Geekway to the West 2017, Day 2 - All Pandemic, All The Time

Geekway to the West, 2017.
Day 2.

Road trip!
Okay, not really. I live in the metro STL area, where the convention was held, so the first part of my day was the commute in. Friday was a big day -- I was playing the Pandemic Legacy Marathon Charity game I'd set up as a fundraiser for Pat, and I had a lot to accomplish between the time I got home Thursday night and the time I left Friday morning. So before I went to sleep Thursday night, I made myself a checklist of the things I would need to do/grab before leaving.

Man, I gotta tell you, I HATED that drive that day. Even though it was only 40 minutes, that was 40 minutes I could have spent having breakfast and making my way to the game hall.

(Can you tell I don't get to play that often?)

Anyway, I make the trek out of Alton along that route at least once or twice a week so that I can work my DJ job, and making it 3 times in this weekend wasn't the greatest thing.

But why did you only make the drive 3 times, Zach? Wasn't the convention 4 days?

Yes, Internet. Yes, it was. And I'll get to why I didn't make the drive 4 times in a little bit.
We'll get there when we get there.

Spoilers. Spoilers abound here.

This was it. The granddaddy. The pinnacle of the gaming weekend. Of all days, on a Friday, I was going to play the #1 ranked board game in the world . . . for 24 hours. Or until it was over. Whatever came first.

I went back to the gaming room, set up shop at the same place as the day before, got myself some water, and began prep the game for the very first run-through. As nobody had signed up to play on the Game Planning Geeklist, I was planning on playing the game solo, running 2 characters at the same time. I read on the variant forums on BGG that was the best way to go about playing by yourself. As much as I would have preferred to play with others, I was prepared to go this journey alone.

I grabbed 4 Funded Event cards . . .
Chose my characters . . .
And set my infections across the globe.
Then, within the first 2 turns, I immediately got hit with an Epidemic card.
This led to our first outbreak, and the first panic level reached in Madrid.

By the way, there are SPOILERS IN THIS BLOG!! 
You have been warned. Twice.


The good news is that while in the middle of my 2nd character's first turn, 2 young ladies came and sat down to play. They'd heard about Pandemic Legacy and had never tried it, but were interested. So I briefed them on the differences with this game, and they jumped in, adding a 3rd character to our ranks.

Now, if you've not played, you've heard stories of people having to destroy components in the game, and this is entirely true. I was prepared for that. What I wasn't prepared for was the Legacy Deck giving me instructions to destroy my first card IN THE FIRST GAME.

Gotta tell you, that made my heart hurt a little bit. But the game just stared back at me like, "Whatcha gonna do, punk?"

Oh, it was ON.

Throughout the game, and leading up to Geekway, I had told people they could purchase sponsorships, Hunger Games style, to throw in a meta-condition to make the game harder, easier, or more annoying for me or anyone else playing. This included a stipulation that I could not play the same character two games in a row, that I would have to wear gloves during a game, play one game in complete silence, and wear an eye patch for a game. However, I'd forgotten to buy an eye patch, so one of the ladies at the table made one for me out of masking tape and yarn.

I reminded myself this was all for a good cause, and the donations kept coming in.
Pretty soon, we were three games in, and won all three, so the 2 ladies I'd been lucky enough to play with had other things they needed to attend to. So I continued on solo, and won game #4.

Then I was joined by more players for game #5, and we lost. Straightaway. 

As the game wore on, more people joined and left the game, and I never had to play another game solo, but it was tough playing with people of different skill levels. One gentleman, Pat, hadn't heard of the Legacy concept, so when I told him that the rules required destruction of the components, he was floored. "You're kidding," he said. "You don't really destroy them, do you?"

I silently showed him the pile of destroyed cards we'd racked up so far.


All in all, I ended up playing 17 games in 19.5 hours, and throughout the course of the day, raised a significant amount of money. After the convention, the total amount raised came to $1,369.00, with some pledges still yet to come in.

As far as the game, though . . .

Well, it showed no mercy. It was down to myself and one other person for the last 4 or 5 games, and both games in the month of December just nailed us. We were REALLY CLOSE to winning the game in the last game of December, but it didn't happen. When all the cards had been exhausted, we were just 2 turns away from having won the game. I was actually okay with the fact that we came that close and failed; I would have felt worse if it had been a blowout.

When I was cleaning up the components, I decided to take a picture of the whole scope of carnage, including the boxes that had been opened, and all the items we had destroyed during the game.

And finally, for posterity, here's the log we kept on the back of the rulebook of what games we won and what games we lost.

One thing that bothers me, which I didn't realize until the next day . . . after everything was over, I threw everything away except for all the plastic components that came with the game, the main decks, and the player pieces. Everything else went in the trash.

Which means that because we never lost 4 games in a row, so did Box 8.

So, I never found out what was in Box 8.

That elusive "don't open until" yellow sticker on that box just sat there, taunting me, and I kept smirking because I knew we wouldn't have to open it . . . and then, nothing.
Unfulfilled curiosity.

And if you've played it, don't tell me what's in there. I don't want to know.

After 17 games, 19.5 hours, and a lot of tension, the game was over. And you know what? Pandemic Legacy lives up to every ounce of hype it has received. Its Number One rank on BoardGameGeek is well deserved, but it freaking EARNED that ranking.

If you decide to play this with your game group, you will not be disappointed. I promise you.

Next time, Day 3, and why sleep is not as essential as you think in the right circumstances.

There Is No Box.