Monday, March 17, 2014

Epidemic


[I revel in describing this mechanic EVERY time I play this game. Kudos to Matt Leacock for this. And a special nod to Leigh Alexander and her Travelogue. Her writing styles has re-awaken the writing muse in me to write this...incomparable tripe of my own design. But that's fine - because this is what I deeply feel whenever I teach this mechanic. Every. Single. Time.]

Everyone's up to speed. They all know what needs to be done. I casually remarked there's something more, and that I'll go over it when we get there. No one noticed how I dragged out the word "when."

With the patience of a wise, old man, I carefully watched everyone's draw phase until the forsaken card appeared. When it did, I would take the card by the edge, like greeting an expected friend, gently laying it in front of me like a delicate but deadly flower. Some people would utter their "oh no"s - something I hung to like a dog's jaw on delicious meat - and I would calm their fears, lulling them to a false sense of security.

Like a story told a million times, my words crafted from my mouth with age as I accentuated each step audibly and sharply. "First, we increase the infection rate." I gazed across the horizon of indifferent faces. "Then, I draw the bottom card of the infection deck and infect that city with 3 cubes." I got my first "what the," making me smirk a little. "Then finally," I said, with an heir of gloom as I gathered the discarded pile, "I shuffle the discarded cards and place them on TOP of the deck, to 'intensify' the infections."

For an ever-so-brief moment, I paused. To everyone else, it's a scant 3 seconds, but it's all the time I needed to scour the looks on their faces. Most of them were still unfazed; those were the ones that break the fastest.

I focused on them as the first outbreak occurs on a re-infected city again. From there, the walls of confidence tore down, brick by brick. Cities fell as more got infected. Different-colored cubes began trickling to cities of un-matching color. Panic ensued as turns dragged on. People's moods soured as hope burns down like a slow-burning wooden match. Silent prayers muttered breathlessly as each infection card revealed itself.

This. This was my Pandemic.
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