Board Game Update: Xia, X-wing, and More Pandemic: Legacy

Had a good board gaming day yesterday. Had two packages show up, both a bit belated birthday presents, one with Xia, Legends of a Drift System, a pretty sweet sci-fi “sandbox” game. You all start out with a ship with a special ability, and a randomly generated (albeit via finite tiles) star system to explore, with plenty of ways to earn victory. A group of friends and I all played it at a con and really loved it, but didn’t love its nearly $90 price tag. Managed to score it as a birthday gift to bypass that, and am trying to get a game day together. Should be fun.

Other package was the Imperial Raider for the X-wing miniatures game. A really sweet huge ship. Sadly, one of the plastic pieces that connects it to the stand had broken off in the box, and the ship wasn’t usable. Amazon made the return rather painless and will even ship the replacement before they get the original back, so that’s alright. While I would rather have gotten the ship intact, seeing it made me pretty excited for the real deal. Finding an excuse to actually USE it will be another matter entirely.

After a two-and-a-half month hiatus, the gang also sat down to play another round of Pandemic Legacy. I highly recommend playing it, assuming you enjoy Pandemic enough to commit to 12 to 24 games of it. I also recommend going in blind, so you might want to stop reading if you haven’t gotten to it yet. If you don’t have much knowledge of the

It hit some really neat design space this time, especially since it is a legacy game. For example, we unlocked the ability to have our characters take a permanent downgrade, for an advantage that would only really matter that game. When we unlocked it, we joked around about how we would never used that, only for us ending up doing so that same game.

We ended up winning a rather clean win. But sadly we did not accomplish our secondary objective. It was a classic cooperative gaming moment where we delayed getting it down, because “we’ll be fine unless we draw two epidemic cards”, which, of course, we did. Hopefully we’ll get another chance, because winning this game means time moved forward rather than getting a second chance to play that much.

After the game, we unlocked a potential upgrade card. One that I think highlights the impact flavor can have on a board game, especially a long term game like a legacy game. All this upgrade card does, is permanently prevent a city from being infected, at the cost of making it harder to enter that city (and destroying the upgraded card after use, since it is a one time use only). This card, very easily, could have been called “Mass Evacuation”, and honestly we probably would have only considered the card on its mechanical merits. The card wasn’t called that.

It was called “The Nuclear Option”.

By now, we, realized that a running theme in Pandemic: Legacy, is the increasing militarization of the CDC. We, as of the end of our last game, have permanent military bases all over the world. We will take out infected people with airstrikes, military escorts and grenades. We’ve built a complete wall to utterly contain the infected areas. I’ve semi-regularly joked that at the end of the game, we’re going to find a score sheet where it makes us account for all the awful things we’ve done in the name of winning the game to determine if we get a moral victory or not.

The discussion about “The Nuclear Option” were not about if the card itself was worth spending an upgrade slot on, but rather if we really wanted to us the a Nuke. Now, while part of it is that we imagine that using it will have consequences down the road, there was a very real component of not really feeling comfortable doing it even if the game itself won’t care. That’s pretty neat, and shows how much we’ve gotten invested in our little world.

In the end, we didn’t purchase that upgrade, but there will be plenty more games to go, and there is a very real chance we’ll give in and use it.

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