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When does the Virulent Strain Epidemic effect for Hidden Pocket happen? The way the card is laid out, it would seem that it happens after the three epidemic steps; however, that would negate the effect as there would never be any cards in the discard pile. It could happen before step 1, but that could be pretty nasty and seems to go against the title of the effect, as "hidden pocket" would imply only a small amount of the disease.

When this situation arose in a game, resolving the effect before step 1 would have been pretty bad as there were a lot of cards in the discard pile. We chose to resolve the effect after the Infector phase, since there would only be a few cards in the discard pile, but that seems like a stretch.

Epidemic! Virulent Strain! Hidden Pocket

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The first time I hit this card, I immediately said "what?", pulled out the rules, found nothing about it, and said, well, given the nature of the game, it probably happens at the worst possible time. Probably a good method for resolving any Pandemic rules questions in a pinch! –  Jefromi Dec 1 '11 at 0:52

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

This card is definitely ambiguous, which is strange, as all the other virulent strain Epidemic cards are quite clear about when they take effect. However, Tom Lehmann, the game's designer, has actually answered this specific question on BoardGameGeek:

Hidden Pocket is resolved after Infect (and before Intensify).

So, if the Virulent Strain disease has been eradicated and a city of that disease is drawn during the Infect step, you don't place 3 cubes on it (as per the normal eradication rules).

However, that card then goes into the Infection Discard Pile (see page 6 of the Pandemic rules), and therefore will end up with 1 cube on it when Hidden Pocket is applied, before resetting the Infection Discard Pile.

So yeah, it's pretty nasty!

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Wow, that would have been very nasty in our case. We had quite a few cities of the eradicated, virulent strain in the discard pile at the time. It also seems to go against the theme of the card. To me, "hidden pocket" would imply a small amount of the disease had gone undetected and cropped back up. I wouldn't think it would mean a disease has instantly reappeared across an entire continent. But, I guess I'd be wrong. :) –  Todd Nov 30 '11 at 15:46

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