getting to work as a team.  While I would have enjoyed the clean sweep, I’m proud that we came out on top of this challenge and still picked up some wins in some games we were definitely rusty playing.

Confetti’s Final Thoughts:

We haven’t played Pandemic in a while, so I forgot how much I enjoyed it. Fall of Rome is definitely pretty different from the other two Pandemics – I think if we’d had time to play it again, we could gotten a victory.

Wrap Up:

Chaos and Confetti prove they are more capable at handling diseases than barbarians.  They came out on top this week, but The Fall of Rome shows there may be some cracks in the cooperative competence after all.  Who knows how well they’ll stand up to their next challenge?

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