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What are the mechanical/strategic differences in playing Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 with just 2 players, as opposed to 3/4?

If discussing Season 1 spoilers is unavoidable, please remember to use the spoiler notation (>! hidden text) and clearly mark them.

  • This is going to vary from person to person. In a two player game you will be using multiple roles and some players may or may not like that. – Joe W Mar 28 '16 at 21:38
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    @JoeW Though playing multiple roles each is a workable variant, by the official rules 2 players just play 1 character each. This has the same advantages and disadvantages as in regular Pandemic, e.g. easier to concentrate cards in one place for a cure but quicker pressure from hand limits. – Benjamin Cosman Mar 29 '16 at 0:50
  • I think even now it is going to be opinion based. you will have people on the side that fewer players allow for more turns (the decks last longer) which is better, ones that say more players allows for a wider range of actions(more places on map you can do things) is good, and you will have some the prefer the middle ground with 3 players. – Joe W Mar 29 '16 at 12:34
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The biggest spoiler-free Legacy-specific difference is probably in the end-game upgrades: if any given character gets half the player turns instead of a quarter, buffing a character becomes comparatively more powerful. By the same logic, the amount of damage a single Scar can do to a smaller team is greater.

However I think the most important differences are the same as those of the base game (and are covered in this other question).

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In general, its about the same as Pandemic with two players. You have the advantage of a lot less happening between your turns, so you are better able to predict and react to the state of the board. And if you get players with strong abilities, you'll be able to use them more times during a game.

The downside is that you lack versatility in being able to have lots of special powers that can be applied to different situations, you can't have presence in as many places on the board, and you have a lot less cards in hand collectively, so you need to be careful about how you go for cures. Also, the Dispatcher role in particular is significantly weakened with fewer players.

There are elements that come up in Legacy that amplify each of these, but nothing that dramatically changes them. I would say that I typically find games with fewer players slightly easier, but Legacy has some elements that auto-correct the difficulty so it shouldn't be a problem.

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There are a couple roles in Legacy that have powerful advantages but corresponding significant disadvantages. Some of those disadvantages affect the ability to cure diseases. While a three- or four-player game can absorb that cost, when we played a two-player Legacy campaign we found that we never used those roles because we couldn't afford to take that hit.

While objectives change throughout the year, curing diseases is a persistent need.

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