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The 2013 version of Pandemic added a new card, the Contingency Planner:

The Contingency Planner card

My gaming group has found this card very weak compared to the other roles for a couple of reasons:

  • It's ability to pull an event card from the discard pile only seems to happen a couple of times a game whereas the other roles are used almost every turn.
  • The role is more luck based than the other ones because the good cards don't always turn up, so although we try to pull a card whenever we can, sometimes it's just not really worth duplicating a less than ideal card.
  • Duplicating the cards tends to be unnecessary if you have certain roles. Building a research center for free is fine, but building it a second time is kind of pointless if we also have the Operations Expert.

We've gotten to the point where we're ready to remove the Contingency Planner from the deck. But before we do, I'd like to know if there is anything we can do to make the Contingency Planner more useful and equal to the other roles.

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This role is one that will not always have the same level of power as others but depending on how the game goes it can easily be the most powerful role in the game. While some of the event cards may not seem as powerful based on the game setup it all depends on how they are used.

Resilient Population

Being able to remove a second city card from the infection deck and having some control over when you do it can easily save a game by preventing a break out in an area with several cities in proximity

Airlift

Being able to move a player such as the containment specialist to a bad area right before the infection phase or move another player to a research faculty to allow the curing of a disease can be very useful.

Forecast

Being able to setup the next 6 cards in the infection deck a second time is never bad.

One Quiet Night

One of the best reasons for this role is avoiding an infection phase a second time

Government Grant

Not always the most useful but even in a game with the operations expert if this role is in the same city as another player who can make the cure then the free research center is very nice.

Need to remember that this role gets its power based on playing all the event cards in a timely manner so that they can all be played again when needed.

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I assume that your gaming group typically plays with 4 players. I have found the contingency planner to be much worse with 4 players than with 2. I agree that the contingency planner is the worst role, but part of that is because of how variable his power is depending on how the event cards fall. Throwing him out is a reasonable approach if you only have the base game, but the other option is to buy "On the Brink". It includes a bunch of new event cards, so you switch to playing with 2 event cards in the deck per player (8 with 4 players instead of the usual 5), and I found that this really balanced out the Contingency Planner with the other roles. With a higher number of event cards being drawn (and therefore being put in the discard pile), he has a much longer list of options on a given turn.

  • Welcome to Board & Card Game SE! Great first answer that both included feedback from gameplay and a recommendation for how it might improve with expansions! – Thunderforge Feb 19 '15 at 21:38
  • +1: I agree on both accounts; a) CP in the default game is pretty weak compared to all other roles, and b) the role will likely get much better with the event cards in OtB expansion (just bought it, so haven't had the chance to test it out yet). – posdef Apr 16 '15 at 11:21
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Adding "No hand limit" to the card makes it more useful.

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    @ToonKrijthe I don't see how it doesn't provide an answer. If you find the answer not useful, the proper response is downvoting. – Acccumulation Nov 7 at 0:27
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The Contingency Planner is not less powerful than others. It's just the least tactical role. The other roles' special abilities offer a plenty of moves (like chess) and the player has to value and select wich one of them will maximize the profit. Instead using the Planner does not require a deep analysis. The limit of only 1 card he can store at time eliminates almost every tactical consideration on this role. Just take every discarded event card and store it. And play it as soon as another event card has been discarded. It's so powerful as others, anyway, and even more if the events are drawn early. The other players will be encouraged to play their event cards asap so that the planner will duplicate their effect soon.

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    There is no reason to play an event card just because another one has been discarded and in fact that can work against you if you play one of the more powerful cards when they are not needed. – Joe W Jun 13 '18 at 12:12
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    Voting to delete as this doesn't actually answer the question, it just disagrees with the premise of the question. – GendoIkari Jun 13 '18 at 13:49

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